Politics Opinion

Celebrating the end of 'Trumpism' after the midterms is a deadly mistake

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Former President Donald Trump's threat is not to be underestimated (Screenshot via YouTube)

The Republican Party's weak U.S. midterm results aren't a reason to drop our guard against the dangers of Trump's faction, writes Davey Heller.

THE FAILURE of the Republican Party to achieve a “red wave” in the U.S. midterms has heralded yet another round of “Trump is finished”  media articles. It's true that a few of the candidates backed by former President Donald Trump did not get over the line and the Republicans “only” won the House and not the Senate. However, we have reached a parlous state of affairs when the failure of fascists to win a landslide is a cause for celebration. 

The central problem with this triumphalism, however, is that it analyses the midterms as if Trump and the Republican Party were just another bourgeois parliamentary party “playing by the rules”. It’s as if the last seven years of watching Trump and his allies building a violent, fascist movement have been erased including the 6 January coup attempt and attack on Congress.

The significance of the midterms is not the failure of the Republicans to win big but that a fascist party of coup plotters is still in a position to compete for power electorally at all. 

The reality is that every day Trump has stayed out of gaol has strengthened his faction's hands and demonstrates the weakness of his opponents and the bourgeois democratic order. Despite the revelations of the 6 January Committee that included Trump was only stopped from personally leading the mob into Congress by his own security detail, there have still been no consequences for Trump other than temporarily losing his Twitter account.

Nor have any of the other coup plotters gone to gaol. Nor have any of the police, military and intelligence figures who knew what was going to occur on 6 January and allowed or even facilitated it to occur. Nor have there been any consequences for the Republicans who voted en masse against certifying the Election result in 2020 or have continued to push the “Big Lie” the Election was stolen.

Instead, Trump and the Republicans have doubled down and become even more openly fascist in their policies and rhetoric. Trump rallies are full of QAnon imagery. Trump makes violent threats against all his “enemies'' from his bully pulpit on his social media platform, Truth Social.

Threats to “end Pelosi” manifest in a deranged MAGA fascist's failed attempt to take Nancy Pelosi hostage by taking a hammer to her husband. Trump’s campaign launch was full of anti-Marxist rhetoric, promised summary executions of drug dealers, included antisemitic references to “globalists” and threatened to send in federal troops in defiance of state governors. Trump also plans to purge the public service if reelected using “Schedule F” regulations to ensure next time there is no internal resistance to his rule.

Even though the section of the U.S. capital that wishes to maintain the trappings of bourgeois democracy is still in the majority, it faces a serious problem. The key issue is that in order to tackle a problem, you must first admit you have one. The political price of admitting that a “fascist problem” exists in the U.S. is too high.

To admit this problem would admit that the two-party system that has maintained stability in the U.S. for over 150 years is finished. To admit the problem would undermine the post-World War justification for U.S. hegemony, that it is the “world's policeman” fighting for democracy against tyranny. To admit the problem would risk alerting the working class to the dangers it faces and risks bringing it into struggle.

So rather than taking the steps necessary to effectively stop the fascist faction, which is either to crush it with the full force of the law for its role in trying to overthrow the Constitution in 2020 or to mobilise the working class against it, we have the political equivalent of “programming will return to its normal scheduling soon”. We have been told in one form or another that Trump is finished ever since he launched his campaign for Presidency in 2015.

The level of delusion that is required is particularly acute from the Democrats and their liberal supporters who have tried to elevate the likes of General Mark Milley, Liz Cheney and Mike Pence as the “true defenders'' of the Republic. After the midterms, we are being asked to believe that Rupert Murdoch and Ron De Santis will save us from Trump.

Trump’s bourgeois opponents appear to be celebrating Trump’s political demise based almost purely on how much the rest of the mainstream media is in furious agreement that Trump is now finished. How many times do they need to learn the lesson that Trump's tens of millions of MAGA supporters not only don't care what the mainstream media's journalists think, they hate them?

However, to admit this the media would have to admit that a large swathe of the population quite correctly sees them as cynical liars who only serve vested interests. This is part of the anger against “fake news” that Trump has been able to harness behind his fascist project.

The insistence on treating Trump as just another bourgeois politician and insisting the Republicans can “return to normal” is, of course, collective political suicide. The Democrats are incapable and unwilling to oppose the fascist threat. It falls to the working class to defend itself.

This is why every time the threat of fascism in the U.S. is downplayed it contributes to the disarming of its only real opponent — a conscious and mobilised working class. 

Davey Heller is a writer and campaigner. You can follow him on Twitter @socialist_davey.

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