Whither Trumpism now?
An avalanche of analyses is already forming. So here – before the second impeachment trial fades from the front pages – is a proposed tracking for the months (and years?) ahead:
I. Definition (Wikipedia):
Trumpism is a term for the political ideology, style of governance, political movement and set of mechanisms for acquiring and keeping power that are associated with the former 45th United States president, Donald Trump, and his political base. It is an American political variant of the far-right and of the national-populist and neo-nationalist sentiment seen in multiple nations worldwide from the late 2010s to the early 2020. “Trumpism”
II. The enormous broad base and the long road back:
Some 74 million American voters cast their 2020 ballots for Donald J. Trump.
Think about that.
Of course, this base is composed of several concentric circles of commitment. At the core, there are the “un-convincibles”, including – alarmingly – potentially violent conspiracy bearers (although some now feel they were duped); and devoted religious leaders. Outward circles include degrees of “approachables”- more reasonable voters with real or perceived socio-political grievances; commercial/financial beneficiaries; and/or supporters of classic conservative principles.
And consider a summary of surprising new research on the January 6th storming of the U.S. Capitol, this from The Chicago Project on Security at the University of Chicago: The riot involved a great preponderance of middle-class, middle age, employed participants unaffiliated with anti-social groups. About one-tenth of the Capitol insurrectionists in this study were classified as supporters of gangs, militias, or militia-like groups such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters. But overall, the participants’ demographic data indicates that the Trumpist movement has evolved quite broadly in America (and elsewhere) over an extended period. “The Face of American Insurrection” .
III. The socio-political context and vortex:
Clearly, we are now in an unprecedented period of American history: A former president who hasn’t conceded electoral defeat has implanted the election Big Lie/”alternative facts” into the body politic; has been judged (57 – 43, but by an “inadequate majority” of U.S. senators) to have led an attempted insurrection; continues to project disinformation; and holds great sway over his political party.
Among the potential developments to monitor:
. Fever in right wing media: Will any replicate the following surprising developments last week among right-wing media? Fox News fired conspiracy-fantasy champion Lou Dobbs. And this startling admission in a prepared statement by Newsmax “… the election results in every state were certified and Newsmax accepts the results as legal and final. The courts have also supported that view.” [Emphasis added] Potential lawsuits and diminished revenue apparently matter.
On the other hand, the social network Parler, which presents posts promoting violence (under the First Amendment), has just resurfaced from media purgatory.
. Mainstream media: How much “oxygen” (coverage) will MSM grant to the defeated former president who is now without a “bully pulpit.” And with what degree of fact- checking and assessment of truth?
. Social media: Likewise.
. How successful will the Biden Administration be in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and reviving the U.S. economy? And this: A recent New York Times analytical article, “How the Biden Administration Can Help Solve Our Reality Crisis” offers “… steps experts say could prod more people to abandon the scourge of hoaxes and lies”.
. The immediate and extended future of the schizoid Republican Party: To what degree can Senator Mitch McConnell stitch, and hold together, the GOP’s apparently dominant “sedition caucus” with its “institutionalists”? He has condemned Donald Trump outright but, of course, not the Trump base.Trump has answered McConnell in kind.
. Potential investigations, launched and impending: Indictments, court decisions and appeals all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court could take months, years.
. Will the influential business leaders who interrupted their financial support of media, and of the PACs of U.S. senators and representatives who deny the integrity of the election, sustain such commitments?
. By the way, the 2022 Congressional election campaign is already underway.
. Life’s exigencies.
. Citizen political exhaustion.
. “Black swans”.
. No one, no one thing, is forever.
Because Trumpist autocrats rule – or hover – in too many nations, “A Decade After Arab Spring, Autocrats Rule Tattered Mideast” , the world can justifiably wonder: