Sunday, March 13, 2016

America-- Not Just The GOP-- Is Having A Moment-- Confronting Fascism


Herr Trumpf isn't just saying "Geh von meinem Rasen" (get off my lawn). He's trying a very real political revolution of his own... a fascist revolution based of fear-based violence. Please watch Rachel Maddow's clip above; I never use the words "must see" but I am today. I've been taking Trump as a laughing matter. I'm not any more. I'm not going to call him Herr Trumpf any longer on this blog. He's Trump. Joke is over. No more, "ha, ha, ha... look what the stupid Republicans have done to their pathetic party. They deserve it." They may, but the rest of us don't.

He is consciously stoking violence and backlash to capture the presidency. Screw the Mussolini comparisons; he really is Hitler come back for revenge. Even right-wing Republicans are seeing the danger to the country here. Ted Cruz, who many fear even more than Trump, drew the line at the physical violence Trump is stoking. Read his statement:

Ohio Governor John Kasich: "There is no place for this... Donald Trump has created a toxic environment... There is no place for a national leader to prey on the fears of the people who live in our country." Even a puny little twerp like Marco Rubio-- who tried pinning some of the blame for the violent eruptions at Trump rallies on (who else?)-- Obama said 'there’s only one presidential candidate who has violence at their events... And I do think Donald needs to realize and take responsibility for the fact that some of the rhetoric he has used can potentially be contributing to this environment." It's getting harder and harder for Little Marco to envision himself voting for Trump if he wins the GOP nomination. But he still envisions himself doing just that, he said.

Last July, writing for the NY Times, Alexander Burns noted Trump's instinct for racially charged rhetoric before his presidential bid.
Long before Mr. Trump announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, roiling the 2016 election with his pugnacious style and speeches in which he has branded many undocumented immigrants as rapists and murderers, he had proved himself in New York as an expert political provocateur with an instinct for racially charged rhetoric.

To communities that have clashed with Mr. Trump in the past, his current strategy is entirely familiar. The slash-and-burn offensive against casino gambling in New York was a revealing foray into local politics, but it was only one of several episodes that seem to foreshadow the tone of his presidential campaign.

In 1989, amid a citywide panic in New York prompted by the assault of a white female jogger in Central Park, Mr. Trump ran advertising that called for a return of the death penalty.

...Mr. Trump acknowledged that his style can be offensive to some, but he defended it as essential for communicating his message.

“It would be nice to be somewhat gentler,” he said in an interview this week, “but at the same time, I don’t think I would be able to make the point nearly as well, whether it’s the death penalty or other things, totally unrelated.”

Mr. Trump said it was “not my intention” to speak in racially provocative terms, but expressed little interest in softening his language. “It’s very time-consuming to be politically correct,” he said, “and I don’t like wasting a lot of time.”

He has used divisive rhetoric to advance his business interests: His drive against the St. Regis Mohawks was intended to protect his investments in Atlantic City at the time, by blocking casino development in a competing market. Mr. Trump, who stood by the content of the newspaper and television ads he paid for, said he had made a “tremendous amount of money in Atlantic City” and did not want to see gamblers migrating elsewhere.

He's not playing at being a crooked businessman, stealing nd cheating his way into great wealth. He's playing with the fate of our country by manipulating a mass of angry, paranoid, poorly educated and stressed out working class simpletons, the same people who propelled Mussolini and Hitler to their nations' helms. The only political figure who seems to be misreading the zeitgeist and just doesn't get what's going on is, predictably, Hillary Clinton. Her clumsy statement, naturally veered towards spreading the blame around to "both sides," something she learned back when she was a Republican-- remember before you vote: "I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with... I'm very proud that I was a Goldwater Girl"-- and honed for years as a conservative Democrat trying to be all things to all people while advancing her careerist agenda and her personal fortune. Clinton:
The divisive rhetoric we are seeing should be of grave concern to us all. We all have our differences, and we know many people across the country feel angry. We need to address that anger together. All of us, no matter what party we belong to or what views we hold, should not only say loudly and clearly that violence has no place in our politics, we should use our words and deeds to bring Americans together. Last year in Charleston, South Carolina an evil man walked into a church and murdered 9 people. The families of those victims came together and melted hearts in the statehouse and the confederate flag came down. That should be the model we strive for to overcome painful divisions in our country.
Unlike Hillary's mealy-mouthed bullshit in the face of the fascist bully, Bernie, who's from Brooklyn and understand's how to deal with intolerant bullies, wasn't fooling around:
As is the case virtually every day, Donald Trump is showing the American people that he is a pathological liar. Obviously, while I appreciate that we had supporters at Trump’s rally in Chicago, our campaign did not organize the protests.

What caused the protests at Trump’s rally is a candidate that has promoted hatred and division against Latinos, Muslims, women, and people with disabilities, and his birther attacks against the legitimacy of President Obama.

What caused the violence at Trump’s rally is a campaign whose words and actions have encouraged it on the part of his supporters. He recently said of a protester, 'I want to punch him in the face.' Another time Trump yearned for the old days when the protester would have been punched and 'carried out on a stretcher.' Then just a few days ago a female reporter apparently was assaulted by his campaign manager.

When that is what the Trump campaign is doing, we should not be surprised that there is a response.

What Donald Trump must do now is stop provoking violence and make it clear to his supporters that people who attend his rallies or protest should not be assaulted, should not be punched, should not be kicked. In America people have a right to attend a political rally without fear of physical harm.

