The Liberal Disingenuosness of 'Trump's America'
The Liberal Disingenuosness of 'Trump's America'

The Liberal Disingenuosness of ‘Trump’s America’

After weeks of a panic-driven insistence that we can vote out fascism by self-proclaimed leftists, mainstream media has taken it up a notch with terminology like “Trump’s America.” In using that term, what both leftists and liberals are engaging in, besides fear-mongering, is a misguided and ahistorical approach to electoral politics and US politics, in general.

By attributing fascism and the conditions of an overzealous militarized police force solely to Donald Trump, we ignore the trajectory of how we have arrived at a Trump presidency. Furthermore, an obsessive fixation on Trump and not the system, at large, makes us complicit in the work of encouraging fascism. 

The intentional falsehoods around the actual power of the Black vote pushed by an organized Black Misleadership class have upheld a “vote Blue no matter who” narrative that has distorted the politics of the who because they are blue. The false dichotomy of Republican bad/Democrat good has strangled US politics. The focus on self-interest voting has discouraged an educated vote. 

Individualism is capitalism’s best defense. Many have fallen behind the bad DNC strategy of individualizing Trump’s presidency as unique in American presidents’ history (just as they did in 2016, singling him out as “deplorable”).  In this stage of socio-economic development of capitalism in a state of crisis, fascism is the logical next step when both parties share the unwavering politics of neoliberalism. 

Former Vice-president and longtime congressman Joe Biden’s career-long hyper-focus on the (White) middle class has defined his politics. Whether through his alignment with rabid racist republicans against school bussing systems or his doubling down on “law and order,” Biden has crafted a very intentional political career in devotion to American exceptionalism and neoliberalism. Running as a fiscal conservative, Biden rose the political ranks as one of the leading Democrats calling for Reagan-esque approaches to budgetary policy and stayed on that path. He has pushed for NAFTA and The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), deliberately undercutting labor to side with corporations and Wall Street. And through it all, Biden has become more hawkish.

Undoubtedly, there is a precedent for Trump’s actions– a precedent that includes his opponent, Biden. Leftists are pointing to Trump as an example of “full-blown” fascism while disregarding, as the ever- expanding  police state and prison industrial complex shows, fascism has always been the American way.

As Margaret Kimberly states in her book, Prejudential: Black America and The Presidents, “Donald Trump is vilified because his open racism tarnishes the brand. The system depends upon its capacity to make people feel good about their country and themselves. Trump makes that difficult, instead embarrassing people who want to have positive feelings about their government. What was once a dark underbelly is now the very face of the US government.”

Kimberly’s above point is made when analyzing the hysteria around voter suppression. A nation that has interfered in countless elections, funded opposition parties, and backed coups worldwide has spent four years in a fuss about [unproven] “Russia-gate,” alleged election-interference which has been nothing but a reiteration of the old cold war. This election year, China has been thrown in the “voter suppression boogeyman” mix, as well. While the hypocrisy is apparent, the motivation behind it, for many, isn’t. 

There’s more of a geopolitical motivation to address “voter suppression” than an actual desire for people to engage in civic duties. If the latter were a concern, we would not find ourselves in 2020 unable to create accessible ways to cast a vote. The prioritization of “voter suppression” under the covert notion of election interference by outside nations has become a way to continue proxy and trade wars. 

“Voter Suppression” has been a tried and true presidential campaign strategy of the Democratic Party, which has spent the last 20 years, since Al Gore lost Florida, actively doing nothing about it. This election year, “saving the USPS” has been the vehicle for the strategy to “oust” Trump.

For more than a decade, the Postal Service has faced financial troubles giving lawmakers many opportunities to debate its future. USPS’s constant financial problems have made conservative conversations about structural changes in the agency a renewed focus. There’s been a bipartisan push for the USPS to function more like a corporation. The Postal Service often acts as a vendor for companies like Amazon, UPS, FedEx, etc. The constant threat of defunding opens up the perfect opportunity to privatize the USPS, a long time goal.

For the democratic party, the previous attempts to privatize is, of course, no reason to “save the USPS.” Instead, Trump’s open refusal to fund the USPS has become a tactic for the DNC to exploit, amid a pandemic, and restrict people from gathering in long lines for hours, unsafely. Pushing for mail-in voting, despite the mess it caused during the summer in Georgia, Wisconsin, and New York, has allowed the Democratic party to hyper-fixate on “saving the USPS,” intentionally conflating it with saving democracy.

Neoliberal right-wing democrats, like Nancy Pelosi, made a show of calling Congress back in session to “save” the post office because it’s part of the intra-bourgeois struggle for power that they are involved in. These same right-wing democrats have been less quick to call Congress back into session to push for financial relief and canceling rents during this pandemic. 

Although many have signaled the suppression of voting as the “rise of fascism,” those same people have seemingly turned a blind eye to the intentional suppression of voters who are members of the Green Party. The Green Party runs a platform that is everything Bernie Sanders supporters advocated for and more, including a Black woman VP running mate. The Democratic Party, which has made it a point to stigmatize the more radical voters, is currently suing to remove Green Party candidates from the ballots in many states. 

