On January 6 we witnessed live the most important episode of the conflict that exists between Trumpism and the establishment to change the current political regime of the United States. It is clear that a coup d’état was unviable in the short term since the main political, economic or military forces did not support it; but it was not simply insanity.
Behind all those surreal scenes of supremacists or neo-Nazis is hidden a project that has a social base and political support. Trump and Trumpism have attempted not only to modify the electoral result, but also the relation of forces between the institutions of the State. First through the judges and the Supreme Court (made to order); failing this, they tried to involve the governors of the States of Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, etc. Nor could this be done. Then there was only the appeal that Vice President Pence refused to certify the results on January 6 at the Capitol. After that last attempt, Donald Trump called for thousands of demonstrators from all over the country to occupy the Capitol. It was a great demonstration of strength in the face of the legal impossibility of continuing to be president for another four years. Trump knew he could not kidnap senators and congressmen indefinitely, but what he could do, and has done, is make a powerful show of himself to the world.
Donald Trump is not a simple egomaniac. The serious mistake of the establishment and the media has been to underestimate this “orange meteorite” with what was happening all over the world and with the amount of votes already obtained in 2016. Trump has never been alone. He has had very strong economic means in some business sectors, his social base is not exclusively the poor whites of the South but the income of over $100,000 per year. He has had the support of evangelical churches and sects that bring together millions of fanatics. Until November it has had the support of the media such as FOX, with a majority of the judges throughout the country and the Supreme Court, and, fundamentally, the entire Republican Party closed ranks with Trump these last four years. Only after November 3 did this huge political front begin to weaken but not break down. While some continued to talk about Trump’s follies, the egomaniac kept 134 congressmen and 8 senators willing to follow the electoral fraud charade, he had the overwhelming support of the Republican Party’s base (now even 45% versus 43% of its voters support the assault on the Capitol) and, most significantly, he is the second most voted candidate for president in U.S. history (70 million votes), after, of course, Joe Biden. Thus, Trumpism has its roots in a very powerful social and political base.
3 .- The balance of the assault on the Capitol I do not think it will be a disaster for D. Trump, beyond the fact that it will lose support among sectors more integrated into the establishment. His road map is not as unpredictable as it seems, his objective is a more presidentialist and autocratic political regime in the style of Putin, for example. In that regime, institutions would be subordinated to that personal power. It is not an easy road but it has managed to erode everything it has passed through. And it leaves the world with three very dangerous messages: the vulnerability of popular representation (both the voting system and the chambers); the impunity of a sector of white and reactionary society in the face of another that was harshly repressed in the revolts over the assassination of G. Floyd; and the general feeling that, far from retreating, the challenge set up in Washington by the nationalist ultra-right can be carried out in any part of the so-called first world.
4 .- It remains to be reflected in the future to what extent systems based on popular representation are in crisis, and to what extent Trump, Bolsonaro and other far-right movements are the greatest symptom. In my opinion, the crisis today, unlike other historical moments, is not produced by a rise in revolutions or a polarization of classes, but by a violent political attack by reactionary nationalisms and the right wing in the world to establish more reactionary and anti-democratic political regimes. Under the anti-globalization or anti-elitist discourses are hidden not only “poor whites,” but economic elites with different interests from other elites, and broad sectors of the middle classes framed in a wide cultural and religious range where the most fanatical, chauvinistic, crazy, racist beliefs predominate. The particularity of the situation lies in the fact that the political initiative in the last five years has come from that whole political spectrum: Brexit, Trump, Bolsonaro, Orban, etc, etc.
5 .- However, the victory of Biden-Harris and the Democratic Party majorities in the Senate and Congress could reverse the trend of recent years. It is not that we have illusions in the Democratic leadership. They are right now the representatives of the interests of the main economic groups in the country (Technology, Amazon, Pharmaceuticals…) and therefore of Wall Street. However, it is an open window to better develop the struggles that have taken place against racism, the rights of women, immigrants or the working poor.
Moreover, I have no doubt that the end of the dark ages represented by Donald Trump will mark a turning point in the way we combat the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The balance sheet to date is frightening, and the responsibilities of the Republican Administration (with its implicit denial) are decisive.