America’s heart of darkness | Trump, Fox, Proud Boys

“Do you think we must go through a patriotic cleanse, of sorts? If so, what does that look like?

This summer will be very hot”

3 sets of legal action have put the inner workings of the US right in public view.  And it is not a pretty sight.

Fox News settled out of court with Dominion Voting systems for $787m over stories they broadcast supporting Donald Trump’s claims that the last Presidential election was rigged.    Evidence disclosed showed that Fox repeatedly broadcast stories that it knew weren’t true because if feared losing readers. Four members of the Proud Boys, a far right, pro-Trump militia,  including their former leader Enrique Tarrio, were convicted of seditious conspiracy, the first people to be charged with that crime since the Civil War. Two members of the Oath Keepers, another pro-Trump militia were sentenced to 12 snd 18 years in prison. And Trump himself lost a civil case for sexual assault, was indicted for payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels, and looks likely faces charges of election rigging in Georgia.


Evidence disclosed in the Fox/Dominion lawsuit revealed in shocking detail , how Fox repeatedly broadcast news stories about the 2020 Presidential election that it knew weren’t true.   Station executives were scared that if they told the truth they would lose viewers to rival stations which were happy to promote Donald Trump’s false claims.  

If they had told the truth their Conservative viewers would have turned off.  For many American Conservatives truth and reality have become too uncomfortable to deal with and have retreated into a fantasy world.

The Conservative base is composed of declining constituencies – rural, evangelical, white and old, and as their voter base gets smaller they find it harder and harder to win elections; the Republicans have won a majority only once in the last 9 Presidential elections.  Rather than accept their declining influence they have created increasingly elaborate conspiracy theories to explain away their loosening grip on power.
Sinister elites, dangerous conspiracies, cabals of liberals, immigrants, graduates, LBGTQ.   They may not all share the Trump/QAnon worldview, but they still they no longer recognise as legitimate any outcome that ins’t white, male and reactionary.

And increasingly when they are in power they are willing to bend the rules – restrict voting, gerry-mander districts – to keep their hold on power. To win at all costs, regardless of the damage done to American democracy.    Their refusal to raise the debt ceiling forcing America into default shows their determination to break anything and everything to get their own way. Their only commitment is to dominate and force their opponents into submission; Democrats, progressives, “elites”, immigrants, “deep state” bureaucrats.  Anyone who doesn’t share their ideology.   That their opponents are just as fictitious as their conspiratorial fantasies doesn’t make their hatred less fierce.  

Proud Boys

The ongoing court cases resulting from the January 6th insurrection have exposed the threat from far right violence.

There is a revolutionary vanguard who are organised, armed, and who are actively seeking an opportunity to start a new civil war in order to protect rule by white men, and were prepared to use violence in order to stop the transfer of power from Donald Trump.  These were a minority among the participants on January 6th, a minority even among those prosecuted, most of whom had no plans of anything, never mind armed revolution.   But the way the rest of the mob were swept along with the vanguard shows that there is a radicalised group among the US right who might not start a war, but who would be easily drawn into one if it happened.   Many people who support violence would never actually commit it themselves. but when politicians share angry and extreme rhetoric they give permission for the unhinged and heavily armed to take action.

Despite all of the warning signs the USA remains incredibly un-prepared for an armed revolt by right wingers who don’t accept the legitimacy of a President of the USA who isn’t a conservative white man.    America has always had a propensity to political violence that set it aside from similar countries.  The UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand don’t have political killings like the US.   Joe Cox and David Aimes were the first British politicians to be killed since the IRA cease fire.   The attempts by the Republicans to over turn the next election will be much better organised that the last, and any attempts to stop a coup will be met by armed force for right wing militias.   

If they are this angry about Joe Biden, an old white man, with some socially conservative leanings, just think how angry they will be when he is replaced by a woman, person of colour 

So far most of the violence has been performative; fancy dress displays of guns and camo.  Only on a few occasions has this become actual violence.  Most of the insurrectionists are Gravy Seals – fat old men in mismatched camo and denim with oversized long guns, no match for organised law enforcement.   But there are smaller, better organised groups, operating in parts of the US where local government share a similar conspiratorial world view.  The USA is a mess of contradictory jurisdictions; Federal , State, local, some of which see themselves on the side of potential insurrectionists not the Government.  An army might not be necessary to destabilise the country, smaller pockets of armed unrest could ignite widespread disorder in a country with too many guns.

