Donald Trump is Just a Taste of What’s to Come.
Rest assured, there will be people waiting to fill his role.
As I’ve said many times before, 2020 has certainly laid bare every fundamental flaw and crack in the foundation of the United States, and its dying capitalist empire. But if I’m being honest, the past few days in particular have been a particularly jarring reminder of just how broken this nation is, but how long it is going to take to heal. A significant portion of the country seems to be under the impression that if Donald Trump is voted out of office, that in it of itself will be enough to allow the nation to heal and move forward. Unfortunately, the events that took place in Kenosha, Wisconsin served as yet another indication that even if Biden takes power, the nation better be prepared for the fact that at least when it comes to the radical right wing, the worst is still yet to come.
After protests broke out when a Kenosha police department officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back at close range, tension erupted into chaos and violence when seventeen year old Kyle Rittenhouse turned his AR-15 on protestors, killing two and injuring a third before driving home. While of course, people were rightfully quick to point out the fact that Donald Trump vehemently refused to condemn and even justified his actions, lost in the noise has been the voices of other powerful right wing figures who essentially have done the same.
In response to Kyle Rittenhouse’s murderous actions, Tucker Carlson — the most popular cable news pundit in the entire country — took to the airwaves to defend him as well, stating:
“”how shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”
It cannot be understated just how terrifying it is that the country has moved so far to the right, one of the most popular people on cable news is conflating domestic terrorism with “maintaining order”.
That does not go away with one election cycle. That kind of language and the damage that it does will not simply disappear and fade in to the history books with Donald Trump. This sort of mindset and the damage to not just political discourse but far more importantly the nation overall will take years if not decades to overcome, and given the United States’ track record of dealing with the ugly realities of its past, I’m not getting my hopes up.
Donald Trump might be the face of the increasingly radicalized right wing, but Tucker Carlson has certainly been — and will continue to be — at the forefront of its normalization. In fact, it’s not a stretch by any means to suggest that he himself helped to pave the way for a candidate like Trump, going on air five nights a week to appeal to every grievance of the right wing white male and showing someone like Donald Trump exactly how to do it, too.
What’s to stop Carlson from running himself?
While there is no denying the threat that Donald Trump poses, there’s also a case to be made that perhaps the biggest threat is those who have the exact same intentions as he does, but are smarter, more tactile, more palatable in the eyes of the donor class, and even more talented at making the message more appealing to the masses. Behind Donald Trump is someone ready in the waiting to weaponize everything they have learned from him for their own benefit, and the sooner we accept that reality the more equipped we will be to deal with it.
One thing that bothers me most about Joe Biden’s team’s approach to campaigning is — for a number of reasons — the focus on the notion of return to normalcy. Putting aside the fact that the previous “normal” wasn’t cutting it for tens of millions of people, the idea that we can simply put the Trump era behind us serves as nothing more than a false counter-narrative to the reality that the mindsets and grievances that brought him to victory will not simply go away once he leaves power. Some might make the case that at least the right wing will feel less emboldened. I would argue the opposite. A loss in November if anything for them will serve as affirmation of the idea that they are indeed “under attack”, and all their anger and resentment will — in their eyes — be vindicated.
Tucker Carlson isn’t going away, and neither is Tom Cotton. Trump’s base isn’t going away, and neither is their shared worldview. What lies ahead, regardless of whether Trump or Biden wins, is decades if not lifetimes worth of a fight, and we had better get prepared for the battles that are inevitably coming.