Some leftists believe Trump to be a fascist mastermind. He is not. He is a fascist idiot, a toddler in adult’s clothing. He is every bit as stupid and immature as he appears to be.
Hitler and Mussolini took under a year to consolidate power in a way that Trump never has been able to in over three years. Now, Trump is trying to consolidate that sort of power but is too stupid to know how to actually do it.
That he has advisers who are not stupid does not much matter, because he refuses to listen to those advisers. In fact, he tends to fire advisers who offer him actual advice. Three years into his administration, this process has served to weed out all but sycophants from his inner circle.
The invention of photography changed the world, because photographs allowed evils like slavery, poverty, warfare, and child labor to be graphically documented. Now, the presence of widespread photography is changing the world again.
When only a few people had cameras with them, persistent but sporadic evils like police brutality against people of color went largely unphotographed. Now nearly everyone has a cell phone with them with a camera that, while it might not be the best of cameras, still produces serviceable images and is always there, ready for use.
Instances of police brutality that formerly were dismissed or played down by an Establishment media uncomfortable with the idea of challenging authority are now being documented in a way that is impossible for them to ignore.
It was only a matter of time until enough such documented instances prompted widespread eruptions of outrage. In fact, up until very recently, I had been mystified (and more than a little frustrated) that such an eruption had not yet happened.
Now the eruption is happening. The police, as racist as ever, are operating in an environment where a fascist president is gives them license to act the quiet parts out loud. There is widespread support for Trump in the police force and particularly in the power structures of police unions.
Officers feel free to brutalize not only people of color in the streets, but the news media (generally disliked by Trumpers) who are documenting their outrage. This has served to bias the media even more against Trump (and to furnish them with footage providing graphic and dramatic evidence for the validity of such bias).
Trump’s stupidity and immaturity were on full show in Lafayette Square. If Trump had an ounce of sense to him, he would have simply waited a bit to stage his photo-op, because curfew hour was fast approaching. The Square could have been prioritized for curfew enforcement, the warning given at 7:00 pm, and any lingering protesters violently dispersed. More than likely, the clergy who were there would have left when they heard the warnings.
But no. The adult toddler wanted his photo-op, and he wanted it now.
Because Trump is stupid and immature, he is quite predictable, as all simpletons tend to be. Because he is predictable, his behavior can be engineered and exploited by others.
He wants the protesting to stop, and he’s willing to disregard established norms in an attempt to stop them. Fine. Make him. Keep protesting.
Make him look as bad as possible, i.e. protest, don’t riot. It’s not that riots don’t have their logic (they do), it’s that no tactic is universally applicable in all situations. In this situation, Trump will look worse if he orders state violence against mostly lawful (excepting curfew orders) protests than if he does against destructive or violent ones. So make him look worse.
Let him attempt to deploy the military. Already, one can find even conservative anti-Trump voices like Rick Wilson approvingly retweeting calls for the military to desert or mutiny if ordered to commit acts of violence against citizens. Put that one in your pipe and smoke it.
And no, it’s not far-fetched. Many senior officers despise Trump, because Trump has weakened the empire whose military they serve in. Enlisted men serve in an institution which, oddly enough, is one of the most progressive in the country when it comes to race relations. There will be discomfort up and down the hierarchy of command with orders to conduct domestic repression.
Military law even gives them a crutch. Soldiers take an oath not to obey their superiors, but to obey all lawful orders. When a soldier is given an order, one which is to be executed immediately, there is nobody to rely on to determine lawfulness except the judgment of the individual soldier him- or herself.
Having the protests be nonviolent and nondestructive will make it psychologically easier for servicemen to decide to desert. Make it easier for them.
Trump is not on the verge of winning; he is on the verge of losing, and losing in a decisive and humiliating way that no US president has ever lost: to a popular revolution.