Trump Followers Committing Treason

Photo bt Atoh on Unsplash

Written by Martin Edic and published in Medium.com 2/24/2022

I’m not talking about Trump. He is a future nobody, a shame point in our history. But reading about the horrific war in Ukraine this morning, and the maniac behind it, is awful enough. But the Trumpies have come out in favor of Putin, a psychopathic dictator.

This sounds like blatant treason to me. Not only treason against our country and its ideals, but treason against everything that makes us human. It is likely that thousands will die or be imprisoned by the actions of Russia today and Trump, Fox, Newsmax, and the entire far right complex in America will be complicit.

I need to point out that even this early, Putin has made threats that imply he is willing to use nuclear weapons, weapons whose effects are incomprehensible to most people living today. They literally hold the potential to destroy civilization as we know it.

And Trump and his guys think this is ‘savvy’.

The last three years have been tough. As a news junkie, I’ve seen incomprehensible events become near normal. But waking up this morning to a full scale war in Ukraine has been particularly painful. I live in a mid-size city (Rochester, NY) that has a Ukrainian population estimated at 20,000. I grew up with many whose parents had come here to escape the spector of Communist oppression.

And now they watch loved ones in their home country facing death and destruction.

After the past six years I think we need a reality check, and Putin has provided a big one. A war like those we have not seen since 1945.

I grew up during the Cold War when the Soviets and the US were on constant alert against nuclear war. It is hard to describe how much this shadowed our lives. It was always out there: the end of the world.

Putin is a product of those times, a time bomb designed by the KGB long ago to detonate at some future time.

And Trump and his followers were also designed to tear our country apart when the time bomb went off. Designed by and supported by the Putin disinformation apparatus.

It all sounds very Marvel comic universe, doesn’t it? Except for the reality on the ground in Ukraine right now, with a full scale invasion with modern weapons, an invasion unlike any that anyone living has seen.

It is the product of insanity on a grand scale. A delusional leader with absolute power who is willing to kill thousands to support his delusions.

And we have Trump supporters lauding his efforts.

To my mind they are no longer humans. Humans have compassion and horror. Humans understand consequences. Humans try to improve daily lives.

Humans do not support unjustified war, death, and destruction.

This entire situation is unimaginable, but as a student of history it has a familiarity. When Hitler was starting WWII there were Americans who supported him.

Things did not work out well for them. We cannot forget or forgive treason and supporting Putin is treason against humanity.

If you somehow write this off as a foreign war that is meaningless to Americans, you are living in a delusion. Go and fill your gas tank in the next few days. Check your retirement account. You’re going to be in for a shock, because oil prices are skyrocketing and the markets are in a free fall.

The notion that Vladimir Putin is in any way reasonable is wrong in every way imaginable. For Republican pundits and politicians to pretend otherwise is shameful. And, to my mind, a betrayal of everything this country stands for.

I, for one, will not forget. And neither should any of us.

Trump’s Falling Star

Photo from Unsplash

Joe Biden’s approval ratings may have slipped, but that doesn’t mean voters are nostalgic for Donald Trump.

Written by Susan Milligan and published in U.S. News and World Report on 2/11/2022.

“No nostalgia for the Trump years is a good way of putting it,” says Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll. While some Democrats have been unhappy with President Joe Biden of late, “what those Democrats haven’t done is decided they voted for the wrong guy,” Franklin says.

A January Marquette poll, in fact, found that Biden would best Trump, 53% to 43%, in a hypothetical 2024 rematch,

And among Republicans who are not part of the hard-core Trump base, the former president is losing his sway, analysts say.

“He doesn’t get to speak ex cathedra anymore, where everyone just drops to their knees and believes in him,” says Mac Stipanovich, a veteran former GOP consultant who now considers himself an independent. “He gets booed by his audience. [Florida Republican Gov. Ron] DeSantis did everything but moon him, and he’s going to get away with it.”

