The walls are closing in on the former president of the United States and millions of Americans are up in arms about it. For many of them, “up in arms” is more than just a figure of speech. Socialists – and serious workers – should be paying attention.
In New York, Trump is headed for indictment for business and campaign fraud. Contrary to what the Trump supporters claim, his actions in the Stormy Daniels case are nearly identical to those that brought over 100 prosecutions in 2022. Why should Trump be an exception?
- In Georgia, Trump seems to be headed to indictment for his attempts to fix the 2020 election.
- Possibly most serious is the likely federal indictment for obstruction and possibly for having attempted to steal classified papers. That indictment seems almost certain now that a federal judge has ruled that Trump’s attorney Evan Corcoran must testify regarding Trump’s trying to hide the classified documents. Normally, this would be “attorney-client privilege”, but in this case the judge ruled it’s not because the communication involved breaking the law. In other words, the judge has already ruled that Trump most likely broke the law. Nor are these minor charges.
Trump seems to be cracking up. He’s warned of “death and destruction”. He’s said it’s unreasonable to be expected to be peaceful. And on Saturday he held his first campaign rally in Waco, Texas.
Waco was the scene of a federal raid on a religious sect, the Branch Davidians, in which nearly 80 people were killed after a 51 day FBI siege of their compound. That was 30 years ago in April of this year. It is no accident that Trump is headed there for his first campaign rally.
Here is Charles Pace, minister of a nearby church there: “Donald Trump is the anointed of God. He is the battering ram that God is using to bring down the Deep State of Babylon.”
It is not just Pace and similar religious zealots. Waco has become something of a battle cry for the violent extreme right, including US fascists.
According to the NY Times, Timothy McVeigh cited Waco in his excuse for bombing the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. That attack killed 168 people and injured 680 more.
The violent and racist Three Percenters have warned of “no more free Wacos”
Enrico Tarrio of the Proud Boys has warned “Remember Waco? Are your eyes open?”
Trump went to Waco to keep that spirit, and the threats of violence, alive.
He succeeded. His speech was almost entirely the same “grievance” speech that has been his bread and butter and is red meat for the unfocused anger of his supporters. According to the NY Times report, participants came with t-shirts saying things like “Jesus, Freedom & Trump”. One participant commented “No one is safe. They can just throw you in jail and indict you.” Participants were greeted with a song from the “J6 Choir”, which is a prison choir of some of those who are in jail for their part in the January 6 riot. According to the NY Times, this is the most downloaded song on some charts.
Over recent months, Trump has dined with white supremacists, called for the ending of the US Constitution, vowed to make “retribution” at the center of his election campaign, embraced QAnon conspiracy theories, described Putin as a “genius, and called for “death and destruction”. And his followers are just as fanatical as ever. More in fact.
Entire Republican Party
Nor is this Trump alone. His entire party is complicit:
- McCarthy has been silent. His second in command, Elize Stefanik called the investigations of Trump “the epitome of the weaponizing of the federal government.”
- Senator Rand Paul called for Manhattan DA Bragg to “be put in jail”.
- And Matt Gaetz called on Florida governor DeSantis “stop any sort of extradition of President Trump from the state of Florida.”
- DeSantis himself is stirring the pot with his demagogic culture wars campaigns.
- Republicans in congress are trying to intervene in the New York City case by seeking the documents the DA there is using in his investigation of Trump.
- And in Georgia, the Republicans are preparing to pass a new state law that would enable them to remove the Fulton county DA, Fani Willis, from office.
- The mainstream Republicans like Mitt Romney are largely silent, and by remaining in this fascist-connected party they are helping maintain its congressional strength.
This demagoguery and the coverup for Trump will continue. It must continue, if for no other reason than that the Republicans will have to default on their Number One economic promise – to balance the federal budget within ten years without cutting social security, Medicare or the military budget. That is mathematically impossible, so they must distract attention. Overall, of course, they are so committed to bigoted demagoguery that they cannot pull back. Even the “reasonable” Republicans like Mit Romney are silent.
There never has been a former president of the United States who has even come close to being indicted. Nor has there ever been one of the two major political parties that were so linked to fascism – yes, actual fascism! – as is the Republican Party today.
These are absolutely uncharted waters. Nobody can predict what shocks come next. The turn away from Trump by some of his more mild former supporters seems to be making his hard core even more fanatical, and many of them are armed to the teeth. Trump is encouraging violence and he is likely to get it, in some form or another.
The 76 year old Trump has never faced this sort of legal jeopardy before. He is clearly showing the stress. What would happen, for example, if he were to have a heart attack or stroke? His fanatical supporters would be certain that he was murdered and some they would want retribution.
Alternatively, as the election approaches, if it seems he is going to lose, they would tend to lash out in unpredictable ways.
On Friday night, MSNBC’s Ari Melber interviewed presidential historian Michael Beschloss. Beschloss said: “Never before have we had a president or ex president inciting violence, almost explicitly advocating assassination of prosecutors…. which coujld lead to the downfall of law.
“This is no longer presidential history. To understand it, you have to look at the hidtory of violence and terrorism in America. The Confederate vigilantes and the Ku Klux Kland that advocated lynchings, Father Coughlin in the 1930s [went] on the radio and gave rallies and people went out from these rallies and beat up Jewish students on the streets…. Donald Trump… is a lot closer to that history than anything I’ve seen in the history of the presidency.”