Emboldened and Unhinged: Trump’s Machine is Just Getting Warmed Up
Attempting to rig an election for the sake of remaining in office is the type of action the framers of the Constitution feared the most. It is the cardinal sin.
With the impeachment trial now America’s rear-view mirror Donald Trump and his attack dogs are going full throttle in seeking retribution against those who spoke out against him. From repeated threats of investigations into Hunter Biden to more firings expected at the National Security Council, Trumpistas are emboldened by the expected-to-fail impeachment trial and Trump’s rhetoric celebrating his avoiding any penalty.
Republican lawmakers are also heartened by the end of the impeachment debacle. Lindsey Graham has been one of the most vocal Trumpistas in recent days, even sending a message to Trump via CBS’ Face The Nation on Sunday saying, “If he’s watching the show, here’s what I would tell the president: I’m going to get to the bottom of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] process because it was an abuse of power at the Department of Justice and the FBI.”
Graham also mentioned investigations into Hunter Biden saying, “We’ll make sure Hunter Biden’s conflict of interest is explored because it’s legitimate.” Graham’s appearance was preceded by a tweet from Trump that said, “DeFace the Nation will tell @LindseyGrahamSC that he must start up Judiciary and not stop until the job is done. Clean up D.C. now, last chance!” Whatever that means.
Meanwhile, less vocal Republicans are quietly going back to work behind the scenes. As Graham, Giuliani, Barr, and others create headlines with bombastic nonsense, the Senate has important agendas to tend to that have been in the works for decades. This is what sets Republicans apart from Democrats. Their established long game. Conservatives have long been subverting America’s democracy by trying to implant permanent conservative ideologies.
Republicans are eagerly appointing federal judges. Their goal is to use the courts to reshape America for the next several decades. They have established missions that require a puppet to fall in line with their goals and stay out of the way. Trump did just that by willingly delegating the selection of judges to an outside group — as previous Republican presidents have done — to focus on finding new ways to profit from the office.
Federal judge appointments directly impact everyday Americans because they are the most consequential policymakers in America. Just recently, they have gutted America’s campaign finance laws; stripped the Voting Rights Act of most of its power; allowed states to deny health care coverage to millions of Americans; allowed religion to be used as a tool for discrimination; watered down the federal ban on sexual harassment, and that’s just scratching the surface.
Behind the Scenes
The Republican strategy to establish a Permanent Republican Majority started in the 1990s. It was first introduced by Karl Rove, a former big-tobacco executive who served in the George W. Bush White House as a Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff. He also headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives until his resignation on August 31, 2007.
Let’s just say Karl Rove is a made man.
Rove’s idea of a Permanent Republican Majority wasn’t about winning well run elections. Rove knows as many Republican strategists do, there can be no Republican majority in free and fair elections. In order to achieve a Republican majority for decades to come, he went after the last bastion of democracy. The independent judiciary.
Rove and his cronies devised an agenda of destroying the independence of the judiciary by appointing people based less on experience and more on their individual political and religious beliefs. Judges who would interpret the law in favor of the government and big corporations and against individuals. In the last 30 years, they’ve done well to realize their vision of reshaping the judiciary in their own image.
When Mitch McConnell blocked Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, it was a move that helped Republicans achieve weakening democracy through the use of the courts. They know they can’t win in elections, therefore they impose voter suppression laws, gerrymander voting districts, and control court appointees. This is all part of the Republican long-game.
While Republicans continue working their agenda behind the scenes, Trump’s focus moving forward will be on the upcoming election. And he’s fired up. We can expect to see a ramping up of hateful and divisive rhetoric, much of which is dangerous. Expect him to breach yet another threshold, rising to a whole new level of attack. The more he gets away with, the worse he gets.
With Republicans unwilling to hold Trump to account, he will do as he pleases without fear of repercussions. And that’s scary. Since his impeachment, Trump has become more brazen. If he were to use government agencies (IRS, DOJ) to attack his critics that he perceives to be enemies, Republicans will surely protect him. They’ve allowed Trump to undermine nearly every aspect of the government thus far. Why would anyone believe they’d stop him now?
At the most recent National Prayer Breakfast, a Washington tradition since 1953, Trump shattered the norms by bringing political attacks into the fray. The breakfast has traditionally been “free of partisan bickering,” that is, until this year when Trump made what sounded like a veiled threat saying, “So many people have been hurt, and we can’t let that go on.”
Trump then slammed Mitt Romney saying, “As everybody knows, my family, our great country, and your president have been through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people. They have done everything possible to destroy us, and by so doing very badly hurt our nation. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they put themselves far ahead of our great country.”
Trump also railed about Nancy Pelosi saying, “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong. Nor do I like people who say ‘I pray for you’ when they know that that’s not so. So many people have been hurt and we can’t let that go on. I’ll be discussing that a little bit later at the White House.”
Trump is no stranger to divisive rhetoric. He has willingly allowed himself to be groomed to embody both Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy and Rove’s Permanent Republican Strategy and the GOP is taking full advantage of the opportunity. Trump is serving his purpose to lifelong and more extreme Conservative lawmakers by being divisive. It’s an opportunity that may disappear for a very long time after 2020 and they know the clock is ticking.
Emboldened by a Senate that intends to go back to business as usual, Trump becomes more of a danger to whistleblowers and those who speak out against him. His retaliating against several witnesses so far is meant to send a warning to whistleblowers that spoke out against him and to whistleblowers of the future. None of them are safe. Trump is making that abundantly clear.
An emboldened Trump is dangerous.
If you watched the State of the Union, you’re aware of the unsurprising, yet extensive lies Trump told. It’s rhetoric he is using to oil up his machine. Giving his minions something to chomp at so they can own the libs online. An emboldened Trump means a fired-up Trump base, and that’s where things should get worrisome. Not just because of the ever-present threat to human life but because this is what America is up against in the upcoming election. Rabid Trumpistas.
“I could draw a straight line from the manifesto, that we believe at this point that the shooter wrote, and the talking points of the President. Many of those lines in the manifesto, in my opinion, could’ve been written by the White House Press Office,” Richard Parker, The New York Times.
For Democrats, the 2020 presidential election shouldn’t be about beating Trump in a debate. That’s the easy part. The focus should be on beating Trump’s machine. The Machine, as I refer to it, is made up of Trump’s rabid cult-like followers, his largely overseas propaganda machine, his incredible ad spends pushing misinformation, his dog-whistled rhetoric, and his divisive policy agenda. The machine is what makes Trump as electable as he was in 2016.
Every Democratic candidate has areas that are subject to attack by the machine. Nothing is sacred and it will go after every aspect of a candidate’s life. Remember pizzagate, pedophile rings, Hillary’s secretive ties, Benghazi, and her emails? Yeah, expect that and more. The machine is ruthless, hardcore, unforgiving, and this time, it will be much worse. Count on it.
Fighting disinformation will be just as problematic as 2016 due, in large part, to the failure to act by Republican lawmakers. It’s also impossible to fact-check fast enough. It’s an insurmountable task. Look at the vitriol on Twitter right now between supporters of Democratic candidates compared to how candidates treat one another and you’ll get a taste of the machine in action.
“It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars, and this should never, ever happen to another president, ever.” — Donald Trump on his impeachment trial
Checking in on Trump’s rallies, speeches, and press appearances we can see that his attitude has shifted back to that of an aggressor. He’s ramping up the propaganda talking about how effective and transformative his economy is when it’s neither. His anti-immigrant stance has been peeking over the horizon again and talk of a healthcare plan after the election has made a showing. All of it to indulge his base by linking racial insecurities to their everyday struggles.
Trump will dog-whistle his way past these issues and shift the conversation to immigration while boasting about low unemployment numbers. His supporters, meanwhile, will look beyond growing income inequality, slow income growth, tax breaks for the rich, and growing health care costs — all issues that can’t exist in an effective economy — to chant “Build The Wall!” as they are duped into forgetting that these issues impact them too.
In The End…
This is where we are, America. Trumpistas will believe what he says despite their eyes and ears telling them otherwise. They are locked in an uninterruptable gaze that if they were to look away, they feel as if the world as they know it will no longer exist. That they may wake up one day in a browner, more diverse society where they no longer unilaterally wield all the power. This is what we’re truly fighting against. Trump is the embodiment of America’s white superiority complex.