A first take: Yesterday’s disastrous — no hyperbole — announcement to withdraw from the climate change accord is of a piece with other retrograde statements and policy decisions over the past month by Trump and his acolytes. Trump, after some mixed signals in his first 100 days, appears to have made, not surprisingly, a devil’s bargain with the likes of Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, and other right wing authoritarians in his administration and a fraction of the capitalist class, especially connected to the fossil fuel and military and military related industries.
While it’s never easy to divine what’s going on in Trump’s head, it is obvious that in decisively casting his lot with these miscreants he is endangering the lives of tens of millions and the sustainability of the planet. He is also taking a sledgehammer to our democracy. In his immediate crosshairs is the well being and safety of immigrants, people of color, and the poor. No deed is too dirty for Trump and his motley crew.
Meanwhile, his trip abroad last week — not to mention his long standing connections to Putin — gives every indication that his intention is to align his administration with right wing authoritarian, militarist, hyper-nationalist leaders and regimes in the world.
Fascism isn’t around the corner in my opinion. In fact, the journey down that path isn’t easy, smooth or inevitable. Among other things, it would be sure to meet massive resistance, as is evident from the current opposition to Trump coming from varied quarters, classes, constituencies. But at the same time, tendencies in that direction are unmistakable.
What makes things worse is the obsequious role of Republicans in Congress, although that is changing a bit and could change more under the impact of mass pressures, events, revelations of wrongdoing, and any erosion of Trump’s base.
If anything positive can be teased from this situation, it is this: the recent political thrust of Trump — his doubling down in a backward, reactionary, authoritarian direction — will come back to bite him sooner than he realizes. He doesn’t understand that what he is doing will likely greatly energize and broaden the opposition to his presidency and policies.
What to do? More of the same for sure. But that isn’t enough in these new circumstances. The struggle against Trump has to be raised to a new level. People not yet active have to be drawn into practical actions of one kind or another. Preparations for next year’s elections have to be stepped up. The vote has to be protected and expanded. The investigations into Trump-Russia ties and election manipulation has to be continue without White House interference. The immediate targets of Trump’s policies have to be defended. Coordinated mass actions on a bigger scale have to be organized. And, not least, anything that narrows down the opposition to Trump has to be rejected.