Presently, Number 45 is trapped in a maelstrom of scandal. He has managed to fumble the most basic routines of American governance, from intelligence briefings to filling cabinet vacancies. He has alienated the intelligence community. He has attempted to bully the press into silence, and yet he is also regularly beset by leaks and hidden traitors. He has failed on the cornerstone promises which landed him the job in the first place: a Muslim ban, a border wall, a new healthcare plan. And now, his recklessness and churlish nature have earned him an ever-worsening drama surrounding his firing of the acting FBI Director.

And while Trump fights to stabilize his unruly court the only way he knows how — through threats, obfuscation, bluster, and favoritism — his supporters have been left unattended. In lieu of the masculine and authoritative king they wanted, they have been delivered a petulant, impulsive, septuagenarian carnival barker. In the absence of their “strong man” figurehead, the pugilistic demagogue who once urged them to beat protesters and “monitor” polling places, the American right-wing is turning into a wretched nest of backbiters and opportunists.

While the supporters struggle to reconcile with their dying dream, the court of King Trump is wracked with the early signs of mutiny. As the decadent banquet hall is engulfed by spreading flames, his favored cabinet members merely fawn over his impeccable leadership, while every senator and advisor sits in silence, eyes darting around in search of an escape. If they stay seated, they’re doomed in the long run; make a break for it too soon, and they’ll jeopardize their careers. And while this spectacle can, at times, elicit a laugh from the vox populi, liberationists would be wise to recognize the portents of what could be a truly historic moment.

“And while Trump fights to stabilize his unruly court the only way he knows how – through threats, obfuscation, bluster, and favoritism — his supporters have been left unattended.”

As the Democrats plot to trade their fickle tolerance of leftists for center-right support, the Republicans are planning a counteroffensive. The Trump supporter base is quickly resorting to infighting and factionalism. And hanging overhead is the 2018 election, the sword which could yet amputate the building momentum of grassroots community power, anarchism, liberation, and antifascism, if the establishment can use Trump’s downfall to legitimize itself anew.

Radicals have worked to stir the fires of rebellion, but that fire must be tended cautiously and diligently. A storm is on the horizon.

THE PEASANTS ARE REVOLTING

On May 6th, community members and antifascists in Minnesota organized on the steps of the capitol building to confront a band of white supremacists, called to action by Afrikaner neo-nazi, Simon Roche [1]. Unicorn Riot was on the scene to document the outcome of that rally: while antifascists held the capitol building and strongly outnumbered the goons below, Roche’s fellow Trump supporters chose to disown the far-right outcasts, rather than defend them [2]. The rally organizer for the Trump loyalists went so far as to stand among the antifascists, take up a bullhorn, and publicly denounced the alt-right, saying plainly that “the Trump group totally disavows any, any, any connection with the Nazis, at all.” Inside the capitol, these sentiments were repeated: the speaker correctly categorized the two groups as “the Nazis” and “the anti-Nazis.”

On camera, Roche was forced to acknowledge the absolute failure of his rally.

Elsewhere, obnoxious crustacean Matthew Heimbach attempted to rally support in Pikeville, calling on various factions of white supremacists to gather in the town of roughly 7000 Appalachian folks [3]. However, the gun-toting fascists did not attract the white, working class support Heimbach had hoped for. Instead, the assembled onlookers had only condemnation for the neo-Nazis, emphatically decrying the presence of these loathsome intruders. One member of the crowd, a veteran, worried that the fascists would make Pikeville look like a “hate town.” Another was infuriated when Heimbach couldn’t properly pronounce the name of the mountain range itself. The most often-quoted attendee, a woman who has remained nameless to protect herself from fascist retribution, offered this sobering warning for the far-right:

“These Nazis said they put a call out to white families. I’m a white mother in Appalachia and I’m here to say Nazis are not welcome in Appalachia. These people say they’re for family. … They’re not for family, they’re for hate and fear. They want to hear from family? I am a mother. And I’m telling them go home. … Your mothers are probably ashamed of you. If you were actually for family, then I would not be giving interviews under an assumed name or afraid to show my face on camera. … There is a history of resistance to Nazi propaganda and Nazis in Appalachia, and I’m glad to say that people in Appalachia are standing up for themselves.” [4]

In Charlottesville, Richard Spencer, sensing an opportunity to retain his relevance, organized a torchlight vigil around the statue of Robert E. Lee, which is slated for removal. He was broadly denounced by the public, but more tellingly, by GOP representatives, for his soulless homage to the most gruesome methods by which white supremacist was upheld in this country.

“With the honeymoon long behind them, Trump voters and conservatives in general are now experiencing firsthand the consequences of electing a feckless casino conman to the presidency.”

