Friday, March 18, 2016

Trump predicts riots. It can happen here!

Trump does seem unstoppable. My sense (only that, and it may be wrong) is that Republican opposition is wavering. He's already on the attack against Hillary Clinton. He condones violence at his rallies and predict riots should the Republican National Convention pick someone other than him. Amy Goodman, writing at CommonDreams.org reminds us of the parallels between American now and Germany in the 20s and 30s.

“When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross,” goes a saying that is widely attributed to the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, Sinclair Lewis. In 1935, Lewis wrote a novel called “It Can’t Happen Here,” positing fascism’s rise in the United States. We were taught that fascism was defeated in 1945, with the surrender of Germany and Japan in World War II. Yet the long shadows of that dark era are falling on the presidential campaign trail this year, with eruptions of violence, oaths of loyalty complete with Nazi salutes and, presiding over it all, Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

[snip]

“Donald Trump shows a rather alarming willingness to use fascist themes and fascist styles. The response this gets, the positive response, is alarming,” said Robert Paxton on the “Democracy Now!” news hour. Considered the father of fascism studies, he is professor emeritus of social science at Columbia University.

Paxton gave a short history of the rise of fascism in Germany: “In the election of 1924, [Hitler] did very poorly, for a marginal party. Then you have the Depression in 1929 and 1930. ... There’s this huge economic crisis with tens of millions unemployed, and there’s also a governmental deadlock. You cannot get any legislation passed.” Paxton continued, “The German Weimar Republic really ceased to function as a republic in 1930, because nothing could be passed. ... So, between 1930 and 1933, President von Hindenburg ruled by decree. And the political elites are desperate to get out of that situation. And here’s Hitler, who has more votes by this time than anybody else. He’s up to 37 percent. He never gets a majority, but he’s up to 37 percent. And they want to bring that into their tent and get a solid mass backing. And so ... they bring him in.”

The partnership that the German elites forged with Hitler and his Nazi Party didn’t work out quite the way they hoped. He took power by subterfuge and by force, arrested and killed his opponents, and plunged Europe into the deadliest war in human history.

Donald Trump is fanning the flames of bigotry and racism. He is exploiting the fears of masses of white, working-class voters who have seen their economic prospects disappear. Should the Republican nominating process end in a contested convention this summer in Cleveland, Trump told CNN Wednesday morning, “I think you’d have riots. I’m representing ... many, many millions of people.”

Note that Trump does not condone riots - but his statement seems accepting of them. And now that the idea has been planted we should get set for a long hot summer and continuing unrest thereafter.

I emphasize another parallel in the making. Hitler partnered with the industrial powers and German elites. AP reporters Julie Pace and Steven Peoples tell us the American Republican elites still do not have a credible alternative and the groups funding anti-Trump ads are backing off. Here are snippets from the reprint in yesterday morning's Daily Star.

Despite the deep concerns about Trump within the Republican Party, there was little tangible action Wednesday that indicated a way to stop the real estate mogul's march toward the general election.

There was no rush among party leaders or donors to coalesce around Ted Cruz, the only candidate in the race with even a long-shot chance of overtaking Trump in the delegate count. A small group of conservatives moved forward with plans to meet Thursday to discuss the prospect of rallying behind a third-party option, but no candidate had been identified to lead that effort.

... During a round of calls to morning television shows, [Trump] said some of the same Republican senators who publicly criticize him have called him privately to say they want to "become involved" in his campaign eventually. He also picked up an endorsement Wednesday from Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

The three best-financed efforts to stop Trump abruptly ceased advertising after Tuesday's elections. The outside groups American Future Fund, Our Principles and Club for Growth have no Trump attack ads planned for Arizona - a crucial winner-take-all contest in six days - or in any states beyond.

Do you now see why I have the "sense" that Republicans are caving and positioning themselves to line up behind Trump?

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