In recent weeks, high-profile Republicans have taken on Trump, unusual behavior from party members who once feared the wrath of a Republican president who prized personal loyalty to him and punished those who didn’t provide it.

In the most startling example, Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, told a conservative group that “Trump is wrong” when he said Pence could overturn the results of the 2020 election by refusing to accept the states’ electoral slates. Former Trump ally Chris Christie – a potential 2024 presidential candidate – went further.

“Let’s face it. Let’s call it what it is. Jan. 6 was a riot that was incited by Donald Trump in an effort to intimidate Mike Pence and the Congress into doing exactly what he said in his own words last week: Overturn the election,” Christie said on ABC’s “This Week.”

DeSantis has openly tangled with Trump, criticizing the former president’s handling of the pandemic after Trump called politicians like him “gutless” for refusing to say whether they’d had a vaccine booster shot. DeSantis, notably, has not pledged to stay out of the 2024 presidential race should Trump decide to run again.

“(Trump) doesn’t get to speak ex cathedra anymore, where everyone just drops to their knees and believes in him.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week slammed the RNC for censuring GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wisconsin and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. The Kentucky Republican called the Jan. 6 episode a “violent insurrection” meant to erase a “legitimately certified election” – language that Trump derides.

Reports on politicians’ popularity have focused on the dismal ratings for President Joe Biden, whose approval numbers are in the low 40s, worsening an already-challenging midterm election year for Democrats.

But Trump isn’t doing any better, surveys show. An Economist/YouGov poll released this week found that Trump had a favorable rating of 40% and an unfavorable rating of 55%. A large portion – 45% – described themselves as “very unfavorable” toward the former president.

That survey also showed marked slippage among groups Trump carried easily in 2020 and would need to shore up a run in 2024. Among voters 45-64 years old – a group exit polls show the former president won, 50% to 49% in 2020 – 57% see the president unfavorably, with 39% viewing him favorably. Among 65-plus voters – a group Trump won, 52% to Biden’s 47% in 2020 – more than half (54%) view Trump unfavorably, with 44% seeing the former president favorably. A Morning Consult poll this week found that 60% of voters 65 and older have an unfavorable view of Trump, with 40% having a favorable view.

White male voters without a college degree overwhelmingly supported Trump in 2020, with exit polls showing the Republicans taking that voter group by a 70% to 28% margin. But YouGov’s poll found that half of that group see Trump in a favorable light now, with 46% of them disapproving of Trump.

Further, rank-and-file Republicans are moving away from a more direct identification with Trump himself. An NBC poll found that 56% of GOPers describe themselves as supporters of the Republican Party, with 36% saying they are supporters of Trump. That’s a reversal from late 2020, when 54% described themselves as supporters of Trump and 38% supporters of the GOP.

That explains Trump’s loss of favorability among groups that once were intensely loyal to him, says Robert Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the author of White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity.

White evangelicals, for example, weren’t wild about the thrice-divorced casino owner when he was first running in 2015, Jones said. But once Trump won the nomination, “They really decided to like him more. What changed was that his status in the party changed. They adjusted their opinion accordingly, (saying) he’s our guy.”

Biden, also struggling in public opinion polls, must help his party hang onto congressional seats this fall, when Democrats are widely expected to lose seats in the House – and quite possibly, their majority there – and face a tough task in keeping their slight advantage in the U.S. Senate.

Hosting an unpopular president is generally not considered a wise campaign strategy. But the NBC poll found that Trump’s backing is no more of an advantage – and may be less of one – than Biden’s.

That survey found that 18% of voters are more likely to back a Biden-endorsed candidate compared to 21% of voters who say they are more likely to cast a ballot for a Trump-endorsed contender. Meanwhile, 36% said they are less likely to back a Biden-endorsed candidate, and 42% of voters would reject a Trump-endorsed candidate. Forty-five percent said a Biden endorsement wouldn’t matter, and 36% said a Trump endorsement wouldn’t matter.

