Democracy and its well-being was the second most important issue facing voters a few weeks back in the midterm elections with 44% weighing in.
This was second only to inflation issues, where 51% of voters put this as their top priority.
Think about that for a minute. Nearly half of voting Americans are concerned about safeguarding the health of democracy in this nation.
Inflation could get worse, but ultimately it will stabilize and get better. Democracy, on the other hand, must stay watered. It must get sunlight. Because once it dies, it does not come back; not immediately in any case.
The soil would need to be raked, weeds pulled, thrown out, and nutrients added before any attempt to plant anything new occurs.
The midterms did set the brakes, at least momentarily, on a certain group of politicians who would hasten the end of democracy as we know it; that being the election deniers.
These people take their cues from the most dangerous threat to our democracy — the Commander-in-Chief of election deniers, Donald Trump.
But it’s more than just election denials with Trump. The greater danger, if one could believe it, is the rise in extremism that is bound to follow Trump as he announced his run for the presidency in 2024.
It surely has been accelerated now with his reinstatement to Twitter. Trump will now summon his inner Goebbels.
Trump, a populist, a supposed man of the people, made his presidential announcement behind the walls of an exclusive club that none of his rabid supporters would get eyesight of had he not needed to use them for something far greater…far more sinister.
As we also observe the forty-fourth anniversary of the Jonestown horror in Guyana, I am not unaware of the fact that Trump and his sycophants reek of a cult also.
A mass suicide by consuming cyanide-laced Kool-Aid? Of course not. Something worse. The consumption of an authoritarian’s, a dictator’s, diatribes that will kill democracy faster than any cyanide.
So what is the concern? I find it very telling that FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have a joint concern about rising violent extremism in this country around the very same time Trump announced his bid for 2024. Conversely, I find it equally as concerning.
Mayorkas commented that “the risk of targeted violence, perpetrated by actors aboard and at home, is substantial. Emerging technology platforms allow individuals and nation states to fan the flames of hate and personal grievances to large audiences and are encouraging people to commit violent acts.”
He went on to say that “perceived ideological opponents” are at risk for targeting.
Both Wray and Mayorkas agree that domestic terrorism is the biggest threat to this nation. Wray went a bit further in noting that small groups, even lone actors, would be harder for law enforcement to keep an eye on.
And surely not to minimize this, one has to make the astute observation that this would be of a covert nature.
Let us not lose sight of the threats taking place in a very overt nature; right before our eyes.
Florida is a prime example, though other parts of the country ranked safeguarding democracy far higher.
In Florida, as discussed in previous articles, you have extremists that are part of GOP executive boards.
You have Nazis, in full regalia standing on corners and giving Heil Hitler salutes to people and vehicles as they passed by.
There was no condemnation from the governor or any other politician on the Republican side. That is what I mean by overt.
This is not an article on politics, per se, but suffice it to say, Governor DeSantis will need to reel it in if his ambitions go past the borders of the Sunshine State. If he wants the votes of Independents, he will need to put a jackboot down and say, “No more!” But let’s cross that Rhine River when we get to it.
Trump’s strength comes from his ability to polarize the populace by playing the victim card constantly.
He will continue to run with election denial while making sure the extremist groups that look at this NE establishment snake oil salesman as the second coming of Jesus Christ are no doubt standing back and standing by.
These extremist members are losers looking for “family” among similarly-minded dregs. They have found their savior in another pathetic wretch who manipulates as easily as people breathe.
Trump couldn’t unleash them in 2020 since he wasn’t sure of the outcome of the election. He now has nothing to lose in this, which will be his final attempt to subvert American democracy.
One needs to read Hitler’s Mein Kampf and The House that Hitler Built by Stephen Roberts to get a very clear picture of the planning and perseverance to stay with that plan even when getting only 2.8% of the vote (as a party) in 1928.
You will come away thinking, “there is no way Trump and his acolytes did not take notes from either book.
But be careful of those who try to bring such dangers to light. Much like the media — the media which are the enemy of the people.
As Der Fuhrer commented in his struggle, “It is the press, above all, which wages a positively fanatical and slanderous struggle, tearing down everything which can be regarded as a support of national independence, cultural elevation, and the economic independence of the nation.”
Nevertheless, it is these extremist groups who will be Trump’s Sturmabteilung, his storm detachment, his SA.
They already had a connection to the Trump White House in the days leading up to January 6th, 2021. What makes you think this will not take place again? These extremists need a purpose and Trump needs a militia willing to do his dirty work.
When Hitler was on trial for High Treason following the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, the trial became all about him. It was his stage to shine.
Thus, in prison, he wrote about his struggles, and literally became a folk hero to an extremist bunch that slowly seeped into the mainstream due to issues beyond anyone’s control such as a worldwide depression.
Trump cannot be allowed that same luxury. He needs to be stymied with facts, with very strong blow-back, with a sense of mockery, so that he and his stormtroopers can go back into the holes they crawled out of.
Is this all speculative on my part? At this point, yes….BUT it’s based on past performance.
A leopard does not change its spots. Trump is desperate. He feels he is at the end of any importance, and he hasn’t the power right now to do a damn thing about it.
We, the American people. need to make darn sure we keep it that way.
Until that time arrives, when finally, this nightmare is put behind us, I have no doubt you will see a huge ramp-up in extremist activities and acts of domestic terrorism. Why? Because they finally have the Fuhrer they always longed for.
The Office of Strategic Services in doing a psychological makeup in 1944 on Hitler and his propensity to use his own “Big Lie” said this:
“His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”
Astonishing, huh? Sounds quite familiar, does it not?
Combine this with the epidemic of spinelessness in the Republican Congress and you can fully appreciate the words of Trump — Mary, not Donald — in an article, for The New Republic, last year:
“The insurrection of January 6 should have been a wake-up call. It looks, instead, to have been a dress rehearsal.”
David Magnusson is a retired police chief with 36 ½ years of law enforcement experience, having spent 30 of these years with the Miami Police Department, retiring as an assistant chief. He was chief of the Havelock Police Department in the Marine Corps City of Havelock, North Carolina, home to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. He returned to South Florida as chief of the El Portal Police Department. He chaired the COVID and Domestic Violent Extremism Committees for the Association of Miami Dade County Chiefs of police. He teaches (facilitates) Hate Crimes, Violent Extremism, and Inclusive Policing to law enforcement agencies.
A historian, Magnusson has written on military and presidential history topics. He is a diehard baseball (St. Louis Cardinals) and boxing fan. Magnusson resides in South Florida with his wife. Their children and grandchildren are never too far away.