These instances illustrate a broader trend taking hold among rightists. With the honeymoon long behind them, Trump voters and conservatives in general are now experiencing firsthand the consequences of electing a feckless casino conman to the presidency. While they may have identified with the Alt-Right based on shared values and goals, the average rightist doesn’t want to be publicly classified as a neo-Nazi. The various elements of Trump’s voter base, once unified by the frothing, guttural excitement of potentially winning an election of their own, are now recognizing the intrinsic differences in their ideologies: a modern conservative is likely to oppose Syrian refugees based on preconceived racist anxieties, but would stop short of unambiguously advocating for the genocide of black folk.

A Quinnipiac poll found that among Trump’s staunchest supporters, namely conservative white men, enthusiasm is beginning to wane [5]. More of the general population has voiced approval for his impeachment than opposition to it [6]. His first-year low in popularity has arrived with historic quickness and vocality [7]. Altogether, both liberals and conservatives are beginning to agree that Number 45 is fundamentally incapable of ‘doing his job.’

But there should be little celebration for the fact that Trump’s subjects are no longer in a state of euphoria over his coronation. This is not a rejection of the principles which got Trump elected in the first place; rather, both sides of his loyalist bloc are disappointed with his lack of results. On the one hand, center-right conservatives hoped for a modern equivalent of Ronald Reagan, a charismatic star who would make America into an economic powerhouse of continual growth and military greatness — a dream never to be realized. On the other hand, the Alt-Right and their squirming hive of neo-reactionaries are crestfallen now that Trump will clearly not be the Fuhrer they were promised. They do not regret voting for Trump, despite the anecdotes of buyer’s remorse among his followers still being circulated online; 97% would make the same choice, if the election were held today [8].

As his popular support begins to weaken, Trump’s own party elites are already sharpening their talons in anticipation of his downfall. When this ship eventually sinks, the Republicans will be scrambling just as vigorously as the Democrats to capitalize on the newly-formed ocean of disillusioned moderates.

PALACE INTRIGUE AND DAGGERS DRAWN

As his entanglement with the Russia investigation saps his momentum, Trump has become a president in stasis. As with past controversies, he has attempted to simply charge ahead and outrun the inquiring press and media. But this time, it appears Trump is caught in too thick a bramble patch to simply struggle free; he will be mired in the Comey affair for weeks, or months.

In the meantime, while his honor guard works to insulate him and deflect criticism, the GOP at large has stepped away from their bombastic leader, and now they conspiratorially murmur amongst themselves. Having suffered the embarrassment of failing to pass the AHCA the first time around, despite a monopoly on political authority in Washington, the GOP then pushed through the disastrous and hugely unpopular “updated” version. Questions remain about who, specifically, will be blamed for the outcome, but it is reasonable to imagine that if anybody loses their head over the healthcare debacle, it will be vulnerable Republican representatives, not Trump [9].

“This minimization serves to distance the GOP from their president, as though they are merely impartial observers, rather than the engine which drove his election in the first place.”

Trump’s extensive corruption regarding the Russian investigation has drastically raised the stakes for the anxious GOP rank and file. Multiple Republican representatives have called for a special prosecutor, no longer willing to feign trust in the man they worked to elect just months before now. But many are still playing things close to the vest, neither directly condemning Trump, nor throwing their support behind him, and instead claiming to be withholding judgment until the investigation is complete [10]. Paul Ryan, responding to a question regarding Trump’s ambiguous references to “taping” private White House conversations, answered with blinding non-committal: “I’ve decided not to comment on the tweets of the day, or the hour…” This minimization serves to distance the GOP from their president, as though they are merely impartial observers, rather than the engine which drove his election in the first place.

And now, faced with the undeniable brashness and infantile disposition of His Majesty, some Republican senators are slowly renouncing their fealty. Stronger figures like Graham and McCain have spoken openly about their distrust of Trump, while lesser partisans are quietly unnerved by the constant stream of upheavals and crises they’ve endured under the Trump administration [11]. ““Can we have a crisis-free day?” pleaded Senator Susan Collins of Maine. “That’s all I’m asking.”

Underneath this turmoil, while senators and representatives try to wordlessly determine alliances among themselves, the gravest threats to the GOP are manifesting in hushed voices. Some are beginning to call for impeachment to save the legacy of their party [12]. Others are making half-jokes about “President Pence” [13]. Said an unnamed House Republican, “If what the [New York Times] reported is true, Pence is probably rehearsing.”

Even the consiglieres Trump one relied upon – Kushner, Spicer, Preibus – are no longer safe from his wrath [14]. In a fury, Trump has already lashed out at these former untouchables, accusing them all of incompetence, and threatening a major staffing shake-up in the near future. Steve Bannon, the man who is chiefly responsible for melding the Trump Campaign with the Alt-Right, has been pushed to the side and drained of his influence [15]. This is a White House wherein every politician, from top to bottom, is driven by the fear of losing favor or status. This is a party infected by paranoia, mistrust, and bad intentions.