While Trump was credited – or blamed – for primary losses of GOP candidates who crossed him while he was president, early numbers indicate he might not be as impactful now. Trump has endorsed former Sen. David Perdue in the Georgia GOP gubernatorial primary, but incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp – who told state lawmakers they could not overturn the Peach State’s election, as Trump desired – leads Perdue, 43% to 36%, in a recent Quinnipiac University poll.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump, ended 2020 with more than six times the cash on hand as her Trump-endorsed rival, Kelly Tshibaka.

“I think Trump in some ways – he’s like the big, bad wolf. He huffs and he puffs and he never blows anybody’s house down, really,” former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, told CNN on Wednesday.

The final verdict for Trump is likely to come during this midterm election year, experts say.

“If his endorsed candidates just sweep, that strengthens his hand,” Stipanovich says. “If there’s a mixed result in the primaries between Trump-endorsed candidates and the eventual nominee, that will weaken his hand.”

Meanwhile, Trump must fend off the GOP hands slapping him down.

Confronting Trumpian Fascism

Americans Still Need to Confront the Truth That Trumpism is Fascism

America’s Not In Less Danger — It’s in More Danger, From a Belligerent Fascist Movement Dedicated to Ending Democracy

Written by Umair Haque and published in Medium.com 8/5/2021

Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com

Mary Trump — Donald’s niece — said something worth hearing recently, as she so often does. Listen: “Still arguing about whether or not to call Donald a fascist is the new version of the media’s years-long struggle to figure out if they should call his lies lies.” She’s got a new book coming out, and part of her mission is to spread awareness that, yes, it’s well past time to call Trumpism what it is: fascism.

Let’s think about her central point for a moment: American media, and by extension, American society and culture, which take their cues from America’s pundits and columnists and analysts and so on, is failing at a central challenge. Simply saying that, yes, Trumpism is fascism.

Why is that important? Why does it even matter? Americans exist in a weirdly nihilistic culture is the first thing you have to understand. By and large, Americans don’t grasp how much matters to really call fascism fascism. That’s not their fault — nobody educates them. About much of anything. Their media is a disgrace, their public intellectuals mostly a sham, and their culture missing in action. So they think that “fascism” is “just a word.” And why should it matter at all what words we use?

Some of the better-hearted Americans imagine that speaking the correct words is a matter of being kind and polite. That saying fascism is some kind of slur, and for this reason, it’s important to be a little offensive, a little challenging. Alas, even that misses the point.

Why should we call it fascism? I want to cut to the heart of this issue. Is it just to be kind and polite? I mention that because that appears to be what most American liberals think. They don’t seem to think it matters that the word “fascism” is said at all, or its corollaries, authoritarianism, totalitarianism, theocracy, and so forth. They don’t think saying these words matters because they think they are “just words” we say for the sake of feelings. Liberals, being materialists, don’t care about feelings — and they can’t bring themselves to see that in fact there is something much deeper at stake here entirely.

But this isn’t why we should say fascism — for the sake of feelings.

So why should we say fascism?

For the sake of the truth.

It’s that simple, and, many Americans are sure to remind me — that idealistic, too.

Let me unpack that a little.

America’s now a society where Big Lies run rampant. They’ve brought Trumpism back to life. The election was “stolen.” Jan 6th was a pleasant tourist visit — not a deadly coup. If there was any violence, it was self-defense, citizens perfectly justified in defending their own rights to “visit” their Capitol. Vaccines are harmful and dangerous. Trump alone can save America’s white working class. Immigrants and foreigners and women and gays are impure. They’re the cause of the woes of pure of blood and true of faith. Society’s mission is therefore one of social cleansing and purification. If it can’t happen consensually — so what? It should happen through open aggression and violence, because, well, this land, this soil, belongs to “real” Americans in the first place.

