No Victory Dance: Eight Reasons

Photograph Source: ~jar{} – CC BY 2.0

Hugo Chavez and Brown Ooze

Some Americans are getting ready to celebrate the likely final collapse of Donald Trump’s openly ludicrous and vile attempt to subvert the will of the American electorate.

I get it. Trump’s chances of success are low. He and his team of legal bozos shoot themselves in their bog floppy clown feet every day. Underscoring the pathetically petulant and Monty Python-esque madness of his coup that can’t think straight, Trump told reporters last Friday that “I won by the way, but you’ll find that out. Almost 74 million votes.”

Right, Donny, just like the San Francisco 49ers won 2020 Super Bowl with almost 21 points.

Hey, do I get to say that the Chicago White Sox won the World Series in 1919 and 1959? How about every World Series that’s even been played? What a run! It’s been unbelievable!

Then there was the brown hair dye sweat-ooze running down the sides of demented Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s head as he held a bizarre 90-minute press conference advancing preposterous, evidence-free conspiracy theories on how the Communist Democrats rigged the election. CNN chatterbox Chris Cuomo couldn’t resist observing that “Rudy is so full of BS it’s literally coming out of his ears.”

History will also not soon forget that the Orange Creature’s QAnon counsel Sidney Powell claimed that her Leader was cheated by “the Dominion [voting machine] scam perpetrated by Hugo Chavez.”

What insanity. Donny and Rudy are going out like laughable Marvel Comics villains.

So, is it time to rumba again, like on the Saturday after the election, when the media called the Electoral College defeat of the orange-brushed maniac, who Noam Chomsky accurately described last February as “the most dangerous criminal in human history”?

Not for me. My main problem with partying again isn’t just that doing so would be technically premature. (It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, as Yogi Berra once said. I’ll fully believe that Trump is gone from power only when he is finally dragged out of the White House.) Here, below, are eight bigger reasons to stay grim and determined going forward despite the likely if not yet fully certified flop of the orange-brushed demon’s attempted coup.

#1. The Pathetic Normalization and Trivialization of Authoritarian Madness

It has been depressing to witness U.S. media normalize and naturalize the twisted Twitter-tantruming tyrant’s efforts to overturn the election. Responsible journalists and commentators would be calling for this malignant lunatic to be removed from office immediately. Thousands of people are dying every week from the newly ballooning pandemic that “our” herd-immunitarian freak of a subhuman president lied about and fanned across the nation. Trump never cared to implement a real strategy to stem the body count. He is actively undermining efforts to enable the incoming Biden administration to develop one. While the nation’s intensive care units and morgues burst at the seams, this vile monster spends his “lame duck” time on the golf course and insanely commanding his running dog lackeys to figure out some last-ditch way to pilfer himself a second disastrous term.

Impeachment and removal? 25th Amendment? Send in the 82nd Airborne to remove the mass-murderous pandemo-fascist to an undisclosed dungeon? How about call for millions in the streets demanding OUT NOW? The media doesn’t say a peep about these options as thousands needlessly perish, but MSDNC brings on the arch-neoliberal Hollow Man Barack Obama to lamely intone that Trump has a “flimsy relationship to the truth” (an absurd understatement) and to mildly tell Trump’s Republifascist enablers that “some things are bigger than partisanship.”

Meanwhile, N“P”R hosts and guests have been talking about how it’s “just taking the president some time to absorb and grieve the fact that he lost.” Trump’s attempted coup is being treated as some kind of television psycho-drama or soap opera, like he was just some poor dude having a hissy fit after Maury Povich came back with the test results showing that “you ARE the father of this baby!” The story is presented as if Trump isn’t a wannabe fascist strongman determined to tear up the last shreds of American democracy and take the whole country down with him if he can’t have a second fascist term, for God’s sake.

“Your media,” the Sri Lankan journalist Indi Samarajiva wrote two weeks ago, “are covering this like a high school dance…See this headline in the New York Times: ‘Who’s Going to Tell Him? Republicans Shy From Asking Trump to Concede.’ It’s wildly irresponsible. All your coverage is. No, you fools, they’re supporting a coup…. ‘Who’s going to tell him’? Bitch, who’s going to tell you? An illegitimate leader has got all the guns and 40% of your population is down to use them. And y’all got jokes.”

