Saturday night I couldn’t find a good movie on DirecTV so I flipped over to one of the alt-right stations carrying Donald Trump’s rally in Michigan and actually managed to sit through 40 minutes or so of his speech. The media reported that people started walking out after 30 minutes, but I somehow held out.
If this performance is what we can expect from Trump if he finally announces a 2024 run, then all I can say is that he will do to the GOP what Barry Goldwater did to it in 1964, namely, removing the word ‘conservative’ out of the political lexicon for at least 12 years.
He started off with his usual rant about election ‘fraud’ even though Joe Biden is now almost going into the third year of his term. Hasn’t anyone told Trump that this whole fraud nonsense is just dead in the water with nobody other than Rudy Giuliani talking about it or caring about it any more? (Rudy is tomorrow's story.)
Trump then moved onto an abortion rant and claimed that the Democrats not only wanted to kill the unborn, but would also kill them after they were born. I didn’t understand what he meant by that comment, but hasn’t he bothered to read the polls? A majority of GOP female voters happen to be pro-choice these days. What is Trump thinking about? (Hint: He stopped thinking a long time ago.)
What struck me most of all about Trump’s performance, if that’s what you want to call it, was the extreme anger, a continuous expression of hate which he voiced again and again against the ‘enemy,’ which was both the Democratic Party as well as the RINOs in the GOP.
I hate to say it, but the cadence, the shrillness and the sheer ugliness of the language really did remind me of films I have seen of Hitler addressing his adoring crowds. Hitler never stopped reminding his audiences in the most uncompromising and angry tones that Germany had a vicious and hateful enemy — the Jews. Trump must have repeated again and again a similarly abusive and threatening tirade about the ‘enemies’ of the people - media, liberals, Democrats, Socialists, Communists, RINOS — all conspiring to destroy the things that good, decent people had built and deserved.
It would be easy for me to join in what has become a near-obsession with many liberal pundits and influencers to believe that we are on the cusp of a Fascist takeover led by Donald Trump. Such an argument may make for a few clicks or some book sales, but it’s simply not true unless, of course, you want to promote an analysis of Fascism which has absolutely no basis either in history or truth.
Here’s what one of the foremost academic experts (Jason Stanley, Professor of Philosophy at Yale) says: “Fascist politics includes many distinct strategies: the mythic past, propaganda, anti-intellectualism, unreality, hierarchy, victimhood, law and order, sexual anxiety, appeals to the heartland, and a dismantling of public welfare and unity (How Fascism Works, pp. xxviii — xxxxix.) I heard appeals to all of these elements in Trump’s speech.
And if there’s the slightest doubt about the veracity and intellectual prowess of Stanley’s approach, his work is described by Jelani Cobb as “an essential guidebook to our current national dilemma of democracy vs. authoritarianism.” Cobb happens now to be the Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, by the way, which allows him to give the official stamp of approval to whatever academic liberals believe should be the official order of the day.
But what spielers like Stanley and Cobb either ignore or perhaps don’t even know is the fact (note the word ‘fact’) that in every country where Fascism flourished in the 1930’s — Germany, Italy, Spain, et, al., — these movements only became replacements of democratic governments because they took power through armed force.
Read, for example, William Shirer’s Berlin Diary, where he recounts daily life in Germany from 1933 to 1940, describing with chilling clarity the daily and nightly assaults committed first by the SA and then by the SS. These episodes weren’t several thousand putzes who climbed up the Capitol steps on January 6th waving their MAGA and Confederate flags.
The SA enrolled over 200,000 street fighters, they wore uniforms and were issued real guns. They relentlessly patrolled the streets of every German city assaulting organized Left-wing groups or individuals who didn’t bow and scrape as they marched by.
Mussolini seized power in October, 1922 by marching on Rome with more than 30,000 armed troops. He then silenced all political opposition by threatening that his ‘black shirts’ would show up on the doorstep of anyone who criticized his regime.
Franco overthrew the Republican government in Spain by bringing an entire army over from North Africa, flown across the channel by Nazi planes. He then conducted a three-year military offensive against the government which resulted in more than 200,000 casualties, including civilians who were killed at Guernica and other locations by German bombs dropped from German planes.
Even when Trump was President and therefore the military’s Commander in Chief, he couldn’t get anyone in the Pentagon to endorse the idea that the military should be called out to respond to the demonstrations surrounding the death of George Floyd.
Want to know what’s going to happen if Trump runs again in 2024? He’ll lose the popular vote by a bigger margin than he lost it in 2020 or 2016. Of course, he’ll claim that the election was stolen from him again, but everyone will know he’s using that nonsense to make some bucks off his name and give Rudy Giuliani something to do.
I can see Trump standing in front of a crowd at some local airport in 2030 and yelling about how the country is on the verge of collapse. He’ll only be 84 years old.
Warren Buffet is 92 years old and he’s still out there peddling Berkshire-Hathaway stock.