Did you get all those Big Lies? Yet the Big Lies go further than that, still. Now let me recount the ones even liberals believe. No, Russia wasn’t involved in installing Trump to President. Nope, there wasn’t a detailed plan from the Kremlin that we now know of through official leaked documents to elevate him to power because Russia’s goal was to collapse American politics and society. Nope, Trumpism is dead now, and it won’t come back to life. Trumpism wasn’t really that bad, if you think about it — the abuses of power can be forgotten, those concentration camps and family separations and kids in cages and minorities being hunted in the streets. American institutions prevailed — it’s not that a tiny, tiny handful of brave officers intervened and American democracy escaped by the skin of its teeth.

Wherever you look, American society and culture are now in the grip of Big Lies. Worse, both sides believe their own Big Lies. Yes, Trump’s Big Lies are of course worse. But the Big Lies American liberals believe very much exist, too.

How are these two sets of Big Lies related?

Now let’s come back to fascism. What is it? The dictionary definition you were taught in school — if you’re American — goes like this: “the concentration of state and corporate power,” or something along these lines. That definition is wrong. It’s the definition of socialism. Americans are taught the wrong definition of fascism to begin with.

Let me make that clearer. Fascism is about annihilating hated social groups who are regarded as subhuman. Yet the definition Americans are taught — in grade school, high school, college — neatly elides this fact. Instead, Americans are taught a boneheaded definition of “fascism” that could include — the convergence of state and corporate power — everything from Britain’s NHS to Canada’s CBC to the French union and collective bargaining system. Quite obviously, those things aren’t fascism. Why not? Well, they’re not killing anyone — instead, mostly, they’re enhancing and elevating Europeans’ and Canadians’ quality of life.

There’s a very good reason that Americans are taught the wrong definition of fascism, one that equates it with any kind of public investment or good, like having, say, a functioning healthcare or pension system. Because America’s still fighting the Cold War. During the Cold War, it was easy to understand why Americans were taught that fascism is socialism. It’s a convenient way to conflate two things, and make American kids believe that socialism equals fascism.

And all that leaves the average American in a bizarre haze of confusion and uncertainty. They aren’t able to fully distinguish that Trumpism is fascism because they’ve never been well educated or informed about what fascism actually is.

So what is fascism? Let me give you a formal definition, and then a very, very simple one. The formal one is: “the abuse of state institutions by fanatics and extremists to advance an ideology of supremacy and subjugate and repress hated social groups at the bottom of hierarchies of power who are regarded as subhuman to the point of annihilation.”

There’s a moral and ethical dimension, too: “The strong should prevail, and the weak perish. Who are the strong? The ones who can violently repress and subjugate the weak. What gives them the obligation to do so? They see themselves as long-suffering victims who are in fact the chosen people, pure in blood and true in faith. Who are they victims of? Hated social groups, who are scapegoated and demonised for the woes of the pure and true.”

Now, if you follow all that, you should immediately see how illogical fascism is. The hated social groups who are demonised and scapegoated for the woes of the “real” people don’t have any real social power to begin with. The average person is indeed going through troubled times of struggle — fascist episodes are triggered by economic desperation, usually. But the fault is usually that of negligent, greedy, and foolish elites — not the Jews, Muslims, Mexicans, Latinos, women, gays, or whomever else times of strife are usually blamed on.

That’s a complicated definition — at least by American standards. You have to think about quite a bit. Politics, society, ethics, morality. How societies turn to scapegoats in times of trouble. Who leads them there — demagogues like Trump. So let me give you a simpler one.

If it looks like fascism, it probably is. We all know fascism instinctively when we see it. Is some poor, usually helpless social group being scapegoated? Are they being demonised as “vermin” and “parasites” and so forth? Is there an extremist faction rising who wants to annihilate them? Is it contesting power for the institutions of state power — promising openly to abuse those power to “get rid of” or cleanse away the impurity of hated subhumans, which are “infecting” or “corrupting” the average person, who’s romanticised as a long-suffering hero? Is violence ennobled and sanctified and legitimised? Is there an atmosphere of guffawing stupidity, a cult of devotion to an authoritarian leader, a perfect Father leading the mindless masses in rituals of mass hatred? Is the goal to end democracy, because only some people are considered human in the first place?

