This may be misplaced optimism, but I am feeling it in my gut, and I’m going to express it. I’ve been a fool before in trying to read politics and social trends, so if I end up being wrong, welp… it is what it is.
That caveat stated, methinks some chickens may be coming home to roost for the right wing neofascists in both Israel and the U.S.
Let’s start with Israel. Much to my surprise, the two leading centrist parties,
led by former army chief of staff, Benny Gantz, and former TV news journalist, Yair Lapid, have agreed to form a joint bloc in the upcoming, April 9 Israeli election. The two men have agreed to rotate as prime minister, with Gantz taking the first 2 years, and Lapid the second 2 years, should they win the election. This is a massive blow to Netanyahu’s plans for setting up this election in such a way that he is almost guaranteed to win.
Meanwhile, any day now we’re likely to hear the decision of Israel’s Attorney General on whether or not to indict Netanyahu on bribery charges.
Now it’s not like a Gantz/Lapid led government would suddenly shift Israel hard to the left, but it would topple the corrupt, arrogant, and toxic order that Netanyahu and his acolytes have created in Israel for a decade now.
Netanyahu’s buddy in the White House, and the white-nationalist-leaning American sub-culture that he champions, also seems to be in for a bumpy ride. I’m not just talking about Mueller’s investigation and the continuing accumulation of serious indictments and plea deals involving an ever growing number of people involved in the Trump campaign. I’m talking about the failure of white nationalism to change the big picture trendlines of American approval of diversity and equality.
Interracial and inter-ethnic marriage rates continue to rise in the US, and so do public approval of these unions. Corporate ad campaigns continue to depict and celebrate interracial couples and multi-ethnic families. And the demographics of America’s citizenry really are making the country less white over time.
There are cracks in the forces that have brought the likes of Bibi and Trump to power, and they’re becoming bigger and more visible.
Of course, one of the biggest of these cracks is the way that the Dems won a devastating victory in the 2018 mid-terms, and they’ve got a field of talented and outspoken presidential contenders already getting to work. Liberals feel like we have a champion in Congress, in the formidable form of Nancy Pelosi, and House committees are beginning a series of investigations into Trump-related corruption and collusion that will almost certainly continue to bear fruit.
There are other signs. A Palestinian-American just won a special election to a Virginia state house seat, and he won by a lot. More and more Americans are on to the whole Russian online propaganda bullshit machine, and are more skeptical of shared content that seeks to disqualify or taint leading Dems. Ideas like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal are gaining momentum and wider audiences. The Green New Deal now has almost 100 congressional co-sponsors, including several of the major Democratic presidential candidates.
Trump is continuing to cause horrible damage to our democracy, and there are no words for scandals like the recent revelations that over 1500 children who were separated from their families at the southern US border are “lost” in the system and may not be returned to their parents. And the MAGA people who post comments online are as hateful as ever – there’s clearly plenty of hate at work in our country and it is squarely aimed at liberals and minorities. And yet, it seems more and more like the MAGA sub-culture may be maxing out in some key ways. There may be 35 to 40 percent of the people in this country who are MAGA people, and that is a scary-high number, but the appeal of MAGA rage and reactionary identity politics doesn’t seem to be spreading. And there’s so much corruption and exhausting combative drama that the MAGA culture is working against the possibility of expanding its appeal. The tricks it relies on to win power are starting to get unraveled in many parts of the country.
For instance, Pennsylvania got rid of a severe GOP gerrymander, and other states are doing likewise. Some states are passing laws to expand voter participation even while others continue to attempt to engage in voter suppression. Liberals and progressives are organizing like never before, and they’re angry, and they’re hungry, and they’re focused.
Even if Trump manages to win a second term, there’s a counter-force at work that will keep working to make gains at the local, state, and federal level, and nobody on the left is too scared to state or shout in ALL CAPS their dissent and their disgust with Trumpism. In fact, there’s kind of an epidemic of Americans standing up, brazenly, publicly, and defiantly, to Trumpist bullying and intimidation efforts. Jeff Bezos’ decision to call the National Enquirer’s attempted extortion bluff is but one example of countless people in politics, the media, and other sectors of society standing up to the neofascists and saying, “Screw you – you can’t have America and I’m not afraid of you.”
I don’t know if Mueller’s report, which apparently is likely to be completed this month, will contain info that will bring this administration down. But I suspect that it won’t go away quietly, and it’s not the only set of ongoing investigations. But it is possible that within a couple weeks we may see devastating indictments against Trump family members and against Bibi over in Israel, and there are clearly social and political forces in both countries that have had enough and are pushing for something different. And that’s reason for some hope.
I hope these cracks are real, and spreading. I continue to fear half the country – to fear my neighbors who’ve been marinating in the right-wing radio/TV/Internet bubble of hateful projection towards liberals and minorities of all sorts. But maybe, maybe these cracks mean something important….