The Washington Post has a roundup of Donald Trump's most recent dystopian visions of what his theoretical second term might look like—if we assume that America just moves on from that whole violent militia-assisted end of democracy thing; the requests to state officials to fake their election totals; and the squirreling away of "highly classified" security secrets to a room in Spytown, USA, otherwise known as Donald Trump's Florida golf club.
His proposals range from petty to just plain crooked, and from impossible to fascist. Since there seems to be no great urgency to put the treasonous coup-plotter and document thief in handcuffs anytime soon, however, we've got time. So, sure. It's a bit like publicly debating Al Capone's gardening skills, but whatever. Let's take a look at the Post's six identified planks in whatever the hell Donald Trump thinks he's building up to.
"Execute drug dealers"
This is a retread. Trump had a pathetic fascist crush on Philippines strongman Rodrigo Duterte from the first months of his presidency, specifically for his "unbelievable job" in the extrajudicial killings of anyone in his country suspected of drug sales. A year into his term, he was already pushing to copy the Duterte approach.
But he didn't do it. He couldn't do it. There's a whole government in the way of plans like, "What if we impose the death penalty for Eric's cocaine dealer while eliminating all penalties for selling nuclear secrets to Russia?” We know Trump was just itching to kill people because, once William Barr landed in the attorney general spot, the administration started executing death row prisoners like it was a new Trump team sport. But it's already looking like much of Trump's would-be new presidential campaign will be based on pointing out that he was a colossal failure at getting the big-ticket fascist stuff done the first time around. So vote for him again!
"Move homeless people to outlying 'tent cities’"
Again, this is just his standard real-estate tycoon fixation on property values and how all these poor people around here are lowering them. He famously complained about unhoused people outside expensive buildings. The "people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes," but "all of a sudden they have tents. Hundreds and hundreds of tents and people living at the entrance to their office building," he ranted back in 2019.
So his solution to poor people ruining rich people's office building experiences is, of course, concentration camps. In Donald's America, you'll be able to call a hotline to report a disheveled person on the sidewalk outside your place of work, and authorities will come to take that person away to the "outer skirts of the various cities" where they can get the tent-based care they need.
"You don't have time to build buildings, you can do that later," he opines.
Concentration camps for the Americans wealthy property owners don't want to see. I'm mostly curious as to how the democracy-hostile and fascism-curious current Supreme Court would justify that brazenly creep-ass-strongman proposal. There's little doubt that Justice Samuel Alito would reach back to 1600s Britain to assert that, actually, there are 400 years of history that says wealthy people can imprison whoever the hell they want.
"Deploy federal force against crime, unrest, and protests"
Yeah, been there before. The Lafayette Square approach to policing: If regular law enforcement is encumbered by too many rules restricting who they can use violence against and for what reasons—and heaven knows American law enforcement is famously reluctant to use violence against people who aren't doing actual crimes—then call up your hand-picked attorney general and have them send some prison riot teams to crack skulls. Or, of course, the National Guard.
Fascism, then. Republicanism has been going here for a long time. Sen. Tom Cotton and Bill Barr and innumerable state Republicans with strong opinions about protesters have been so noisy in advocating that those who protest against the regime be met with a military or paramilitary response that Trump's not breaking any new ground here. Yeah, he wants to be able to hurt and kill protesters. It's one of his big things.
It was also a central part of his coup plans; the Trump coup team hoped that Mike Pence could be convinced to throw the election into chaos, upon which time Trump would declare emergency powers under the Insurrection Act to snuff out whatever protests of the stolen election developed, and/or use the military to literally seize the voting machines. A fully fascist plan. Trump is still pissed that it didn't work.
"Strip job protections for federal workers"
Yeah, that's a pretty banal subhead for Trump's actual proposal here. Trump and his fascist allies (see: Ginni Thomas) have long been enamored with the notion that whenever one of Captain Bigbrain's ideas lands with a thud, or whenever the U.S. Constitution and other laws prevent Captain Bigbrain from doing something—like executing drug dealers on sight or putting disheveled-looking people in government camps—Trump's failures were actually because of a "deep state" conspiracy to make him fail. Ginni Thomas, coup supporter, is all about this theory. And Trump, in his first term, focused obsessively on firing any government official or watchdog who reported his possible crimes, undercut one of his favored lies, or was unwilling to assist in corrupt acts.
It's not just Trump; it’s all of his orbiting Republican allies who propose a new solution that would solve many of their past problems with, you know, being caught doing illegal stuff. They want the ability to fire any government worker they want to, through the entirety of the federal government. No more rules preventing presidents from wholesale firings to clear out entire agencies so that their own sycophants can be installed into every last role.
So, fascism again then. This is basically the Russian model as well; in Vladimir Putin's Russia, all jobs are allocated not according to competence or expertise but by loyalty. Putin rewards his most reliable sycophants with the most powerful jobs, which each loyalist then uses to siphon as much money as possible into their own accounts; those sycophants, in turn, hire only those willing to help them in their corruption, in exchange for their own corrupt schemes being overlooked, ad nauseam all the way through government.