Then it’s probably fascism. Let me give you a few further criteria. Has the society in question suffered a recent economic shock — that really did push the average person to the brink of poverty, or past it? Has life become struggle, strife, and trouble? Does a mood of pessimism prevail? Are people turning to superstitions and conspiracy theories to explain why life never seems to get better, but only worse? Those are all preconditions for fascism.

Now. It’s easy enough to see all that applies in spades to America — and especially to Trumpism. Economic trouble? Sure — around 2010, after decades of stagnation, the middle class imploded. That spelled fascism to those of us who study how societies collapse. Trumpism’s a perfect exemplar of a mass movement which scapegoats minorities for the woes of a working class which regards itself as pure and true, and wants to abuse the institutions of the state to effectively end democracy, purify society, and create a nationalist supremacist state.

It’s not exactly rocket science, is it. Of course Trumpism is fascism. That’s why way back when Trump was elected, Germanys most famous magazine openly mocked him as another Hitler. The rest of the world can see it very, very well. But America can’t. Mary Trump is perfectly right to point that disjuncture out.

Now let’s come back to why it really matters to call all this fascism. It’s not just for the sake of feelings, pointless intellectual debates, or some kind of point-scoring precision. None of those things are why.

Truth is why. Reality’s why. When we don’t call fascism fascism, truth and reality cease to matter. Not in some kind of abstract way. But in a brutally direct one.

Let me give you an example that should make your blood run a little cold.

Dems won’t call what happened on Jan 6th a fascist coup. The only Dem who really has is Rep Jamie Raskin — and he deserves credit where its due. But as a party, Dems use a strange, strange language — and associated set of concepts, history, and thinking — to describe it. It was an “insurrection,” they say. By “rioters.”

Where does that lead? To a very different place than “this was a fascist coup.”

If it was a fascist coup, then presumably special mechanisms of justice should be set up, because this is an emergency. Mechanisms like modern-day Nuremberg Trials. Investigations should be swiftly held to see how deep the conspiracy went — which there obviously was. All those should be open and public, like the Nuremberg Trials were.

But the Dems chose a very different course. Many of those responsible for the coup have gotten off with wrist-slaps — because, of course, they’re mere “rioters,” responsible for a bit of property damage, and maybe trespassing…not fascists in a coup, out for blood, intending to kill and kidnap and massacre. Don’t take it from me, that’s what they wanted, take it from Officers Hodges, Dunn, and Fanone.

But there are no special justice mechanisms happening in America. Instead, the fascists are mostly getting away with it. A few foot soldiers here and there are getting wrist slaps. Do you really think that’s going to deter the movement? Of course not. So there Trumpism, openly escalating, hardening, and retaliating.

It’s openly dedicated to another Jan 6th. It’s openly espousing the violent end of democracy. Figures like Marjorie Taylore Greene and Lauren Boebert and Josh Hawley — the new wave of rising Trumpists in control of the GOP — openly champion violence and authoritarianism. The Trumpist base openly and ardently believes the election was stolen from them, and therefore, Jan 6th was perfectly justified. The calls for vengeance — now coming from a resurgent Trump himself — are growing louder.

American fascism is hardening. That’s because nobody punished it. Nobody punished because nobody much in power was brave enough to say it was fascism in the first place. So what was there to punish? What was there to hold accountable? What was there to deter and break the back of? You can’t do any of those things to something that doesn’t exist.

That’s what Orwell and Arendt were trying to warn us of. Not just that “fascists twist the truth.” But something much, much deeper — and more dangerous still. That when fascism comes around — and it always does — the natural instinct of a society is to shrug and say something devastatingly foolish, and yet all too human:

It can’t happen here. It isn’t happening here.

