Irreconcilable Differences: The 2020 Elections Prove Again The U.S. As Outlier

CJ Polychroniou

The most consequential election in modern U.S. history won’t produce a winner for at least a few more days. And then, the result may be contested in the Supreme Court, with unforeseen consequences for the future of democratic order.

However, while much of the media and the public are consumed with scenarios as to how Biden, or Trump, can reach the magic number of 270 electoral votes, there are some highly disturbing trends and facts about the 2020 election that need to be analyzed if progressives in the U.S. can hope to advance a successful strategy in the years ahead.

First, the polls were wrong again. A blue wave did not materialize in spite of the highest voter turnout in a century and the huge demographic changes taking place all across the United States.
Second, Biden failed to perform as expected in spite of the country being in the midst of a catastrophic pandemic, with a criminally negligent president in charge who has misled the public about Coronavirus from day one and has intentionally spread dangerous information about it.
Third, Trump did much better than expected in spite of being a charlatan, the sort of a leader who says and does such outrageous and highly dangerous things that it is simply unimaginable that citizens in other advanced democracies would have tolerated him in their midst, let alone support with a feverous passion as so many Americans do.

The 2020 U.S. elections have revealed as strongly as possible that the country remains highly polarized, marked by irreconcilable differences between red and blue states. In fact, the U.S. is probably more divided today between red and blue than it was during the 1860s, and much of the credit for this accomplishment is due to the brilliant skills of the con artist occupying the White House for the last four years. Trump has exploited the anxieties, frustrations, and fears of white America, with its toxic ideological notion of racial superiority, in a manner that would have made Joseph Goebbels feel like an amateur.

Racism has always been around. But it is more alive and kicking in today’s USA than any other time since the 1950s or 1960s. This is why Trump’s neo-fascist political posturing is found to be so appealing among such huge segments of 21 st century Americans. Democracy, for Trump and many of his supporters, is an unnecessary luxury if it would mean building a society where whites are the minority. In fact, in a survey cited in Larry Bartels’s research article “Ethnic antagonism erodes Republicans’ commitment to democracy”, “most Republicans…agreed that ‘”the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.”’

This is why there was a record turnout in the 2020 election: this was an election about white Americans, as Umair Haque, Director of the Havas Media Lab, artfully argued a few days ago in his essay “Is White America Really Ready to Reject Trump’s Fascism?”

To be sure, the U.S. remains an outlier among highly advanced societies on many issues, because racism is the driving ideological force. The U.S. is the only country in the advanced industrialized world without a universal health care system, but with a warfare but no welfare state.–but-we-sure-have-a-warfare-state/

The alone among western countries with its continued use of the death penalty (where racial disparities continue even though the death penalty usage has declined), it has not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and has ratified fewer key human rights treaties than all other countries in the G20 group. Additionally, it never ratified the Equal Rights Amendment proposed in 1972, and it ranks 75th globally in women’s representation in government.

Indeed, white America is very different from the rest of the advanced world, as Haque points out in “Is White America Really Ready to Reject Trump’s Fascism?, in profoundly striking ways: “Voters in Europe and Canada — white majorities there — can be relied upon to act with some modicum of decency and humanity and common sense. They back, over and over again, what the world now considers modern social contracts that make up functioning, sophisticated societies — healthcare, retirement, education, childcare, and so on, for all, not just themselves. It would be a massive, massive shock if voters anywhere else in the West began to act like America’s white majority — they are so far off the scale of conservatism, in formal terms, that it might as well not exist.”

In sum, what the 2020 elections demonstrate, regardless of who wins the election, is that Trumpism will remain the dominant ideological and political movement in the third decade of the 21 st century in the United States. With or without Trump in the White House, white America will surely remain vigilant in its attempt to “safeguard America’s traditional values” and, in that context, progressive forces will have their hands full.

In the light of this, the creation of a “Popular Front,” a coalition of all democratic forces of the sort that took place in Europe in the mid-1930s to combat the rise of fascism, should be embraced as possibly the only coherent strategy to roll back Trumpism. But in 21 st century USA, this would mean a commitment first and foremost to the norms and values of an inclusive democracy within the context of class-and environmental politics.
As such, “identity politics,” which has gone from inclusion to division and has led to political tribalism in U.S. society, needs to be reassessed in a manner where its positive attributes are incorporated into a broader political agenda. But this is a story for another time.

C.J. Polychroniou is a political economist/political scientist who has taught and worked in universities and research centers in Europe and the United States. His main research interests are in European economic integration, globalization, the political economy of the United States and the deconstruction of neoliberalism’s politico-economic project. He is a regular contributor to Truthout as well as a member of Truthout’s Public Intellectual Project. He has published several books and his articles have appeared in a variety of journals, magazines, newspapers and popular news websites. Many of his publications have been translated into several foreign languages, including Croatian, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. He is the author of Optimism Over Despair: Noam Chomsky On Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change, an anthology of interviews with Chomsky originally published at Truthoutand collected by Haymarket Books.

Bookmark and Share

The Winner Of The 2020 Election Won’t Be Inheriting A Genuine Democracy

CJ Polychroniou

Today’s election is widely regarded as the most important national election in recent U.S. history, voters remain divided and polarized over what should be essentially the future of the country. Issues over racism, immigration, guns, women’s rights, police brutality and climate change are what essentially divide Republican voters from Democrats. The former, galvanized by the extreme and divisive rhetoric of a racist and reactionary president, wish to preserve the values of “traditional America” (white supremacy and patriarchy, militarism, rugged individualism and religiosity), while Democrats worry that another four years of Donald Trump in office will spell the end of democracy.

Is destroying or saving U.S. democracy what the upcoming election is all about? In this interview, political scientist C.J. Polychroniou says it is high time that we did away with the political rhetoric when it comes to U.S. democracy and look at the facts: The U.S. has a highly flawed system of democratic governance and doesn’t even rank among the top 20 democracies in the Western world, and thus is in dire need of major repair. In fact, Polychroniou argues, it is far more accurate to describe the United States as an oligarchy, a regime where an economic elite and powerful organized interests are in virtual control of the policy agenda on most issues of critical importance to public interest while average people are mainly political bystanders.

Alexandra Boutri: The general consensus among a significant percentage of voters opposed to Donald Trump is that the upcoming election represents a pivotal moment in U.S. politics, for what is at stake is nothing else than the future of democracy itself. True, or an exaggeration?

C.J. Polychroniou: Trump’s presidency has been marked from the beginning by lies, strong authoritarian impulses, contempt for the media and disdain for science, big gifts for the rich and big cuts for the poor, and complete disregard for the environment. His political posturing is outright neo-fascist, and, as such, this president surely has little concern about the subtleties of democratic governance. Of course, U.S. democracy was in a crisis long before Trump came to power. In fact, one could easily make the argument that the U.S. is not a true democracy at all (it qualifies as a mere procedural democracy), and was never meant to be when you get to understand the architecture of the Constitution, who the framers were, and why they opted to ditch, in the manner of a coup, the Articles of Confederation, during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. In fact, the drafting of the Constitution itself was not a democratic process: The delegates were sent there by state legislatures with a mandate to revise the Articles of Confederation, but, instead, they worked in total secrecy in producing an entirely new legal document for the future government of the United States.

The Constitution that the framers produced, with its system of checks and balances, was as a legal document way ahead of its time, since back then, monarchy was the prevailing form of political rule throughout the world. But in addition to designing a system of governance that would prevent the rise of an absolute ruler, the framers also wanted to make sure that the masses themselves would not be in a position to determine political outcomes. Indeed, the framers were seeking a form of government that would keep the elites safe both from the caprice of absolute rulers and from the whims of the rabble. They were indeed in complete agreement with the view of John Jay, one of the so-called Founding Fathers and the first Chief Justice, when he said, “Those who own the country ought to govern it.” Hence the purpose behind the introduction of the Electoral College, which blatantly violates the very basic principle of democracy, i.e., one person, one vote; hence also the anti-democratic nature of the Senate, where states with very small populations get the same number of senators as states with huge populations.

