Donald Trump And the American Fascists
It would be a grave mistake and negligent oversight on the part of the left to ignore and dismiss the Donald Trump campaign for president and his rowdy racist supporters who flock to his rallies nationwide as insignificant circus of fake and rigged bourgeois elections. He and his “movement” is real, is here and is now, and deserves an accurate understanding by the left, which is and has been historically, logically and by necessity, the only serious challenge and antidote to fascism, which is a constant presence in capitalist societies, due to the very nature and contradictions of capitalism.
I will say at the outset that contrary to what you may hear from MSNBC pundits like Rachel Maddow, the liberals and the Democratic Party are just as culpable for the current pseudo-fascist conditions as are conservatives and the Republican Party. Decades of aggressive neoliberal policies by both corporate parties have created a winner-takes-all casino type cutthroat economy that keeps pushing the working class into poverty and desperation. Feeling disempowered, disenfranchised and abandoned by the system, many white blue collar workers, especially in the South and rural areas, have been a ticking time bomb, waiting for a racist, anti-immigrant, misogynist and authoritarian nationalist to appear and empower them and enable them to take their long awaited revenge on the minorities, immigrants, Muslims and other “outsiders” who, in their minds, threaten their world, their way of life and their identity and are responsible for their stagnation and frustration.
However, the claim by some on the left that the ruling class or the state is gearing up for or moving towards fascism is not accurate; although, they can’t always control things and a racist opportunist like Trump could awaken and incite fascists into violence against minorities on a large scale. Already, there have been several incidents of violence against African Americans by white supremacists during his campaign rallies. He not only doesn’t try to discourage it, but actually eggs them on. At one point, he told his supporters, during one of his rallies, about a protester: “don’t hurt him”, but “if you do, I’ll defend you. Don’t worry about it.” This is not what the ruling class needs, right now. They’d rather not bring out their tanks into the streets, which carry with it significant political risks for them. They will, of course, not hesitate to do that when and if they feel they have to, to protect their interests, but they’d much rather not. The capitalist class wants the maximum possible profits with the minimum risk, cost and turmoil.
During the latest Republican presidential debate, Fox News moderators asked the candidates if they would pledge to support the Republican nominee, no matter who it ends up to be. Loyalty to the Republican Party may be the biggest issue for Fox News producers and moderators, but, it’s the last thing on the minds of the ruling capitalist class or even the Party leadership, which is more in tune with the needs and demands of the class than are Fox News moderators. In fact, about 30 leading Republicans have openly disavowed Donald Trump and some even Ted Cruz. There is talk of having a new Republican candidate enter the race. Some have even hinted at supporting Hillary Clinton, should Trump win the nomination. This is despite the fact that Trump is invigorating and energizing the Republican base and bringing new supporters and followers into his campaign, increasing Republicans’ chance of beating the Democrats in November. Voter turnout among Republicans has increased across the nation (with the exception of Vermont) significantly, thanks in large part to Trump and his racist followers.
There are also reports that the Party establishment is looking for ways to deny Trump the nomination, even if he wins the largest number of delegates. This is not unprecedented. During the Democratic National Convention in 1968, in Chicago, Eugene McCarthy had the largest number of delegates from primaries, but the Democratic Party leadership chose Lyndon Johnson’s pro-war Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, against the will of their own base who had voted overwhelmingly for anti Vietnam war McCarthy, after another anti-war candidate, Robert Kennedy, was assassinated. A revolt broke out at the Convention and the police came in, in military gear, and beat and hauled many delegates to prison. People wanted the war ended, but the ruling class and therefore party establishment weren’t done with the war yet, which goes to show the relationship between the ruling class and the two major parties. It also shows that class interests always trump democracy (pun not intended).
This time, it’s happening on the Republicans’ side. The base is voting for a pseudo-fascist, which is causing nervousness at the top. The reason for their trepidation, however, isn’t just Republicans’ concern that Trump and his open and unabashed bigotry could ruin their party’s reputation and future electability. That is a worry for the Party, but not necessarily for the ruling class, which the Party is ultimately answerable to and competes with Democrats for the chance and privilege to represent. The ruling class couldn’t care less which political party its representatives and servants come from. They could even be from a party that calls itself “socialist”, as is the case in many European countries where capitalists have perfected the art of mass deception. The reason the ruling class is getting worried at the prospect of a Trump presidency is what his presidency could do to their profits – it’s always about profits – not because he wouldn’t be their ally or wouldn’t want to serve their class, but because of what he represents, who he may activate politically and what his “movement” may spawn. Fascism is never off the table for capitalist rulers, but it’s not their first choice. In fact, it’s their last resort. Having said that, they can’t always control someone like Trump who provides an outlet for the misplaced, but understandable anger of the racist and nationalistic blue collar workers, who blame immigrants and minorities for their misfortune. Their economic stagnation adds fuel to their bigotry and sense of diminishing power and relevance and increasing alienation. They see in Trump, with his crude, racist and don’t care attitude, the strongman who would empower them and give them a sense of pride and glory at the expense of “others”. The white supremacists are getting emboldened and coming out of the woodwork to attack minorities. We’re headed for more violence.