As Samarajiva added, “Your system gives the loser all the power and guns for two whole months. Almost every modern democracy changes power the next day, to avoid the very situation you’re in…America constitutionally coups itself every election and it only doesn’t go bad by custom. America is a shitty and immature democracy, saved only by the fact that they didn’t elect equally shitty and immature Presidents. Until now” (emphasis added). Yet another reason to toss out vast swaths of the nation’s bizarre and anachronistic Constitution, crafted by and for merchant capitalists and slaveowners for whom democracy was the ultimate nightmare.

2. It’d be so ON if the Election Had Been Closer

It’s lucky that Biden’s victory margin turned out to be great enough to make a coup a bridge too far for Trump. Had Biden won with closer margins, separated by thousands instead of millions of votes, by 20 instead of more than 70 Electors, by one or two states instead of several, Trump would likely have had enough constitutional and extra-constitutional chess pieces in place to steal the contest or put it at grave risk.[1] With less Biden play, the smart money might well have been on Trump getting a second term, a potentially terminal tragedy.

3. But for the Virus…

“The most dangerous criminal in human history” would likely have won the election flat-out but for the historical “accident” – the historical-conjunctural intervention – of COVID-19, or even if he had responded to the pandemic with a modicum of sanity. The fact that Trump had conducted his presidency in blatantly and shockingly corrupt, racist, sexist, nativist, authoritarian, narcissistic, eco-cidal, and fascistic ways would not have been enough to ensure his defeat. He would likely have ridden his alleged “Trump economic boom” (the continuation of an expansion started under Obama) to victory. Thank about that. Or maybe don’t, because it’s really depressing.

4. A Fascistic Base That Doesn’t Believe in Elections Their Dear Leaders Don’t Win

A fascistic election-de-legitimizing death cult of personality was has built up around the vicious maniac Trump with the help of the right-wing media ecosystem. This big and white-hot hate faction is so deluded that 70 percent of Trump’s voters believe his laughably baseless claim to have been cheated out of the election. That is 51 million chuckleheads careening cluelessly into the future with political opinions based on the open defiance of evidence, truth, and elections that don’t go their white-nationalist way. As the Sri Lankan clown-coup-veteran Samarajiva adds:

“Trump…and the Republican Party are destroying trust in elections in general. This is catastrophic. The tragic thing which you do not understand — which you cannot understand — is that you’ve already lost.… Your Republicans have set forces into play they cannot possibly understand and certainly cannot control. And they don’t even want to. To them, chaos is a ladder…This is the point. You have taken an orderly system balancing a whole lot of chaos and fucked with it. I don’t know how it’s going to explode, but I can promise you this. It’s going to explode…This is precisely why we have elections, and why both sides accept the results. To keep the chaos at bay. The whole point is that you have a regular, ritual fight rather than fighting all the time. Once one side breaks ritual then you’re on the way to civil war. Once you break the rules then chaos ensues. What exactly happens? I don’t know. It’s chaos…One side has stopped believing in elections. This is very bad…This year America had fascism on the ballot and nonwhite people mercifully said no. The fascists, however, are now saying fuck ballots. And enough of the population is like fuck yeah!…This is a major problem, and it won’t just go away on a technicality. I’m telling you, as someone that’s been there, you’ve already lost” (emphasis added).

Samarajiva’s reflection is too dark, perhaps, but his warning merits serious consideration. While it is ludicrous for Trump to claim that he won the election because he had “almost 74 million votes” (cuz like Joe Biden got like 80 million votes and should win the Electoral College by more than 70 Electors), it is a depressingly cold fact that almost 74 million Americans actually voted to give a second apocalyptic presidential term to a malignant fascist who was accurately identified by the world’s leading intellectual as “the most dangerous criminal in human history” even before he spread the killer virus whose lethality he privately understood (early on) but publicly denied. And then, when their demented, white-supremacist Antichrist hero brutishly demanded that authorities “stop counting” the mail-in ballots required by the deadly pandemic he swelled across the land, most of the nation’s racist Trumpenvolk agreed. Think about that. Or don’t.