The U.S. is also the only democracy in the world where politicians are actively involved in manipulating the boundaries of electoral districts. Political gerrymandering has a long history in the U.S., but as Common Cause National Redistricting Director Kathay Feng pointedly put it, “In a democracy, voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around.”

In addition, federal election campaigns funded entirely by private money makes a mockery of the democratic process for electing public officials, while the “winner-take-all” system, which is not in the Constitution and therefore can be changed without a constitutional amendment, can easily be regarded as undemocratic under modern election law jurisprudence, as has correctly been pointed out by former Republican governor of Massachusetts, William Weld, and law professor Sanford Levinson.

In sum, there is no other democracy in the advanced industrialized world with the “undemocratic” features of the system of democracy found in the U.S., including its two-party system which severely limits public dialogue and debate among competing political views. Little surprise, therefore, why even the conservative weekly magazine The Economist has labeled the U.S. a “flawed democracy.” As a matter of fact, U.S. democracy does not even rank among the top 20 democracies in the Western world, according to the Democracy Index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The U.S. form of governance fits far more perfectly with that of classical oligarchy, although in the last four years, the country also had a leader who behaved more in tune with the traits of the tyrannical man outlined in Plato’s Republic.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

The US Chose Endless War Over Pandemic Preparedness. Now We See The Effects

The United States of War – A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State. ISBN: 9780520300873

The United States has the longest record of war-fighting in modern history. Why that is the case is not a question that has an easy answer; suffice to say, however, that militarism and violence run like a red thread throughout U.S. political history, with enormous costs both for the domestic economy and the world at large, as a recently published book by David Vine makes plainly clear. In fact, the militarist mentality is strongly reinforced by the Trump administration in spite of the fact that the current president claims to have an aversion to “endless wars.” In this exclusive Truthout interview, Vine, a professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C., addresses critical questions about U.S. war culture and Trump’s own contribution to the violence that has always been foundational to U.S. culture.

C.J. Polychroniou: Your latest book, The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State, is a detailed survey of the U.S.’s obsession with militarism and war. Have you come to a definite conclusion or explanation as to why the United States has been at war for about 225 of the 243 years since its independence?

David Vine: There is, of course, no simple answer to this incredibly important question. According to my research, the U.S. military has been at war or engaged in other combat in all but 11 years of U.S. history — 95 percent of the years the United States has existed. My book shows how the huge collection of U.S. military bases abroad provides a key — or a kind of lens — to help understand why the United States has been fighting almost without pause since 1776. Bases abroad, bases beyond U.S. borders show how U.S. political, economic and mili­tary leaders — shaped by the forces of history, capitalism, racism, patriarchy, nationalism and religion — have used taxpayer money to build a self-perpetuating system of permanent, imperialist war revolving around an often-expanding collection of extraterritorial military bases. These bases have expanded the boundaries of the United States, while keeping the country locked in a state of nearly continuous war that has largely served the economic and political interests of elites and left tens of mil­lions dead, wounded and displaced.

To be clear, my argument is not that U.S. bases abroad are the singular cause of this near-endless fighting. Indeed, my book shows how the answer to why the U.S. government has fought so constantly lies in the capitalist profit-making desires of businesses and elites, in the electoral interests of politicians, and in the forces of racism, militarized masculinity, nationalism and missionary Christianity, among other dynamics.

U.S. bases abroad, however, have played a key and long overlooked role in the pattern of near-constant U.S. fighting: that is, since independence, bases that U.S. leaders have built beyond the borders of the United States not only have enabled wars but also have made offensive imperialist wars more likely. While U.S. leaders often portray bases abroad as defensive in nature, the opposite is generally the case: bases built on the territory of other peoples have tended to be offensive in nature, providing a launchpad for yet more wars. This has tended to create a pattern in which bases abroad have led to wars that have led to the construction of new bases abroad that have led to new wars that have led to new bases and so on.

Can you offer us a quick assessment of the overall costs of the “global war on terror?”

