by Glen Ford, originally published on Black Agenda Report, July 19, 2018
“Trump supporters see themselves as a distinct and independent force in the nation — the saviors of America, in their diseased minds — and they now hate the Democratic Party in a far deeper way than before.”
So this is what we can look forward to in the long twilight of a shrinking U.S. empire: the shrieks of a delirious ruling class, concocting endless diversions from the central reality of late-stage capitalism’s inability to offer the people anything but widening wars and deepening austerity. The Lords of Capital have led us to a dark yet insanely cacophonous realm, a throbbing madhouse din. “Traitor!” scream the minions of corporate communications, calling for the blood of the corporate government’s orange-branded CEO — a no longer exceptional spectacle for the self-proclaimed exceptional nation.
Donald Trump is, indeed, a kind of traitor to the Washington Consensus, a hyper-militarized capitalist utopia of corporate dominated global supply chains that doubled the international wage-slave workforce in the last two decades of the 20th century and herded these desperate billions into a race to the bottom. The leadership of both corporate parties conspired to force U.S. workers into the global meat-grinder. Democrat Bill Clinton inflicted NAFTA on his party’s wage-earning base and, two decades later, Democrat Barack Obama tried, but failed, to pass the even more devastating Trans Pacific Partnership corporate trade and governance bill. Donald Trump captured the Republican Party by feeding its base the overt racist rhetoric they crave, rather than the more polite “dog whistle” menu cultivated by White Man’s Party politicians since Richard Nixon. With the indispensable assistance of Democrat-oriented corporate media and the Democratic National Committee — both of which saw Trump as the most easily beatable Republican — Trump trounced the entire GOP presidential wanna-be menagerie to seize the reins of half the electoral duopoly, and carried a majority of white voters – including white women — in the general election.
“Global supply chains doubled the international wage-slave workforce in the last two decades of the 20thcentury and herded these desperate billions into a race to the bottom.”
It was not Trump’s flaming racism that made him a traitor to his class and to the empire. One of the U.S. duopoly parties has always played the role of White Man’s Party, with white supremacy as its organizing principle. Were it not for endemic, fervent, nationwide white racism, the most reactionary wing of the U.S. ruling class would have no effective electoral base. Trump simply serves up a stronger brew of white supremacist elixir for the good ole boys and girls. His heresy – precipitating the crisis in ruling class politics — was to rhetorically oppose “free trade” and U.S. “regime change” policies, and to call for normalizing relations with Russia. “Free trade” — a euphemism for the unfettered ability of the ruling class to move money and jobs wherever it chooses on the planet – and the “exceptional” right of U.S. imperialism to remove and replace sovereign governments at will, are the pillars of the Washington Consensus. Donald Trump became anathema to the Lords of Capital and their servants in the national security “deep state,” who crowded into Hillary Clinton’s Democratic tent, where Russiagate was invented out of whole cloth.
Again, racism was not Trump’s unpardonable sin, although it plays into the strategies of the (financial and high tech) ruling class sectors at the helm of the Democratic Party, whose own electoral organizing principle is an anemic anti-racism, a phony politics of “inclusion” that welcomes representatives of minority populations to help enforce the race-to-the-bottom and to join in the general capitalist plunder. Trump’s howling racism was what made Democrats believe he was the ideal candidate for a trouncing by Hillary Clinton, who could be counted on to escalate Barack Obama’s general military offensive and to aggressively pursue TPP and other corporate governance arrangements. (Only fools believed Clinton’s late switch, opposing TPP.) When Clinton lost, the ruling class panicked and resolved to bring down the Orange Menace no matter the cost to U.S. institutions and to the appearance of stability in the very bosom of the empire. The rolling coup was begun.
“Trump’s heresy – precipitating the crisis in ruling class politics — was to rhetorically oppose ‘free trade’ and U.S. ‘regime change’ policies, and to call for normalizing relations with Russia.”
Black folks think the crisis is about race. It is – and it isn’t. If the ruling class, including those that fund and run the Democratic Party, were really concerned about Black people’s rights, they would have challenged Trump’s election victory based on blatant Black voter suppression in key Midwest states. As Greg Palast pointed out, the Republican “Crosscheck” scheme fraudulently and illegally purged 449,000 disproportionately Black voters from the rolls in Michigan, alone — about 40 times larger than Trump’s 10,700-vote margin of victory. Yet, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats only reluctantly joined in Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s recount action, and the first words out of Black Congressman John Lewis’s mouth when the polls closed in November were “Russia…Russia…Russia.” Republicans have been stealing elections through Black voter suppression in broad daylight since 2000, but only one Democratic senator and one congresswoman — California’s Barbara Boxer and Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, in 2004 – have in this century challenged the thefts . Black voter suppression has been part of the gentlemen’s agreement between the two corporate parties. Rich white people do not plunge the system into crisis for the sake of Black voting rights, or any Black rights at all, including the right to life. But the Lords of Capital will roll the dice on the fate of all humanity to preserve and expand their global dominion and the military machine that is their only remaining advantage. Their survival as a class is at stake. Trump must go because he cannot be depended on to preserve the Washington Consensus — the imperial project.
“Republicans have been stealing elections through Black voter suppression in broad daylight since 2000.”