Support for violence on the US right is no longer a fringe position, this is not a marginal movement, these are people who see violence as a means to defend their values, part of their political activity. 2nd amendment rights have been stretched to the extreme in Conservative States, allowing plenty of room for the kind of extra-judicial killing that Kyle Rittenhouse carried out   The Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and may other groups have been allowed to develop into fully armed insurrectionist militias, openly plotting the over throw of the Government.

At least three states with Republican governors — Florida, Virginia, and Texas – have adopted laws or regulations empowering private citizens to enforce restrictive policies governing abortion, sex education or the teaching of critical race theory, in some cases providing bounties for those reporting abortions.
Texas is setting up a citizens militia to police immigration. 

Maybe the American civil war never ended.  It just kept on running through American society with the patriotic Union finding excuses to accommodate their confederate opponents, never brave enough to truly condemn them as traitors.


And at the heart of it all is Donald Trump’s desperate attempts to keep in the spotlight and return to the White House. Trump isn’t entirely to blame for the growing propensity for violence on the right, but he has fanned the flames, and given his Presidential seal of approval to the violent fringes and helped them move into the mainstream.   

I’m not a lawyer but my personal assessment of his legal position is that he is stuffed.   

He still however has a following among the Republican base. The transgressive, bad boy candidate, the one who lets you say what you want to say, think what you want to think, act how you want to act, no matter how grotesque it is.  Fat, boorish and crass.

Some of his staunchest supporters are evangelical Christians, who credit him with appointing the Supreme Court judges who over-turned Roe Vs Wade.  They have been turning a blind eye to the sexual and financial misdemeanours of evangelical preachers for decades, and excuses for Trumps own crimes come easily to them.

They identify so strongly with Trump that if you disagree with him, or disparage him, you are somehow insulting the millions of “real Americans” who voted for him. 

For the last decade middle class liberals and lefties have been complaining loudly about neo-liberalism, which they believe to be the source of all evil.   What they missed was a much more dangerous ideology – neo-authoritarianism.  Trump and his pals don’t want to shrink the size of the state, but expand it, to control and repress their enemies and rivals.   They want tax cuts, but they can’t cut welfare programmes to pay for it, because that would pauperise their base even further.  They aren’t ideologues like Hitler, they simply seek power and dominance for their own sake, to dominate and control, to enforce a hierarchy with themselves at the top.  


In amongst these fantasies of power and control are some darker beliefs.  The QAnon/MAGA far right fantasise about child abuse, secret tunnels full of abused children, sinister liberal cabals of paedophiles.  The LGBTQ community are particular targets for their conspiracies – alien, a threat to western culture, and transgender are their most visible targets. LGBTQ have become the enemy the way that Jews were a century ago.  Russia is ahead of the US, making LGBTQ the enemy within, morally corrupt and evil.  The US are right are following their lead,  with a Supreme Court  willing to indulge their bigotry.  This doesn’t mean that Jews are completely out of the picture – conspiracies about George Soros and international liberal cabal are horribly familiar. They have turned those who oppose them, or who don’t share their narrow values into monsters who must be stopped at all costs.

I can understand people turning to fantasy when their own dreams have failed, but these are dark and sinister fantasies, evil beyond belief. 

I have spent time on-line among Trump/MAGA/QAnon supporters and what they have in their heads to inflict upon America is horrific, and what they need is an excuse, an opportunity to justify this. The child abuse fantasies are to give them the moral license to do something equally horrific to their political enemies given the slightest chance

The people sharing these dark conspiracies are planning their own holocaust, starting with Trans, then Gay, then anyone who stands in their way.

They won’t all have the guts to pull the trigger themselves, but enough of them will. Each campaign of extermination needs a bureaucracy to carry out the horror and to keep the hands of the majority clean – the Guillotine and the Revolutionary terror in France, Stalin’s purges, the Holocaust. Each had their own bureaucracy that sanitise the slaughter. The Republican control of the Supreme Court, State legislatures, Governorships, gives them the beginnings of the political and legal structures they need for a reign of terror.

Only a small fraction of the US right share these violent fantasies, but once they have momentum there are plenty of others who would go along with it, caught up in the excitement. And plenty of US jurisdictions run by people who share their views. The US right is staring into the abyss. And the abyss is staring into them.

Normally when I write about Trump I include some of the weird Trump fan art that has proliferated on line. Instead this time these are excerpts from pro-Trump/MAGA/QAnon online that I gathered after the death of Queen Elizabeth II last year. They were so unpleasant that I waited 9 months before sharing them

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