It’s impossible to capture the immensity of the catastrophe that the so-called “global war on terror” has inflicted. Around 15,000 U.S. military personnel and contractors have died in wars the U.S. government has waged since invading Afghanistan in October 2001. Hundreds of thousands of troops have returned with amputations, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries, and other physical and mental damage. As of 2018, 1.7 million veterans had reported a wartime disability.

Across the countries where the U.S. military has fought, the death toll is at least 50 times higher than the U.S. death toll: In Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen alone, an estimated 755,000 to 786,000 civilians and combatants have died as a result of combat. Total deaths may reach 3.1-4 million or more, including those who have died as a result of disease, hunger and mal­nutrition caused by the wars. Entire neighborhoods, cities and societies have been shat­tered by these wars. The number injured and traumatized surely extends into the tens of millions. At least 37 million people have been displaced from their homes during U.S. fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. For perspective, 37 million is about as many people as live in California and in Texas and Virginia combined. Thirty seven million displaced is more than those displaced by any war anywhere in the world since at least 1900, with the exception of World War II.

The U.S. government and the United States as a country are not single-handedly responsible for all the death, displacement and destruction of these wars. Other governments and combatants also bear significant responsibility. However, the U.S. government bears disproportionate responsibility, especially for the wars it has launched (Afghanistan, the overlapping war in Pakistan, and Iraq), the wars it has escalated (Libya and Syria), and the wars in which U.S. forces have been significant combatants (Yemen, Somalia and the Philippines). Alongside U.S. funding for and involvement in combat in a total of at least 24 countries since 2001, the rhetoric of the “war on terror” alone has also fueled wars and violence worldwide.

Alongside the human damage, the financial costs of the so-called war on terror are so large, they’re nearly incomprehensible. As of October 2020, the U.S. government has spent or obligated a mini­mum of $6.4 trillion on the post-2001 wars, including the costs of future veterans’ benefits and interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars. The actual costs are likely to run hundreds of billions or trillions more, depending on when we force our politicians to bring these seemingly endless wars to an end.

While it’s incredibly hard to fathom $6.4 trillion in taxpayer funds vanished, the catastrophe is compounded when we consider how else the U.S. government could have spent such incredible sums of money. What could these trillions have done to provide universal health care, to rebuild public schools, to build affordable housing, to end homelessness and hunger, to rebuild crumbling civilian infrastructure, to prepare for pandemics? In addition to the 3-4 million who have likely died in the wars the U.S. government has fought since 2001, how many more have died because of the investments the U.S. government did not make? These are questions that, I have to say, should make us weep.

In trying to wrap our minds around the unbelievable human and financial costs of the so-called “war on terror,” we also have to remember that this war has also been a catastrophic failure on its own terms: the main result of the “war on terror” has been to spread terror and dramatically expand the number of groups and people who would engage in terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens and others civilians worldwide as a political tool. In Afghanistan, for example, there are at least 10 times as many mili­tant groups today as there were in 2001. Meanwhile, research has consistently shown that military action is rarely effective in shutting down militant “terrorist” groups. Responding to the attacks of 9/11 with what has now been an endless global war has been one of the most catastrophic and deadly mistakes in world history.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

Noam Chomsky: Trump Is Willing To Dismantle Democracy To Hold On To Power

Noam Chomsky

While it’s still too early to predict the likely outcome of the November 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump continues to fall behind in national polls while pulling dirty electoral tricks in the hope of defeating Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Much of Trump’s hope for victory rests with his “law and order” campaign, which promotes lies about mail-in-voting fraud in order to preemptively discredit the election results if they are in Biden’s favor. In this exclusive interview for Truthout, Noam Chomsky discusses the national and international significance of Trump’s refusal to commit to a “peaceful transition to power” and his reliance on conspiracy theories.

C.J. Polychroniou: Noam, with slightly more than two weeks away from the most important national elections in recent U.S. history, Trump’s campaign continues to harp on the message of “law and order” — a political tactic that authoritarian leaders have always relied on in order to control people and to strengthen their grip on a country — but refuses to accept a “peaceful transition to power” if he loses to Biden. Your thoughts on these matters?

