There's more going on than most people think - not just collaborators.
Democrats need to understand the REAL Republican plan of why this is happening and have a plan of our own beyond just voting.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Karl Rove Told Us the Plan
Karl Rove brazenly told us in W's admin that there would be a permanent Republican Party in charge. That's not democracy. That's a plot - decades old even then - to overthrow democracy. If we are to restore our democracy and make it work for ALL of us, we can't be complacent.
Koch Brothers’ & Friends’ Plot: Dysfunction IS the Point
The Koch brothers (radical libertarians) and their network of self-serving non-profits and friends have for 40+ years bought government and the courts to work for them, not us. Jane Mayer’s book Dark Money details their anti-government plot to destroy just about all government institutions as part of laissez-faire capitalism — unfettered, no regulations, privatization of most everything. Mayer also explains why even modest attempts to address climate change, for example, have been defeated again and again.
In the article “Misinforming the Majority: A Deliberate Strategy of Right-Wing Libertarians,” Nancy MacLean author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America states,
It was Buchanan who taught Koch that for capitalism to thrive, democracy must be enchained.
“Enchaining” democracy is a euphemism for “overthrow.”
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Democracy means power of the people. When the rich’s power exceeds that of the people, democracy can’t survive. It becomes the illusion of democracy.
The modern plot, however, didn’t start with the Koch brothers. Republicans have been trying to undo the New Deal and the Great Society since the 1930s and the 1960s, respectively. This great article “The Architect of the Radical Right” details how far back we can take this modern plot.
Not only that, but what these radicals want may surprise most people. For example,
What we think of as dysfunction is the result of years of strategic effort.
To see all this as simple obstructionism, perversity for its own sake, is a mistake. A cause lies behind it: upholding the sanctity of an ideology against the sins of the majority. This is what drives House Republicans to scale back social programs.
This architect article mentions a blank slate and Chile. Naomi Klein details this and how Republicans have been using what she calls "The Shock Doctrine" in her book by the same name. Using crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic, Republicans push pro-corporate, unpopular policies, undoing the safety net, while people are shocked, overwhelmed, confused, exhausted, etc. Sound familiar?
Rorty & Trump
In 1998, Richard Rorty wrote a must-read book Achieving Our Country and predicted we'd get a Trump because we'd be spectators to democracy — no vision for ALL and no will to fight for it. He explained how it would happen & he was right.
By fighting for this vision, he envisioned marches and protests similar to that of the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam. Without a critical mass of people making an outcry in this manner, democracy won’t survive. Sufficient numbers of people must be engaged and working toward the betterment of ALL because greedy people wanting everyone else’s share of the pie will always exist. Democracy must be protected.
As for the Republican plan of dysfunction and obstruction, it worked great for them, as Rorty warned in 1998:
[M]embers of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers — themselves desperately afraid of being downsized — are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.
At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for — someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. …
Rorty was right, too, about the possibility that all the gains made by people of color and homosexuals would be wiped out. Also, he said “jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion.”
How could Rorty have predicted this? There are patterns in history and human behavior, including with the decline and fall of democracies, for example. Based on the conditions that bring about the fall, we’ve been headed for authoritarianism for decades before Rorty wrote his prediction. We should be teaching the warning signs and patterns of history to avoid this.
These conditions are why Mitch McConnell and the Republicans blocked Obama at every turn and wanted to slow economic recovery, intentionally hurting Americans. Republicans would have done it to any Democrat. However, of course, they were super motived due to their racist fears and hatred, wanting to maintain white supremacy. Republicans knew if enough people didn't see positive changes, they'd vote for change one way or another. As of March 2020, many counties across the US still hadn't recovered from the 2008 recession.
Obscene Wealth Inequality Destabilizes Democracy
Therefore, Trump is just a symptom of decades of problems, and systemic racism is at the heart of this. Massive inequality destabilizes democracies and so does a propaganda machine, like we see on the right. Democracy can’t survive with either. We are seeing the hidden costs of all of this and paying dearly, especially communities of color.
Check out this video, using a real pumpkin pie how many slices of the 10 the top bracket gets. Take a guess...
What is the perception of wealth inequality?
While getting rid of Trump is just a first step, it won't solve these other problems. Without massive reforms (big structural changes ASAP), we are kicking the can down the road — democracy will die.
How Someone Like Hitler Rises
Have you ever wondered how the German people and media could allow Hitler to rise to power? We are watching it here. We, like Nazi Germany, have extreme white nationalism (“Make America Great Again”), aggrieved population, polarization, concentration camps, genocide (pandemic), mass sterilizations, a state-sponsored propaganda machine (spewing bigotry and an alternate reality), death cult, leader viewed by Christians as the “Chosen One” who is also a malignant narcissist. Both Trump and Hitler are malignant narcissists = sadistic, paranoid, vindictive, aggressive, narcissistic psychopaths. These are all conditions from Nazi Germany.
Trump, who studied Hitler’s speeches, has been using Hitler's playbook since before 2016. This was my response to a psychologist, who obviously hadn't studied authoritarians & Hitler, saying Trump was unique. No, he's not unique. He's part of a pattern in history.
Fascism Is Here
We have one other thing that parallels the rise of Hitler.
These libertarian and many other oligarchs are anti-government, except for themselves. They have massive wealth = power. The rest of us have to fend for ourselves. These oligarchs, heads of big businesses, are tightly married with government. Just look where most of the pandemic bailout money is going.
Coupled with Trump’s nationalism, this is fascism.
While fascism takes different forms in different countries because it is coupled with that country’s nationalistic rhetoric, fascism — according to Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America and other experts — boils down to:
Fascism = Government + Big Business (where government and big business are tightly coupled)
Another way to put this is documented in the book Fascism in Action, which is a study and analysis of fascism in Europe during WWII. It concluded that fascism was a political system that combined extreme nationalism and monopolistic power — a “dictatorship of big business.”
Fascism = extreme nationalism + “dictatorship of big business”
Warning from Supreme Court Bar Judge: Loss of Rights
This Supreme Court Bar judge resigned in protest earlier this year and issued this warning in his resignation letter to Chief Justice John Roberts of what is coming.
Just to put this in context, Trump is catering to the white Christian fundamentalists (evangelicals). I spoke to an expert last year about them. His term: “Christian ISIS.” They want to turn this country and world into a Christian theocracy with THEIR brand of Christianity. Their goal is to take over ALL world institutions and await for the rapture. (I’ve been watching them for about 15+ years with growing alarm.) Check out “Rick Perry’s Army of God.”
Therefore, based on listening to them wanting to take the country back to before the New Deal and earlier, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
It is clear to me that your Court is willfully hurtling back to the cruel days of Lochner and even Plessy. The only constitutional freedoms ultimately recognized may soon be limited to those useful to wealthy, Republican, White, straight, Christian, and armed males— and the corporations they control. This is wrong. Period. This is not America.
We are actually back at the founding of the country in some apparent ways. Folks, because we haven’t stood up for everyone, just about everyone may lose freedom and worse. And because we haven’t come to terms with America’s original sins of genocide and slavery (MORAL FAILURE), this (as a pattern of history) sets us up for MORE genocide. We are well on the way to genocide on a massive scale.
Trump’s REAL Plan Via Steve Bannon
Here’s a great article from authoritarianism expert Sarah Kendzior telling us in November 2016 that we were heading into dark times. She talked about Trump's REAL plan, which is echoed by Steve Bannon.
“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed... “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
Bannon, by the way, is a Christian fundamentalist, just like a whole lot of other zealots at the top of the government. Who’s behind this?
The Mercer/Koch/DeVos billionaire government coup has stuck these raving lunatics everywhere... People keep looking to these operatives to instill order and sanity, but that’s like entrusting the chickens to the foxes.
This Is How a Society Dies & Authoritarians Take Over
Umair Haque has written many great articles, having experienced the horrors, himself, of authoritarianism. As his article ”This is How a Society Dies” says, we are on the brink of collapse. “America and Britain are Textbook Examples of a New, Gruesome Phenomeon: Rich Nations Self-Destructing Into Poor Failed States.”
The U.S. has stagnated for 50 years because the ruling class has been concerned more about money and power than uplifting ALL.
Anglo-American societies aren’t really democracies in any sensible meaning of the word anymore. They’re run by and for a class of elites, who could care less, literally, whether the average person lives or dies. In America, that class is a bizarre coterie of Ivy Leaguers pretending to be aw-shucks-good-ole-boys on the one side, like Ted Cruz, and Ivy Leaguers pretending to be do-gooders on the other, like Zuck and Silicon Valley.
Again we see how the people’s needs are ignored, like Rorty predicted would be the case, resulting in the takeover by an authoritarian. Is classic Authoritarianism 101.
Haque talked about other factors such as arrogance, selfishness (many Republicans follow Ayn Rand’s selfishness philosophy), stupidity, and ignorance of the elites. That’s in addition to the naked power-grab by the Republicans to install a dictatorship. Couple this with Rorty’s concern that most Democrats would be spectators to democracy, and it’s not hard to see how we got here.
Anyway, without a major intervention of big, structural changes, we are watching how a failed state collapses. When that happens, many people die. It's the overthrow of democracy Republicans wanted.
Here’s a great article detailing how authoritarians seize control. It’s not just happening here. Alfons López Tena details how and why this is happening, especially in Catalonia. Notice the similarities to Trump and his base.
Voting Is NOT Enough
Many people are waiting for a "savior" to swoop in, not realizing the "savior" is us. Since democracy only works when a critical mass of people are engaged and working toward betterment of ALL, we ALL need to vote. (In 2016 over 100 million people stayed home.) However, the election, itself, will not be the "savior.” Voting is NOT enough.