In a government based on willingness to overlook corruption, corruption becomes the primary task of government. When an emboldened and sycophantic-to-the-point-of-delusion Russia declared a new war of conquest, it turned out much of Russia's military had simply ceased to meaningfully exist. The food the troops were to bring with them consisted of long-expired rations. Warehouses of materials turned out to be imaginary. From vehicle maintenance to secure communications plans, the money that was to be used to keep the military running had gotten siphoned away to the point of logistical collapse.
This is an absolute dream scenario for the likes of Donald J. Golfboy: A government in which he gets to do anything he wants, punish whoever he wants, and take whatever he wants, and a government that allows him to control who else gets similar spoils. And if it later turns out that all the crookedness has led the country to ruin, then who the hell cares, baby, because he got to be the one doing it.
It's also now standard-issue Republicanism. From the first impeachment onward, the party declared en masse that Republican leaders could absolutely do crooked things and get away with it. Republican Party rhetoric, both from the party itself and individual lawmakers, is currently centered on vows of revenge against whichever government agents, witnesses, or whistleblowers dared to catch Trump doing yet another crime. This has been the theme of Republican governance for a decade: Find the names of those who testify to Republican corruption. Expose them. Eliminate them.
"Eliminate the Education Department"
Right, the revenge-for-segregation thing that's animated the right for a half-century. Trump doesn't give a damn, he's just jumping on the latest bandwagon. Some hack wrote this into his speech, and he said it, and it got applause from the angry racist base, so he's probably going to say it some more. Didn't do it the first time around. Was willing to attempt a coup that resulted in deaths, but wasn't able to do that. Because it would require work. Lots of work. Donnie Two-Scoops does not do work.
"Restrict voting to one day using paper ballots"
Ha ha ha ha ha—yeah, uh, again, it's more than just that. Donald Trump, supergenius big-brain uberdude from planet Golfcheat, convinced himself the election machines were all rigged against him in order to block out any hint that maybe America just wanted to scrape him out of the Oval Office because they didn't like him. He convince himself absentee ballots were all rigged against him for the same reason. And that there was a conspiracy by elections officials. And China. And possibly Italy, and a dead South American guy, and Hillary Clinton, and the guy who designed the ramp that Donald Trump once had to gingerly inch down, tarnishing his big-muscle superguy image.
Trump wants to get rid of voting by mail, obliging everyone to vote at the polling places. Republicans, historically, have made a game of under-allocating booths and staff to polling places in Democratic-majority districts, making it far more difficult (or even impossible) to vote if you're in one of those blue places. Republicans used to love voting by mail because their base skews much older and is less mobile; they now absolutely hate mail-in ballots because, during the pandemic, there was a surge of pandemic-conscious younger voters who took advantage of the same system—which erased, and then some, what Republicans thought was a built-in party advantage. So now it’s gotta go; it can’t be controlled, Republicans have learned, the same way physical polling places can be controlled.
Oh, and Donald Trump thinks it's a conspiracy against him if the person who's leading in the first released results loses that lead in later counts. And he thinks it's a conspiracy against him if the counting isn't done before he gets sleepy and wants to go to bed.
Oh, and Trump's Republican "Big Lie" believers want every ballot to be hand-counted. Hundreds of millions. Gotta do it by midnight, though, or it's crooked. Whatever didn’t get counted by midnight is automatically crooked. No, we won’t be allocating any more counters to the job; that’s much too expensive.
Guess what: If Republicans accomplish all of this, and their latest Dear Leader figure still doesn't win, they're still going to say the vote was crooked. That's why Republican lawmakers in the various most-crooked states have already passed new laws giving Republican officials the power to challenge whatever vote totals they don't personally like, and the power to take over the ballot-counting in places that might produce such unpleasant results.
All of this has gone far beyond one man's uncontrollable narcissism. Trump didn't get the job the first time around because of his supposed promises or claims that he was smarter than every scientist, military general, and world leader on the planet. He got it because he was a mean, blustery asshole willing to spout more hate more openly than anyone else on the debate stage—and Republican voters absolutely love that stuff. They don't want good government; they want government that will punish their enemies while elevating their own paranoias.
Trump could drop dead tomorrow, and the "let's corral the poor into death camps" plank of Republicanism would probably wither away. But the Republican Party moves to take control of election counts, identify and fire government workers who are not loyal to the latest party proclamations, and meet protests against them by sending in military forces to crush those protests? Those are here to stay.
That's standard-issue Republicanism now. All of the candidates will be promoting that. DeSantis, Hawley, Cruz, Graham, Cotton, McCarthy, Abbott—all of them. It's carved into the movement now, and there's no evidence it can be scraped back out. They happen across the fascist solutions to each of their problems, and adopt the fascist solutions as their answers.
As for how it got this way—how we got a base that no longer cared whether government functions, had no interest in policies or in facts but would instead eagerly identify with all of a narcissistic conman's most guttural burps of paranoia and anger—well, that's a different question. Ask the Murdoch family; they probably could run you through the whole history.
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