Freedom Rider: The real Trump coup

Trump puts whiteness first and that means he will always have support and Republican leaders know it.

Joe Biden has garnered more than 270 electoral votes and thus is president elect. Ordinarily that information would be sufficient and the country would have accepted his victory and moved on, regardless of political affiliations or opinions about the winner.

But nothing in American politics has been ordinary since Donald Trump entered the scene. He announced, via Twitter of course, that he concedes nothing and declared that the election was rigged against him. In usual Trumpian fashion he doesn’t care what the media think, what Republican leaders think and he certainly doesn’t care what Democrats think. Twitter may label his missives as being false, but that label only carries weight with people who already dislike him. The 70 million who voted for him take exception to such claims.

Trump is a political force, even as he leaves the White House. He is the true face of the Republican Party, even as “never Trumpers” claim otherwise. Not only do his supporters agree that he was cheated, but they protest in support of him as they did in the Million MAGA March in Washington. They got what they wanted when Trump showed up himself to drive through an adoring crowd.

This is the coup, such as it is. There weren’t Proud Boys attacking black people on Election Day, there are just more aggrieved white people now than when he won in 2016. Trump gained an additional seven million votes in his losing effort. There is a reservoir of support for him but once again the pollsters didn’t know it.

It is obvious that many of his supporters keep their opinions to themselves. One Republican polling company predicted a Trump win. They were wrong, but not by much and they explain the need to find the “shy” Trump voter. They aren’t shy at all but they do cover up. Who wants to be thought of as a deplorable?

They may not come out of the closet to pollsters, but they support Trump strongly. It doesn’t matter how others feel or if social media companies tell them not to listen. Trump puts whiteness first and that means he will always have support and Republican leaders know it. It is ridiculous to ask why they won’t condemn him. He is probably the only one of their party who could have beaten Hillary Clinton and the only one who could do so well in a losing effort despite presiding over a pandemic that has killed more than 230,000 people in the country. Whatever their personal feelings, Republican leadership know that their people still love him.

It is interesting to watch the hand wringing because Trump is once again blowing up the political system. His claims of fraudulent voting are no worse than the Democratic Party and their friends among the elite establishment pushing the Russiagate fraud. People and institutions deemed trustworthy, prestigious and eminent, all turned the system upside down and did lasting damage to electoral politics, the media, and to public trust in government. The New York Times assisting the Democrats who delegitimized an election is no better than an AR-15-carrying Trumper from the hinterlands.

Despite evidence disproving their case, it is now accepted by most Americans that Donald Trump was a Russian agent or dupe and that Russian Facebook memes told black people not to vote. Anyone presenting a counter narrative is banned from the public sphere by the very people who peddled the fraud. MAGA hat wearers yelling, “Stop the steal!” have harmed the country far less.

There are other skeptics who side with Trump in his claims of fraud. They are entitled to do so and should present some evidence for their claims. But they are also incorrect when they call the election a coup against Trump. However, the fault is not completely theirs. The elites have created a failed state and that produces great cynicism and loss of trust. Millions of people believe nothing they are told and lean on their opinions as if they were facts.

The people undermining democracy are the establishment figures who gerrymander districts, the military industrial complex which buys off both parties, and the prosecutors who always find a way to keep black people behind bars. Donald Trump is exercising his legal rights and the media who censor him or editorialize instead of reporting accurately are the ones destabilizing the system yet again.

Of course, Trump would have less success if the Democrats offered people what they need. The state of Florida offers an object lesson. Floridians voted for Trump again but also voted to increase their state minimum wage to $15 per hour. The angry white racists will surely remain amongst us, but some of them would be peeled off if they saw a clear personal advantage in voting for Democrats. If that party were half as inclusive and as helpful to working people as it claims, there would never have been a Trump presidency at all.

There is no coup, just the corruption we are told to accept. Trump will throw bombs on his way out the door. He changed politics forever but the way to beat him is simple. Just meet the people’s needs. Had that happened, far fewer of them would have followed a failed businessman and reality television star who marketed himself as presidential material. Biden will succeed him but because the Democrats are dedicated to doing as little as possible to help the people, Trump may still win in the end. He had plenty of help from his opponents in making the country ungovernable.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

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