“Some are beginning to call for impeachment to save the legacy of their party. Others are making half-jokes about “President Pence.” Said an unnamed House Republican, “If what the [New York Times] reported is true, Pence is probably rehearsing.”’

The deterioration of Trump’s authority signals the end of an extremely brief “Golden Age.” It didn’t take long for the Trump presidency to lose its shine, and as a result, the entire state apparatus is at stake. Even with the trifecta of a GOP-controlled government, the Republicans cannot make a functioning government out of a washed-up television celebrity with an addiction to self-aggrandizement and scandal. Their party is now sweating over the midterm elections, and their behavior in the next year will be based solely off of that apprehension. If they sense a prevailing wind finally tilting popular favor – whether for or against Trump – they will rush to join the majority opinion.

And this means that come 2018, the Republicans will be competing for the same demographic as the Democrats: embittered and distraught moderates and independents. The two parties will be on a collision course in the center of the spectrum, and the victor will add a hefty bloc of voters to their side, possibly influencing the balance of political dominance in the country for years to come. We, of course, will suffer no matter who wins.

CULTURAL AMNESIA AND “RADICAL CENTRISM”

As the Republican Party loses faith in its principles, and the Democrats sell theirs in exchange for a redemption from the Clinton campaign, the People are choosing sides. Liberationists have already made their decision: “No More Presidents” is not a slogan, but a demand.

“Even with the trifecta of a GOP-controlled government, the Republicans cannot make a functioning government out of a washed-up television celebrity with an addiction to self-aggrandizement and scandal.”

But the great majority of the country is still searching for an answer, and that presents the capitalist parties with an opportunity. It cannot be said with certainty whether Trump will be impeached, or whether he will even be president in a year, but the fact that the question is being raised with any sincerity in the first place is an omen of our current predicament. The entire political landscape is up for grabs, and both dominant parties know that Trump’s ultimate fate will be the starting gun for their mad dash towards the center.

This presents leftist radicals with two major threats for the immediate future, neither of which should be discounted.

The first is the rapidly-approaching threat of cultural amnesia. The Trump supporters in Minnesota denounced the Alt-Right mob as a separate, unrelated entity, and rejected any connection to their cause. But whether or not the Trump loyalists of America consider themselves to be in the same category as white nationalists proper, they shared practically identical motivations during the campaign season. Trump promised to bring “law and order” to America, and end the “anti-police” atmosphere, a barely-veiled reference to the Black Lives Matter movement [16]. A scant 11% of Trump voters believe it’s harder to be black than white in America [17]. Just 6% of Trump voters supported the BLM movement, and only 5% considered themselves feminists [18]. His voter base was motivated by racial anxiety, fear of cultural diversity, opposition to black liberation and Muslim inclusivity, prejudice against transgender folk, and misogynist worldviews [19].

In other words, the only factor which differentiates the two types of Trump voters is their familiarity with 8chan. Every other facet of their ideology, from reactionary cultural preferences, to racial prejudice, to nationalism, is a duplicate.

The two parties will be on a collision course in the center of the spectrum, and the victor will add a hefty bloc of voters to their side, possibly influencing the balance of political dominance in the country for years to come. We, of course, will suffer no matter who wins.

Similarly, Republican representatives are already falling over themselves trying to wipe their fingerprints from the Trump administration. These are the same politicians who endorsed Trump even after watching a video wherein the president-hopeful admitted to sexual predation. They endorsed him after hearing his outrageous fabrication about Muslims celebrating in the streets during the 9/11 attacks. When it was politically convenient, they ignored the obvious signs that Trump was fundamentally divorced from reality, pushed for the Wall and the ICE budget increase, called for war against Syria and the DPRK, and promised to gut every department related to social welfare. They are as guilty of nationalism, exclusion, and racism as every Alt-Right celebrity.

Neither they, nor the conservative voters who followed their lead, can suddenly wash their hands of that guilt. But they are banking on the current onslaught of confusion and controversy to gradually wipe their collaboration from the memory of American voters. Every time they can look rational compared to Trump, the GOP regains a smidgen of legitimacy, and in turn, the center-right can imagine they are somehow different from the far-Right nationalists whose message Steve Bannon dragged through the White House door.

“Both parties now share identical goals: they will need to repudiate their respective “fringe” elements and incrementally shed their ideological principles as they haggle over the loyalty moderate voters.”

The second threat, stated earlier, is the impending rush by both capitalist parties to scoop up as many independent centrist votes as possible for 2018 and 2020. Both parties now share identical goals: they will need to repudiate their respective “fringe” elements and incrementally shed their ideological principles as they haggle over the loyalty moderate voters. Democrats will slacken their defense of reproductive rights and same sex marriage. Republicans will soften their language around healthcare [20] and hint at compromise regarding immigration [21]. This bartering could continue almost indefinitely, until one side gains the upper hand. Neoliberalism will be entrenched even more deeply than before.

