By Keith Preston
Anyone who follows the mainstream media, Congress, or elite intellectual circles knows that the Blue Tribe is increasingly fearful of a right-wing coup by the Trumpists with the common refrain being that January 6 was only a warm-up event for the real thing. I’m going to offer a different perspective. First, the participants on January 6 were mostly a motley collection of aging losers and mentally ill fruitbats. No one involved has been charged with sedition, treason, terrorism offenses, murder, or attempted murder. Mostly, they are guilty of institutional offenses like interfering with Congressional proceedings, or petty crimes like vandalism and trespassing. The worst things any of them have been charged with are routine medium-level felonies like felonious assault. Far more serious is the potential use of J6 as a pretext for general repression of political dissenters and the expansion of “war on terrorism” laws, which the Biden administration is clearly attempting to do.
At present, the Trumpists are the least dangerous faction of the Republican Party and, arguably, of the ruling class generally. The other two major factions of the GOP, the neocon-led Never Trumpers and the neocon-adjacent/infested NatCons are worse. The Never Trumpers are folks who want to return the Bush-era neocons to power (e.g. Liz Cheney). NatCons want to co-opt Trump’s movement while purging Trump himself in collusion with the neocons which would have the effect of placing handpicked neocon puppets like Marco Rubio in power. A neocon regime would merely be the return of the Bush-Cheney paradigm in a renewed form. A NatCon regime would be a more competent version of Trumpism and likely with greater neocon influence. To the degree Trump thwarts these people’s ambitions, either by directly or indirectly blocking them or (more often) by undermining them through sheer incompetence, Trump is a useful idiot. Trump’s neo-Nixonian Rockefeller Republican populism with know-nothing elements is actually an improvement over what the GOP was during the Reagan-Bush-Gingrich-Bush era. The Reagan Revolution was a shift to the right away from the older Nixon-Rockefeller paradigm. Trumpism has largely been a return to the Nixonian paradigm as I wrote when Trump was elected in 2016.
This is not to say that Trump is anywhere near ideal or a good guy in his own right. He is not. He is a cult leader similar to other pop culture cult leaders with a mass following (Joel Osteen, for example). He is just as much of an Israeli/Saudi toady as his opponents. Playing chicken with Iran and his administration’s abrogation of the INF treaty with Russia were dangerous moves. Allowing figures like John Bolton and Elliott Abrams into his administration was incredibly stupid. Trump is basically a stage 3 cancer we need to prevent from becoming a stage 5 neocon or NatCon cancer. Additionally, Trump is a chaos agent within the wider ruling class that has the effect of undermining the functionality and prestige of the empire. The neocons-lite of the Biden-Harris regime (neo-Wilsonianism on the totalitarian humanist model) are generally worse because of their more openly aggressive liberal internationalism and general ruling class and institutional support. As Kyle Kulinski recently pointed out, the rivalry between the Trumpists and the Bidenists is like the rivalry between the Stalinists (“neoliberalism in one country”) and Trotskyists (“global neoliberal revolution”).
The most dangerous domestic policy the Trumpists have pursued has been their efforts to lay the foundation for overturning future election results they find unfavorable. While Trump certainly wouldn’t mind having the position of an Erdogan or Putin, and I am highly skeptical of Trump’s ability to gather enough support within the military, intelligence services, law enforcement, and the general ruling class to make such an effort stick. However, it does pay the way for the right-wing of the ruling class (e.g. the arms industry, big oil, AIPAC/Saudi interests, etc.) to attempt to launch a putsch for a caudillo at some point in the future.