That’s how the fascists really win. Not just because they twist the truth into sets of Big Lies — those people are subhumans who are responsible for our woes, the election was stolen from us, our Fuhrer alone can save us, and so on. But because truth itself ceases to matter. Reality itself ceases to count. Because grand institutions, elites, power centers — they all grow too weak, afraid, or stupid to say fascism is now happening in plain sight. By failing to “say” fascism — fascism effectively disappears. And having disappeared — what is there to punish, check, deter, break, challenge, eliminate? Nothing.

That’s how the Nazis failed in their first coup attempt — but succeeded at the second. In the intervening years, the threat of fascism was disappeared. Minimized, erased, denied. The mood of “it’s not happening here” prevailed. Institutions from government to press to society fell strangely, oddly silent. As if nobody was to mention the tide of death rearing up above everyone’s heads.

That’s why it matters to say fascism. For the sake of truth and reality. Without truth and reality, fascism is free to disappear. And then it’s not happening. It can’t be happening here. That strange, strange mood comes to prevail — everybody ignores the giant tsunami looming over everyone’s head. How are you today, my friend? Just fine, thank you! There’s no giant wave of ruin about to crash over us — heavens, no. Let’s politely ignore that — maybe if we ignore it long enough, it’ll just go away.

Bang. That’s how societies really collapse into fascism. Not just through the malice of the bad guys. But also through the passivity of the good ones. Not just through the thoughtless brutality of stupid men. But because the intelligent ones are too busy overthinking it. And not just through the cunning of evil men. But through the weakness of all the ones who know better, but don’t stand and fight for and reality, on which everything else good and decent in a society must always rest, because otherwise the Biggest Lie prevails.

And when truth and reality die, my friend, let me tell you a secret. No society stands a chance. At decency, modernity, or progress. All that can ever happen is , into the abyss of all the ugliness and stupidity of history.

There’s a Word for What Trumpism Is Becoming

The relentless messaging by Trump and his supporters has inflicted a measurable wound on American democracy.

Written by David Frum and published in The Atlantic 7/13/2021

 “I became worse.” That’s how double impeachment changed him, Donald Trump told a conservative audience in Dallas last weekend, without a trace of a smile. This was not Trump the insult comic talking. This was the deepest Trump self. And this one time, he told the truth.

Something has changed for Trump and his movement since January 2021. You can measure the difference by looking back at the deadly events in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. Trump made three statements about those events over four days. He was visibly reluctant to speak negatively of the far-right groups. He praised “fine people on both sides” and spread the blame for “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.”

Trump’s evasions triggered a national uproar. As Joe Biden complained in an essay for The Atlantic at the time:

Today we have an American president who has publicly proclaimed a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and Klansmen and those who would oppose their venom and hate.

But if Trump refused to single out the far-rightists for criticism, he also refrained from praising them. Whatever he felt in his heart, he was constrained by certain political and practical realities. His non-Twitter actions as president were filtered through bureaucracies. He had to work with Republican congressional allies who worried about losing seats in Congress in the next election. He himself was still basking in the illusion of his supposedly huge victory in 2016, and hoping for a repeat in 2020. Outright endorsement of lethal extremism? That was too much for Trump in 2017. But now look where we are.

Shadi Hamid: Americans are losing sight of what fascism means

In the first days after the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Trump supporters distanced themselves from its excesses. The attack had nothing to do with Trump, they argued. He had urged only a peaceful demonstration. If anybody did any harm, that person was a concealed agent of antifa. But in the months since, the mood has shifted. Once repudiated, the attacks are now accepted, condoned, and even endorsed.

In the past few days, leading pro-Trump figures and even non-Trump conservative figures have endorsed a startling Twitter thread by a previously boutique podcaster, Darryl Cooper. Tucker Carlson read the thread aloud on his show.

