History tells us the fascist MAGA insurrection is just the beginning

Populist movements have a knack for sticking around long after their leaders leave office.

Since leaving office, Donald Trump was not convicted in his second impeachment trial, and has reportedly considered launching a new political party, investing in a social-media app, and, perhaps more predictably, making another run for the White House in 2024. In a statement following his lack of conviction, Trump declared the trial “yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country,” adding, “Our historic, patriotic, and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.”

There are plenty of reasons to take Trump at his word. If populist movements have proved anything, it’s their remarkable staying power, even after their leaders have been removed from power, democratically or otherwise. From Berlusconism in Italy to Peronism in Argentina and Fujimorismo in Peru, personality-driven movements rarely fade once their leaders have left office. In the face of victimization, real or imagined, they often thrive.

What, then, of Trumpism? While these movements differ in ideology and context, they can be very instructive in anticipating what happens next.

The Italian Trump – Silvio Berlusconi

Of the world’s most notable populist leaders, perhaps none has garnered more comparisons to Trump than the former Italian prime minister. Berlusconi was Trump before Trump: a billionaire businessman and television personality who rose to power by railing against the political establishment and pledging to represent the interests of ordinary people. Though his career of more than two decades has been dogged by scandals, investigations, and trials—evidence, Berlusconi claimed in 2009, that he is “the most persecuted” person in history—he has nonetheless remained a political force since his (most recent) resignation from the premiership in 2011, both within his center-right Forza Italia party, of which he remains leader, as well as in national politics more broadly.

A notable difference between Trump and Berlusconi is that the latter has lost elections without incident. Still, there are elements of Berlusconi’s long tenure that Trump could seek to emulate, not least his ability to stage multiple political comebacks (his latest, as a lawmaker in the European Parliament).

But perhaps Berlusconi’s greatest success has been in his ability to retain his base of loyal supporters—a personality cult that continues to see him as akin to a god. This is one outcome Trump can likely rely on: Even in the aftermath of last month’s deadly insurrection on Capitol Hill, Republican voters still approve of the former president in overwhelming numbers, as do many of the Republican state parties across the country.

The Argentine Trump – Juan Perón

To understand the importance that a loyal base can play, look no further than Peronism. The populist movement, which dates back to the rise of former Argentine President Juan Perón in the 1940s, continues to be the preeminent political force in the country, more than four decades after its namesake’s death. This has to do largely with how Perón came to power and, crucially, how he lost it.

Like most populist figures, Perón cast himself as an advocate of ordinary citizens, and, in many ways, he was: In addition to advancing workers’ rights, he oversaw the enfranchisement of women in Argentina. But, like other populists, Perón became more and more authoritarian over the course of his rule, jailing his political opponents, vilifying the media, and restricting constitutional rights. By 1955, after nearly a decade in power, Perón was deposed in a coup and sent into exile in Spain; his party was banned.

His supporters continued to be extremely loyal to him, though—so much so that by the time Argentina’s constitutional democracy was restored nearly two decades later, Perón won reelection by a landslide.

Part of Perón’s enduring appeal had to do with the circumstances under which he lost power: His forced exile created a narrative of victimization, which “can really actually help to solidify political identities,” James Loxton, an expert in authoritarian regimes, democratization, and political parties in Latin America, told me. A similar sense of grievance seems to be taking over Trump supporters. An overwhelming majority of Republicans have subscribed to the former president’s unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Early polls show him to be the favorite of the 2024 Republican contenders. “This idea that he didn’t really lose and that everybody is out to get him,” Loxton said, “add[s] up to this actually quite compelling martyrdom story.”

Irrespective of whether Trump runs again, Trumpism as a movement is all but certain to be on the ballot. Indeed, a number of Trump acolytes—among them Republican Senator Josh Hawley, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—are already jockeying to succeed the former president. Should they be recognized as the “Trumpist” candidates, the movement could take on a Perónist quality: one that is highly mobilizing, highly polarizing, and highly durable.

