In an unexpected irony, this U.S. presidential election has adopted the parameters of years long gone, at least since the end of World War II. Not marginalized, but mainstream in this race are a fascist and a socialist. How retro!
Donald Trump is being openly and loudly called a Nazi and a fascist not by edge groups or extremists, but by some of the most generally respected voices in the land. One gets the sense that he’s almost proud of this association, especially with his latest sweeping call for all Muslims to be banned from entry to the U.S.
Then there’s “Feel the Bern” Senator Sanders, the New England social democrat, whose veritable insurgency is based on policy pronouncements are really more New Deal, but have allowed for the reintroduced that very dirty word (especially as the FBI and CIA treated it after the war), “socialist,” into polite political discourse. His ideas are not really that cutting edge, but actually more FDR “old school.”
Just as in the 1930s, what’s at issue with these new labels is the same old class warfare that evolved with the industrialization of the west since the mid-1800s.
After World War II temporarily overcame the misery of the Great Depression, the ruling class’ best campus-based social engineers put the West through a massive reeducation, a paradigm shift.
It was introduced under the guise of the an inward-turned “counterculture” that de-fanged the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s and substituted for them a “me-first” consumerist blitz that had as its specific objective a replacement of the class struggle terminology with that of touchy-feely “we’re all in this together-ism.”
Class struggle was replaced, not in reality, of course, but within this new paradigm, by a division between mainstream and marginalized. Socialists and fascists were relegated to easily-controlled fringe status and the big amorphous middle, Democrats and Republicans alike engaged in a usually unspoken deal to keep this new peace while permitting the gradual elevation of the entitlements of the ruling class.
This has moved forward in a wobbling manner, with the wobbles becoming more or less magnified in the form, on the one hand, of the Reagan revolution of the 1980s, and the Obama presidency in our own time.
But underlying this, just as President Eisenhower cautioned in his farewell address at the onset of the 1960s, the great internal enemy in America was, and is, the “military industrial complex.” This, along with its financier arm in Wall Street, best defines what threatens an undermining of robust, real democracy in the U.S. on behalf of special interests. So Eisenhower believed.
He was spot on. Where we are today remains defined by this insidious force, which led the U.S. into its two longest wars in history in the earliest years of this century, and which is becoming apoplectic as President Obama makes the most important stand of his presidency: his refusal to send U.S. troops in any significant numbers back into the Middle East.
This titanic clash – between the war-mongers and the Obama administration – is defining everything about our current policies, domestic and foreign.
Donald Trump, of course, is a bloviating fool who is finding that the more Nazi-like he becomes, the more popular he becomes among that segment of the U.S. population that the ruling class has cultivated in its Tea Party and other racist modes.
He’s adding to the pressure against Obama to cave on the Middle East, but it is important to keep in mind that it was not Trump, but Jeb Bush who played a leading role with the so-called Project for a New American Century in the 1990s that worked to arrange the election of his brother and the launching of the unprovoked invasion of Iraq.
In fact, the candidates who qualify with the closest ties to Wall Street do not include Trump, but are Bush and John Kasich.
So Trump is a loud-mouthed, bullying front man for the entire Star Wars Bar assemblage of GOP candidates and, more importantly, their backers. He needs to be denounced, but don’t forget who’s really calling the shots in all this.