Trump unbound?
Trump unbound? | Photo: Charlie Riedel / AP; Graphic Enhancement: PW

With Trump’s acquittal by the Senate all but assured, some are arguing that the racist-in-chief is now the most powerful in the history of the presidency. Trump himself certainly seems to think so, as witnessed by comments he has made over the course of the impeachment (“No collusion!” “Perfect phone call!”).

The other day, historian Jon Meecham described Trump as a “functional monarch,” citing Lamar Alexander’s admission of overwhelming evidence of Trump’s guilt but excusing the Senate’s stubborn refusal to call witnesses. He added, “Find me a president that has had this much political power.” Checks and balances seem, well, unchecked.

Meecham has a point. The country is experiencing a crisis of governance—a profound crisis of the capitalist state. The ruling class is split in several directions, with even hard-right factions breaking with the president’s lawlessness. Buoyed by support in fascist-tinged financial circles, a white-supremacist GOP base, and compliant House and Senate Republicans, Trump, having survived several political storms, seems a modern Prometheus unbound leading an increasingly unhinged host. The fascist danger is growing.

But we don’t completely buy it. The White House continues to face the largest and broadest opposition movement in the history of the presidency. The resistance to Trump and GOP politics has been unprecedented, culminating in the 2018 midterms which resulted in the most extensive GOP electoral rout in U.S. history—not only in Congress but in state elections across the country. Indeed, were it not for the Democratic midterm House victory, impeachment—with all of its limitations—would not have been conceivable.

And notwithstanding those weaknesses, the ongoing impact of Trump’s trial should not be underestimated—the lying, double-dealing, and corruption will be the very stuff of the upcoming election campaign.

The strength and stability of any government rest not so much on the accumulation of power at the top but the degree of support below among the governed. With a split ruling class at the “commanding heights of big capital”; hard public support hovering around one-third; and a widespread, well-organized opposition in the labor, civil rights, women’s, Latino, LGBTQ, and youth movements—Trump is in big trouble.


Yet, much depends on the ability of the various components of the people’s movements to forge greater unity around issues as the primaries play out. As recent events reveal, this is not a given. All of us have to keep our eyes on the prize. Defeating Trump and the GOP is central to social progress.

Still, when all is said and done, the struggle ahead is about more than Trump. It’s about defending democracy and finally making real changes for the better in the lives of working-class and poor people. The fascist danger will continue to simmer without such changes.

The real “check” that will put governance back in “balance” is the people. When power and capital are in the hands of the people, “functional” monarchies with their untrammeled power will no longer exist. Let’s work hard to rid ourselves of “King” Trump in November.

This op-ed first appeared on


Communist Party USA
Communist Party USA

The Communist Party USA is a working-class organization that stands for the interests of the U.S. working class and its people. El Partido Comunista de EE. UU. es una organización de la clase trabajadora que defiende los intereses de la clase trabajadora de EE. UU. y su pueblo. We work in coalition with the labor movement, the peace movement, the student movement, organizations fighting for equality and social justice, the environmental movement, immigrants' rights groups, and the health care for all campaign. Solidarity with workers of other countries is also part of our work. But to win a better life, we believe that we must go further. We believe that people can replace capitalism with a system that puts people before profit — socialism. We are rooted in our country's revolutionary history and its struggles for democracy. We call for a "Bill of Rights" socialism, guaranteeing full individual freedoms.