I am often asked by people who support any Democrat against Trump, how to you propose to deal with the Trump/fascism problem?
My answer is that the Democrats may beat Trump, but they won’t beat Trumpism because they have enabled it.
The Democrats’ neoliberal capitalist domestic policies increased the economic insecurity of the working and lower-middle classes. Trumpism — and more broadly the racist messaging of Republicans going back to Goldwater — uses that economic insecurity to mobilize its white base around scapegoating immigrants, Muslims, and people of color.
When the Democrats did have the White House under Obama, they coddled corporate criminals and war criminals, the social layers always at the core of fascist rule. The Obama administration decided that the corporate criminals who stole 14 million homes with racist predatory lending, robo-signing, and foreclosures needed to be bailed out instead of jailed out. Obama decided to “not look back” at the torture and other war crimes of Bush administration officials. So the racist banksters and war criminals are back in business holding top positions in the Trump administration. For details on Obama’s coddling, see my article The Rich White Man’s Justice System Protects Trump and his Cronies.
The Democrats are full partners in U.S. imperialism, which sponsors coups by fascists and props them up with diplomatic, military, and economic support all over the world. The limited protestations of congressional progressives, the politically inconsequential junior partners in the Democratic coalition, serve only to keep progressives captive to and supportive of that imperialist party. The biggest post World War II military budget in real terms was in 2010, which Obama signed in October 2009. It was his first military budget when the Democrats controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress thanks in good part to popular revulsion to the war in Iraq. It was well before the white-backlash wave election of November 2010 that won the House for the Republicans.
Trump may call climate change a hoax, but the Democrats act as if it is hoax. The DNC has resolved to take fossil-fuel industry money and continue Obama’s all-of-the-above energy policy, which means fracking the whole country for oil and gas. Obama still boasts that his energy policy made the US the world’s No. 1 oil and gas producer.
The principal difference between Trump’s atrocities at the southern border and Obama’s atrocities as “Deporter in Chief” is that Trump proclaims his mean-spirited actions in order to mobilize his racist base while Obama hoped his quiet mass deportations would mollify the racist Republicans without offending his liberal Democratic base.
The Democrats won’t defend the civil liberties and democratic rights that fascists hate. Quite the contrary, the Democrats aggressively assaulted our constitutional rights under the Obama administration with its extension of the repressive Patriot Act; its NSA mass surveillance; its domestic spying on antiwar, environmental, and social justice groups from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter; its war on whistleblowers featuring Espionage Act prosecutions; its listening in to the phone calls of 35 European, UN, and other national leaders around the world; its National Defense Authorization Act provision for the detention and even execution of US citizens without judicial review; its “Terror Tuesdays” when Obama personally selected targets for drone assassinations, including “signature strikes” to kill anonymous military-aged young men simply because they looked like terrorists.
The “Trump/fascism problem” is a problem of the two-capitalist-party system of corporate rule. Supporting the “lesser evil” in that system perpetuates it.
Building an independent ecosocialist political alternative is how to deal with the fascism problem in America. The Green Party is not yet strong enough to defeat both capitalist parties in the presidential election. But it can and does win local elections and it can build on that from the bottom up. To do that, it needs ballot lines, which its presidential ballot petitioning and votes help secure in most of the states. To tell the Green Party to wait this year (as we are told every four years) is to give bipartisan corporate militarism a free ride to four more years no matter which capitalist party wins the presidency.
Elections alone are not enough. But neither are social movements. Without an independent party on the left, the Democrats take progressive votes for granted and disregard progressive social movement demands. Without movements in the streets to popularize and demonstrate mass support for progressive change, the independent left party won’t build the base it needs to win.
Organizing and voting for an independent progressive alternative is a more potent form of resistance to fascism than telling progressives to resign themselves to the demoralizing prospect of organizing and voting for the “lesser evil.” Chris Hedges was right when he said, “I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.”