Donald Trump is no anomaly, he is a creature of our tumultuous times — a man on a dangerous mission who seeks to plunder the many to enrich the few. Trump’s new tax cuts in his own hollow words “will be the biggest in the history of our country!” neatly side-lining the small matter that around two-thirds of his £2.4 trillion of proposed cuts will line the pockets of the 1%.
The rift between the super-rich and working-class America is now colossal. And all the better to consolidate the gaping gap between the haves and have-nots. In a twisted response to soaring corporate profits, Republicans are now vying to slash corporation tax from 35% to 20%.
Ever the populist, Trump stands alongside the majority of Americans in opposing the extent of this corporate giveaway, but, as always, for all the wrong reasons. Trump in fact has high hopes that corporation tax can be reduced further still to just 15%!
Thus now more than ever Americans will be required to redouble their already magnificent contributions towards fighting to either impeach Trump, or force him from office. Needless to say, this will require a renewed commitment to grassroots organizing that bypasses the misleadership of the Democratic Party and builds a mass movement on the streets that politicians of all stripes can no longer ignore.
Like every demagogue that has gone before him, Trump needs implacable allegedly all-powerful enemies that he can oppress on behalf of the people, and the non-profit sector serves exactly this purpose for Trump.
In fact Trump’s paranoid attacks on the philanthropic/non-profit sector are very much in keeping with Trump’s ultraconservative forerunners, and he openly draws political inspiration from the playbook of Robert Welch, the infamous founder of the John Birch Society. Professor Terry Lautz, author of John Birch: A Life (Oxford University Press, 2016) accurately puts it this way:
“Trump has tapped into alienation and anxiety about rapid social change. He uses conspiracy theories and bogus information to provoke and disrupt. His supporters, who harbor a distrust for government and fear of foreign entanglements, are willing to look beyond his inflammatory rhetoric. And like members of the Birch Society, they believe that their individual rights are threatened, the federal government needs to be curtailed, and international agreements cannot be trusted.”
Now in the latest Trumpian tax-related revelations, David Callahan, the author of numerous book-length apologies for elite philanthropy, highlights how “Republicans in Congress are advancing tax proposals that would lower charitable giving by billions of dollars and deal a major blow to the nonprofit sector.” (“Why is Donald Trump launching a withering attack on nonprofits?” The Guardian, November 20, 2017.)
This move actually “isn’t so surprising,” Callahan says, as “Trumpist culture warriors have cast nonprofits and philanthropists as key villains in a narrative that pits coastal elites against the common (white) man.”
He goes on to add that Trump’s ire is particularly focused on perennial enemies of the far-right like the Clinton Foundation, which as Callahan points out, still “remains at the center of feverish conspiracy theories.” But the only genuine conspiracies that really matter in this regard revolve around how such liberal foundations have actively coopted working class struggles to maintain and deepen an international capitalist system favoring its interests; and how socialist alternatives to capitalism have been repressed and maligned throughout history by both the Democrat’s and the Birchite right.
Callahan, to be thankful for small mercies, does at least seem to be vaguely aware of the reasoning behind Trump’s populist attacks on the Democrat-dominated non-profit sector, as he admits that elite philanthropy “deserves new scrutiny.” “It’s an opaque sector that’s become more dominated by super-wealthy donors who do, in fact, largely live on both coasts and often hold different views from those of most Americans.”
All true. But rather than use his critical words to demand the overhaul of America’s economic system – a system that is so thoroughly bankrupt that the public is forced to rely upon charity and elite ‘hand-outs’ from paradise island tax dodgers to merely scrape by — Callahan simply pleads for “thoughtful reform” and “strong champions in both” of the parties that continue to represent the billionaire-class.
This worse than useless counsel however isn’t so surprising considering that Callahan himself plumped for Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders in the tragically (but unsurprisingly) rigged Democratic primary race.
Furthermore, in much the same way it shouldn’t be so surprising that after decades of misery and lies, that so many people would opt out of voting altogether when the ‘choice’ presented to them was Clinton or worse. Or that those who did partake in the presidential farce would prefer to try their luck with a new liar rather than one who had already been tried-tested-and failed.
American’s, like ordinary working-class people all over the world, are searching for new solutions to their old problems. Trump has already proved himself unwilling to side with the millions against the millionaires and we must collectively make sure that Trump and his ruling-class brethren are dumped at the earliest possible opportunity.