Noam Chomsky: The “law and order” appeal is normal, virtually reflexive. Trump’s threat to refuse to accept the result of the election is not. It is something new in stable parliamentary democracies.
The fact that this contingency is even being discussed reveals how effective the Trump wrecking ball has been in undermining formal democracy. We may recall that Richard Nixon, not exactly revered for his integrity, had some reason to suppose that victory in the 1960 election had been stolen from him by Democratic Party machinations. He did not challenge the results, placing the welfare of the country above personal ambition. Al Gore did the same in 2020. The idea of Trump placing anything above his personal ambition — even caring about the welfare of the country — is too ludicrous to discuss.

James Madison once said that liberty is not protected by “parchment barriers” — words on paper. Rather, constitutional orders presuppose good faith and some commitment, however limited, to the common good. When that is gone, we’ve moved to a different sociopolitical world.

Trump’s threats are taken quite seriously, not only in extensive commentary in mainstream media and journals, but even within the military — which might be compelled to intervene, as in the tinpot dictatorships that are Trump’s model. A striking example is an open letter to the country’s highest ranking military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley, from two highly regarded retired military commanders, Lt. Colonels John Nagl and Paul Yingling. They warn Milley: “The president of the United States is actively subverting our electoral system, threatening to remain in office in defiance of our Constitution. In a few months’ time, you may have to choose between defying a lawless president or betraying your Constitutional oath” to defend the Constitution against all enemies, “foreign and domestic.”

The enemy today is domestic: a “lawless president,” Nagl and Yingling continue, who “is assembling a private army capable of thwarting not only the will of the electorate but also the capacities of ordinary law enforcement. When these forces collide on January 20, 2021, the U.S. military will be the only institution capable of upholding our Constitutional order.”

With Senate Republicans “reduced to supplicant status,” having abandoned any lingering shreds of integrity, General Milley should be prepared to send a brigade of the 82nd Airborne to disperse Trump’s “little green men,” Nagl and Yingling advise. “Should you remain silent, you will be complicit in a coup d’état.”

Hard to believe, but the very fact that such thoughts are voiced by sober and respected voices, and echoed throughout the mainstream, is reason enough to be deeply concerned about the prospects for U.S. society. I rarely quote New York Times senior correspondent Thomas Friedman, but when he asks whether this might be our last democratic election, he is not joining us “wild men in the wings” — to quote McGeorge Bundy’s term for those who don’t automatically conform to approved doctrine.

Meanwhile, we should not overlook how leading elements of Trump’s “private army” are showing their mettle in their usual terrain of deployment: the cruel Arizona desert to which the U.S., since Clinton, has driven miserable people fleeing from our destruction of their countries so that we may evade our responsibility — both legal and moral — to offer them an opportunity for asylum.

When Trump decided to terrorize Portland, Oregon, he didn’t send the military, probably expecting that it would refuse to follow his orders, as had just happened in Washington, D.C. He sent paramilitaries, the most fierce of them the tactical unit BORTAC of the Border Patrol, which is given virtually free rein with the “damned of the earth” as its targets.

Immediately on returning from carrying out Trump’s orders in Portland, BORTAC returned to its regular pastimes, smashing up a flimsy medical aid center in the desert where volunteers seek to provide some medical aid, even water, to desperate people who managed somehow to survive.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

A Global Green New Deal Project

The position of the Academies of Science from more than 80 countries and scores of scientific organizations is that global warming is human-caused through the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, oil) to generate power. In fact, scientists have known for decades how carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming, with nuclear weapons physicist Edward Teller actually warning the oil industry all the way back in 1959 how its own activities will end up having a catastrophic impact on human civilization.

Naturally, the petroleum industry went on to bury under the rug Teller’s scientific explanation of the impact of carbon dioxide on climate change, along with many other scientific reports on the same topic that came to its attention in the years thereafter. Of course, over the years, there has been an explosion of scientific studies about climate-change impacts on all aspects of civilized life. Most of them are produced by leading university and research centers around the world, but also from NASA, the US Department of Defense, the Federal Reserve, and the Bank of England. The evidence for global warming is indeed compelling.

