Trump's White House at war with itself
The New York Times’ anonymous op-ed by a senior government official describing an in-house ‘resistance’ has pushed the crisis closer to the edge
A profound crisis of governance now grips the entire executive branch of the United States government. The hot-off-the-press revelations contained in Bob Woodward's tell-all account of White House dysfunction in his new book, Fear, along with The New York Times anonymously by-lined op-ed by a senior government official describing an in-house "resistance" has pushed this crisis even closer to the edge.
The White House is at war with itself. Since the inauguration, factional fights have been a way of life on Pennsylvania Avenue: they've now entered dangerous waters. Some GOP officials, alarmed at Trump's recklessness are taking things into their own hands. Generals disobey direct orders, Cabinet members pocket provocative documents from the Oval Office's Resolute desk, and officials ponder whether or not to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Then there are the ever-deepening fissures in the executive branch precipitated by Trump's attacks on the Justice Department and U.S. intelligence agencies in the face of ongoing investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
It would be a mistake to ignore growing splits in the ruling circles. Where will it all end? At this stage, the outcome remains unclear, but it would be a mistake to ignore growing splits in the ruling circles, whatever their origin or motivation. It may be that confronted with an obsequious GOP majority in the House and Senate, ruling class elements are utilising unelected officials precisely because they're unelected to bring pressure to bear on the out-of-control occupant of the Oval Office.
In response, there are already calls from Trump for investigations, lie detector tests, and charges of treason. Who knows how else Trump, now wounded, will react? And herein lies a grave danger. Clearly, some whose complicity aided and abetted Trump's rise are now fearful of a coming disaster and are attempting to rescue the GOP and ruling class policy.
Their role in promoting the hard shift right, including flirting with fascists, gross racism and anti-Semitism along with attacks on the press, deregulating the economy, and putting children in cages should not be erased or sidelined. But, at the same time, neither should the anti-Trump resistance dismiss their distancing themselves from the administration. In fact, it should be welcomed.
Needless to say, the very possibility of their new-found resistance takes place within the context of the huge anti-Trump upsurge. And it is this upsurge that will turn the tide on Election Day. Every break, vacillation, or step away is a step in the right direction and, yes, part of the defense of democracy.
Thus, every hesitation, break, vacillation, or step away must be understood as a step in the right direction and, yes, part of the defense of democracy.
Why? Because the trajectory of the Trump administration, if not arrested, moves in a fascist direction. Isolating it, narrowing its base, neutralising its supporters, and building and broadening the vote to defeat the GOP in the midterms is by far the most important issue before the democratic movement.
Already in the last week, Trump's popularity in national polls has dropped from the low-40s to the mid-30s. Remarkably in three southern states – Tennessee, Georgia, and Texas – Democratic candidates for governor are running neck-and-neck with the GOP candidates. These numbers threaten to depress the GOP vote.
Whether or not Anonymous should reveal his or her name, the fact that these conservative elements are trying to clean up their act is important. But most important is taking advantage of these splits and using them to defeat their leader and building the working-class and democratic opposition.
At this moment, a section of the right is not what it was six months ago. Today, neither is the political center. The same can be said for the left. The dialectics of real life have compelled them to take different positions. No doubt, after the crisis the right will attempt to restore things along lines to their advantage. They will attempt to realign with the center. And those attempts must be prepared for. But, the challenge is in the here-and-now. Otherwise, there may be no future.
Now is the time of monsters. In the period of Mussolini's rise, an anti-fascist fighter and communist, Antonio Gramsci wrote, "Capitalism is in crisis. The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born. Now is the time of monsters."
Once again, capitalism is in crisis. And yes, the Dr. Frankensteins of the GOP have created a monster: today the choice is clear even to some of the monster's makers: defeat this new Frankenstein lest the beast devour us all.
(The writer is senior editor of the People's World. The views expressed are strictly personal)
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