Teri Kanefield @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (U.C. Berkeley). My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ My author website is here: www.terikanefield.com/ Feb. 06, 2019 4 min read

(Thread) Victimhood, Trump & oligarchy

Hi Tamara, I wouldn’t say we already had oligarchy before Trump.

Timothy Snyder more accurately said that we’re “tipping toward a regime change.” It hasn't happened (yet).

For perspective: if successful, it'll be our 3rd oligarchy.

1/ (Oligarchy=a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes)
 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oligarchy 

Our first oligarchy was slavery.
Our second was the age of robber barons before the New Deal. (Among other things, the New Deal strengthened a middle class).

2/ The US was founded as a liberal democracy. (I’m using that word on purpose)


But we didn’t come close to liberal democracy until Brown v. Board (ruling segregation illegal) ushered in the Civil Rights movement, which paved the way for women’s rights.

3/ The New Deal, Civil Rights and women’s rights movements ignited a backlash.

As women and minorities moved into positions of power, the right-wing backlash picked up momentum.

The backlash brought us Trump.

4/ Trump springs from the heart of the current GOP—a reactionary party attempting to undo the New Deal, Civil Rights and women's rights movements and return the US to oligarchy.

You know. Back when America was "great."

@TamaraLashchyk also asks what comes after Trump.

5/ I see two possibilities.

Outcome #1:

The shock of Trump wakes people up and shocks them out of complacency.

Those in favor of liberal democracy always outnumber those who are opposed, but liberals (in the classic sense) tend to be disorganized and splintered.

6/ Those in favor of authoritarianism have built in advantages: They fall in line behind a leader. They do as they’re told, including repeating talking points. They have a well-oiled media loop. They are willing to cheat. They are willing to break laws.

7/ That’s why right wing authoritarians always exert power far beyond their numbers.

So outcome #1 is: Those in favor of liberal democracy vote in large enough numbers, and remain engaged enough in grassroots political organization so that we can protect democratic institutions.

8/ Outcome #2: Trump taught the far right wing how to do it. Now another person can come along who can do the Trump act better, without the baggage and law-breaking history.

In other words, someone will come along who can out Trump Trump.

9/ The way to prevent possibility #2 is to understand Trump’s methods.

Dismissing him as a blundering fool means we won’t be prepared the next time someone uses the Trump-Bolsonaro-Putin methods.

10/ If you’re new to my feed and you are wondering “what methods?” here are two threads:

Crisis and spectacle:

“cynically using a set of fascist tactics”

11/ Melania’s State of the Union guest was a 13 year old named Trump who is bullied because of his name.
 http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/02/melanias-sotu-guest-is-a-kid-bullied-for-his-name-trump.html 
Nobody wants to see a sixth grader bullied, ever, for any reason, so it’s hard to criticize her choice.

12/ At the same time, the invitation sent a symbolic message to Trump’s base about victimhood.

Members of the Trump-Fox-GOP actually do see themselves as victims.

The Fox-GOP message about the Kavanaugh hearings was that liberals are cruel and the GOP are their victims.

13/ Sen. Graham said “What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life . . .”

Don. Jr. said “It’s nice to see a conservative man fight for his honor and his family against a 35 year old claim with ZERO evidence . . .” (attached)

14/ Um . . . a woman’s word is evidence. It’s called testimonial evidence. Like any evidence, it is weighed for accuracy.
 https://definitions.uslegal.com/t/testimonial-evidence/ 

For more on a woman’s word in rape and harassment cases, see:

15/ Of all the bullied kids, why pick a boy bullied because his name is Trump?

Is the message that people named Trump are bullied?

If so, would that include Ivanka and her father?

Melania thinks she is the “most bullied person in the world.”
 https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/11/politics/melania-trump-be-best-initiative-bullying/index.html 

16/ Yale Prof Stanley @jasonintrator explains that when fascist ideology takes hold, it's because the dominant group feels it is being victimized by encroaching equality.

More here👇

17/ When an oppressed group wants equality, the dominant group feels that if the oppressed group gets its way, it will experience an enormous loss.

The underlying problem is that people opposed to liberal democracy believe that nature favors a hierarchy.

18/ They therefore don’t believe true equality among all people is possible.

Until the 1950s, the U.S. did have a hierarchy: Paternalism as upheld in the U.S. is the idea that women and all people of color are better off under the dominion of white men.

19/ There have been multiple attempts to shatter paternalism. Susan B. Anthony dedicated her life to the task. The Civil War made progress, but then we slid back into segregation and lynchings and a criminal justice system that (in some ways) picked up where slavery left off.

20/ As @jasonintrator explains, the dominant group (white males) believe the only way the oppressed group can achieve equality is by replacing them as the dominant group.

Thus the dominant group feels victimized when oppressed groups demand equality.

21/ Thus the Trump family—and the Trump-Fox-GOP—see themselves as victimized when people question their right to occupy the top point of the hierarchy (which includes the right to enrich themselves in the spirit of oligarchy).

22/ Trump’s methods are effective because they resonate with a portion of the population that feels victimized.

I believe the best way to prevent someone else coming along and out Trumping Trump is for enough people to understand his methods and why they're effective.

All my threads are now blog posts. You can view this one here:  https://terikanefield-blog.com/victimhood-trump-oligarchy/ 


You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.



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