Trump’s death threat against McConnell and the silence of the Democratic Party

Last Friday, the former president of the United States issued a clear and unambiguous death threat targeting the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, Mitch McConnell.

On his social media platform, Donald Trump attacked McConnell for voting in favor of a bill to fund the federal government through mid-December. Trump said that McConnell must have voted for the legislation “because he hates Donald J. Trump … [h]e has a DEATH WISH.”

Immediately after suggesting that McConnell was courting death, the ex-president pivoted to a racist attack against the senator’s wife and Trump’s former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, whom he referred to as McConnell’s “China loving wife Coco Chow!”

Trump threatens Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Truth Social on September 30, 2022. [Photo: Donald J. Trump/@realDonaldTrump]

The death threat against McConnell takes place in the context of fascistic rallies organized by Trump in advance of the midterm elections, one month from now. These rallies feature, among others, Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a self-described “Christian nationalist.”

On her social media accounts prior to becoming elected, Greene embraced fascist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories blaming George Soros for funding “migrant caravans” and “liked” comments calling for the execution of Democratic politicians, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Last year she labeled New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats the #JihadSquad and claimed they harbored “terrorist” sympathies.

Trump’s rallies, which have generally been sparsely attended, have promoted the fascist “replacement” theory, called for the mass executions of “drug dealers” and featured orchestral songs and salutes associated with the QAnon movement and the fascist Nicholas Fuentes’ “America First” group.

In the aftermath of Trump’s attacks against McConnell and Chao, not a single Republican senator, including “moderate” Republicans such as Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, condemned Trump for attributing a “DEATH WISH” to McConnell.

This includes former Florida governor and current Republican Senator Rick Scott, who in two different television interviews Sunday not only refused to condemn Trump’s “DEATH WISH” remarks, thus implicitly endorsing Trump’s call to violence, but also tried to explain away Trump’s racist slurs against Chao as just a “nickname.”

The developments this week underscore the extent to which the Republican Party has been transformed into a fascistic organization.

Just one month ago, Biden himself essentially acknowledged as much in a nationally televised address, in which he said that the Republican Party “is dominated and intimidated by MAGA [Make America Great Again] Republicans” who “do not respect the Constitution” or “accept the results of a free election.”

Commenting on the speech, the World Socialist Web Site wrote:

The fact that one of the twin pillars of capitalist politics in the United States is led by a fascist, endorsed his rejection of the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, and supported, both covertly and overtly, the violent coup attempt of January 6, 2021 means that a substantial section of the ruling class actively favors the overthrow of the Constitution and a rapid and violent shift to dictatorship.

The rallies that Trump has held over the past week, culminating in his call for political violence against opponents, confirm this statement.

What is most significant about Trump’s threats, however, is the silence of the Democratic Party. Not a single leading Democrat has condemned them. Biden himself has said nothing about the threat, while using a trip to Florida in the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ian as an opportunity for a photo-op and show of unity with Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

Since Biden gave his speech one month ago, neither he nor other leading Democrats have said anything about Trump and the Republican Party’s continuing embrace of fascism.

The fascistic transformation of the Republican Party has been aided and abetted at every point by the Democratic Party.

It is 20 months since the attempted coup of January 6, 2021, which sought to block the electoral certification of Biden. Biden responded to this insurrection by calling for a “strong Republican Party.” The coup itself was preceded by the plot against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and other Democratic governors. The Democrats responded by covering up the significance of the plot, which was a dress rehearsal for January 6.

The response of the Democratic Party throughout Trump’s coup plotting, prior to and after January 6, has been motivated by two considerations. First, as a party of Wall Street and the military, it is determined to forge a unity with the Republican Party, or a section thereof, behind the escalating US-NATO war against Russia and the plans for war against China.

Second, the main concern of the Democratic Party is not the threat of fascism and dictatorship but the growth of working class opposition from below.

Since coming to power, Biden has pursued in all its essentials the same domestic policy as Trump, particularly in relation to the pandemic, which Biden has declared to be “over,” despite the deaths of more than 400 Americans every day. He is utilizing the services of the trade union apparatus to suppress the class struggle and subordinate the working class to a policy of war that threatens to unleash a nuclear catastrophe.

It is necessary to stress that there is no mass constituency for fascist dictatorship in the United States. The relatively low attendance at Trump’s rallies underscores this fact. Support for Trump, outside of sections of the ruling class and the military-state apparatus, is largely a product of the fact that there is no mechanism within the political establishment for the broad mass of the population to articulate their interests.

As the WSWS wrote one month ago, “In America’s entrenched two-party system, sections of workers and the middle class back the Republican Party not out of conviction but by default. ... To the extent that Trump has a mass base, two-thirds of it, if not three-quarters, is sustained by the hot air of his demagogy. The development of the class struggle will burst his balloon.”

This is the critical question. If it is up to Biden and the Democratic Party, there will be no serious fight against the fascist right, and the danger will continue to grow, whatever the outcome of the vote on November 8.

Only to the extent that the working class breaks out of the constraints that have been imposed upon it can the filth and reaction that has risen to the summits of American politics be exposed and opposed.

The growth of the class struggle—among rail workers, Amazon workers, service workers, educators, health care workers and other sections of the working class—reveals the social force for opposing dictatorship and war.

This social force, however, must be: 1) organized and unified through the development of rank-and-file committees independent of the trade union apparatus, of which the campaign of UAW presidential candidate Will Lehman is the highest expression; and 2) guided by a political perspective, advanced by the Socialist Equality Party, to unite all sections of the working class in the US and internationally on the basis of a socialist program, against all forms of capitalist exploitation and imperialist war.