Like Bernie, Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD), now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, came more directly to the point than Hillary's afraid-of-her-own-shadow conservative instincts allowed her to:

While normal people ponder the danger Trumpism poses to the nation, establishment Republicans are freaking out over the mess he's causing their party-- and wondering what to do about it. Fight him? Join him? David Frum frets that its an impossible choice.
The accelerating likelihood that Donald Trump will win the Republican presidential nomination outright thrusts an agonizing dilemma on Republican politicians. Leave aside their own personal feelings about Trump. The most likely consequence of a Trump nomination is a severe Republican defeat in November, and not a defeat for Trump alone. Some significant number of Republicans just won’t vote for Trump. When people don’t want to vote for the top of a ticket, they often stay home altogether, dooming every close race lower down on the ticket.

Republicans have Senate seats at risk in Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin-- sufficient to put the Republican majority in question. The House looks safer, as does the Republican hold on state governments, but who knows? Trump is most objectionable to the most reliable and loyal Republican voters, exactly the kind of people who vote Republican for every office all the way down to county commissioner. Perhaps the very most reliable and most loyal will show up no matter what, skip the top line, and otherwise vote the straight ticket. Or perhaps not.

So talk is rising in the Republican world of some kind of independent candidacy, using some minor-party ballot line. It’s hoped that such a candidate-- Senator Ben Sasse from Nebraska? Mitt Romney?-- would offer anti-Trump Republicans a reason to show up to vote, and thus save the Senate.

That’s the hope. But the third-party solution has risks, too, bigger risks than anyone is calculating right now.

When people bolt their party, the party changes behind them.

Take, for example, the Progressive Republicans. When they bolted the party to follow Teddy Roosevelt’s independent campaign in 1912, they left conservatives in control of the Republican apparatus. Before 1912, it was very much an open question whether the reformist movements of the 20th century would find their home in the Republican or Democratic Party. After 1912, the most important of those reforms would be carried out at the federal level by Democrats, and opposed by Republicans. When Republicans regained the White House in 1920, it would be under the leadership of the man who’d delivered the nominating speech for William Howard Taft at the 1912 convention. The young people who’d looked to Teddy Roosevelt for change in 1912 would in many cases end up as followers of his cousin Franklin in 1932-- most notably, the former Bull Moose who ran most of the early New Deal, Interior Secretary Harold Ickes.

...An anti-Trump bolt will appeal to ideological conservatives, to libertarian leaners, and to the most religiously observant Republicans: what Republican strategist Grover Norquist has called the “leave us alone coalition.” What happens if that coalition does not run strongly in 2016? If it picks up something more like John Anderson’s 1980 6.6 percent of the vote, rather than Ross Perot’s nearly 20 percent? John Anderson ran as a liberal Republican who could not accept Ronald Reagan’s leadership—a group we have not heard much from since 1980. That’s the risk of political tests of strength: Sometimes you lose, and afterward nobody fears you ever again.

A “true conservative” independent race for president may offer anti-Trump Republicans a way to vote their consciences without endorsing Hillary Clinton. But it may also expose “true conservatism” as a smaller factor in U.S. presidential politics than it’s been regarded as since the advent of the Tea Party. And it will leave the instrumentalities of the GOP in the hands of people who were willing to work with Trump, and whose interest post-Trump-defeat will be in adapting his legacy to the future rather than jettisoning it.

Which is not to argue against it. Sometimes a political movement must and should go down fighting. Many conservatives will feel that way about opposing Trump in November 2016. The alternative-- ticket-splitting between Hillary Clinton at the top and Republicans down-ballot-- also carries daunting dangers. But whatever is decided by conservatives who refuse to board the Trump train, that decision is best made without illusions and false hopes. This election closes a long period in American politics. Whatever comes next, that period will not return.

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At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right: Trump is no laughing matter. He is a dangerous authoritarian who has been polishing his demagoguery to the point where he is dazzling far too many gullible suckers. Following is a comment I left over at DKos a little while ago:

Trump has started using “the communist” as his go-to epithet for Sanders, the way he uses “Lyin’ Ted” and “Little Marco.” It’s clear he’s worrying more about Sanders than Clinton these days.

There’s something worse, though, creeping into Trump’s rants about Sanders. I'm detecting a definite whiff of anti-Semitism in the way Trump is imitating Sanders’ at the podium, the way he keeps repeating “Burrrnee” in a tone that isn't merely mocking, but filled with hate.

Whether Trump is an anti-Semite himself is irrelevant. He is, I believe, pitching his rhetoric to elicit any nascent anti-Semitism from his crowds.

Trump has been hitting all the classic touchstones of dictatorship with a Nazi flavor. Each rally features his emphasis on the need for the strong man (Trump himself), the "weakness" of his enemies, how his enemies "are not good people" who are "hurting our country" and who "do nothing" and should "get a job."

Trump never accepts responsibility for wrongdoing. He projects the pathologies of his movement and followers onto his enemies. He makes copious use of the Big Lie and has perfected the invention of scapegoats to answer for all our ills. The scapegoating is particularly dangerous. Trump's most volatile followers are primed with every speech and every tweet to lash out at the despised enemies within and without who are "destroying our country." Every day, the list gets longer. Mexicans, Syrian refugees, Obama, both Clintons, Sanders and his supporters, blacks, browns, Muslims worldwide -- who will be tomorrow's target?

He assumes the mantle of Heroic Leader who will personally defeat our nation's enemies and fearlessly face their threats. If someone hadn't rushed the stage the other day, Trump would have probably staged an attack somewhere down the line so he could pose with the Secret Service and pretend to be standing strong against ISIS.

It's getting bad enough in terms of threatening clouds around his rallies that an assassination attempt -- either real or staged -- is not too far fetched to imagine.

We will be very lucky if we make it through this election without riots and major bloodshed. Trump is a menace and he has a lot to answer for.


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