While Joe Biden champions bipartisanship, the Republicans, now the Amerikaner Party of Trump (APOT), are taking a leaf from Adolf Hitler. Just before Christmas in 1924, Hitler left prison after serving time for leading the failed Nazi revolution (Beer Hall Putsch) of November 1923. He now understood that it had been premature to attempt to overthrow the bourgeois democratic government by force without the backing of the German Army and other established institutions. The Beer Hall Putsch had ended in laughable disaster. He would not repeat the mistake. Hitler emerged determined to take over Germany through constitutional and “democratic” means, within the framework of the weakened bourgeois order.
The Rolling Coup Attempt of 2020-21
That’s kind of where the APOT is now, with their focus on the states – the reactionary federalist Achilles Heel of America’s bourgeois democracy (not to be remotely confused with real democracy). January 6th was a premature fascist fiasco. The next right-wing coup is being much more carefully constructed and executed from within the existing institutional framework. Force and bloodshed will be part of the equation, to be sure, but they will come into play in a legal, political, and institutional context more favorable to the right than in 2020 and 2021, after years of “democratic,” legislative, administrative, and procedural conniving.
Not that Trump will ever go to jail (more on that below). And not that the APOT didn’t try the “constitutional” route before the Capitol Meltdown of January 6th – the APOT’s Beer Hall Putsch (which of course came much closer to the real nexus of power than the Nazis’ 1923 adventure). It most certainly did. Indeed, January 6th was the final malevolently violent, Hail Mary face of a rolling, many-sided “constitutional coup” attempt that had already been well underway. Aptly describing Trump as “the buffoon tip of a fascist spear,” the left commentator Paul Jay dates the coup attempt from September 17, 2020, when the fascist strategist and former Trump campaign manager Steve “Camp of the Saints” Bannon went on the leading neofascist and key Trump confidant Tucker “Make America Hungary” Carlson’s primetime Fatherland News show to call for a “war” starting on November 4th, the day after the election:
‘Bannon: The Democratic Party has traumatized their base. They’re not going to come out to vote. And so somehow, they have to concoct some effort to steal this election cause they’re not going to get people to come out and vote on game day, November 3rd of this year. And that’s what I’ve been working on for the last couple of months. I was never going never going back to the campaign. And that’s where these guys messed up my platforms better now, my voice is bigger, I’ve got more resources, and all we’re focused on is to make sure that the progressive left and the corporatists cannot steal, cannot steal the election of Donald Trump. I’m more focused than ever. We’re kicking off a national tour on Monday called ‘The Plot to Steal 2020.’ They’re not going to stop my voice in assisting President Trump and making sure that this election that he’s going to win on the third is not stolen from him.
Carlson: Huh. And then maybe the real contest begins. Steve Bannon, I’m glad that you came on. Thank you very much.
Bannon: That’s when the war starts.’
For the historian Timothy Snyder, speaking to the Washington Post’s Milbank, the coup attempt on America’s “constitutional democracy” went back further – to June. In September 2020, Snyder told Milbank that:
‘The Reichstag [a reference to the 1933 German Parliament conflagration that gave Hitler his pretext to suspend constitutional democracy] has been on a slow burn since June…The language Trump uses to talk about Black Lives Matter and the protests is very similar to the language Hitler used — that there’s some vague left-wing conspiracy based in the cities that is destroying the country… It’s important not to talk about this as just an election. It’s an election surrounded by the authoritarian language of a coup d’état. The opposition has to win the election and it has to win the aftermath of the election. If not, there won’t be another “normal” election for some time (emphasis added).’ 
The 2020-21 coup attempt was a rolling affair. It included Trump:
+ claiming throughout the 2020 campaign that the only way he could lose was if the election was “rigged,” “stolen,” and “fraudulent.”
+ telling the openly neo-fascist and paramilitary Proud Boys, infamous for street violence, to “stand back and stand-by” during his first and insanely unhinged “presidential debate” with Joe Biden.
+ proclaiming there “will be no transition of power” after the election.
+ refusing to commit to honoring the outcome of an election that didn’t go his way.