The Democrats, of course, have a head start. They aren’t hobbled by being directly connected with the president, as Republicans are. They even have a new term for this petty and inconstant approach to politics: “Radical Centrism.” [22]

GIVE NO QUARTER

Even if Trump’s reign comes to an abrupt end, we will have no reason to breathe any easier. No politician, Democrat or Republican, be allowed to forget or disguise their complicity in Trump’s election and our continued suffering. Nor should their voters be allowed to pretend they were absent every day of 2016, except for November 8th.

As 2018 approaches, the saplings of the left have the opportunity to demonstrate in any number of ways how corrupt, immoral, unprincipled, and untrustworthy every extant partisan truly is. People should be reminded that while a growing majority favors a single-payer healthcare system, neither capitalist party is willing to oblige [23]. They should be reminded that neither party attempted to genuinely halt the rampant surveillance of citizens, the cruelty of privatized prisons, the disgrace of preventable illness and hunger, or the continued violence of the police [24]. While Trump promised to repulse Syrian refugees from America’s shores, Clinton proposed a wartime strategy guaranteed to result in more Syrian deaths and displacements. Both parties benefit from a lobbying system which allows them to quietly take money from every industry they promise to regulate, restructure, and reform.

All the while, it is the 99% of the citizenry who will bear the brunt of this “radical centrist” depravity. As the elites feed off of deregulation and political bribery, the working class and poor in America is brutalized on a daily basis. The tax cuts for the wealthy elite and corporate entities will be replaced by our starvation. Our wages have stagnated, while our “productivity” has been increased by stripping us of basic labor protections like the right to overtime pay, sick leave, safety requirements, and the strangulation of any remaining union power [25].

“The materialization of a centrist bulwark would be catastrophic.”

We, as a society, have nothing to gain from either party of capitalists. As the right loses steam and divides into factions, revolutionaries have a chance to surge forward and thoroughly challenge the mainstream narrative of lesser-evilism. And while this author would never hand “homework” to anyone already struggling in their own way, any individual or group with a mind to upend traditional partisan dynamics in this nation clearly has an opening in the coming year.

The materialization of a centrist bulwark would be catastrophic. No amount of downplaying or sudden discovery of a conscience should excuse the remaining support for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or their minor rivals. We have languished under this useless duality long enough.

No politician is un-bought. No party can contain our long list of demands. We can solve our own problems best.

SOURCES

[1] https://twincitiesgdc.org/2017/05/07/local-neo-nazis-flee-minnesota-state-capitol-after-being-shut-out-by-union-members-and-anti-fascists/
[2] http://www.unicornriot.ninja/?p=15284
[3] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/30/neo-nazis-anti-fascist-protesters-kentucky-pikeville
[4] http://www.workers.org/2017/05/11/appalachia-says-no-to-nazis/
[5] http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/325245-poll-trump-support-slipping-among-republicans-white-voters-men
[6] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-impeachment-poll-latest-majority-americans-remove-president-a7738891.html
[7] http://www.gallup.com/poll/207518/trump-approval-rating-unusually-low-unusually-early.aspx
[8] http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/04/23/only_two_percent_of_americans_who_voted_for_trump_regret_it.html
[9] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/trump-ryan-health-care-bill-house-vote-fail-obamacare/520800/
[10] http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/17/trump-comey-testify-congress-reaction-238496
[11] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/14/us/politics/trump-republican-senators.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1
[12] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2017/live-updates/trump-white-house/trump-comey-and-russia-how-key-washington-players-are-reacting/gop-rep-amash-says-there-could-be-grounds-for-trumps-impeachment/?utm_term=.62caf3413a9e
[13] http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/17/mike-pence-president-trump-238525
[14] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/us/white-house-staff.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1
[15] http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/05/west-wing-trump-bannon
[16] http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/01/20/donald_trump_puts_black_lives_matter_on_notice.html
[17] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/18/sharp-differences-over-who-is-hurt-helped-by-their-race/
[18] http://www.people-press.org/2016/11/10/a-divided-and-pessimistic-electorate/
[19] https://www.thenation.com/article/fear-of-diversity-made-people-more-likely-to-vote-trump/
[20] http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/02/the_gop_s_new_obamacare_buzzword_repair.html
[21] http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/28/politics/donald-trump-republicans-immigration-curveball/
[22] http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/national-party-news/333625-why-the-radical-center-must-be-the-future-of-the
[23] http://www.gallup.com/poll/191504/majority-support-idea-fed-funded-healthcare-system.aspx
[24] http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/291881-trump-clinton-battle-over-police-support
[25] http://www.epi.org/publication/attack-on-american-labor-standards/


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