It should be hard to imagine, but sadly it isn’t. In the next year, almost anything — all too literally — could happen. Donald Trump, that other old man in the room, could indeed go down, thanks to all those McDonald’s and Wendy’s burgers he’s consumed. Or he could be convicted of one or more felonies and lose Republicans unwilling to vote for someone officially labeled a “criminal” (or so some polls tell us might be possible anyway). Unlikely as it might seem right now, he could even lose the Republican nomination to Nikki Haley (though I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one). And of course, he could be beaten next November by Joe Biden or, in turn, Biden could go down in some unexpected (or do I mean expectable?) way, leaving the aging Trump to face a vigorous younger Democrat in 2024. (And in case you’ve noticed all the parentheses in this paragraph, they only emphasize how dauntingly unknown that future of ours remains.)
But regrettably, The Donald could also do just what too many polls of this moment are suggesting and win the presidency for the second time. While ensconced once again in the Oval Office, he would, of course, still find himself embroiled in court cases and wouldn’t be able to pardon himself when it comes to the state charges. If he were convicted, watch out! We already know that, behind (but not so very far behind) the scenes, right-wing think tanks are working at top capacity to create a next-time-around Trumpian government that would be ever more divorced from the democracy we’ve known and ever more autocratic. Its power would, of course, be centered on — yes, Donald Trump! And if so, revenge would be the theme of the day, week, and year.
With that in mind, let TomDispatch regular Clarence Lusane lay out for you just what it would mean for the Trumpublican Party’s slogan to change from Make America Great Again (MAGA!) to Make America Fascist Again (MAFA!) and just how certain aspects of the history of this country would help make such a transformation all too possible. Tom
The Future If Donald Trump Returns to the Oval Office
On February 19, 1942, two months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. It initiated a Department of Defense program that resulted in the rounding up and incarceration of about 122,000 individuals of Japanese descent. They were to be placed in federal “relocation centers” that would popularly become known as “internment camps.” As it happened, they were neither. They were prisons set up to house and so violate the civil and human rights of a despised and racially different group defined as "the enemy."
Although that executive order did not, in fact, mention a specific ethnic or racial group, it was clearly understood that the prisons were not being established for citizens or residents of German or Italian descent, the other two nations then at war with the United States. While not a single person of Japanese ancestry was found to have spied on this country or to have committed acts of sabotage against it, pro-Mussolini and pro-Hitler demonstrations, rallies, and propaganda had been commonplace. Before the war, fascist groups had been allowed to organize and spread propaganda from coast to coast. Some even had influence over and alliances with members of Congress, mainstream journalists, and well-known scholars.Read More