Let’s just say it: Donald John Trump is a threat to democracy and to the Republic. You know in your heart that he is. The man has no respect for the rule of law, no respect for the will of the people, and no regard for the consequences of his actions. All he knows and cares about is how his decisions and the decisions of others affect him. This is typical of fascists throughout history, and a fascist is exactly what we should all call Trump.
Still, the truth that Trump is an aspiring tyrant should not be used as an excuse utilized by the Democratic Party to circumvent the needs of the people on their journey to reclaiming the reins of power. While the Party tries to convince the Democratic primary voters to “vote blue no matter who” they are conveniently dancing around the root causes of why we find ourselves on the cusp of authoritarian rule. Why is that? Because confronting what brought us here requires that the Party set their ire on the wealthy few who’ve financed the destruction of our democracy whilst also lining the pockets of just about as many Democrats as they have Republicans.
The great lie of the 2006 Midterm wave election wherein Democrats swept Republicans out of both houses of Congress was that it was billed as a rejection of the “Culture of Corruption”. Yes, many corrupt Republicans were ousted by the voters, but the wave left intact the equally democratically-corrosive oligarch servants in the Democratic Caucus. This was because the Democrats managed to frame the campaign as an indictment of Bush’s policy failures (primarily the war in Iraq) as well as capitalize on the headlines about scandals from various sex scandals to statewide stories of corruption like the Jack Abramoff scandal which brought down a slew of Republicans in my home state of Ohio.
What the Democrats went out of their way to avoid talking about was the revolving door between corporate America and most members of both parties. Instead, they offered empty promises of holding Bush accountable and even hinted at bringing an end to the war/occupation. Long story short, the Party did neither when they actually regained control. Almost immediately after it became clear that Pelosi would take the gavel she shot down any hopes of impeaching Bush for any of his crimes – chief among which was the illegal war he led us into – and we soon saw the party hedge on any efforts to end the occupation, as they voted each time to continue supporting the funding thereof. So, in light of the fact that they practically refused to do what they promised to do, it is no surprise that they made hardly any serious effort to truly deal with the source of our actual “culture of corruption”.
Money in politics did not magically become an issue with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. The very wealthy have been employing elected and appointed government officials to do their bidding for decades, centuries even. In fact, it is one of the reasons why Karl Marx regarded governments as little more than protectors of the few, the so-called “bourgeoisie”. In the opinion of Marx, the only way to rectify the class war was by giving power to the working class; thereby establishing a democratic regime, what he called the “dictatorship of the proletariat”.
Is it controversial to revisit what Marx said about society and the blueprint he offered for achieving justice for all? It is only controversial if you have allowed yourself to be blinded by the long-standing anti-”leftist” propaganda financed by the ruling class. What Marx opposed was a system which exploited the working class – which he refers to as the “proletariat” – and which masqueraded as a democracy while it actually acted like an oligarchy with a false choice between two or more versions of authoritarian alternatives. It may anger many to read this, but we’ve all been living in a lie that we have any allies amongst the dueling armies of the elites. Marx saw right through the veil of tyranny and was aiming to tear it down so that we all could see the truth and come together to upend the system.
Throughout our history and human history as a whole, change has not come from the charitable spirit of our leaders, but rather it has been compelled in response to the collective’s organized mass movements. The lesson here is that the ruling class can NEVER be trusted to do what’s right. We – the people – must ALWAYS be prepared to push for action. This is because democracy, true democracy, requires relentless and constant feedback from the people which starts with the ballot box and continues through with demonstrations, public speaking, labor strikes, and regular constituent communication. If we care about saving democracy and stopping fascism then we must look beyond Trump, we have to organize to lift up the working class and empower them like never before.
So, yes, defeating Trump is absolutely essential to saving the Republic and even saving democracy overall. Yet, if we only focus on defeating Trump in 2020 then we are intentionally ignoring the societal cancer which caused his elective boil to rise to the surface. Trump won because our system is dying and while we may possibly defeat Trump by voting “blue no matter who”, the neglect of our collective welfare will only pave the way for further erosion and someone worse down the line. That is why this primary for the Democratic Presidential nomination is so crucial.
As participants of this broken already-weak-by-design democracy we have to carefully assess the limited choices before us. Democratic Primary voters ought to review all the policy proposals of the candidates paraded for our consideration and weigh not only who can defeat Donald Trump, but who can defeat Trumpism – that is, the policies he espouses and the cultural conditions which gave rise to such – once and for all. If you can not say with confidence that your candidate can accomplish both, then you must (for the greater good of all) rethink your choice. Trump could be defeated – in theory – by most of the candidates running, mostly because of his irredeemable character (still a mistake to underestimate him though), but ending the threat of fascism requires more than toppling a single buffoon.
We must mortally wound the fascist threat with an earth-shattering awakening of the people. Who, but Senator Bernie Sanders, has consistently – for DECADES – called for a people’s movement…a “revolution”? Who else repeatedly reminds the people that we can not count on even his election alone to get things done? Likewise, he does not hesitate to condemn the aforementioned culture of corruption which afflicts both major parties and which even infects our media. Bernie effectively reminds the people that we must never blindly trust any politician – himself included – to champion the causes of the working class. Bernie is the only one who clearly promotes democracy and whose goal goes beyond defeating Trump, but Trumpism as well.
I predicted in 2015 – and I am saddened to say I was right – that the only way to stop Donald Trump’s fascism (false populism) was with a genuine populist like Bernie Sanders. As of this moment I am convinced that this remains true in 2020, not because Bernie is some perfect saint, but because he has demonstrated throughout his life’s work that he gets it; there is a class war, the working class has been losing, democracy has been failing as a result, and the only way to save democracy is by handing the reins of power back to us all. Anything short of this will gamble the fate of the 2020 election as well as the future both of this nation and the world. So, are you willing to roll the dice, or is it time to flip the damn table?