Trump’s Fascist Moves to Overturn Election Intensify
January 4, 2021 | revcom.us
For the past several weeks, despite losing the 2020 election, Trump has been fighting viciously to illegally stay in power. In just the past week, here’s what’s happened:
- Trump repeated his call for fascist demonstrations on January 6 in DC, promising it’s going to “be wild.” Trump has said it will be “BIG” and that he will attend. The white supremacist, misogynist violent “Proud Boys” have vowed to be there, and they in turn have called for more demonstrations during the weekend leading up to, and at, the inauguration. To get a sense of what this will mean, check our coverage of previous fascist demonstrations in DC called to overturn Biden’s election (see here and here), as well as this article from the Washington Post on the upcoming ones. There are conservative commentators who have warned that Trump could use any disruption or violence to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would allow Trump to call out troops to “restore order,” which he could then in turn wield for fascist ends.
- As we go to press, about 140 Republican House congresspeople continued their plan to overturn the election by getting Congress to refuse to register the legally elected “electors,” contesting the validity of votes sent by some of the states that voted for Biden. And last Wednesday, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley said he would join their plan, meaning that now both the Senate and the House get to have two hours of debate over each state that Republican-fascists contest as Biden winning (including likely Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin).1
- On Saturday, three major things happened. First, Texas senator Ted Cruz enlisted ten other senators behind a resolution to delay ratification of the election by ten days, while false and many-times-disproven claims of fraud are given a “hearing.” The point of this is to delay and thereby open space for further disruption and possible upheaval. Second, Vice-President Mike Pence, who must preside over the Senate ratification of the official vote, supported Cruz’s outrageous move. Then, as reported in Sunday’s Washington Post, Trump called up Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia official in charge of the elections there, to first bully him into changing the vote totals and then to threaten him with criminal charges when he refused.
- Finally, on Sunday, the Washington Post published an “Opinion” piece by all the living former defense secretaries stating that the election was over and warning Trump against using the military to stay in power. This included Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who themselves were major fascists in power during the Bush years. Clearly, there are differences and cracks within the ruling circles of this country; and it is hard to imagine that these people would have intervened in such a way had they not thought that something truly extraordinary and clearly dangerous to fundamental U.S. imperialist interests was afoot.
To call this extraordinary or unprecedented barely begins to do justice to it. And it is an irony—and an outrage—that up to now the main voices in the media that are ringing the alarm on this have been more mainstream Republican commentators and senators like Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who, for various reasons, oppose these Trump moves. Where are the Democrats in all this? Actually collaborating with Trump in an ill-conceived move to pass an addition to the stimulus bill, while he is moving to overturn the election.
All this shows a basic and essential truth. The fascist Trump-Pence regime of the past four years—the one still in power as we speak and desperately lashing out to stay in power—was not a blip that we will painlessly pivot out of. As Bob Avakian has analyzed over 25 years, fascism in the U.S. is a deeply dug-in movement organized and directed by a section of the imperialist ruling class which is convinced that this is the necessary solution to the extremely intractable problems, conflicts and challenges that that system faces. This fascist movement has organized tens of millions around its political program of white supremacy, male supremacy and vicious America-first chauvinism.
Some Basic Facts
Fact: Biden decisively won the election by over 7 million votes and 78 electoral votes.
Fact: Every state that was close has had its votes counted, recounted, gone over with a fine-tooth comb and counted again, by Democratic and Republican officials, and the result is the same: Biden won.2
Fact: Lawyers for Trump and other fascists have gone to court over 60 times, including to the Supreme Court, and every time but once (and that case was a petty matter that affected nothing), the result was the same: Biden won.
Fact: Trump’s attorney general Barr, a long-time Christian fascist who slavishly served Trump for nearly two years, said there was no fraud significant enough to affect the outcome of the election. Trump’s head of cybersecurity, Christopher Krebs, said this was the most secure election ever—a statement for which he was promptly fired.
We could go on. But we don’t need to. The truth is the truth. Trump lost. Biden was elected president. Yet Trump and tens of millions of his followers not only insist on living out a dangerous lie, but on using force to jam it down the throats of the rest of the world.
What Are the Implications?
Five extremely negative ones.
First, there is an attempt to overturn a lawful election and re-install a dangerous fascist regime. The odds may be against this now, but it would be extremely unwise to depend on things staying the same. Just look at the last week!
Second, there is an attempt, which is actually making significant headway, to cohere a fascist battering ram for the next period. This would be made up of a bloc of elected officials who view and act as if the Biden administration is illegitimate AND an armed street-fighting force on call to dominate the public square. Thus there would be a well-organized political arm and a fanatical paramilitary force answering directly to Trump that could be poised, if and as conditions change in certain ways, to re-seize control in a literal coup. Short of that, they will be positioned to disrupt and obstruct the Biden/Harris administration and further corrupt and pervert the terms of political debate in this society
Third, there is a concerted attempt to hammer in place the view that the votes of Black people should not be counted, at least in any contest in which their votes may make the difference. Trump’s legal offensive has been particularly directed against the major cities of Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee—all of which have significant African-American populations which “made the difference” in their states. It is not said openly but strongly implied that the vote-count margins in these cities, i.e. Democratic votes over Republicans, should not be allowed to make a difference.3 This goes to the roots of this regime, a point repeatedly emphasized by Bob Avakian on the direct link between the Trump regime and the Confederacy (see here and here).
Fourth, there is a struggle among fascist ruling class forces over how best to advance their program to fully remake the governing norms of this country. Trump is determined to keep things under his thumb while other forces seem, for now, less willing to tie this movement to Trump’s immediate interests and desires. They seem to see a more advantageous path in recognizing Biden, while moving to obstruct and sabotage his administration in ways not too tied to Trump himself. This can be seen, to take just one dramatic example among others, in Pat Robertson, the long-time Christian fascist operative, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, telling Trump to exit the scene. Right now, the forces around Trump have resisted this, and as we have described have seized a great deal of initiative in the past several days. To be clear: all agree on the program of white supremacy, male supremacy and vicious American chauvinism, backed up by severe repression and enforced religious domination—but there are differences on how to achieve this.
Fifth, further damage is being done to epistemological integrity—the notion that the truth is the truth, no matter its implications. We’ve written about this before: what it does when tens of millions of people are led to deny basic facts of reality and to take up literally lunatic ideas, each more insane than the previous one.4 But those like Hawley—who says that he is supporting the attempt to deny Biden the presidency because “voters in his state” were “deeply angry and disillusioned” about the election—now add a new wrinkle of deception: the idea that because one’s constituents, driven by their prejudices and ignorance, think something happened, no matter how outlandish and ridiculous, “well, then let’s stop everything, let’s prevent the law from being implemented, and call an investigation to hear their charges.” This is the logic of witch trials—the judge at such trials purports to be neutral—“he only wants to hear the charges.” Yet once you give credence to the charges—then the fallacies that spew forth to “justify” the outrageous charges, such as “witches are casting curses that are harming people”—then you are on the road to exactly what has happened in every witch trial frenzy, bar none: the imprisonment, torture and slaughter of innocent people.
What Are the Stakes?
If this succeeds in its maximum aim—an outright coup—the consequences for humanity would be incalculably bad, and possibly catastrophic. And if it makes headway in its “lesser aims”—which will amount to advancing the cohesion, influence and aggressive capabilities of the organized fascist movement—that also will have extremely negative repercussions; including on the situation of the masses of people and on the ability of those who want to see a better world to wage that struggle.
But as yet there is a lack of anything approaching a commensurate response from those who oppose this fascism—whether from the grassroots “decent people” and those who want to see action against the bitter injustices of the world, or the top Democratic politicians whose role in this society is to corral, misdirect and suppress those sections of society that do want a more just world. Indeed, the inaction of the Democrats, the failure to use their podiums, pulpits, money and extensive organizational resources to call this out for the outrageously dangerous trajectory that it is—all this is unconscionable.
The reason for this lies in their program, as distinct from the fascists, to meet the multiple crises facing the U.S. system and those who rule it: A program which includes both gestures toward diversity, inclusion and limited reform (designed to hold the empire together) AND conciliating with and placating the fascists, “reaching across the aisle,” which as BA has said, can only be on the terms of fascism. The Democrats’ marginally “inclusive” program is extremely dangerous to humanity precisely because it is seductive to those who wish only to go back to normal and enjoy—or get in the scramble for—what are in fact the privileges of empire. A program which, in point of fact, also relies on the projection of military force and internal repression, if not in such blatant, and blatantly vicious, form.
The stakes of breaking free of the stranglehold and acting are the survival of hope for humanity—certainly long-term and perhaps very directly.
And What Must Be Done Now?
Many things, but two above all and very immediately:
It is incumbent on everyone who cares about the future of humanity to delve deeper into the character of the threat we face. This did not arise with one election, and it is obviously not going away—in fact, it is further metastasizing in extremely dangerous ways before our eyes. The fact-based, scientifically-founded analysis of the deep roots and living, real-world dynamics of this threat that has been done by Bob Avakian—and the paths that he has put forward for fighting it as part of building a movement for an actual revolution—are essential to anyone serious about confronting this.
It is also incumbent on—and it is immediately urgent for—everyone who cares about the outcome of this extremely dangerous period we find ourselves in to ACT. Refuse Fascism has put forward ways for people to come together in the face of this, to build understanding, strength and effectiveness—for the fight today, and the fight to come. Go here to find out what they are doing right now, this week, to counter this… and to learn about and get involved in their larger program.
To end where we began: if you thought the fascist threat is over, it is not. Face the reality; and start to take independent action, with others, that can really change it.
1. By law, at least one senator was needed to force a debate on the electors, and Hawley was the first senator to join in. [back]
2. Congress is supposed to register and count the votes that have been certified by the individual states, not decide if the votes are correct, which is the job of the states, which happened on December 14. [back]
3. It is worth noting here that most of the cities actually turned in a higher percentage for Trump this year than in 2016. Where Trump lost ground, badly, was in the suburbs around these cities. That is where there is a marked discrepancy unfavorable to Trump in the anti-Trump vote between this election and last one. Yet all the fire is directed against the cities. [back]
4. Trump said months ago, before anyone voted at all, that he could only lose if the election was rigged, and the more he said this lie, the more people who really wanted him to win began to believe and be prepared for this conspiracy-explanation, that all kinds of government, Democrats, Republican officials all were in on making Biden win. [back]