[Marxism] Donald Trump's 'Lynching'

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Oct 23 07:23:09 MDT 2019

Wall Street Journal Editorial, Oct. 23, 2019
Donald Trump's 'Lynching'

Donald Trump made himself a political celebrity in 2016 by persuading 
news media to talk about -- Donald Trump. He did it mainly by the 
expedient of saying outrageous things -- by trolling, in the parlance of 
social media -- and it worked. It's still working, though these days as 
often to his detriment as advantage.

On Tuesday the President guaranteed he'd be topic number one for at 
least 24 hours by tweeting that the effort to impeach him is a 
"lynching." Instantly, and perhaps as he intended, his critics in the 
media, on Capitol Hill and elsewhere expressed rage and disbelief that 
Mr. Trump could compare the conduct of his political opponents to the 
mobs that murdered African-Americans in an earlier, shameful era.

The verb to lynch means to execute without a trial or due process. It 
doesn't refer only to extrajudicial killings in the post-Reconstruction 
and Jim Crow South. Accordingly, it's occasionally used in a figurative 
sense in other English-speaking countries. But in the United States the 
word is electric for its historical context, and you don't have to 
indulge in racial hypersensitivities to appreciate why. Clarence Thomas 
famously used it during his confirmation hearing in 1991 when, as he saw 
it, a cabal of white liberals sought to destroy his nomination to the 
Supreme Court by a "high-tech lynching." Justice Thomas had what we 
would call political and historical standing.

But no President should use the word in the off-hand and self-indulgent 
way that Mr. Trump did in his tweet. What's so galling about this and 
similar pointless provocations is that, in his quest to remain always 
and forever in the headlines, Mr. Trump puts his more judicious allies 
on the political spot. Every Republican in Congress is immediately asked 
either to ignore him and risk association with his reckless 
pronouncements, or criticize him and risk his wrath.

Democrats are bent on impeaching Mr. Trump, and if he wants to survive 
he is going to need allies -- especially in Congress. The more he forces 
Republicans to defend words or actions that don't deserve defending, the 
more their resentment will build and the more political trouble he will 
be in.

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