Trump fear factory is humming around the clock
A member of the FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction team works outside the Time Warner Center, in New York, Wednesday. A police bomb squad was sent to CNN's offices in New York City, and the newsroom was evacuated because of a suspicious package. Along with CNN, prominent Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Rep. Maxine Waters, were targeted with bombs. | AP

Fear, lies, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism, anti-communism, and bomb threats. A nation on edge.

With only days left before the elections, Trump, the GOP and the right-wing are going for broke selling venomous hate and lies on an unprecedented scale. They are doing it openly. Trump’s attempt to blame the media is an attempt hide the fact that it is his administration and the Republicans who are driving this process and bear full responsibility for the pipe bombs that have appeared across the country over the last two days.

An NYPD bomb squad vehicle outside CNN’s offices at Time Warner Center in New York City, Wednesday, Oct. 24. | Kevin Hagen / AP

Mob violence is being incited at Trump rallies almost nightly with the president’s invective directed at Democratic candidates, at people of color, at women, at immigrants, and at anyone who is even mildly critical of the president’s policies. Almost every single one of the intended recipients of the pipe bombs has, in the last weeks, been targeted by the president with racist and misogynist smears and lies. The Trump fear factory is humming round the clock with right-wing propaganda media outlets and online right-wing chat rooms aiding and abetting the operation.

These are acts of desperation. They are geared to create mass confusion, shift political momentum, drive a wedge among Americans, and marshal a massive turnout of GOP voters.

This is the only way Trump and the Republicans see stopping Democrats from breaking GOP majorities in Congress and making gains among governors and state legislatures, including in so-called red states and districts.

These are dangerous acts that, if not halted, can further rip the social fabric of our country, with unknown and perhaps tragic consequences.

The bomb threats against former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, John Brennan, Joe Biden, Maxine Waters, Andrew Cuomo, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, George Soros, and others are acts of terror. Whether they are being carried out by a lone right-wing extremist, some right-wing network, or a white supremacist group(s) doesn’t matter. The responsibility for instigating them lies squarely with President Trump.

Despite denials, Trump and the right wing have driven this process of polarization. Trump and the right-wing media have reviled, on an almost daily basis, all the people targeted thus far by the bomber(s). This makes Trump’s recent accusations that it is the Democratic Party that pushes mob rule all the more obviously part of his big lie campaign.

The bomb sent to CNN is a directly connected to right-wing vilification of CNN and those portions of the mass media that have been critical of Trump and the GOP. Trump regularly incites his crowds against journalists. In Montana recently, he had words of praise for an elected representative who had physically assaulted a journalist. Recently, he also raised doubts about the heinous murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The danger of all of this lies herein: Acts and threats of terror create an atmosphere of fear and make people vulnerable to extreme demagogy, lies, and conspiracy theories. Trump was elected largely by inciting fear, whipping up racial and anti-immigrant hate, misogyny, and religious intolerance. And since taking office, he and the GOP have governed on this basis, deeply dividing the nation and undermining democratic institutions in the process.

The GOP strategy to win the November elections is focused on stoking fear of immigrants, the M13 gang, and vilifying House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Rep. Maxine Waters. Obviously, this didn’t stem the tide of an unprecedented mass movement led by women in response to Trump’s election. In fact, it fueled a mass struggle of resistance, including the fight against confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Direct appeals to white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and homophobia have been relegated to the fringes of politics since the Civil Rights Revolution. But Trump has normalized them and brought them into the mainstream. He trumpets them from the White House and on the campaign trail. In so doing, Trump has put our democracy, with all its limitations and flaws, in peril. For victims of oppression, he has created a permanent atmosphere of danger.

Trump and the GOP only win if lies, fear, and division prevail and voters stay home. Trump and many GOP candidates believe the bigger and more outlandish the lie, the better. The lie about Islamic terrorists infiltrating a migrant caravan headed for the U.S. border and funded by George Soros and Democrats sounds insane on its face. As does the lie that Californians are rioting to rid the state of sanctuary cities.

But these and other lies and conspiracy theories, embellished by Trump, Fox News, Breitbart, Sinclair Broadcasting, and venomous conservative talk radio, are unfortunately believable to tens of millions of our fellow Americans who have been indoctrinated by the right-wing media bubble.

Trump and the GOP hope to confuse and fool voters, particularly white working-class voters, while deftly hiding their own dastardly anti-people, anti-democratic agenda: tax cuts for billionaires; destruction of the Affordable Care Act; elimination of Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare; gutting every protection against racial, gender, and LGBTQ discrimination; eliminating every restriction on possession of firearms; and destroying all democratic norms and the environment.

An atmosphere of fear also justifies massive voter suppression efforts, particularly of African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and other people of color, youth, and newly naturalized citizens.

A steady escalation of violence has characterized Trump’s politics. Here, anti-Trump protester Bryan Sanders, center left, is punched by a Trump supporter at a Trump rally in Tucson, Ariz., March 19, 2016. | Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star via AP

There can only be one response: VOTE!

Fight lies with the truth. Fight disunity with unity. Fight voter suppression by redoubling efforts to mobilize every voter possible to the polls. November 6 can be a national referendum, a day when the American people say—Enough! Not here, not now, not ever!

November 6 can also be a day when thousands of activists running for office, women, people of color, and union members, many running for the first time, are elected. Such an outcome can transform legislative bodies, overcome right-wing obstruction and instigated polarization and create new space to expand democracy and fight for an agenda that puts people and planet first.

The nation is at a crossroads. If Trump and the GOP are successful in mobilizing their supporters and maintaining total domination of Congress and most state legislatures, they will feel unhindered to ram through their agenda, expand voter suppression and attacks on democratic rights, restrict the press, stack the courts with right-wing judges, and end the Mueller investigation.

However, if millions of Americans put hope over fear, determination over intimidation, solidarity over division, then a vital step can be taken toward ousting Trump and the GOP in 2020 and ending our national nightmare. Let us do all we can between now and November 6 to reach every voter possible and get them to the polls. Our future depends on it.


John Bachtell
John Bachtell

John Bachtell is president of Long View Publishing Co., the publisher of People's World. He is active in electoral, labor, environmental, and social justice struggles. He grew up in Ohio, where he attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs. He currently lives in Chicago.