Nonetheless, we live in an age where the discovery of truth through reason and science has come under attack by far too many in the present-day world, including elected officials, especially in a country like the United States where religiosity is prevalent and only 40% of its citizens place much confidence in the scientific community.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, climate change denialism is still quite prevalent in some parts of the world, especially in the United States among conservatives, which undoubtedly explains why at the Republican National Convention (August 24-27, 2020) the climate change threat was never even mentioned. For Donald Trump (and many of his followers), climate change is a “hoax” and, as the president said during his visit to California in mid-September, “science doesn’t know” what’s causing wildfires. But he does: they are caused by “exploding trees” and poor forest management.

The climate crisis is real, and the only question is how to deal with this truly existential threat. Stopping fossil fuel emissions and moving to clean, renewable sources of energy is the obvious and most widely accepted solution, and the game-changer is the idea of a Green New Deal. “Some form of a Green New Deal is essential to ‘save the planet,’” says Noam Chomsky in the newly published book Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving the Planet (Verso, 2020). But which form, as there are several different schemes of the Green New Deal?

Robert Pollin, co-author of the aforementioned book, outlines a detailed (Global) Green New Deal project which the world’s most revered public intellectual (Noam Chomsky) endorses wholeheartedly. Pollin’s Global Green New Deal project to tackle the existential threat of climate crisis is all-encompassing as it addresses virtually every question associated with the transition to a “green economy.” Unlike other Green New Deal proposals, it is short on generalizations and extensive on specifics, supported with ample of economic data and cost accounting assessments. In fact, Pollin has designed several state-level Green New Deal proposals, including for Puerto Rico. And his take on the transition to a “green economy” is quite different from some of the other Green New Deals that have been proposed by various other progressives, including Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and Naomi Klein.

Here, I wish to highlight some very specific items and ideas that are included in Robert Pollin’s detailed Global Green New Deal project, which are rarely covered by the various Green New Deal proposals in circulation.

1. Applying the insurance option to climate change: To skeptics about the complete accuracy of the scientific predictions to climate-change impacts, Pollin suggests that “we should think of a global Green New Deal as exactly the equivalent of an insurance policy to protect ourselves and the planet against the serious prospect – thought not the certainty –that we are facing an ecologic catastrophe.” The only question is how much climate insurance we should purchase. Indeed, most homeowners are willing to buy homeowners insurance even if there is only 1% or less risk of a loss caused by “perils” (fire, lightning strikes, etc.). Isn’t it therefore irrational to suggest that we should not take measures to safeguard the planet from the potential impacts of global warming?

2. Irrational and unrealistic to expect capitalists on their own to get us out of the climate crisis: To those who wish to rely on capitalism and market-oriented solutions to climate change, Pollin argues convincingly that just because capitalism got us into the climate change mess, it is absurdly naïve to believe that capitalist entrepreneurship is the way out of a potential climate change catastrophe. “Forceful forms of government intervention,” as in the case of the Great Depression, where the Roosevelt administration assumed direct role in the management of the economy, such as by embarking on massive public investment projects and ownership of critical industries, are absolutely essential for stopping fossil fuel emissions and making a transition to a clean and renewable sources of energy, argues Pollin. In this context, market-driven plans for combatting global warming, such as the carbon tax plan advocated by many mainstream economists who are still clinging tightly onto the straightjacket of neoliberal discourse, are highly inadequate, if enforced without other provisions and regulations, to make an impact on the containment of the climate crisis.

