After a seven-year-long political crime spree (which is predated by decades of lawbreaking), it appears that Donald Trump may finally be held accountable for his crimes against society.
How has Trump responded to the possibility that he may be indicted and arrested for his alleged crimes connected to paying his former mistress Stormy Daniels hush money in connection with his 2016 presidential campaign? With predictable rage, fury, fire, and incitements to political violence and mayhem.
For example, over the weekend Trump sent out this proclamation via his Truth Social disinformation platform:
“OUR NATION IS NOW THIRD WORLD & DYING. THE AMERICAN DREAM IS DEAD! THE RADICAL LEFT ANARCHISTS HAVE STOLLEN OUR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, AND WITH IT, THE HEART OF OUR COUNTRY. AMERICAN PATRIOTS ARE BEING ARRESTED & HELD IN CAPTIVITY LIKE ANIMALS, WHILE CRIMINALS & LEFTIST THUGS ARE ALLOWED TO ROAM THE STREETS, KILLING & BURNING WITH NO RETRIBUTION. MILLIONS ARE FLOODING THROUGH OUR OPEN BOARDERS, MANY FROM PRISONS & MENTAL INSTITUTIONS. CRIME & INFLATION ARE DESTROYING OUR VERY WAY OF LIFE…”
“NOW ILLEGAL LEAKS FROM A CORRUPT & HIGHLY POLITICAL MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE, WHICH HAS ALLOWED NEW RECORDS TO BE SET IN VIOLENT CRIME & WHOSE LEADER IS FUNDED BY GEORGE SOROS, INDICATE THAT, WITH NO CRIME BEING ABLE TO BE PROVEN, & BASED ON AN OLD & FULLY DEBUNKED (BY NUMEROUS OTHER PROSECUTORS!) FAIRYTALE, THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
These statements by Trump are a veritable firehouse of antisemitism, white supremacy, conspiracism, paranoia, lies, and other delusional thinking.
Trump’s proclamation – in keeping with a much larger pattern – is also an example of stochastic terrorism. Trump’s threats of violence are not idle or empty: he is the only president in United States history to attempt a lethal coup against American democracy and the will of the people.
Trump has been channeling Hitler and Mussolini with threats of “retribution” and revenge for his followers if they can retake the White House and then punish their common “enemies.”
Like other demagogues and political cult leaders, the former president is a type of political monster and chimera. For his supporters, Trump is a role model and personal God who models the worst of human behavior and gives them permission to behave the same way. For those who oppose Trump because they believe in real democracy, the rule of law, common decency and the truth, Trump is an evil and dangerous force who must be stopped.
His followers online and in other spaces are now rallying their troops to protect him, with force if necessary, from being arrested and taken into custody by law enforcement.
In an act of textbook stochastic terrorism, Trump is now feigning concern about violence and urging his followers to be “peaceful” after the incitements to violence have already been made. But over the last weeks and months, Trump has been channeling Hitler and Mussolini with threats of “retribution” and revenge for his followers if they can retake the White House and then punish their common “enemies.” Following through on the cult leader-follower power dynamic, Trump has also repeatedly told his followers that he and they are “victims” of some type of conspiracy and only he has the power to save them. In this twisted view, if Trump is indicted for his crimes it means that the MAGA movement is under assault and in danger of becoming political prisoners of the “Biden regime.”
These threats are part of a much larger pattern where Trump is literally claiming that he is the country’s savior, the personal embodiment of the state, and that if he is not reelected or otherwise put back in power, then the United States and the world will be destroyed. To that point, in one of a series of horror movie-like videos that feature Trump in shadows and darkness, he recently threatened that “World War III is looming like never before in the very dark and murky background. Lack of leadership is solely responsible for this unprecedented danger to our beautiful USA, and likewise to the world itself. Hopeless Joe Biden is leading us into oblivion, we cannot let it happen. We have to take back the White House or our country is doomed.”
As mental health experts have repeatedly warned, Donald Trump’s threats are more evidence of his apparent megalomania, emotional decompensation, delusions, and other severe mental pathologies that make him a threat to public safety. Yet, as is their habit, the mainstream news media, for the most part, laughed at, mocked, or outright ignored Trump’s threats of Armageddon and destruction.
To ignore or mock Trump’s threats of destruction are a great error because such apocalyptic allusions are not an outlier or aberration: they are now the template and model for the Republican Party. A new study by the Washington Post highlights this growing GOP trend:
Speaking to conservative activists this month just outside of D.C., former president Donald Trump promised to be “your warrior” and “your justice,” vowing: “And to those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”
The same day, speaking to a group of conservative donors in Florida, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley (R) warned, “Joe Biden and the Democrats are destroying our people’s patriotism and swapping it out for dangerous self-loathing.”
And speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California on March 5, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) argued that his state offered a refuge from a Democratic-led “dystopia, where people’s rights were curtailed and their livelihoods were destroyed.”
The trio of comments from 2024 Republican presidential hopefuls — either declared or expected — underscore the dark undertones and apocalyptic rhetoric that have pervaded much of the Republican Party in the era of Trump….
But much of the rhetoric from the declared and potential Republican candidates so far is remarkable for its dystopian tone. In many high-profile moments, these Republicans portray the nation as locked in an existential battle, where the stark combat lines denote not just policy disagreements but warring camps of saviors vs. villains, and where political opponents are regularly demonized.
The Washington Post delves deeper into the dangers this poses:
“At its worst, it divides and excludes,” said Alison McQueen, associate professor of political science at Stanford University and author of “Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times.” “It casts one set of people as heroes and saviors and another set of people as beyond the pale and evil. It’s good and evil rhetoric, and once you see your opponents as evil or the belligerent side in a war, that seems to legitimize treating them in ways we’d otherwise find very objectionable.”…
McQueen noted that other periods in American history — the Puritans arriving in New England, the Civil War and the post-9/11 era — have featured similarly dark and foreboding political language.
It works. It’s that simple. That is why Republicans use this strategy of apocalypse and destruction.
The Republican Party’s leaders and strategists know that they cannot win free and fair elections where voters decide based on substantive issues of public concern. Instead, fear and terror are deemed to be viable tools for mobilizing Republican and MAGA voters while simultaneously intimidating and therefore demobilizing Democrats and others who don’t support the Republican Party.
This strategy of apocalypse and destruction is also a function of how Republican and MAGA voters have also been trained and conditioned into apocalyptic thinking and beliefs by their political and religious leaders and other influentials. The strategy is amplified in its effectiveness because of how the political personalities and decision-making of conservative-authoritarians fixate on death anxieties and accompanying fears of victimhood, destruction, pollution, and contamination from some type of Other.
Not to be overlooked or ignored, the white red state rural and working-class communities that constitute the base of Trumpism and today’s Republican-fascist movement have experienced economic devastation from deindustrialization and globalization, are suffering through what social scientists describe as “the deaths of despair”, and in total are mired in deep malaise and despair. For many (white) people in these regions of the country it literally does appear to be the end of days.
In an excellent essay at Religion Dispatches in response to Trump’s recent CPAC speech and its themes of destruction, historian Thomas Lecaque noted:
The former president opened his speech—after a long list of far-right celebrity shout outs—by framing the 2024 election as a battle: “the greatest in our history, most important battle in our lives is taking place right now as we speak. For seven years, you and I have been engaged in an epic struggle to rescue our country from the people who hate it and want to absolutely destroy it.” The stakes aren’t just political control—though political control is part of it—but existential. It’s more than a victory in the election, it’s a victory about the future, about survival, a zero sum game….:
This is the final battle. An epic struggle, the most important battle, against “the people who hate it and want to absolutely destroy it.” This is the framework for Trump’s entire speech, an apocalyptic confrontation, the final battle between good and evil.
It’s apocalyptic, but not out of the Christian Bible. There’s an entire strain of biblical theological apocalypticism, but this veers heavily towards straightforward ideological nihilism. Trump is happy to play with the optics of Christendom, and to hand over whatever he needs to his evangelical allies to keep them on his side. This is certainly not to say that Christian apocalypticism is not part of his repertoire. He surrounds himself with evangelicals that embrace it—the Robert Jeffresses, the John Hagees, the Mike Pompeos and the Michael Pences—but when they ceased being fellow travelers, he waited while crowds chanted “Hang Mike Pence” in the Capitol Building.
Trump’s speech was not the apocalypse of Christendom, it was the apocalypse of QAnon. Trump’s playbook is not about the Kingdom of Heaven, it’s about America First—and the eschatology of QAnon ends in murder.
Ultimately, the Republican-fascists and conservative movement’s Armageddon politics are inherently antidemocratic because it is based on constant fear and terror which in turn makes contemplation, reason, communication, and consensus building to address common problems and shared concerns based on truth and empirical reality all but impossible. America’s democracy crisis can only escalate because the Republicans see destruction and violence and a political (and perhaps even literal) Armageddon and apocalypse as integral to their plan to get and keep power by any means necessary for all time.
about the GOP’s dark fantasies
Source : https://www.salon.com/2023/03/21/trumpageddon-its-time-to-take-of-retribution-seriously/