+ mounting a long propaganda campaign against the mail-in ballots required by the pandemic he spread, this with knowledge that these ballots would mainly go against him since Democrats were more likely than Republicans to avoid in-person voting.
+ appointing a right-wing financial backer to head the Post Office in a transparent bid to disrupt mail-in ballots.
+ using the false claim that mail-in ballots were fraud-prone to suggest that the 2020 elections might have to be “delayed.” (This alarming suggestion led even the founder of the right-wing Federalist Society to Tweet about Trump’s “fascistic” essence.)
+ calling Biden’s clear and commanding win (declared by the media on Saturday, November 7th) a fraud and launching dozens of lawsuits challenging the results.
+ calling repeatedly for states to stop counting votes in the days after the polls closed, alleging that Democrats were using mail-in ballots to steal the election and sparking numerous right-wing “stop counting” rallies outside ballot-tabulating sites in contested states.
+ mounting dozens of absurd legal challenges to the election and refusing to concede even after these challenges failed, after Republican state legislatures confirmed the results, after his own election lawyers and even his own right-wing white nationalist Attorney General William Barr told him that reality did not match his stolen election narrative.
+ Riding his limousine alongside 20,000 fervent supporters who rallied in Washington DC on November 14 behind Trump’s bogus claim of a stolen election. (Among the leading participants in this initial “Million MAGA March” were the openly neo-fascist and paramilitary Proud Boys, infamous for street violence. Rally speakers included a conspiratorialist QAnon supporter recently elected to the U.S. House. This demented politico from rural Georgia expressed racist sentiments and told participants to march on the Supreme Court to demand that it install Trump for a second term. “Stop the Steal” activists physically assaulted Trump critics and racial minorities at the rally.)
+ Following the advice of right-wing conspiracist lawyers Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Lin Wood by sending to the Supreme Court a (failed) lawsuit in which the majority of the nation’s Republican state attorneys general sought to discount 20 million swing-state votes.
+ Giving his approval, signaled by his presence overhead in the presidential helicopter, to a second chaotic and violent “Million MAGA March” on December 13, 2020. (During this Trump-supported gathering, Trump’s favorite fascist group the Proud Boys beat liberal and left counter-protesters, stabbing at least four people. They tore a Black Lives Matter flag down from the Asbury United Methodist Church, a majority-Black but mixed congregation founded in 1836 and located a few blocks from the White House. The fascists burned the flag, reminding the church’s pastor of racist “cross-burnings,” in the name of “real Americanism.” They made the “OK” hand gesture, adopted by those on the far-right as a signal of white supremacy.)
+ Enlisting a team of right-wing putschists, including the psychotic founder of MyPillow, Mike Lindell, the former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne,, the former Trump advisors Michael Fynn (an openly fascist QAnon felon who happens to have been Trump’s first National Security Advisor) and Steve “White Power” Bannon, and the leader of a far-right organization called Women for America First to build a coalition bringing on board open proto-fascists (including Caucasian nationalist Jared Taylor, Proud Boys leader and government informant Enrique Tarrio, and top QAnon acolytes) to spread the dangerous gospel of a stolen election and argue for direct action to “do,” the New York Times reported, “what the political process and the courts would not: upend the peaceful transfer of power.”
+ Trying to get Republican state legislative leaders to overturn the popular vote in their states and send Trump Electoral College votes to Congress from states Biden won.
+ Meeting to plot the overthrow of bourgeois democracy with his close ally, pardon beneficiary, and former National Security Adviser, the fascist felon and retired General Michael Flynn, who openly called for military intervention and martial law on December 17th. (In an interview on the far-right television station Newsmax, Flynn said Trump “could order the, within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities, and he could place those in states and basically rerun an election in each of those states…I mean, it’s not unprecedented. These people are out there talking about martial law like it’s something that we’ve never done. Martial law has been instituted 64 times.”)
+ Calling Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Secretary of State, urging him to change the outcome of the presidential vote in the state (Raffensberger released an audio recording of the call) – an openly criminal attempt at election interference.
+ Calling on Georgia’s Republican governor to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in his state.
+ Scheming with Jeffrey Clark, the acting head of the Justice Department’s civil division, to scheme about trying to persuade the state of Georgia to invalidate its citizens’ 2020 presidential vote and to potentially fire the Justice Department’s top two officials for refusing to join this effort.
+ Sparking chilling physical threats to state election officials in states won by Biden.
+ Refusing to cease and desist from encouraging these threats even after a top Georgia state official warned that “someone is going to get killed…It has to stop.”
+ Firing his Defense Secretary Mark Esper (who had irked Trump by opposing the declaration of martial law to crush the George Floyd Rebellion) and replacing Esper with a new appointee he expected to be more likely to back his efforts to declare martial law to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s Electoral College victory and cancel Biden’s inauguration. (This action was so alarming to constitutionalists within the military that the ten living former U.S. secretaries of defense published a January 3, 2021Washington Post letter warning military leaders and the acting Secretary of Defense not to get involved in election results. “As senior Defense Department leaders have noted,” the letter ran, “‘there’s no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election.’ Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful, and unconstitutional territory. Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic…Acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller and his subordinates — political appointees, officers and civil servants — are each bound by oath, law and precedent to facilitate the entry into office of the incoming administration and to do so wholeheartedly. They must also refrain from any political actions that undermine the results of the election or hinder the success of the new team.” On January 4th, the same day as the letter from the ten former Defense Secretaries, the Financial Times published an editorial titled “A Moment of Grave Danger for U.S. Democracy.” The elite investor class paper’s editorial board wrote the following two days before the Capital Riot: “As extraordinary as it may sound, what amounts to an undeclared coup d’état is being attempted in the United States. It will almost certainly fail. But the next two weeks will test the strength of America’s institutions – and the courage of its officials.”)
+ Giving a fiery, violence-fueling speech calling for his supporters to “fight like Hell” to “take back our country” and telling his Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to certify Biden’s victory prior to the physical assault on the US Capitol as Congress attempted to follow the Constitution in accord with the election outcome. (“Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!” the crowd chanted).
+ Refusing for hours to call off his fascist mob as it ransacked the Capitol, hunting for Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, setting up gallows on the Capitol steps, beating Capitol Police officers, and forcing Congressional representatives and staffers to hide for their lives.
+ Refusing for hours to call out the Washington DC National Guard to suppress the fascist Capitol Riot – this in the clear hope that events would spiral out of control as a pretext for declaring martial law.
The Fearless Pandemo-Fascist Leader and its Rabid Minions Run Free
It’s nice that the sexual harasser Andrew Cuomo has been forced to resign. Let’s hope that his brother Chris (who counseled him to fight and blame “cancel culture”) can be forced off CNN. Still, it’s a shame that Governor Cuomo’s criminal treatment of nursing home residents early in the pandemic and his broader corporate corruption didn’t receive more attention in the drama over his removal. And meanwhile, more to the central point of the present essay, and speaking of the need “to win the aftermath of the election too” (Timothy Snyder – see above), the APOT still backs a mass-murderous rapist and white power pandemofascist who belongs in a cage but continues to walk free.
Sickeningly enough, the sadistic reptile Trump (accurately described as “the most dangerous criminal in human history” by Noam Chomsky in early 2020) is still out and about. The Fearless Orange Dumpsterfire is holding hate rallies, tripling down on the Big Hitlerian Stolen Election Lie, launching lawsuits against Big Tech (for having the elementary decency to remove an epic fascist liar and violence promoter from so-called social media), encouraging dangerous conspiracy theories, dominating one of the nation’s two reigning political parties, building a bizarre white-nationalist “shadow cabinet,” and raising more than $100 million since he lost the 2020 election. So, no real punishment for a pandemicst putsch leader who called immigrants an “infestation,” who waged a long campaign to subvert and nullify a bourgeois democratic presidential election, who aligned himself with armed street-fighting militia men (including Proud Boys who wore T-shirts sating “Six Million Wasn’t Enough” and “Pinochet Did Nothing Wrong”), and who made 30,573 false and misleading statements (and who…the list of the Trumpenstein’s transgressions goes on and on)? Really? Seriously?