3. Public ownership of the energy industry is also not the way out. 90 percent of the world’s fossil fuel assets are already publicly owned, thus it’s obvious that public ownership of energy companies is not the solution. While it is true that publicly owned fossil fuel enterprises do not operate under exactly the same profit incentives as capitalist firms, their incentive structures are approximately equivalent – with careers, promotions, salaries, prestige all wrapped up in selling fossil fuels and generating maximum revenues. Also, fossil fuel revenues are the big source of government revenues to fund everything. The more general point on this matter, according to Pollin, is that we need to think about a variety of public and private ownership forms being given the opportunity to flourish—including small-scale cooperative ownership and similar innovations.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

Why Trump’s Racist And Neo-Fascist Campaign Strategy Resonates In 21st Century America

CJ Polychroniou

With the November election just around the corner, Donald Trump is raising the level of his racist and fascist rhetoric to new heights, fully aware that his hate speech and authoritarian overtures resonate with a large segment of white Americans in 21st century who, as surreal and obscene as this may sound, would have preferred that time stood still, stuck either in the era of the plantation system or at least at a time when whites in this country felt so superior to minorities that they could discriminate and oppress the “Other” without fear of getting into trouble with the law, let alone become witness to public outcries over police brutality, systemic racism, and demands for gender and racial equality.

Indeed, it is the awareness of the existence of a very large segment of white Americans in 21 st century who wish to roll back the clock on account of their growing insecurities and fears about the[ir] future that prompts Trump to sound ever more racist and project ever more the image of a strong man as time moves closer to election time. In doing so, his hope is that even moderate white voters might be stirred into feeling the need to join in on what he obviously hopes they may come to recognize and appreciate, just like his traditional base of white supremacists does, as an urgent “patriotic” campaign on the part of the “Great White Leader” to save [white] America’s soul. As for his rich supporters, he doesn’t care one way or another about the impact of his rhetoric on them because he knows they will continue supporting him as long as he maintains a steadfast course of lavishing them with gifts, such as huge tax cuts, deregulation policies, etc.

Trump’s attempt to outdo himself was most evident at his Minnesota rally a few days ago– perhaps the most extreme example so far of how far the “Great White Leader” is ready and willing to go in order to spread fear and promote hate as tactical means of securing another electoral victory in a country sharply divided into different political tribes.
And make no mistake about it: reliance on fear, hate, and violence have always been the political tools of fascists of all stripes.

Trump declared to Minnesotans that Biden would turn their state into a “refugee camp.” He warned them of “sleepy Joe Biden’s extreme plan to flood” Minnesota with refugees from Somalia, while denigrating at the same time the election of Rep. Ilhan Omar, who came to the United States as a child refugee from Somalia, calling her an “extremist”. To this insidious racist rhetoric, his fanatical base from below responded by screaming “send her back.”

Trump’s racist rhetoric hit a crescendo when he let his crowd know that they are supporting him because of their “good genes.”And to further upgrade his neo-fascist profile with his adoring crowd, he said it was “a beautiful thing” when journalist Ali Velshi got struck by a rubber bullet while covering a peaceful protest.

All in all, Trump’s performance at the Minnesota rally on September 18 was an act stolen from the electoral campaign of Hitler and his Nazi party. The only thing he fell short from saying was that anyone who did not support him should be deprived of civic rights and sent to prison or concentration camps.

No rational human being can fail to see that Trump is a racist with strong fascist impulses, but even critics of Trump fail to see or properly acknowledge that the “Great White Leader” employs the rhetoric of racism and fascism because there is a huge market for it in 21 st century America!

Read more

Bookmark and Share

  • About

    Rozenberg Quarterly aims to be a platform for academics, scientists, journalists, authors and artists, in order to offer background information and scholarly reflections that contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue in a seemingly divided world. By offering this platform, the Quarterly wants to be part of the public debate because we believe mutual understanding and the acceptance of diversity are vital conditions for universal progress. Read more...
  • Support

    Rozenberg Quarterly does not receive subsidies or grants of any kind, which is why your financial support in maintaining, expanding and keeping the site running is always welcome. You may donate any amount you wish and all donations go toward maintaining and expanding this website.

    10 euro donation:

    20 euro donation:

    Or donate any amount you like:

    ABN AMRO Bank
    Rozenberg Publishers
    IBAN NL65 ABNA 0566 4783 23
    reference: Rozenberg Quarterly

    If you have any questions or would like more information, please see our About page or contact us:
  • Like us on Facebook

  • Follow us on Twitter

  • Archives