It’s Not Just About Trump

According to pro-Trump commentators, a twisted judicial system, a weaponized Department of Justice, and a media witch hunt have all targeted their hero obsessively. These forces have focused on our 45th president in a way they would not likely do to anyone else. If another chief executive or presidential candidate were in the picture, they say, the persecution would not be conducted with the same ruthlessness or intensity. I respectfully disagree. A similarly vicious attack could and would be unleashed against any Republican politician whom those in power decided to take down.

Victor Davis Hanson is correct that what the Democrats and their allies have done since seizing power behind a senile figurehead in January 2021 amounts to a coup against what was once our constitutional republic. Everything possible has been done to create a one-party state, by declaring the other party and its supporters to be racists, homophobes, and subversives and by weaponizing the government against them, with groveling media assistance. 

This is not about two parties debating their differences and then one becoming the official opposition. The Democrats have been working to make sure the other party will never control the executive branch or win anything like a national majority. The Left has pursued this goal by punishing its opposition and by hobbling, by any means possible, Republican elected officials. It has also actively persecuted religious conservatives while giving a free hand to leftist activists to terrorize those with whom they disagree. 

Why would the Democrats and their allies in the deep state and media spare any Republican who might interrupt their one-party rule? Why wouldn’t they visit the same pain they’ve inflicted on Trump on even the most accommodating RINO, if said RINO kept them from exercising total power? 

What is happening in the United States is hardly exceptional among former Western constitutional governments. Canada, Germany, and other Western countries have installed woke leftist regimes that treat any effective democratic opposition as racist, homophobic, and/or antisemitic. In all these countries what the Nazis called Gleichschaltung, an adaptation of all institutions to the authorized state ideology, has taken place. In “democratic” Canada, parents can be prosecuted for a criminal offense if they merely question the changed sexual identity of their child. In Germany, any member of the non-leftist Alternative for Germany will be dismissed from a government or academic position and may even be professionally washed-out in an already intimidated private sector. The “acceptable” German national parties all belong to the same leftist bloc and alternate with each other to create the impression of a changing parliamentary regime. 

Woke democracies now produce predictable majorities for the ruling class, but it would be stretching the truth to describe these systems as open. Almost all news among our ideological allies is produced by state media resembling NPR, and educational and cultural institutions are staffed almost exclusively by leftists. Woke corporations are found not only in the United States; they are now the rule throughout the Western world. Like our medical and law schools and military, corporate executives indoctrinate their workers in the state ideology and maintain doctrinal conformity in the workplace. What now prevails throughout “the democratic West” is a system of mind control every bit as oppressive as that of the former Soviet empire. But unlike the old system, the updated form of control comes through sophisticated, pervasive consciousness-shaping; and it functions flawlessly without the brutality that characterized more primitive totalitarian models. 

American playwright David Mamet laments the descent of American democracy into “thuggery” in a comment on Trump’s indictment. Looking at this “thuggery,” what is most striking is the relative lack of violence. The new totalitarians don’t have to kill people, even if they threaten and jail their opponents. And they can still win elections with a manipulable, unrestricted franchise.  

They also manipulate reality so that 60 percent of those polled in credible surveys support Alvin Bragg’s transparently unfounded indictment of Donald Trump. Only 40 percent of respondents think this circus is a sham, even though more than three-quarters believe it’s been politically motivated. 

This circus is not only about Donald Trump. All the muscle flexing is meant to show how the Democrats and their government and media allies go after someone who stands in their way. And their target need not be a pugnacious opponent. It can also be a Republican candidate who would sooner make friends with leftist powerbrokers. If that person gets too close to the presidency, the knives will come out against him or her as they have against Trump. 

This hypothetical opponent will be turned into Trump’s onetime accomplice in subversion and perhaps then investigated by the government for some imaginary crime. Perhaps questionable election procedures will then be put into place, with media approval. The solution is not bestowing the presidential nomination on someone more soft-spoken than Trump. It is reining in a powerful foe who is subverting constitutional freedoms here and elsewhere in the West.

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About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.

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