5. “Stabbed in the Back”: Watch Out for the New Don

And consider that this noxious “heartland” volk will find new and more serious champions, transmitters, and tribal chiefs if it is not cut down to size after Trump. The Trump Tumor could not have oozed into the White House without the previous existence of an underlying proto-fascist, and eliminationist base and movement. As the prolific anti-fascist journalist and author David Neiwert wrote in the aftermath of the beast’s election, in a book chapter titled “Fascism and Our Future”: “This didn’t happen overnight – Trump is the logical end result of a years-long series of assaults by the American right, not just on American liberalism, but on democratic institutions themselves. With Trump the long-term creeping radicalization of the right has come home to roost.”

Trump’s relatively affluent base[2] and movement was well into formation by the 2008 election. It expanded from the Sarah Pailin rallies through the Tea Party and Birther movements and the rise of Trump We have every reason to expect it to latch on to a less clownish, less transparently venal, and more competent and disciplined Dear Leader in coming years. It has a deadly life beneath and beyond the election cycle.

Trump’s coup “plans” are likely collapsing. He failed to persuade the Republican leaders of the Michigan state legislature to violate the will of their state’s voters. The federal judge presiding over his preposterous challenge to the Pennsylvania tally wrote that orange criminal’s “claim, like Frankenstein’s monster, has been haphazardly stitched together.” A big and humiliating final Hail Mary Trump fail at the Supreme Court (fingers crossed) beckons.

Great, but a defeated Trump and his allies and followers will nurture and spread a toxic, classically fascistic “Stabbed in the Back” narrative that will be embraced by tens of millions of hoodwinked Trumpenvolk. Some of the more disturbed victims of the Trump cult are candidates to murder fellow Americans in the name of their fallen Leader in coming weeks, months, and years. Expect beatings, maiming, and killings, some carried out perhaps while Trump is forcibly removed from the White House on or even after January 20, 2021.

Never forget where Trump made a campaign stop the night before the 2020 election: Kenosha, Wisconsin, where a Trumped-up teen fascist named Kyle Rittenhouse murdered two civil and human rights protesters last August. The lethal adolescent is currently out from behind bars, bailed out by frothing American fascists eager to exact revenge on “backstabbing” liberals, leftists, and nonwhites.

These homegrown Amerikaner Chuckie clowns don’t just disappear because Donito Trumpolini gets booted out of Washington. They may expand in number and deadliness with Trump headed back to Mar-a-Lago and on the Trump TV. If Trump is out of the picture – and the dismal Democrats (see below) likely lack the guts to indict and jail him – they will gravitate to a new (fascist mafia) Don, likely one more serious than the old Don.

6. For “Normal Arguments” With Republifascist Partners in Plutocracy

The presidentially semi-victorious right-wing Clinton-Obama-Biden Democrats are already talking about “reaching out across the aisle” to “find common ground” with a Republican Party that has crossed into proto-fascist space. Meanwhile the corporate, financial, and imperialist elites atop the Inauthentic Opposition Party (IOP) – Sheldon Wolin’s dead-on description of the Neoliberal era Democrats – are cracking down on progressive, social-democratish Democrats who have the audacity to advocate policy in accord with majority public opinion.

The smarmy, conflict-avoidant Obama-Biden Dems can be expected to govern in austerian, populace-betraying fashion, helping grease the skids for the Republifascists to take back the House of Representatives (already badly gerrymandered in the rightmost party’s favor) in 2022 and very possibly the White House in 2024. Last Friday night, the deeply conservative arch-neoliberal Weimar Democrat Obama went on MSDNC to re-contaminate liberals with the following warmed-over serving of his trademark conciliatory and bipartisan bromides and banalities:

“I think Joe Biden is right to say that we should all make an effort to do our best to lower the temperature and listen to the other side. But I think when you have a current president whose entire style is to fan division, that’s hard while he’s on the stage. In some ways, I think it will be useful for us to just get back to the normal arguments between Democrats and Republicans. There are things that transcend partisanship… I didn’t enjoy having to call Donald Trump and congratulate him for having won the night of his election four years ago, but I did it because that’s part of my job. And the same way that George Bush called me and invited me and facilitated my transition — you know, that’s part of the continuity of our democracy that allows us to have arguments, have differences, but at the end of the day, still be confident that this is a government of, by and for the people.”

