According to Donald Trump, as I understand it, Bernie Sanders is responsible for any violence that has or will occur at Trump rallies. Case closed? Bernie is a “Communist”; and his followers are “leftists” who “want to destroy this country!” Case closed?
If Sanders folk “don’t get it,” be forewarned: Trump is framing him and you!
To silver-hairs within the Trump legion who wear permanent frowns of repressed anger stoked by neo-conservative and “anti-government” propagandists on radio, cable news and the Internet, Bernie Sanders’ “socialism” – which arguably isn’t socialism – is now conflated with Communism – that “great evil empire” whose phantom Mr. Trump has resurrected to revive long-buried hates and fears within his aging McCarthyite and Cold War warriors.
To younger Trumpists, the words communism and socialism might seem empty of meaning, hence empty of potency. But does it matter? What matters is “USA! USA! USA!” – meaning “we’re Americans, you’re not!” In the late sixties, they would shout, “love it or leave it”. There were always “true Americans”, usually right-wingers, versus the rest.
The Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union actually was a war between socialist and capitalist economic systems, and capitalism won. Cold War II today isn’t a war between systems because all three nations – U.S., Russia and China – adopt a variant of capitalism. It is a war for supremacy within global capitalism.
And it is global capitalism and its dislocating effects that have caused much of the discontent, anger and rage that now is exploited by Mr. Trump. It is important for both political parties to obscure this basis since both parties champion globalization but have failed to foresee its effects. I might add that both parties promote all current U.S. wars on behalf of economic goals; from the conquest of other nations’ resources; to control of global oil, gas and pipelines; or in maintaining the supremacy of the U.S. dollar as world reserve currency, American wars today are fought for capital domination.
In a Cass Sustein and Samantha Power (his wife) world of cognitive infiltration, war is “R2P” and “humanitarian intervention”, as most liberals and progressives now agree. As a consequence, debating “war” is taboo today.
Yet, the Pentagon will absorb more and more of Federal discretionary spending which many will unquestionably support as it depletes the very safety nets they depend upon. Many will support and go to war for USA! USA! USA! too. But how many would go to war just to enrich the defense industry, or to make the world safe for Goldman Sachs, Exxon-Mobile and Google? Mum is the word.
For the uneducated, uneducable or intellectually lazy, scapegoats are easier to blame than Wall Street or rich donors whose hands reach deeply into the pockets of the candidates. Immigrants are easier to blame than American mega-corporations that have outsourced American jobs since the 1980s. Socialists seeking a fair distribution of wealth are easier to blame than billionaires like Mr. Trump who represents and protects billionaires like himself and whose dynasties are underwritten and leveraged by Wall Street money. It is easier to obscure it all by speciously deflecting blame on scapegoats to gain the loyalty of victims before they grow smarter and turn against you.
Divert blame to powerless immigrants, ethnics or to so-called “socialists” like Sen. Sanders whose economic analysis and platform undermines the status quo financial power structure and who speaks most directly to the plight of the dispossessed and marginalized. Some people struggling with meager wages will vote against their own self-interest and support Mr. Trump – a candidate who has promised to lower their already low wages. In return they get to shout USA! USA! USA!
Our economic system has reached its contradictions and stretched the limits of profitability at the expense of the common good. It needs to usurp the economies of other countries to grow more profitable. It created the greatest gulf between rich and poor in recent history yet satiated. Like war, capitalism – the system itself – is never debated, only promoted.
Insofar as anti-Trump protestors at rallies, “just throw them out”, commanded Mr. Trump. “The left is against freedom of speech and assembly,” they are taking away his First Amendment rights. “Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!”
It was no surprise that three who top the national charts for spewing the most memorable vulgar and inflammatory rhetoric rushed to publicly support Mr. Trump: Sarah Palin, Gov. Christie and Gov. LePage.
Following scuffles at a Trump rally in Chicago on March 11, and hours after a man attempted to charge his stage in Ohio, a Twitter account “Lion’s Guard” announced the formation of a volunteer group to protect Trump supporters from “violent Far-Left agitators.” Will they become a “Protective Squadron” or Schutzstaffel?
Contrary to what some Trumpists allege, Hitler wasn’t a socialist because his movement was named “National Socialist German Workers Party”. “Socialist” is a term conservatives and the Right now disambiguously use to conflate Sen. Sanders’ democratic socialism with autocratic Nazism to confuse the uneducated.
Furthermore, the KKK isn’t “a leftist terrorism organization” that conservative CNN analyst Jeffrey Lord peddled in defending Donald Trump’s refusal to disavow the endorsement of far-right extremists.
Hitler was a fascist and fascism arises from the Right, not the Left, as every educated conservative and Rightist knows. But it is purposely inverted to build a platform of attack along with “liberal” and “leftist” vilifications to resurrect Cold War McCarthyism, red-baiting and domestic persecutions.
After years of tolerating right-wing propagandists spinning half truths, bogus history, conspiracy theories and plain hate, anger and racism, America now faces Mr. Trump who is nothing more or less than an extension of these extreme forces.
He is an outgrowth of a cancer that metastasized within the GOP over decades. It is more than a party that cripples government, shuts it down, and attracts the most regressive members of society. It is more than a “No” party. It is Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Lee Atwater, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Sarah Palin, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Rush Limbaud, Rupert Murdoch, Fox News and a staunch conservative-evangelical base whose war against progress has now been bested by Mr. Trump. The GOP and right-wing incubated him!
If the election in November is between Hillary Clinton and Mr. Trump, there will be no peace after victory. If Mrs. Clinton is victorious, conservatives and the right-wing will war against her stronger and more viciously than they did with President Obama.
If Mr. Trump wins, the very fabric of this country might be ripped apart, if it hadn’t already.
“It can’t happen here” wrote Sinclair Lewis in 1935.
In 2016, Trump could happen here.
Michael T. Bucci is a retired public relations executive now residing in New England. He has authored nine books on practical spirituality collectively titled The Cerithous Material.