by Coco Das |
Last night I watched Jake Tapper’s CNN special “Trump and the Law After Impeachment.” It compellingly showed Trump’s emboldened and relentless attacks on the rule of law since his impeachment acquittal, aided by a hollowed out fascist GOP and Bill Barr’s DOJ. They kept showing the video of Trump smugly holding up the paper with the headline “ACQUITTED,” then followed it with exposure of yet another strain of audacious moves – through tweets, executive orders, sidestepping and bypassing Congressional oversight, and actions by the DOJ – to utterly destroy the norms of government.
This is a partial list of what was covered in the special:
- Building on the argument made during the Senate trial that Trump can do whatever he wants as long as it’s in American interests, Trump declaring himself the “chief law enforcement officer” to justify acting as both “the law” and “above the law.”
- Through tweets and statements to Press, politically attacking not only individual judges but even members of juries.
- Calling for and acting on “investigating the investigators,” pursuing vengeful prosecutions of people who led the Mueller investigation and other investigations against the Trump regime.
- Staging flagrant campaigns of disinformation, i.e. Obamagate, to turn himself into a victim of “the swamp.”
- Firing inspectors general for their investigations or not towing the line of loyalty to Trump.
- Depending on “acting” leaders of various departments instead of going through a full process of confirmation, which enables him to remove people more easily and bypass Congressional approval.
- Not only calling the Press “fake news,” but actually filing lawsuit after lawsuit to harass news outlets.
- Intervening in independent judgments on sentencing, most notably in the cases of Roger Stone.
One commentator made the chilling statement that Trump was “knocking the knees out” from institutions that had survived for hundreds of years. While I disagree about the main role of these institutions for the majority of this country’s history, his implication that democratic norms such as the separations of powers and limits on executive authority could very well NOT survive Trump should be a wake up call to everyone who thinks we have to rely on normal channels to stop this regime.
Jake Tapper and the commentators on CNN do not have an analysis of why Trump is doing these things. Mostly the media can only offer a “conventional” answer that he’s doing it for himself, but this masks the truth and doesn’t explain why the GOP and a base of fanatical followers supports and aids him in tearing up the rule of law. If they felt it was only to benefit Trump, they would not be propping him up as they do. Trump is doing this because he has promised a whole fascist movement that he would do it – that he would “drain the swamp” of the people, laws, and institutions standing in the way of their vision for society and government – a fascist form of rule in which white supremacy, Christian supremacy, and male supremacy are guaranteed. Trump took the helm of a fascist movement decades in the making, and proved that as an outsider (and a lunatic), he was the one to boldly advance this fascist program in a way that no other leader could. In order for this fascist regime to consolidate its power, just as they did in Nazi Germany, the existing “Weimar Republic” has to be totally destroyed and neutralized. But the destruction is not their end game. The end game is the creation and consolidation of a fascist government and society, an openly blatant dictatorship where “might makes right” and the fascist leader is “the law.” Trump is acting not only on his own behalf (yes, he is a malignant narcissist) but on behalf of this fascist movement that idolizes him for what he has done for them. His regime has had remarkable success at rolling over opposition and emerging victorious through every crisis.
Except now there is a major wrench in their plans – people in the streets protesting the wanton police murder of George Floyd and staying in the streets for Black lives and against white supremacy. These protests have become a partial repudiation of the Trump regime, and the regime has not been able to roll over this beautiful uprising in the same way they’ve rolled over impeachment and other one day protests. To resolve this, Trump has called out the violence of the police, military, and fascist shock troops in order to “dominate the streets,” but the people have not cowered. The crisis these protests have created have widened fissures among the ruling powers and forced some minor concessions from some trying to calm things down, while increasing pressure on the regime to bring down the hammer while the whole world is watching.
Replacing the rule of law with brute power and terror will allow a horrific revenge against all the groups who gained some rights after the fierce liberation struggles of the 60s and the people standing up now. If we allow the fascists to crush this uprising, we are much closer to humanity under the boot of a fascist USA led by a demented bully with its finger on the nuclear button. To those who think we can wait this out until November, as Trump becomes increasingly desperate and eager for violence (At his KKK rally in Tulsa on June 20, Trump said, “And when you see those lunatics all over the streets, it’s damn nice to have arms. Damn nice.”), think about what history says about the German people under Hitler. History will be no kinder towards us.
We can actually drive this regime from power now, and this CNN special shows just one reason why we must do so. Now, while people are in the streets feeling their strength, we have an actual chance to stop this catastrophe – if we demand the removal of the Trump/Pence regime and refuse to go home until our demand is met.