The thread argued that the January 6 protesters were right to believe that they had been cheated out of power they deserved. They were right to believe that the government and the law were conspiring against them. They were right to believe that their opponents were capable of anything, even assassinating Trump. The implication: They themselves were equally entitled to go just as far. It’s long, but I’ll quote two key passages.

The entrenched bureaucracy & security state subverted Trump from Day 1, b) The press is part of the operation, c) Election rules were changed, d) Big Tech censors opposition, e) Political violence is legitimized & encouraged, f) Trump is banned from social media. 34/x

They were led down some rabbit holes, but they are absolutely right that their gov’t is monopolized by a Regime that believes they are beneath representation, and will observe no limits to keep them getting it. Trump fans should be happy he lost; it might’ve kept him alive. /end

The tweet thread began by claiming that Donald Trump himself shared these beliefs. You might wonder how the podcaster would know. The answer arrived on Sunday morning, when Trump phoned into Maria Bartiromo’s Fox News show to deliver his most full-throated endorsement yet of the January 6 attack on Congress.

The ex-president praised Ashli Babbitt, the woman slain as she attempted to crash through the door that protected members of Congress from the mob that had invaded the Capitol: “innocent, wonderful, incredible woman.” He praised the insurrectionist throng: “great people.” He denounced their arrest and jailing as unjust. And he implied that Babbitt had been shot by the personal-security detail of a leading member of Congress. “I’ve heard also that it was the head of security for a certain high official. A Democrat. It’s gonna come out.”

The relentless messaging by Trump and his supporters has inflicted a measurable wound on American democracy. Before the 2020 election, about 60 percent of Democrats and Republicans expected the election to be fair. Since Trump began circulating his ever more radical complaints, Republican confidence in the election has tumbled by half, to barely more than 30 percent, according to polling supported by the Democracy Fund.

The Trump movement was always authoritarian and illiberal. It indulged periodically in the rhetoric of violence. Trump himself chafed against the restraints of law. But what the United States did not have before 2020 was a large national movement willing to justify mob violence to claim political power. Now it does.

Is there a precedent? Not in recent years. Since the era of Redemption after Reconstruction, anti-government violence in the United States has been the work of marginal sects and individual extremists. American Islamic State supporters were never going to seize the state, and neither were the Weather Underground, the Ku Klux Klan killers of the 1950s and ’60s, Puerto Rican nationalists, the German American Bund, nor the Communist Party USA.

But the post-election Trump movement is not tiny. It’s not anything like a national majority, but it’s a majority in some states—a plurality in more—and everywhere a significant minority, empowered by the inability of pro-legality Republicans to stand up to them. Once it might have been hoped that young Republicans with a future would somehow distance themselves from the violent lawlessness of the post-presidential Trump movement. But one by one, they are betting the other way. You might understand why those tainted by the January 6 attacks, such as Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, would find excuses for them. They have butts to cover. But Hawley is being outdone by other young politicians who weren’t in office and seemed to have every opportunity to build post-Trump identities—including even former Trump critics like the Ohio Senate aspirant J. D. Vance. Why do people sign up with the putschists after the putsch has failed? They’re betting that the failed putsch is not the past—it’s the future.

What shall we call this future? Through the Trump years, it seemed sensible to eschew comparisons to the worst passages of history. I repeated over and over again a warning against too-easy use of the F-word, fascism: “There are a lot of stops on the train line to bad before you get to Hitler Station.”

Two traits have historically marked off European-style fascism from more homegrown American traditions of illiberalism: contempt for legality and the cult of violence. Presidential-era Trumpism operated through at least the forms of law. Presidential-era Trumpism glorified military power, not mob attacks on government institutions. Post-presidentially, those past inhibitions are fast dissolving. The conversion of Ashli Babbitt into a martyr, a sort of American Horst Wessel, expresses the transformation. Through 2020, Trump had endorsed deadly force against lawbreakers: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted on May 29, 2020. Babbitt broke the law too, but not to steal a TV. She was killed as she tried to disrupt the constitutional order, to prevent the formalization of the results of a democratic election.