The Peruvian Trump – Alberto Fujimori

Another populist movement that has endured long after its namesake is Fujimorismo. Named after Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, whose decade of authoritarian rule ended in a corruption scandal in 2001, Fujimorismo remains a dominant force in Peruvian politics. Unlike Peronism, however, Fujimorismo has largely remained within the family: Fujimori’s children, Keiko and Kenji, lead rival factions of the movement, though neither has managed to succeed their father in the presidency. (Fujimori himself, who was convicted of human-rights abuses in 2009, remains in prison.)

With at least some of Trump’s children and extended family eyeing political careers of their own, it’s possible that Trumpism could end up resembling Fujimorismo more than Peronism. In some ways, it already does: All three of his eldest children have held roles in the eponymous family business. Should any of Trump’s children seek political office, it’s all but assumed that they will do so not as regular Republicans, but as heirs to the Trumpist throne.

But success isn’t a given. While the Trump name would almost certainly be an asset in any primary or Trump-leaning district, his children would also need to be able to rival their father’s emotional connection with his supporters. “Keiko Fujimori benefited massively from her surname and the fact that there was still a large chunk of the Peruvian population that really identified with Fujimorismo and the accomplishments of Fujimori’s government,” Loxton said. It helps, he added, that she is also “really good at politics.” Yet she still has not yet ascended to the heights of her father.

Whatever model Trumpism ultimately follows—whether it’s Berlusconism, Peronism, Fujimorismo, a combination of the three, or none at all—it’s widely accepted that the movement will continue to exist in some form.

Dan Slater, the director of the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies at the University of Michigan, said that what form it takes will depend on whether American politics chooses to reorient itself not on party lines but, rather, in terms of whether you are pro- or anti-Trump, a shift not too dissimilar to how British politics realigned between those who opposed or supported Brexit.

“In the same way that Peronism versus anti-Peronism has shaped and structured Argentinian politics for decades,” Slater said, “it strikes me as quite likely that a fundamental conflict between Trumpism and anti-Trumpism is going to shape American politics for a long time to come as well.”

Edited from a story by Yasmeen Serhan in The Atlantic.

Trump really wanted and needed his insurrection to work

Donald Trump heavily promoted the January 6 insurrection rally in Washington. Then he fired up the crowd and urged them to march on the Capitol. Theses fact are undisputed. The evidence emerging in the past few days goes much, much further. After Trump was told by Sen. Tommy Tuberville that his own Vice President Pence had been rushed out of the Senate chamber, his security in question, Trump posted to Twitter, raging at Pence’s betrayal. “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify,” Trump posted after his conversation with Tuberville. “USA demands the truth!” The mob, while this was going on, was rampaging the building, chanting “Hang Mike Pence!”

That Trump attacked Pence publicly after learning Pence was under threat strongly suggests Trump was eager to see the mob locate Pence and do what they would with him. As the NY Times has reported, Trump told Pence he’d “go down in history as a pussy” if he didn’t flip the election to Trump. Trump clearly wanted the crowd to punish his disloyalty. 

Added to that new piece of evidence is the testimony of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Washington state Republican who spoke with her party’s House leader, Kevin McCarthy, after McCarthy got into a shouting match with Trump. McCarthy and his staff were barricaded in an office, fearing for their lives, when McCarthy pleaded with Trump to call off the mob. Trump initially denied the mob was made up of his people. McCarthy told him he was wrong, and again demanded that he do something, anything — go on TV, post to Twitter — to call them off. “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump said, allowing the violence to rage on.

“I think it speaks to Trump’s mindset,” said Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, another Republican. “He was not sorry to see his unyieldingly loyal vice president or the Congress under attack by the mob he inspired. In fact, it seems he was happy about it or at the least enjoyed the scenes that were horrifying to most Americans across the country.”

“You have to look at what he did during the insurrection to confirm where his mind was at,” Herrera Beutler told CNN. “That line right there demonstrates to me that either he didn’t care, which is impeachable, because you cannot allow an attack on your soil, or he wanted it to happen and was OK with it, which makes me so angry.”

We can’t look away from this simple set of facts: All the evidence points to the conclusion not just that Trump recklessly whipped up a mob that went on to storm the Capitol, but that he wanted that mob to succeed in finding and attacking those who stood in the way of his return to the presidency. Now, of course, nobody can know what exactly went on inside Trump’s mind that day, but his conversation with Tuberville, the subsequent tweet, and his conversation with McCarthy point in a very dark direction.

What those Republican members of Congress have done is stare into Medusa’s face and refuse to blink.

Is there a rational basis to believe that the insurrection could have succeeded? It’s possible to put one together: If Pence and Pelosi were killed or badly injured, and the votes not certified, Trump could declare some sort of state of emergency and — this is the key point — live to fight another day.

Living to fight another day is Trump’s life philosophy. Just ahead of the 2018 midterms, Trump, at a rally, acknowledged he might lose the House. “It could happen. Could happen,” he said. “And you know what you do? My whole life, you know what I say? ‘Don’t worry about it, I’ll just figure it out.’ Does that make sense? I’ll figure it out.”

This was Trump’s MO throughout his business life. Faced with what appeared to be inevitable defeat, his last resort was always to create chaos, not because it would naturally lead to success, but because it would at least reset the situation and give his incredible lucky streak another opportunity to assert itself. Trump didn’t know exactly how things would play out if the mob succeeded in its mission, but he knew how things would go if it didn’t: He would lose. And he was ready to kill to stave that off.

The Senate has now voted to subpoena testimony from Herrera Beutler, who likely knows the names of other Republicans McCarthy also spoke to. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a House impeachment manager, also said he wanted access to notes Herrera Beutler took of her conversation with McCarthy. There seems to be no reason not to also call McCarthy.

Edited from a story in Bad News by Ryan Grim   

Research says the criminal insurrectionist Trump is responsible for all of it

According to a report published by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was the “direct result of a months-long effort rooted in disinformation” that was promoted and fueled by the criminal insurrectionist Donald Trump.

The group has put together a comprehensive timeline that shows how the movement (or cult) was “coordinated by some of his most fervent, conspiratorial supporters; and incorporating a wide range of supporting groups.”

The research article, published at Just Security, uses material posted “in plain sight” on online platforms which were designed to convince people of falsehoods about the 2020 elections. The disinformation campaign centered around Trump’s the “Stop the Steal” movement, which hosted a rally on Jan. 6 that preceded the violence at the Capitol.

“The Stop the Steal movement included groups across a spectrum of radicalization: hyperpartisan pro-Trump activists and media outlets; the neo-fascist Proud Boys, a group with chapters committed to racism and the promotion of street violence; unlawful militias from around the country with a high degree of command and control, including the so-called Three Percenters movement; adherents to the collective delusion of QAnon; individuals identifying with the Boogaloo Bois, a loosely organized anti-government group that has called for a second civil war; and ideological fellow travelers of the far-right, who wanted to witness something they believed would be spectacular,” the report states.

According to the report, the binding ingredients that brought these groups together was conspiracy theories about the 2020 election coupled with cult-like support for Trump.

Read the full report over at Just Security.

Investigate all of Trump’s accomplices especially “Moscow” Mitch and “Leningrad” Lindsey

The coward and traitor Sen. “Leningrad” Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) refusal to allow the now-majority Democratic Senate to schedule a hearing for President Joe Biden’s choice as new attorney general, Judge Merrick Garland, has slowed down investigations into the Jan. 6th Capitol riot that had lawmakers fleeing for their lives. How convenient!

Thanks to manipulation by “Moscow” Mitch McConnell refusing to agree to a power-sharing agreement in the Senate that only recently allowed the Democrats to take over the committees — including the prestigious Senate Judiciary Committee that would hold hearings on Merrick Garland.

It allowed traitorous trump “suck up” Graham to hold the reins of the committee as its chairman and of course he refused to schedule a hearing at the request of Democrats so now it will be delayed for weeks.

It’s possible that another month will pass before Merrick Garland takes over as attorney general, said Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), a member of the Judiciary panel and a close ally of Biden.”

“That possibly lengthy setback in installing leadership at the department is especially troubling to Democratic lawmakers and outside advocates—not only because they’re itching to get started on a new DOJ agenda, but because of the acute importance of its business at the moment. Among many other things, for example, the department is investigating and prosecuting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol,” the report states before adding, “… when the incoming Judiciary chairman, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), wanted to schedule a hearing for Garland, he first had to ask the permission of the outgoing chairman, Senator suck up Lindsey Graham (R-SC)—and of course Graham said no.” We believe its because he is one of many, who at Trump’s orders, tried to illegally overturn the election.

The Department of justice needs to get to work on the real threats to our country. The DOJ needs to effectively investigate and respond to rightwing domestic terrorism. To have our country’s chief legal officer sidelined for weeks is proof that this insurrection and sedition continues.

edited from raw story

Are you worried yet?

This shit spreads as fast as the new COVID-19 variants

Here are just some of today’s Crazy Trump-cult Republican Party positions:

Supporting the false QAnon claims that hold there is a global pedophile cabal involving top U.S. political figures.

The false “Frazzledrip” claim about Clinton and a top aide, Huma Abedin, supposedly engaging in a satanic ritual involving the murder and mutilation of a child.

Promoting that the 2018 massacre of students in Parkland, Fla., was a “false flag” and calling a student gun-control activist who attended the school “little Hitler”

Claiming the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. was a “STAGGED SHOOTING”

Baselessly claiming Pelosi cited the need for monthly school shootings to pass gun legislation.

Suggesting another mass shooting, in Las Vegas, was part of a plot to abolish the Second Amendment.

Saying the 2018 midterms, in which Democrats won the House, represented “an Islamic invasion of our government.”

Comparing Black Lives Matter activists to neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

Claiming George Soros, a Holocaust survivor, collaborated with Nazis.

5G has caused Covid-19 pandemic

It’s no surprise that 45 of these same Crazy ass Republicans claim that holding Trump accountable for inciting the insurrection at the nation’s capital is unconstitutional

The Trump cult’s insurrection isn’t over

The Capitol insurrection only barely failed, but it succeeded on several levels: it further normalized the idea of violent government overthrow and allowed extremist groups to network with a broader population. It brought what had been largely hidden from public view right out in the open. As the insurrectionists laid siege to the U.S. Capitol, the seat of American democracy became a melting pot of extremist groups: militia members, white supremacists, paramilitary organizations, anti-maskers, and fanatical supporters of Donald Trump, standing shoulder to shoulder in crazy drooling rage.

The Examiner has been raising the alarm about Trump’s plan for a civil war for years. This insurrection was the culmination of years of increasing radicalization and insanity on the right, combined with a growing delusional fascination with paramilitary groups, crazy conspiracies and a global pandemic. The armed insurrection that left five people dead and shook the country is probably just the beginning. Those who monitor online chatter say the threat of more violence by far-right fringe groups hasn’t abated, it’s just gotten tougher to track.

The FBI is warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next Wednesday. Experts point to the smaller gatherings at state capitals has a greater threat than a large, centrally organized event in Washington, given the heightened security there.

How many extremists and crazies are out there isn’t clear, Individual fringe groups tend to be small, with the largest claiming hundreds of members, but countless individuals have been swept up in the fury of late.

Stopping these crazies and extremist groups may be impossible, but pushing them farther to the political boundaries and marginalizing them is possible.

If you believe in inclusive democracy and do not believe in political violence you need to show it and come out and say so strongly