Former President Donald Trump capped off the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday with a fascist speech that amounted to a call for a police state and civil war against his political opponents.
Speaking to a hall full of Republican politicians, January 6 coup co-conspirators, Christian fascists, Proud Boys militia members and other Trump supporters, the ex-president repeatedly incited the crowd to commit violence against his political enemies in a Nazi-inspired speech that lasted nearly two hours.
Presenting a version of Adolf Hitler’s “stab in the back” theory, Trump outlined a narrative of a country and a people under siege, due to the “evil” and “sick” policies of the “radical left” which he said would be “banished into political oblivion” if he returns to power.
Reprising his 2017 “American Carnage” inauguration address, Trump said: “Gun battles rage between bloodthirsty street gangs. Bullets tear into crowds at random, killing wonderful beautiful little children that never even had a chance. Carjackers lay in wait like predators hunting their prey.”
He continued: “Entire communities are being torn to shreds with stabbings, shootings, strangling [sic], rapes and murders. On that piece that we showed you did you see the man in the knife—with a knife in the back. I did not notice the first time, I was getting ready to come on, a knife right in somebody’s back.” As Trump said “knife” he gestured in a stabbing motion.
Using variations of “I,” “me” and “mine” nearly 300 times in the 108-minute speech, the would-be dictator implored his political allies to “run aggressive, unrelenting and boldly populist” campaigns in the 2022 elections. He effectively declared war, not on an external enemy, but on the “enemy within,” anyone who opposes his drive for power.
Trump declared: “As we gather tonight our country is being destroyed more from the inside than out, America is on the edge of an abyss, and our movement is the only force on earth that can save it. This movement right here. What we do in the next few months and few years will determine whether American civilization will collapse or fail, or whether it will triumph and thrive frankly like never before.”
Inciting fascistic militia groups such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and III Percenters, all of whom have members and sympathizers in police departments and FBI field offices across the country, Trump said: “This is no time for complacency. We cannot be complacent. We have two years, this opportunity to deal with the radical left socialist lunatics. Fascists. And we have to hit them very, very hard, it has to be a crippling defeat because our country cannot take it.”
In order to “hit them very, very hard” and restore “the rule of law,” Trump reiterated previous demands for the building of a police state, which he outlined in a speech in Washington D.C. last month before the America First Policy Institute.
As he did in that speech, Trump said that as president, he should be allowed to deploy National Guard soldiers and regular troops into major US cities, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco and New York City. He called for the building of a mass fascist movement to enact his police-state agenda—without approval from state governors.
“In places where there is a true breakdown of rule of law such as the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, the next president should use every power at his disposal to restore order, and if necessary that includes sending in the National Guard or the troops,” said Trump.
This pledge to deploy the military in working class neighborhoods of Chicago drew a standing ovation from those in attendance. No doubt many were whipped into a frenzy at the idea of soldiers gunning down African American, immigrant and left-wing workers and youth, millions of whom marched in opposition to police murder after the killing of George Floyd two years ago.
Appealing to the Border Gestapo and reactionary police departments around the country, Trump called for the re-imposition of “tried and true … stop and frisk” policies and for “quick trials” and “executions” of suspected “drug dealers.”
Trump said it was “time to take back our streets and public spaces from the homeless and the drug addicted and the dangerously deranged.”
“You do not have time to build buildings,” the Republican front-runner for the 2024 presidential election said, proposing instead tent camps on the outskirts of cities. “We have to relocate the homeless.”
Inciting violence against immigrants, Trump claimed that the country was “being invaded just like [by] a military force.” He outlined a series of alleged crimes committed by immigrants, whom he called “animals.”
“Never forget,” Trump said, “every death at the hands of a criminal illegal alien is entirely preventable.” In a bald-faced lie, Trump said Biden had instituted an “open border agenda.”
“It is a sick agenda,” Trump hissed. In order to beat back the “invasion” Trump called for a “record increase in the number of new ICE officers and Border Patrol officers to resume the enforcement of our immigration laws and to deport the illegal aliens Joe Biden is refusing to deport.”
After painting this mirror opposite of reality, blaming the social evils caused by capitalism on the working class, Trump called on those in attendance and watching globally online to have “the courage to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.”
Prior to his speech it was announced that Trump won the CPAC Dallas straw poll, with 69 percent of respondents at the event saying they preferred Trump as the 2024 Republican nominee. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis placed second with 24 percent of the vote.
Trump’s speech was not an aberration from an otherwise “normal” conservative conference. This conference, as the World Socialist Web Site noted in its first report on CPAC Dallas last Friday, marked “a qualitative leap in terms of its openly fascistic character.”
As evidence of this leap, we pointed to the neo-Nazi speech delivered by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Thursday. In that speech Orban railed against Holocaust survivor George Soros and all left-wing elements, which he called a “woke globalist Goliath” that could not be defeated by “liberal means.”
Along these lines, fascist Steve Bannon, former adviser to Trump, spelled out the Republicans’ plan for ending bourgeois democracy and the right of the population to elect a president by popular vote at CPAC on Friday.
Bannon said that there was no doubt that an “illegitimate impostor” took over the White House on January 20, 2021, and that the “2020 election was stolen from Donald J. Trump.”
Promising that an election would never be “stolen” from the Republicans again—that is to say, that any elections Republicans lose in the future will be “fraudulent”—Bannon endorsed the “independent state legislatures” theory. The far-right legal concoction claims that state legislatures have the “independent” power to govern all aspects of elections, including picking state electors for president as opposed to those chosen by the popular vote.
“We now have a court system … [Neil] Gorsuch, [Brett] Kavanaugh, [Samuel] Alito, that are going to give us … that is going to be the driving force in taking down the administrative state. And look next year, they are going to talk about the independent state legislatures. To devolve all the powers back to that, including, this is where elections are going to be decided,” Bannon said.
“We have a court system, finally, that is on our side,” he added.
While the Republicans lay out their openly fascist agenda, which rejects the entire constitutional framework of American democracy, just as they did in the run-up to the 2020 presidential elections, the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden are either remaining silent, downplaying the threat of fascistic dictatorship, or in some cases, actually funding Trump’s preferred authoritarian candidates.
The Democrats are joined in their operation to chloroform the working class to the danger of fascism by the capitalist press. In an anodyne report on Trump’s speech at CPAC a Sunday headline from The Hill reads: “Trump outlines preferred policies if GOP retakes Congress in CPAC speech.”
A CBS News article updated on Saturday following Trump’s Hitlerian speech reads: “Trump tells CPAC ‘we may have to do it again’ when talking about possible 2024 presidential run.”
The Democratic Party and their media allies seek to downplay the danger of fascism because they fear a mass mobilization of the working class against the source of fascism, the capitalist system, more than their “Republican colleagues.”
The only reason Trump is free to cultivate and build a fascist movement in the Republican Party after attempting to overthrow the government is because large sections of the ruling class are terrified of growing socialist sentiment in the working class. Driven by unending war, pandemics and skyrocketing inflation, the working class is moving into struggle against an increasingly desperate ruling class that sees no solution out of the crisis without mass violence and the elimination of democratic rights.
The Democratic Party, no less than the Republican Party, is beholden to this same rotten financial oligarchy that is lurching to the right. This is why the Democrats, Biden and their “Justice Department” have failed to hold Trump and his co-conspirators accountable for the coup, now 19 months after the fact. To do so would expose the fact that the rot is not just relegated to Trump and a few “crazies.”
This is why the working class must not put any faith in the Democratic Party, or any other faction of the ruling class, to halt the danger of a dictatorship.