Part of the Republican plot is to keep people mired in debt, overwhelmed, confused, ignorant, exhausted. In survival mode. And there are many millions of people who are barely surviving and without healthcare. The Republicans love this because people trying to survive can't fight the system easily, can’t pay attention to politics, can’t vote if they don’t have an address, etc.
Therefore, those who can fight MUST do so. We MUST fight for everyone’s rights and the betterment of ALL. This is a righteous fight. It’s our last chance for a democracy, and that’s not hyperbole. Hitler imprisoned and murdered people who opposed Nazi ideology or who weren’t useful to them. And the Nazis had slaves. Does anyone really think Barr (who is a Christian fundamentalist wanting a Holy War against us) is going to be kind to the opposition?
If Trump wins the election, he will complete his consolidation of power, like Hitler did in 1933. If Biden doesn’t win by a landslide, expect this to get VERY ugly.
Before, During & After Election
Therefore, don’t wait for the election. We must ALL do what we can, if we are able both BEFORE and AFTER the election. Democracy requires that we:
- Volunteer (phone/text/postcard bank, etc.)
- Support down-ballot races and issues, nationally & locally
- Get out the vote
- Vote in EVERY election
- Consider running for ALL levels of public office
- Be an anti-racist, calling out racists & even misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism & other bigotry
- Call out the media for various problems → The Media Learned Nothing from 2016
Spread the word about what is truly happening with the Republicans. We can’t fix what we don’t know about or understand.
*** Everyone has a role ***
Republican & Fundamentalists Had Long-Term Plans — Democrats Need Them
And as for voting in EVERY election and why it is not enough either? Check out what Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, said this week:
The modern Christian Right--without which there would be no Trumpism--began not in national politics but on school boards. Those elections matters. The Right knows that. Those dismissing "patriotic education" as 2020 tactic are themselves ignoring history... 11/ https://twitter.com/JeffSharlet/status/1306947643298508804
His whole thread, by the way, is worth a read. He’s explaining Trump’s “pro-America” education, which is fascism + fundamentalism, folks. This is akin to indoctrination into the Hitler Youth but as Christian ISIS.
This has been a 50+ year plan by the Republicans and far-right Christians to take over everything. The Christian Right, as you can see above, didn’t start at the national level. They started at the school boards. Democrats have to get involved in running for ALL levels of offices and care about candidates running for school board, judges, and other seeingly mundane positions to take back our government.
Education is the foundation of democracy. Is it a wonder then that Republicans have been destroying education?
Democrats have to have a long-term, big, bold vision for ALL with plans to get there. Richard Rorty said Democrats needed them or democracy would fall.
People come out en masse to vote when they are excited to vote FOR something. Research shows that people are not as motivated to vote against something. Hitler and Trump both offered generational changes to their bases. Yes, this is what people excitedly vote for.
Numerous Existential Crises — All Hands on Deck
We have many existential crises: economic, pandemic, climate, religious zealots, narcissistic psychopath, etc.
Dr. Bandy Lee is a forensic psychiatrist at Yale School of Medicine, expert on violence, and editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.” She states (bolding is my emphasis),
A president’s mental incapacity, at this level of severity, is not an issue that non-experts can grasp or handle. Whether it is impeachment, the 25th Amendment, or an ultimatum on resignation is for the politicians to decide, but our prescription is removal. It is a prescription for survival.
Trump is a scorched-earth person and will take plenty of us down with him. He’s already destroyed plenty of lives. He’s a pattern in history. Like Hitler, Jim Jones, Ted Bundy, etc.
I’m a long-time progressive, and I’m volunteering before the election for some Democratic (no progressive available to support) and progressive races and organizations locally and across the country, as well as doing GOTV.
Then, after the election, I’ll be volunteering with organizations, as well as working on strategy to get more progressives elected (especially women and people of color) and strategy to get rid of the racist Electoral College. I’ll also be working to primary Democrats who are not for big, structural change in key races. I’ve already helped successfully do so, like Cori Bush, who is in a safe Democratic district.
I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice [...]
This also applies to any moderate because they are beholding to big donors. Corporate Democrats. Moderates/corporate Democrats represent status quo because that is what the rich donors want.
I’m not happy voting for Biden. BUT I’m closing my nose and voting for him.
Not voting or voting 3rd party is a vote for Trump and Christian fundamentalism, Christian ISIS, and a coming holocaust.
Voting for other than the Democrat or staying home has helped get us here, too. Whether I’ve liked it or not, I’ve always voted for the Democrat. Why? Because the US isn’t set up for a 3rd party. The only way to change things is from the inside — the way the fundamentalist Christians have co-opted the Republican Party.
This article originally appeared on Daily Kos. Videos were changed due to CBS restrictions outside of the US.