Amid political warfare in Washington, Trump steps up his fascistic appeal
12 May 2018
Donald Trump’s rally in Elkhart, Indiana Thursday night was the latest in a series of campaign-style events where he is testing out a political appeal of a fascistic character. It follows similar events over the past two months, all in the industrial Midwest: a rally in Moon Township in the Pittsburgh suburbs on March 10; a rally in Washington Township, Michigan, in the Macomb County suburbs of Detroit, on April 28; and a fundraising appearance in suburban Cleveland on May 5.
While these events are linked to key Senate midterm contests on November 6—or in the case of the Pittsburgh rally, a special congressional election in southwest Pennsylvania—and Trump has embraced Republican candidates for state and federal office, the purpose of these rallies goes beyond electoral calculations.
Amid a ferocious conflict within the US ruling elite, with his political opponents in the military-intelligence apparatus and the Democratic Party seeking to demolish his administration with a series of criminal investigations and media leaks, Trump has turned to rallying his base of support on an increasingly open far-right basis.
The authoritarian thrust of Trump’s campaign found its most ominous expression in Elkhart in his seemingly offhand suggestion that he might receive “an extension for the presidency,” in other words, remain in power longer than the two-term limit prescribed by the Twenty-Second Amendment to the US Constitution.
The content of his appeal to working-class and lower-middle-class people in his audience has been the same in all the rallies: extreme American chauvinism, expressed in references to respect for the flag, the pledge of allegiance and other patriotic claptrap, and,…