Someone once asked the singer Joe Cocker why he quit doing drugs. If I remember his answer correctly, he said, “You can only bang your head against a wall for so long before it hurts.”
The global left has to offer a solution to rival fascism to the lower middle class or fascism will continue to rise and consolidate its power by establishing state-to-state relationships. The strategy of insulting them and spurning them for their reactionary beliefs and reprobate leaders has not been working.
This week the United Kingdom followed suit by electing an actual rugby player as their prime minister, although only registered members of the Conservative Party were able to cast a vote.
If you’re a Russian, this stuff is probably the best entertainment yet invented, but having the western coalition run by outright buffoons isn’t very funny to me.
This past spring, I wrote the “Billionaires are Only Half-Awake” and “What if Big Business Falls In Completely With Trumpism” because of my concern that business leaders in this country (and not just those predisposed to watch Fox News) will learn to tolerate the destruction of civil and human rights and acquiesce to the consolidation of power in the executive branch of government. The reason they may do this is because they find the alternative more personally threatening. Since these people own the newspapers, television and radio stations, and also fund most of the major non-profit media outlets, this is like losing a last line of defense against tyranny.
As a result of this worry, I’ve had my eyes peeled for warning signs. Now I have one:
Wealthy Republican donors frightened of a socialist takeover in Washington have boosted support for House Republicans despite concerns about the party’s direction, providing a ray of hope for recapturing the majority in 2020.
Democrats scoff at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky for insisting Democrats in Congress are a bunch of socialists led by “the squad,” four liberal firebrands in the House frequently at odds with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But the message is paying dividends, literally, with Republican donors writing five, six and seven figure checks to the party’s congressional campaign committees and affiliated super PACs.
Robust engagement by GOP financiers, hardly guaranteed with the uncertainty of President Trump’s reelection prospects and after the stinging defeat House Republicans suffered in the midterm elections, is making them optimistic about a quick rebound.
I’d only characterize this as half-a-warning sign because big-monied Republican donors making big donations to the Republican Party is only a continuation of what came before. It’s disappointing to see these people swallowing their qualms, but the more severe danger will come when formerly left-leaning or spread-the-money-to-both-sides business leaders jump to the right with both feet.
For now, this remains more of a risk than a reality, but a lot will depend on how the Democratic Party’s primaries and caucuses play out.
While careful to give House and Senate Republican leaders credit, GOP operatives involved in fundraising say the single biggest factor in the gold rush has been what donors are witnessing in the House and the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In June, when I wrote Should the Democrats Go Left or Occupy the Middle?, I offered my rebuttal to the argument that the surest way to lose the 2020 election is to position the party in the center. I also said that there are defensible perspectives in favor of going for broke with a strong left-leaning message that could mobilize people for the large challenges, like climate change, that we’ll be facing in the next decade. The Australian left just blew an election they were supposed to win with that exact strategy, but maybe it could work here.
For me, winning is paramount. Losing will allow fascists to “continue to rise and consolidate…power by establishing state-to-state relationships,” now including the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. This will mean self-destructive trade wars, the empowerment of white nationalism, the loss of hard-won human rights, more media and corporate consolidation, less press freedom, and (if history is a guide) potentially much worse things as well.
The left needs a populist message that reaches everyone, but if they’re not going to attempt that, then the safer bet is to occupy the vast areas in the middle that Trump has abandoned.