The running dog Trumpist marauders of January 6, many of whom would have killed U.S. Congresspersons and even Mike Pence if given the chance, are getting off with minor misdemeanor charges and sentences. They are receiving paltry fines for a rampage that will cost US taxpayers $1.5 million to repair.
This is a sick joke while masses of poor, mostly nonwhite people serve maddeningly long sentences for minor and nonviolent offenses. A federal judge in Iowa recently sentenced the heroic Catholic Worker Jessica Reznicek to eight years in federal prison for the “federal crime of terrorism.” Reznicek’s transgression? Trying to protect life-giving water, a habitable climate, and livable ecology (life itself) from the fossil fuels industry’s eco-cidal, planet-baking Dakota Access Pipeline.
The lack of serious punitive consequence for the Tangerine Tumor and his miserable minions speaks volumes about this collapsing society and its soulless and parasitic owners.
So does the fact that numerous states are passing laws to cancel minority voting rights and institute white nationalist one-party rule while criminalizing social justice protests and criminalizing teaching about the past and ongoing history of white systemic racism.
It is all very suggestive of a ruling class that has a significant faction for whom authoritarian, white-nationalist, and eco-fascist rule is the way to go and for whom bourgeois (non-) democracy is past its expiration date.
The Neofascist Coup Rolls into the Soft State-Level Underbelly
The state-level voter suppression and voter nullification bills are driven by the conspiratorial “steal” fabrication, which is straight out of the Nazi playbook. They are not merely about reducing Black and brown votes in local and state elections. They are also and above all about using the states as the soft underbelly for disemboweling what’s left of electoral democracy and launching the APOT’s return to full national control in 2024-25. The anti-protest bills are meant to beef up the repressive power of the police state in anticipation of mass resistance to the ongoing white nationalist Amerikaner coup. The education bills are meant to help render invisible the fundamentally white supremacist nature of the still rolling coup, which violates longstanding pluralist and democratic narratives on what makes America “great” and “exceptional.”
The situation is dire. As the incisive Thom Hartmann notes:
‘Trump’s shadow cabinet is part of his ongoing attempted coup… As [Republifascists] drain their followers of cash, the coup rolls on…no part of the Trump scam is as troubling as is its potential to ultimately end democracy in this country (and, eventually, around the world). A recent CBS News poll found that about half of all registered Republican voters thought rigging elections for their own party was a better idea than promoting ideas that would win elections… “Almost half of Republicans admit they’re ready to ditch democracy” read the ominous headline in The Washington Post……Trump’s shadow Cabinet is part of his ongoing coup attempt. He began his coup attempt the day after he lost the election, when he publicly repudiated the election results and began harassing the Department of Justice and multiple Secretaries of State and election officials to declare that Biden only won because of “fraud.”…The high point of his coup was on January 6th when he encouraged his followers to attack the Capitol to “stop the steal,” and refused to mobilize the DC National Guard until long after his terrorists had left the building. (Unlike every other state, the DC National Guard can only be activated by the President because DC has no governor.) …But Trump’s neofascist coup is no longer limited to himself and his fellow DC insiders. State after state is being taken over from the ground up by Trump supporters who want to end multiracial democracy in America and turns us back into a white-supremacist ethnostate. From Oregon to Florida and all across states in between, local school boards are being seized by anti-American supporters of the former reality TV star…The world watches with horror and our actual president, Joe Biden, finds himself, along with Democrats in Congress, frustrated at every turn by Trump’s loyalists and a few Democratic senators who are taking money from the same billionaires who fund the GOP and empower Trump. Meanwhile, the coup rolls on (emphasis added).’
Yes, but Hartmann leaves out a key part of the story – the deep complicity of the Democrats in the creation and now the perpetuation of this horrific situation. Stopping this neofascist Amerikaner menace would mean actually behaving like an “opposition,” to use Timothy Snyder’s inaccurate September 2020 term for the Democratic Party. In 2021 as across the whole neoliberal era, the Democrats’ “opposition” to the nation’s rightward drift remains, as the late left political scientist Sheldon Wolin described it in early 2008, “inauthentic.” An actual and authentic progressive opposition party would be using the bully pulpit power of the White House and Congressional offices and “liberal media” to rally millions of Americans in a movement to abolish the arch-authoritarian, white supremacist and classist Senate filibuster and to thereby pass major labor (the Protect the Right to Organize Act) and voting rights (the For the People Act) bills, major climate and green jobs legislation, major police reform, major guns rights reform, and more. It would go to the wall to admit Washington DC as a state in order to begin to counter the absurd over-representation of the nation’s most right-wing and rural states in the absurdly powerful US Senate (where Wyoming voters enjoy 134 times greater per capita representation than California voters). It would expand the size of the absurdly powerful US Supreme Court, where a 6-3 right-wing super-majority stands preposterously atop a center-left citizenry. It would reconstitute the federal bench and enlist the judiciary in (among other things) the invalidation of white-supremacist state bills and in the protection of women’s reproductive rights. It would institute an immediate national vaccine mandate, prosecute child-killing pandemo-Nazi governors like Greg Abbot (APOT-TX) and Ron DeSantis (APOT-FL), and shift massive resources from the Pentagon System and other forms of federal corporate subsidy to mass vaccination and public health among other forms of social protection and uplift. It would work to ban from federal and state office any political leaders who purveyed the election lie and who oppose mandating vaccines to protect Americans from a deadly pandemic. It would prosecute and incarcerate for life the malevolent crime boss Donald Trump, a malignant arch-transgressor who murdered hundreds of thousands of Americans with his criminal response to the COVID-19 outbreak and who mounted a long rolling to campaign to subvert and nullify a presidential election he lost – a campaign that included a mass physical assault on the U.S. Congress as it attempted to certify the election of his opponent. Many of his top operatives, including his diabolical son-in-law (who killed an early Covid 19 testing plan after concluding that the virus would mainly damage Democratic metropolitan areas) and his last Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (a key player in efforts to bully state election officials into trying to invalidate their state’s 2020 presidential vote) should be prosecuted as soon as possible.
Hey Joe(s), Where You Running with That the Republic in Your Hands?
With all due respect for some of the elementarily decent measures imposed by the current crises (the covid relief package, vaccination distribution and promotion and more), the Clint-Obamanite Biden Democrats are of course (big surprise!) not taking the fighting path required. Even as the widely hated and feared APOT and its right-wing Democrat allies Joe “Houseboat” Manchin and Kyrsten “Put the Bi in Bipartisan” Sinema viciously veto elementary bourgeois-democratic social and electoral reforms within the highly (indeed absurdly) unrepresentative US House of Lords, the dismal Biden Dems cling to the noxious centrist religion of “reaching across the aisle” to “get things done” in the spirit of “bipartisanship.” There’s little reason to expect they would do otherwise. Keeping the Republican/APOT menace alive is part of their capitalist caretaker triangulation game even as the other ruling class party has gone fascist. While not themselves a fascist party, they are partners in the ongoing fascistization of America. As the left journalist and historian Terry Thomas, never one to sugarcoat things, writes in response to the Thom Hartmann column quoted above:
‘Well, that about sums up the situation, but Thom has to keep in mind that Sleepy Joe and his actual cabinet are much more interested in proving the hypothesis that the current President is uniquely capable of working with these people (reaching across the aisle) and restoring the “soul of America. The grift of the Trumpsters and their ongoing coup, particularly at the state level, is obvious, well-reported, and not about to change. The only realistic hope for challenging this unprecedented situation is for Biden to seize the powers of his office and the authority of the state to squash these attempts, put the perpetrators behind bars, and restore some sanity to the lunatic asylum. And it begins with the filibuster, using his power to kick the shit out of Manchin and Sinema to bring them into line, and passing the legislation required to guarantee everyone access to the ballot. Then the real majority in this country can begin to mobilize to confront this horrific threat. But, again, Sleepy Joe doesn’t seem to consider this a top priority. We all pay the price for his self-absorbed conceit…Hey Joe, while you were letting Manchin and the “moderate” Republicans write pro-corporate infrastructure bills for you, the “not-so-moderate” Republicans were removing your supporters from state voting rolls. Way to go, dude. Now that is working with the people across the aisle, or perhaps it’s working for the people across the aisle’ (emphasis added).
