MIGHTY ANTIFA RIDES AGAIN
We are in the final stages of the 2020 presidential election with less than fifty days to go. Donald Trump clearly has reason to worry. His chances of repeating the miracle of 2016 seem grim. That grimness is largely of his own doing. He looks back on three and three quarter years during which he essentially continued his 2016 election campaign.
After his inauguration in 2017, the great rallies were resumed. Donald Trump never seems to have made a real effort to understand the government he was elected to administer. He had to have felt “all at sea” during those first several years in office. When he became depressed and bored, the answer for him, and for his long-suffering aids, was to schedule more rallies. Although it was little commented on at the time, the fact that the tax payers paid a good deal of the costs made adding those extra rallies more feasible (Air Force One is expensive).
The rallies were carefully organized, the audiences carefully selected. The people who attended were overwhelmingly star struck followers who enjoyed participating in a kind of political theatre. They enjoyed the chants. It was fun to scream “Lock Her Up!” They quickly learned their lines. And, as Trump reluctantly headed back to Washington in his presidential plane he could feel rejuvenated by their projected love.
Those rallies have been misunderstood. The natural assumption would be that Donald Trump, in holding those rallies, was attempting to build support for his programs, that the rallies would promote his developing political agenda. That turns out to have been wrong. The Republicans in the Congress pushed through a “tax reform” during his first year. Other than that, Donald Trump never had any programs.
What the rallies did was to give Donald Trump a chance to perform and to be worshiped by his frenzied followers. The rallies had almost nothing to do with current government because Donald Trump really had little to do with current governing himself. Without ongoing government activity to talk about, what was left was to attack things imaginary.
One theme at those rallies was an attack on the Deep State. It probably was never very clear to the audiences what the deep state was. And that was understandable. There isn’t any deep state! Ironically, the president and the people around him are freer to point with alarm at the deep state because there isn’t one.
What the promoters of the evil deep state are talking about is simply the routine operations within departments and agencies. The people, often highly trained and responsible are attempting to make projections and to run programs without partisan political interference. That necessarily frustrates the political agendas of the people around Donald Trump. So, he has been able to claim, to those people at the rallies that his program (including the financing of that Great Big Beautiful Wall) is being resisted by a vengeful dug-in deep state.
Donald Trump expected to win reelection based on the success of the economy, low unemployment and a booming stock market. Now because of the pandemic he handled badly, he can hardly run on a booming economy. The deep state menace doesn’t generate enough oxygen to drive a campaign. And, even with the best efforts in the world the evil Chinese have failed to excite the electorate. So what is left?
There is Antifa! Antifa really stands for “anti-fascist”. Fascists believe in an organic theory of the state. The state is like an living creature with every citizen charged with getting stronger in order to support the one person at the top who provides the brain that coordinates the organism that is the state (think Benito Mussolini in the thirties).
There is a problem with the threat from antifa. There isn’t any antifa! There was an active antifa organization in Italy opposed to Mussolini in the thirties. There isn’t any antifa now (partly because there isn’t any fascism, at least not here). Antifa exists in the mind of Donald Trump and in the minds of many of his supporters. It exists (like the equally non-existent radical anarchists) because pretending that it does is politically useful.
Let us say that you have formed an organization of other restless young men from the neighborhood and you think it would be exciting to go to Portland and bang heads. No one, including your mother, takes you very seriously. Then you announce that you are part of Antifa.
Suddenly you are important. The local news paper writes stories about you. Girls think you are more exciting (Those farm boys who used to go out and tip over outhouses every Halloween could have seemed much more menacing if they had just thought to announce that they were part of some great mysterious organization. Instead they were just irritating young men doing what young men do.).
So there it is. Donald Trump is obsessed with winning again in November. He hoped to run on the booming economy but the pandemic he failed to really address has made the economy really impossible to run on. He can’t announce the creation of four more years of programs because he has no idea how to do that.
What is left? He can hope to once more excite his dedicated base by giving them something symbolic to be angry with (we will learn that Joe Biden has been captured by the mysterious radical left). We will hear a lot about those radical leftists, radical socialists, radical anarchists. He can promise an all-out war against Antifa, a dangerous leftist organization disrupting law and order in our helpless cities: If only the Deep State doesn’t stand in the way!