Trump’s racism did factor into the ruling class decision to oust him from the White House, but not in the way that most people believe. Donald Trump proved that his white base is more enthusiastic to support a candidate that affirms white supremacist “values” (yes, that’s what they value most) than they are about maintaining an aggressive military posture everywhere in the world. They did not blink or budge when Trump denigrated NATO, opposed regime change and U.S. efforts at “nation-building” (a euphemism for prolonged military occupation of other peoples), and called for better relations with Russia. These same voters were presumed to be the most militaristic cohort in the nation, dependable fodder to elect fire-breathing war hawks. But clearly, Trump’s base — composed of a majority of whites – cares more about white supremacy in the U.S. than waging endless wars abroad. And, they either hate “free trade,” or don’t care enough about it either way to abandon their White Man’s President.
The national security state, the military industrial complex and the oligarchs whose interests the empire defends were forced to confront the reality, that their presumed prime constituency was not nearly as gung-ho for war as previously assumed. How, then, to continue the “generational” War on Terror (war of imperial conquest)? Answer: Make Russia a clear and present danger, aided and abetted by “useful idiots” (like BAR), domestically.
Trump still retains the support of his white majority. Most importantly, these white supremacists feel affirmed, as “a people,” by his presence, and what they perceive as Trump’s loyalty to them. They are feeling “Great Again.” And they are reveling in their national strength, as a bloc. That’s why they seem unmovable. This re-energized, aggressively white supremacist, intensely self-aware White Man’s Party will assert its permanent, militant and very large presence in the U.S. political spectrum, no matter what happens to Donald Trump. Other politicians, with billions to spend, will appeal to this majority bloc of whites, after Trump leaves the scene. They see themselves as a distinct and independent force in the nation — the saviors of America, in their diseased minds — and they now hate the Democratic Party in a far deeper way than before, when it was perceived as too concerned with Blacks and other “minorities.” Hillary Clinton turned a new chapter when she called Trump voters “deplorables” — a kind of white trash, but connoting moral degeneracy, transcending financial condition. The “witch-hunt” against Trump is perceived as an elite mob out to lynch the “deplorables” — or, at the least, to decertify them as decent Americans.
“This re-energized, aggressively white supremacist, intensely self-aware White Man’s Party will assert its permanent, militant and very large presence in the U.S. political spectrum, no matter what happens to Donald Trump.”
The Democrats can forget about ever getting back most of these self-aware white supremacist voters, but the establishment corporate Republicans that Trump crushed in winning the GOP nomination will not win back his followers’ allegiance unless they become more like Trump, i.e. more blatantly white supremacist. Which is decidedly not the corporate way, in the 21st century. Thus, corporate America, wedded as it is to a “diversity” doctrine that means little to the masses of Black people but is a red flag to the White Man’s Party “deplorables,” will be forced to identify more publicly with the Democrats, or pretend to be apolitical.
The Trump phenomena — and the resultant ruling class hysteria — has stolen the corporations’ option to pose as “non-partisan” actors in U.S. politics. They are forced deeper into the Democratic camp, creating further contradictions for the “inclusive” party, which must ultimately answer to a more clearly defined — and also more self-aware – constituency of the “left,” most broadly speaking, if it is to preserve the duopoly. This other half of the country, slightly bigger than Trump’s white majority base, is composed of a minority of whites, virtually all Blacks, and large majorities of Latinos and other minorities. It is way to the left of the Democratic Party and roiling with economic demands that the Lords of Capital will not, and cannot, fulfill while keeping on the path of a global race-to-the-bottom and deepening austerity, enforced by endless wars.
“Corporate America, wedded as it is to a ‘diversity’ doctrine that means little to the masses of Black people but is a red flag to the White Man’s Party ‘deplorables,’ will be forced to identify more publicly with the Democrats.”
Therefore, there must be Russiagate hysteria — or some other fictitious obsession — primarily to divert the attentions of the “left” half of the electorate, most of which is broadly social democratic (the Black component is the most left-leaning, and peace-oriented). If the duopoly were to collapse, and the various cohorts of the U.S. political spectrum were reorganized along ideological lines, the two biggest parties would be the Trumpist White Man’s party and a social democratic party with a platform to the left of 2016 Bernie Sanders, with the (rightwing) Democrats and establishment Republicans coming together in an avowedly “centrist” party, the smallest of the three. Space would also be created for more radical and libertarian politics.
The ruling class is determined to prevent such a scenario from occurring, and thus needs a permanent, all-consuming diversion. But the Russiagate hysteria — or something else like it — cannot be maintained indefinitely; U.S. political structures cannot withstand such an institutional assault by the ruling class, itself.
The Lords of Capital are caught in the contradiction. To save the corporate state, they are besieging the corporate state, with no vision or timetable for the outcome.
In 1977,Glen Ford co-launched, produced and hosted “America’s Black Forum” (ABF), the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. Ford co-founded BlackCommentator.com (BC) in 2002. The weekly journal quickly became the most influential Black political site on the Net. In October, 2006, Ford and the entire writing team left BC to launch BlackAgendaReport.com (BAR). BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford(at)BlackAgendaReport.com