Oh, yes, America, lets’ get back to “normal arguments” with a Republican Party that has gone proto-fascist/eliminationist and that is currently failing to speak up against its Dear Leader’s openly crass attempt to subvert a presidential election it clearly lost by a significant margin. Yes, we have to “reach out across the aisle” and “listen” to vicious, science-denying, white-nationalist Republifascists – this while the corporate Democratic establishment engages in ugly attacks on its own party’s left (Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) wing, which must be punished for an unforgivable sin: running in accord with the citizenry’s majority-progressive and anti-oligarchic sentiments in a corporate and financial plutocracy run by and for the elite capitalist Few, not “the people.”

7. Constitutional Simon Says No Progressive Re-Set

Chances of a progressive policy re-set in accord with social, public health, and environmental needs are further obstructed by the Republifascists’ likely continuing control of the US Senate as well and their wildly inappropriate of a 6-3 supermajority in the absurdly powerful US Supreme Court. Will we ever confront the openly anti-democratic folly of “our” hopelessly outdated Constitution, a minority-rule straight jacket that now viciously over-empowers the nation’s most reactionary regions, voters, and donors?! America’s failed state stands drastically far to the right of public opinion thanks in great part to the tragic mismatch between the citizenry’s real needs and aspirations on one hand and, the other hand, the nation’s 18th Century charter, crafted from the top down with the explicit intent of blocking the Founders’ ultimate nightmare: popular sovereignty.

8. The Danger of Excessive Relief and Relaxation

The long national Trump nightmare has made much of the US populace understandably but dangerously relieved and grateful over the coming ascendancy of a right wing, fascism-enabling/-fueling/-appeasing corporate-Democratic administration. Relief and gratitude can easily reinforce popular passivity, atomization, and demobilization (critical symptoms of what Wolin called “corporate-managed democracy” and “inverted totalitarianism”) of the kind that undermines chances for the sort of popular movements required to push Biden and his Wall Street Democratic operatives to adopt and advance the kinds of progressive measures required to stem the insidious rightward drift of American society and politics.

One of the great ironies of the Hollow Resistance Democratic Party is that it is empowered and reinforced in its neoliberal nothingness by the fascistic awfulness of the other major party it recurrently ushers back into presidential power. The party of Clinton, Obama, Robert Rubin, and Joe “Nothing Will Fundamentally Change” Biden is rewarded for its cringing corporate and imperial captivity by the rise of Bad Cop GOP presidents so horrific as to make millions of ordinary Americans crave Nicer Cop Democratic presidencies so insufficiently Less Evil as to grease the skids for a yet more awful Republican presidency. It’s a viciously self-reinforcing and co-dependent circle that pushes the entire corporate-managed party system ever more menacingly to the right of the technically irrelevant public.

I spent the last two years of the Trump administration calling and fighting for a mass popular movement to overthrow the Trump-Pence regime not in order to install a dismal corporate-Democratic White House but (a) to enhance our chances of survival and (b) to set a precedent of popular power for an uprising against the whole damn system that created the Republifascist Party, its Inauthentic Opposition, the global pandemic, white supremacy, sexism, ecocide, Donald Trump, and Maury Povich in the first place.

Endnote

1. An “anarchist” I used to know on “social media” is bizarrely attached to the belief that the U.S. Constitution and state laws make American presidential elections coup-proof. That is mind-blowingly naïve, as we would be seeing if Trump had done better in the vote.

2. Again, as after 2016, the prolific left political scientist Anthony DiMaggio (a rare left intellectual who knows how to work with statistics) has tried to try to nudge leftists and liberals off what he rightly calls “the myth that Trump’s support is heavily dependent on ‘[white] working-class’ voters. His support,” DiMaggio finds, “was always strongest among more affluent Americans, and that support grew from 2016 to 2020.”

Paul Street’s new book is The Hollow Resistance: Obama, Trump, and Politics of Appeasement.