Hey Weimar Joe(s), where you running with that republic in your hands? Come on, man!
Some state-level Democrats have been perturbed by Houseboat Joe’s insistence – seconded in Sleepy Joe’s demented defense of the Senate filibuster – that federal policies must be bipartisan (the essence of his sickening defense of the filibuster) while Republicans have passed voter suppression bills on a strictly partisan basis in at least eighteen red states so far. An Atlantic essay from last June was titled “Democracy is Already Dying in the States.” As Ronald Brownstein wrote:
‘… Republicans have excluded Democrats from the passage of the restrictive voting laws proliferating in red states. In places such as Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, and Montana, the most restrictive laws approved this year have passed on total or near-complete party-line votes, with almost all state legislative Republicans voting for the bills and nearly all Democrats uniting against them, according to an analysis of state voting records provided exclusively to The Atlantic by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU…That pattern of unrelenting partisanship has left many state-level Democrats incredulous at the repeated insistence by Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, that he will support new federal voting-rights legislation only if at least some Republican senators agree to it. Manchin is “acting like Republicans and Democrats are working together on this stuff, and Republicans in Arizona have completely shut the Democrats out of the [legislative] process,” Katie Hobbs, the Democratic secretary of state there, told me in an interview. Similarly, Jennifer Konfrst, the Democratic whip in the Iowa House of Representatives said, “It is unfathomable to me that we would look at this issue and say we have to bring Republicans along, in this political climate, in order to make true change. I don’t see anywhere where Republicans are inviting Democrats along, or inviting Democrats to the table. Why are some Democrats saying, ‘I won’t do this unless it’s bipartisan?’”
It’s pathetic. Much of the Texas statehouse Democratic delegation took the remarkable step this summer of fleeing their toxic jurisdiction to temporarily prevent the passage of a Republifascist voter suppression bill in their state. The Texas Democrats camped out in Washington, begging Biden and other top Democrats to use their power to squash the racist filibuster and pass the sweeping if elementary voting rights and protection bill already passed by the US House – the For the People Act. Will it make any difference?
Meanwhile, in other news, the nation is reduced to begging millions of Amerikaner pandemo-Nazis not to murder children as southern US pediatric ICUs fill to capacity. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its latest bracing report on the biggest problem of our or any time (also considered a globalist jobs-killing “hoax” by much of the American right), which will end the human experiment in no short order unless capital can be dislodged from its stranglehold on society.
+1. To his credit, Snyder actually sort of called the coup during the following exchange with Salon’s Chauncy de Vega in April of 2017:
De Vega: ‘you discuss the idea that Donald Trump will have his own version of Hitler’s Reichstag fire to expand his power and take full control of the government by declaring a state of emergency. How do you think that would play out?’
Snyder: ‘I think it’s pretty much inevitable that they will try. The reason I think that is that the conventional ways of being popular are not working out for them. The conventional way to be popular or to be legitimate in this country is to have some policies, to grow your popularity ratings and to win some elections. I don’t think 2018 is looking very good for the Republicans along those conventional lines — not just because the president is historically unpopular. It’s also because neither the White House nor Congress have any policies which the majority of the public like. This means they could be seduced by the notion of getting into a new rhythm of politics, one that does not depend upon popular policies and electoral cycles…Whether it works or not depends upon whether when something terrible happens to this country, we are aware that the main significance of it is whether or not we are going to be more or less free citizens in the future. My gut feeling is that Trump and his administration will try and that it won’t work. Not so much because we are so great but because we have a little bit of time to prepare. I also think that there are enough people and enough agencies of the government who have also thought about this and would not necessarily go along.’
Consistent with Snyder’s prediction, Trump by the summer of 2020 seemed to have abandoned any serious effort to win the election in “conventional” ways, that is, by trying to develop and run on a popular policy record. He openly flouted public opinion on the pandemic, civil rights, police-statism, and the rule of law, helping keep his approval rate in the low 40s and Joe Biden well ahead of him in national polls. This was nothing for his critics and opponents to celebrate however, for, when combined with his clear desire to stay in power, it suggested strongly that he was going to try to keep the presidency in undemocratic, anti-constitutional, and violent (“Reichstag”) ways.