If a big-enough movement agrees with Trump that Babbitt was “wonderful”—if they repeat that the crowd of would-be Nancy Pelosi kidnappers and Mike Pence lynchers was “great”—then we are leaving behind the American system of democratic political competition for a new landscape in which power is determined by the gun.

That’s a landscape for which a lot of pro-Trump writers and thinkers seem to yearn.

You are living in territory controlled by enemy tribes. You, and all like you, must assume the innocence of anyone remotely like yourself who is charged in any confrontation with those tribes and with their authorities—until proven otherwise beyond a shadow of your doubt. Take his side. In other words, you must shield others like yourself by practicing and urging “jury nullification.”

Those words are not taken from The Turner Diaries or some other Aryan Nation tract. They were published by a leading pro-Trump site, the same site where Trump’s former in-house intellectual Michael Anton publishes. They were written by Angelo Codevilla, who wrote the books and articles that defined so much of the Trump creed in 2016. (Codevilla’s 2016 bookThe Ruling Class, was introduced by Rush Limbaugh and heavily promoted on Limbaugh’s radio program.)

We are so accustomed to using the word fascist as an epithet that it feels awkward to adjust it for political analysis. We understand that there were and are many varieties of socialism. We forget that there were varieties of fascism as well, and not just those defeated in World War II. Peronism, in Argentina, offers a lot of insights into post-presidential Trumpism.

Juan Perón, a bungling and vacillating leader, attracted followers with a jumble of often conflicting and contradictory ideas. He had the good luck to take power in a major food-producing nation at a time when the world was hungry—and imagined that the brief flash of easy prosperity that followed was his own doing. The only thing he knew for certain was the target of his hatred: anybody who got in his way, anybody who questioned him, anybody who thought for himself or herself. An expatriate Argentine who grew up under Perón’s rule remembered the graffiti on the walls, the Twitter of its day: Build the Fatherland. Kill a student. As V. S. Naipaul astutely observed, “Even when the money ran out, Peronism could offer hate as hope.”

After Perón lost power, Peronism became a myth of a lost golden age—a fantasy of restoration and redemption—and always a rejection of the frustrations of normal politics, of the tedium of legality. Who needed policies when the solution to every problem was a magic name? Politicians who hoped for the old leader’s blessing trudged to his place of exile, were photographed with him, and then sabotaged by him. The only plan he followed was somehow to force himself again upon his country, one way or another.

It was pathetic and terrifying, a national catastrophe that produced a long-running international musical.

In the United States, the forces of legality still mobilize more strength than their Trumpist adversaries. But those who uphold the American constitutional order need to understand what they are facing. Trump incited his followers to try to thwart an election result, and to kill or threaten Trump’s own vice president if he would not or could not deliver on Trump’s crazy scheme to keep power.

We’re past the point of pretending it was antifa that did January 6, past the point of pretending that Trump didn’t want what he fomented and what he got. In his interview on July 11—as in the ever more explicit talk of his followers—the new line about the attack on the Capitol is guilty but justified. The election of 2020 was a fraud, and so those who lost it are entitled to overturn it.

I do not consider myself guilty. I admit all the factual aspects of the charge. But I cannot plead that I am guilty of high treason; for there can be no high treason against that treason committed in 1918.

Maybe you recognize those words. They come from Adolf Hitler’s plea of self-defense at his trial for his 1923 Munich putsch. He argued: You are not entitled to the power you hold, so I committed no crime when I tried to grab it back. You blame me for what I did; I blame you for who you are.

Trump’s no Hitler, obviously. But they share some ways of thinking. The past never repeats itself. But it offers warnings. It’s time to start using the F-word again, not to defame—but to diagnose.

David Frum is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy(2020). In 2001 and 2002, he was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush.