Be scared, very scared: Trump's America

Little more than two weeks to go, and Trump's campaign is imploding. My theory is that he has given up on the presidency long ago and is now working on plan B, i.e. monetising his celebrity status and his notoriety in a big way: America is likely to see very much more of Trump after Clinton has become president; quite likely in the shape of some media company or another. But what will come after Trump on the conservative / Republican side? This answer to that question is beyond scary ...

The read below is mind-boggling. It admittedly is lengthy, but bear with it ... it is an un-imaginably horrific account of the arch-conservative, extreme right-wing mindset of sooo many Americans (and how many Australians?). Before we get into it, here, for you to ponder, from a post on the extreme, Trump supporting website,  Breitbard:

This betrayal of the party’s presidential nominee by top echelons of party leadership can only be called overt sabotage. Whether successful or not in denying Trump a victory on November 8, it undoubtedly is the opening shot in a civil war that will erupt full scale on November 9.

So ... if Trump will not get elected, there will be civil war. Be scared, very scared; because that's democracy for you, Trump-style.

OK, Trump, the most insidious, reprehensible smearer in living memory, reckons:

I am the victim of a great smear

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says he's a "victim of one of the great political smear campaigns in the history" of the US.


Donald Trump's true believers ride the conspiracy train

SMH article by  Nick O'Malley


Ocala, Florida: Even if you ignored the allegations of Donald Trump's predatory behaviour – and his boasting about such behaviour – the Republican candidate's campaign this week has veered into dark and uncharted waters.


In speeches across Florida, Trump not only denied the allegations, but he described to his huge cheering crowds a vast conspiracy that was out to get him, one that included the media, the Clintons, the FBI, the NSA, Congress – including congressional Republicans – the UN and "global financial powers".


The election, he said, was being rigged. He and his supporters were in a fight to save civilisation.


Even in the context of the current campaign, these speeches, coming from the nominee of a major American political party, were shocking, and to many Americans, confounding.

Inside Trumpland though, this sort of paranoid language is not so weird. It reflects a world view that has existed on the right-wing fringes for years, propelled in large part by a new conservative media ecosystem.


To understand why it has seeped into the Trump campaign – and hence seized control of the Republican Party – helps to understand some of the people who have come to populate Trump's war cabinet.


The man who can perhaps lay claim to being Trump's political svengali is Roger Stone, a right-wing operative who cut his teeth working for Richard Nixon and who is now known as much for the Nixon tattoo between his shoulder blades as he is for his natty suits.


Stone has long hated the Clinton political machine. Back in 2008 he created a registered political outfit called Citizens United Not Timid, a name that is less clumsy but more ugly when you consider it as an acronym. It was designed specifically to attack Hillary Clinton.


Stone is a noted conspiracy theorist. You can see his fingerprints in Trump's claims in the dying days of the primary campaign that Ted Cruz's father had a hand in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He has successfully monetised his claims and his notoriety. His Twitter feed is a mix of slander of Trump's opponents and spruiking of his own books, Jeb and the Bush Crime Family and The Clintons' War on Women, from which Trump is now cribbing his attacks on Hillary Clinton for Bill Clinton's alleged rapes.


Stone is close to Alex Jones, the gravel voice behind the fringe-right web news outfit Infowars and a nationally syndicated radio show. Jones believes – or at least tells his listeners he believes – that the government conducted the Sandy Hook massacre in order to justify gun confiscations and that the moon landing was faked.


He and Stone received an ovation at a fringe event they hosted in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention attended by Fairfax Media. He leapt on stage and began his speech yelling "Hillary for prison". That night the chant "Lock her up" thundered around the convention arena for the first time. This week after the chant broke out at a rally in Florida, Trump snarled into his microphone, "She should be locked up".


Stone was bumped from the campaign after calling a CNN personality a "stupid negro" and a "fat negro", but he remains close to Trump and claims to be the organisation's back channel to WikiLeaks, which is publishing damaging private emails hacked from the Democratic Party. He boasted in a recent interview that his plan for victory was to have Trump win the debates and leave it to WikiLeaks to finish Clinton off.


Trump's first campaign manager was Corey Lewandowski who was also sacked from the campaign, in his case after he was charged with battery after forcefully grabbing a young female reporter who was seeking to ask a question of Trump. (The prosecution did not proceed.) The reporter happened to work for another far-right conspiracy-prone news outfit that backed Trump, Breitbart News, which attracts more than 20 million unique users a month.


In a twist of fate – or circumstance – that could only make sense in this election, he was replaced by that reporter's boss, Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon. Many of Bannon's staff were disgusted and some quit, complaining that "Breitbart's unabashed embrace of Mr Trump, particularly at the seeming expense of its own reporter, struck them as a betrayal of its mission,"The New York Times reported.


Bannon, who left the navy only to make his fortune as a Goldman Sachs banker, was described in a Bloomberg profile last year as the most dangerous political operative in America. Bannon is an unabashed populist conservative, as mistrustful of establishment Republicans as he is of those in the Democratic Party.


Through Breitbart News, Bannon managed to stir up the Republican insurrection that saw the party's most senior figure, John Boehner, ousted as Speaker of the House of Representatives. It is not hard to see his words in Donald Trump's mouth as Trump attacks the current house speaker, Paul Ryan in his current speeches.


According to emails obtained by the Daily Beast, Bannon actively sought to have a grass roots movement take off to destroy the Congressional leadership of the Republican Party in 2014.

"Leadership are all c---s," he wrote. "We should just go buck wild."


And later, "Let the grassroots turn on the hate because that's the ONLY thing that will make them do their duty."


For months now Republican Party elders have struggled to find a way to manage Trump's takeover of their party. it must have dawned on them by now that he is not running what they would recognise as a Republican political campaign. Indeed Trump himself keeps telling his audiences that they are part of a "a movement, a beautiful movement".


Trump's arrival might have appeared sudden, but the party itself prepared the ground for it. For years it pandered to the far right, and it enjoyed the narrative created by conservative media like Fox News that the Obama administration was entirely corrupt, wrong in each of its actions, in thought and deed. It opposed all administration legislation as a matter of strategy.

This worked to block a number of President Barack Obama's initiatives, but as Congress ground to a halt it served also to further damage the faith of the American electorate in the political process. Today congressional job approval stands at 14.5 per cent.


The general mistrust of politics and politicians that was established by the strategy of obstruction damaged the Republican Party as much or more than it did the Democratic Party, at least at the congressional level.


Through the fissures in trust that opened up poured the likes of Donald Trump, along with his advisers and enablers, men like Jones and Lewandowski and Bannon. Over the same period the power of the old media waned, victim not only to its own failings but to changing technology.


The new media – outfits like Breitbart News – secured sections of the fragmented audience.

The news they served that audience reinforced a vision of out-of-touch elites working against the interests of everyday Americans, the vision that Trump has so effectively harnessed under the tutelage of Bannon.


On Thursday afternoon in Ocala in rural northern Florida, Trump's language took on an even more dark and apocalyptic tone.


"This election will determine whether we remain a free country in the truest sense of the word or we become a corrupt banana republic controlled by large donors and foreign governments," he told the crowd. "The election of Hillary Clinton would lead to the destruction of our country."


Dark forces, he said, were behind not just claims about his own behaviour, but Clinton's lead in the polls.


"There's a whole deal going on there. I mean, you know. There's a whole deal going on and figure it out. I always figure things out. But there's a whole sinister deal going on.


"Crooked Hillary wants to end forever the American independence that our founders gave us. Our great founders are spinning in their graves, our founders are spinning in their graves."


After Trump laid out his conspiracy theory to an audience of around 12,000 I asked a woman if she truly believed what she had heard, that every institution from the Commission for Presidential Debates, to the FBI, to Paul Ryan himself, The New York Times, unnamed global financial interests, were somehow out to get Trump because he was the only hope of the common people.


"Yes", she said, "the media is all bought and paid for. You don't know what is really going on."

The Republican Party is in shock. It is one thing to traduce political enemies, another to disrupt the smooth transfer of power distinctive to advanced Western democracies.


Only obscure members of Congress appeared on Thursday and Friday's news programs to defend Trump and his theories.


Some prominent party figures, including Senator Lindsey Graham, have called upon Trump to stop claiming the election was being rigged unless he could provide evidence.


"I believe that the country will survive long after I'm gone but the country really is a process and the election process I think we need to respect it rather than create doubt about it. Americans have enough to worry about already," he told CNN last week. "Let's don't suggest the election's rigged."


But Trump shows no sign letting up, and nor does his war council.


"If you can't have an honest election, nothing else counts," Stone said in an interview with Breitbart News, predicting widespread pro-Trump protests should Clinton win the election.


"I think he's got to put them on notice that their inauguration will be a rhetorical – and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence – but it will be a bloodbath. The government will be truly shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in. No. We will not stand for it."