WASHINGTON—Trump’s acceptance of the RNC nomination for a second term as president Thursday night was not the first time a fascist posed as a fighter for workers who was bucking the establishment.
Despite having been at the helm of the country for almost four years, in the style of the famous 20th century fascist dictator, Juan Peron, Trump tried to pose Thursday night as a fighter for workers who is bucking the establishment. As did the famous fascist rulers of Argentina, Peron and his wife Eva, he tried to paint a picture of a country that will be destroyed if the people don’t vote for him.
Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Jesse Jackson and tens of thousands of demonstrators countered Donald Trump’s apocalyptic threats about the U.S., which the Oval Office occupant renewed on August 27 as he accepted the Republican nomination for a second presidential term.
In Trump’s America, Democrats ally themselves with looters and violent mobs.
And resurrecting a common GOP theme since the 1940s, red-baiting, Trump accused Biden, the former vice president and his foe this fall, of being “a Trojan horse for socialism” who is planning to “demolish our cherished destiny…No one will be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”
Echoing racist third-party candidate George Wallace’s themes from 1968, Trump also declared, “Our vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists and agitators, and criminals who threaten our citizens.”
In a visual nod to right-wingers, Trump festooned his stage with U.S. flags, while draping the presidential seal over his podium. The incredible number of flags rivaled the number Hitler used at his rallies in Germany. He also illegally used the White House as a political prop, a violation of the Hatch Act.
Biden and Harris, a California senator and the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, hit back hard beforehand. And while Trump spoke for 90 minutes the night of August 27, another protest came in near his doorstep. Demonstrators tooted air horns, banged drums, chanted “Black Lives Matter,” demanded racial justice, and blew on whistles outside the White House.
So did the AFL-CIO, which draped its eight-story building two blocks from the executive mansion with an enormous BLM banner.
“The labor movement joins with all those in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and across the country who are nonviolently demanding an end to systemic racial injustice after the shooting of Jacob Blake,” who is Black, said federation President Richard Trumka before Trump’s speech.
“Despite months of protest and the outpouring of heartfelt demands for change, incidents like these remain all too common and they shock our collective conscience. Actions that cheapen the lives of Black people and the service of good (police) officers must be called out. As Americans, we must recognize the difference between right and wrong, and we must always stand up for what is right.”
Those same themes resounded August 28, as Black and white leaders addressed tens of thousands of people gathering on the national Mall to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Justice,” and Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic address to that crowd.
Biden, in a pointed speech beforehand and remarks on MSNBC, said Trump himself is stoking white hate to try to win the November 3 balloting. “I think he views it as a political benefit. He’s rooting for more violence, not less,” Biden commented.
“The part that bothers me the most is the idea of just pouring gasoline on the racial flames that are burning now. That does not justify any of the damage being done. But people have a right to be angry. People have a right to protest.”
Harris hit back even harder. “The reality is the life of a Black person in America has never been treated as fully human,” she declared.
The former state attorney general laid out the case as if she was addressing the court. But more importantly, as the first Black woman and first Asian-American on a major-party ticket, she criticized Trump’s failures to handle the still-galloping coronavirus pandemic, the resulting economic depression and the constant peaceful marches and demands for rooting out systematic racism.
That racism was again thrown into national consciousness when white cop Rusten Sheskey in Kenosha, unprovoked, shot Blake, who was getting into his SUV. Blake, like victims of unprovoked cop killings, is Black. His kids saw their father deliberately shot seven times in the back. He’s hospitalized in serious condition and paralyzed from the waist down.
It was also thrown into consciousness when, just hours before Trump’s speech, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, a self- described “police lover” with “Blue Lives Matter” slogans plastered all over his social media, took an AR-15 machine gun into the streets of Kenosha, murdered two Black Lives Matter peaceful protesters of Blake’s fate, and wounded another. Rittenhouse was later arrested and charged with six criminal counts, including two of first-degree homicide.
Trump didn’t even mention Rittenhouse, whose social media postings also hail the GOP leader. Harris, citing other police killings of unarmed Blacks, did, though not by name.
“People are rightfully angry and exhausted. And after the murders of Breonna, and George, and Ahmad, and so many others, it’s no wonder people have taken to the streets,” she said.
“And I support them. We must always defend peaceful protest and peaceful protesters. We should not confuse them with those looting and committing acts of violence, including the shooter who was arrested for murder. And make no mistake, we will not let these vigilantes and extremists derail the path to justice.”
“Here’s my promise to those mothers and fathers and all who stand with them, in a Biden-Harris administration you will have a seat at the table, in the halls of Congress and in the White House. We all grew up reciting the pledge of allegiance but now we must give real meaning to its words, ‘One nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and justice for all.’”
“We have yet to fulfill that promise of equal justice under law. We will only achieve that when we finally come together to pass meaningful police reform and broader criminal justice reform and acknowledge, yes, acknowledge, and address systemic racism.”
“We will only come closer to achieving that when we finally come together…We have come a long way in our country toward building a more perfect union. And the time is now right now, to take the next step forward.”
So did Jackson, at an NAACP August 27 press conference in Kenosha.
“There is a kind of moral desert at the top,” the veteran civil rights leader said of Trump. In 1963, by contrast, President John F. Kennedy “had a little power, but had aspirations for justice and decency. The moral desert, top down, as the rain is coming, top down” with this White House resident.
“We lived in tyranny” in 1963, Jackson added. “Black and brown so set behind, Nazi prison… Fifty-seven years later there’s something more sinister.”
“Something is going awry. President Trump said in his speech in Chicago, ‘If protesters violated them”—rights of Blacks—”I’ll pay the bill.’ That’s a signal. Like in paddy wagon, ‘Put them in the truck and hurt their heads. It’s all right with me.’ That climate, top down, kind of moral desert, hurts all of America.”
Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People’s World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.
John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People’s World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union’s campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and ’80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper’s predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.