In Texas, Pennsylvania, and Montana, the Democratic Party has successfully targeted and removed Green Party candidates by using discrepancies in the filing. Like paying filing fees (a new third party requirement law passed last year), these discrepancies are currently being argued against by the Green Party as “unconstitutional burdens.” The DNC has also contended that Green Party candidates on ballots are the result of a GOP plot. Nonetheless, the removal of third party candidates, which has not been addressed in a mainstream way, is a direct form of voter suppression. Somehow, this deliberate silencing of a third party in a democracy is not seen as “fascist—- only and solely Trump’s actions.

Perhaps that is why Democrats are confidently promising “law and order” policies that have not received the same level of push back as when Trump overtly states strong support of “law and order.” In 1963, Fannie Lou Hamer said,” Black people know what white people mean when they say ‘law and order’” but “vote blue no matter who” Black liberals seem to conveniently ignore that while Trump is praising and calling for expanding the police state, Biden is, as well. 

In a Washington Post article, Baynard Woods mentions Attorney General William Barr’s recent remarks to Congress, where he consistently referred to Portland protestors as “violent rioters and anarchists.” Woods correctly notes that “hammering on this word, Barr, like Trump, is not only justifying continued federal law enforcement action around the country — he is also setting the stage for federal rioting-related charges.”

The Trump administration’s pressure claiming that Biden is too soft on protestors has strongarmed Biden to make the same promises to prosecute protesters using the same criminalizing language to garner the white vote. Referring to protestors as “violent” and “lawless”, as he attributes the looting to “Trump’s America,” has allowed Biden to escape the same level of a tongue-lashing for focusing on the rioting and not the system that created the conditions. 

Biden’s latest $45 million ad campaign is a pushback to President Trump’s attacks, with images of burned-out cars and buildings, and violent confrontations with the police. In the ad, Biden says, “I want to make it absolutely clear rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting, And those who do it should be prosecuted.”

Biden is not only the man who penned the crime bill, but also the former VP of an administration that still has protestors imprisoned from the Ferguson and Baltimore uprisings. Yet somehow, he is seen as less of a threat than Trump regarding “law and order.” Viewing Biden as less threatening is made possible by Trump exploiting the damages caused by the uprisings happening across the country since June. Biden is considered less of a threat despite wanting to put $300 million more into policing, directly opposing the mass calls to defund police. 

As Wendi Muse of Left POCket suggests, “[Democrats] are reminding the population, as it fights to breathe beneath the boot of policing, job loss, deadly disease with no healthcare, and environmental disaster, that there is no relief on the horizon. On the contrary, the Democrats are now working as hard as they can and spending as much money as possible to remind us that we have literally nowhere to run.”

Democrats are relying on Trump’s threat in the office to not only single him out as a fascist but to move the party further to the right. They are not only inviting racists into the fold but leaning into anti- Black policy to *prove* to the white voter that they are a safe bet. Lesser-evilism has resulted in the Democratic party choosing to back a candidate cozying up to Israel and neocons of the Bush administration to show a Biden/Harris ticket can unify the country post “Trump’s America.” Hence the excitement around “Biden republicans.”

Understanding imperialism as not merely a global issue, but a domestic one also allows people to know how frightening it is that the Democratic National Convention was nothing more than a convention of right-wing neoliberals, neocons, and former George W Bush national security advisors. The absurd theatrics of the Republican National Convention has overshadowed much of the highly troubling and suggestive instances of the future the democrats see for this country, which stands as a neocolonial empire. 

The foreign policy offered to us by the Biden campaign is no different from the existing foreign policy except with promises to be “tougher.” In fact, in most instances, Biden’s foreign policy is to the Trump administration’s right, promising to still interfere in Venezuela, DPRK, Iran, and Cuba with no mention of AFRICOM. Like the Trump administration, Biden also intends to maintain a strong relationship with Israel to the detriment of the Palestinian people facing mass genocide. The Biden/ Harris ticket is offering “Trump’s America”  liberal/progressive imperialism where nothing changes— including the police state here. 

Liberals (and, as we are now witnessing, some leftists) are necessary factors in enabling fascism. In real-time, Democrats are vowing more funding to police, compromising policy in favor of the ruling class, alienating and criminalizing radicals/ radical organizations, running into neocons’ arms, and promising to change nothing except the leader of the nation. As Ajamu Baraka has stated, “Morally why does the U.S. deserve to avoid “fascism” with Trump while its bipartisan anti-democratic, anti-people policies supporting brutal elites in the global South bring misery, premature death & war (fascism)? From the perspective of the Global South, what party is more dangerous?”

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Erica Caines is a poet, writer and organizer in Baltimore and the DMV. She is an organizing committee member of the anti war coalition, the Black Alliance For Peace as well as an outreach member of the Black centered Ujima People’s Progress Party. Caines founded Liberation Through Reading in 2017 as a way to provide Black children with books that represent them and created the extension, a book club entitled Liberation Through Reading BC, to strengthen political education online and in our communities.