Enabling Trump

Reading “How Democracies Die” last night and one point that the authors make is that the ascent to power of right authoritarians doesn’t depend on popular support as much as enablers on the right. In Germany and Italy, it was conservatives in each government that greased the skids for Hitler and Mussolini’s climb to power. Here the Republican Party has performed the same role as enabler of Trump and white nationalist, dictatorial rule. They too should pay a high price for their actions on election day.

 

A new cold war

Trump and team would like to start a new Cold War. The price we (and others) paid for the last one was astronomical. This one will be still higher. Only a fool would rule out a nuclear confrontation. Another reason to get out the vote against Trump and his Republican enablers.

Is it readily understood

In coming up with slogans one has to ask if this or that slogan is readily understood by people who don’t spend most of time talking politics and if the slogan is something that your adversary can easily exploit to cast you and your aims in a bad light, while at the time strengthening his hand.

Utilizing the state

I never thought on a gut level that “democracy could die” here. Other countries for sure, but not in my own backyard. Clearly, I was wrong, and I guess blinded by a form of American exceptionalism. And the odd thing is that, if it happens, it won’t happen by way of “smashing the state” in a bloody insurrection, organized from the outside. Far more likely is that it will be the result of utilization of the state and its democratic institutions and processes to eviscerate democratic structures, norms and rights by insurrectionists occupying positions within the state and dressed in suits, not army fatigues. If this were to happen, what would be left would be a dictatorial strongman in the White House and a plutocratic class, presiding, if not directly, over the empty shell of what once was a democratic state and society.

Luckily in a few months we have an election that can stop this gathering storm in its tracks.

 

 

Tommy’s wisdom

I met Tommy Dennis in Detroit in 1974 at a youth conference on jobs sponsored by the Young Workers Liberation League (not sure how we cooked up that name). Tommy was the Party leader in Detroit and he spoke to the conference attendees. In his remarks – which blew me away at the time – he said, “There is nothing that Black people want that white people don’t need.” That caught my attention, even though I didn’t immediately understand what he was saying. It took a little reflection on my part to digest Tommy’s observation. I can be slow.

More than a half century later that seemingly simple observation of Tommy’s hasn’t lost any its resonance for me. In fact, in the midst of an interlocking crises and an astonishing uprising against racism, it resonates even more. As I see it, If we are to emerge out of this catastrophe, decisively defeat Trump in November, and set our country on a new anti-racist, working class, and democratic trajectory part of the reason will be that significant numbers of white working people come to appreciate the wisdom of Tommy’s remarks.

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