Former Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark, the man who heroically tried to keep his boss Donald Trump in power by amplifying Trump’s absurd and false claims after the Orange Polyp lost the election, no doubt fancies himself a man of principle. Most fascists believe they are serving a higher calling that does not require them to play by the ordinary rules, rules made for weaklings. They operate with urgency, goaded by a sense of outraged grievance. As Trump said during his long exhortation on January 6, before sending an angry mob down to gently hug and kiss the Capitol Police: “when you catch somebody in a fraud you’re allowed to go by a different set of rules.” Indeed.
Today Jeffery Clark, a man who went by a very different set of rules (“alternative rules”) that included attempts to have the DOJ knowingly lie to keep Trump in power, heads the New Civil Liberties Alliance, the extreme right-wing outfit that is dragging universities into courts to challenge mask mandates and trying to get the eviction moratorium lifted. You know, NEW civil liberties. A reminder of what fascists actually stand for, from that great article on the shady history of American fascism that I cited the other day:
Fascism is not a principled or ideological stand; it is the politics of grievance, an instrumentalist response to a political situation it perceives as unacceptable. Fascism is the counter-revolutionary politics of force, justified by ultra-nationalism, glorified by myths of regeneration and purification, performed by masculine cults of personality and sold as the will of the people.source
After Hitler launched a bloody and failed insurrection in Munich, 1923, his famous Beer Hall Putsch, a sympathetic right wing judge in the scrupulously democratic Weimar Republic gave him a platform to make patriotic speeches to his fellow citizens, day after day. He got a slap on the wrist by way of a sentence, for treason, a short stay in plush accommodations in Landsberg Prison. He emerged as a national celebrity with a book to sell.
After Trump launched a bloody and failed insurrection on January 6, a quick, failed second impeachment and … crickets. Sure he’s been harshly punished by Twitter, and Facebook tiptoes around a temporary ban until, presumably, the incorrigible liar changes his stripes, but otherwise . . . crickets. Where are the federal charges? Where is the indictment in Georgia for his seditious recorded call to Raffensberger during which he violated every clause of the Georgia criminal law regarding interference in elections? It’s mystifying and disquieting that, even with the Fourteenth Amendment specifically banning insurrectionists from holding public office, the man who has always played by radically different rules is poised to be the GOP presidential candidate in 2024, perhaps after serving as savage, punishing Speaker of the House for a couple of years.
It is exhausting to repeat that American democracy itself hangs in the balance, as the forces of democracy fret about the right thing to do, while the well-funded friends of fascism are busy day and night planning and carrying out the next steps in their decades-long campaign for one-party rule. 51 votes in the Senate would end the filibuster, or carve out an exception for voting rights, which should not be in question more than 50 years after the Voting Rights Act the now supermajority right-wing Supreme Court has been vivisecting in recent years.
The 51 principled votes to limit or abolish the filibuster could be there, should be there, except that Kirsten Synema insists on performing her quirky, haughty, mavericky dance, Joe Manchin meets with oil and coal barons to get his orders, and Dianne Feinstein, who gushed at Miss Lindsey Graham’s graciousness while shoving Federalist Society superstar Amy Coney-Barrett down the nation’s throat, sits on the fence, referring obliquely to some higher principle about compromise. Trump’s people have no such scruples.