By Steven Jonas
I began Part 1 of this two part series by noting that the legal and political walls are closing around Trump. In just the week since the publication of that column, the ring has closed even moreso. As an indicator of that state of affairs, Team Trump has taken to making ever wilder claims, such as his second most prominent mouthpiece after Sean Hannity, Rudy Giuliani, claiming that Mueller and his staff are out to frame Trump. (For what, they don't bother to tell us. But one must suppose that it is some crime for which Trump could employ his claimed right to pardon himself --- pardons, of course, being granted only to convicted criminals.) Giuliani has once again illustrated one of the first principles of litigation one learns when one goes to law school: "If you don't have the facts, argue the law. If you don't have the law, argue the facts. If you have neither the law nor the facts, argue ad hominem."
As the ring tightens --- and given the indictments and guilty pleas already obtained, it would seem to be based on more than a frame-up job --- Trump and the Trumpites creep ever closer, step by step, to establishing a form of 21st century fascism, even within the U.S. Constitutional system. As I noted in part 1, I have previously written much on fascism, especially the potential for its rise in the United States. My book, The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022, was originally published in 1996. In that "fictional history" the RRR used Constitutional means to eventually establish a very non-Constitutional apartheid state, and most certainly a fascist one.
"Fascism," as applied to the Trumpites, is becoming more widely used, from a center-right Democrat like Madeline Albright to a center-left Democrat like Paul Krugman, and a left-Democrat like Robert Reich talks about a coming Second Civil War. As noted, I like to work from definitions. I have offered longer and medium-length versions in previous work.
Here is a still shorter one:
"A single, all powerful executive branch of government, in service of a capitalist ruling class. No independent judicial or legislative branches, at any level. No independent media. Single national ideology, based on some combination of racism, misogyny, religious bigotry and authoritarianism, homophobia, and xenophobia. A State propaganda machine, massively using the Big Lie Technique. May have: full-blown dictatorship, a charismatic leader, engagement in foreign wars, use of the mob/private armies. May have transitional forms.
Most important is that fascism is a feature of capitalism. When installed, it is chosen by the nation's ruling class or the dominant sector of it as the means of control of the state apparatus when bourgeois democratic forms have failed to keep that control, or the danger is perceived that they might lose it because of rising militancy on the part of the middle and working classes against capitalist excesses that they are experiencing.
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