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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Carlos Alberto Montaner: Trump, Now What?
Latin American genius and Cuban exile Carlos Alberto Montaner with his well-founded thoughts of what comes next for Trumpism and what to begin to do about it.

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

The institutions worked. Everything went very wrong for Donald Trump and very good for the rest of the planet and American society. As we know, in the early hours of January 7, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were ratified as the next President and Vice President of the United States. Mike Pence faced Trump’s wrath. He opted for tradition and the Constitution rather than join the rebellion proposed by his boss. He did well.

Sadly, the myth of America’s exceptionality has been debunked. The mob that entered the Capitol looked like a Venezuelan or Bolivian scene. Suddenly, life in the USA became Latin Americanized. I couldn’t help reminding myself of Cuba in the days of January 1959. The guy with his feet on the desk of Mrs. Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, was a “bearded revolutionary.” It is not a question of ideology, but of psychology. He was someone far from the law, respect and order. In fact, we are very close to barbarism. A stone’s throw away (never been better said).

Some explanations seem delusional to me. I have even read that these manifestations of incivility were committed by infiltrators of “Black Lives Matter” or “Antifa.” They reminded me of a visit to the ruins of Luxor in Egypt. The guide, a knowledgeable and competent Egyptian (I think he was a historian), explained to us that the murderers of the “Luxor Massacre” in 1997 (72 victims, almost all Swiss and Japanese tourists) were not Islamic terrorists. They had been Israelis disguised as Arabs. Did he believe it or was he blatantly lying? I’m afraid he believed it. Fanaticism makes you believe almost anything. Even that gross lie.

62% of Republican voters are Trump fans and believe, with him, that their leader was the victim of an unexplained fraud, despite the fact that 60 judges and courts have found no evidence of cheating, including the Supreme Court, even though its conservative majority was achieved precisely by Donald Trump.

It is not true that the dead voted. Nor that undocumented foreigners went to the polls or that the ballots were changed. It is not true that the voting machines were rigged. They are fantasies told by Trump and firmly endorsed by his supporters.
It remains to be determined what will happen to Trump in the future. The future is around the corner; it begins on January 21. It is very likely that Trump will continue in politics, but he has learned a dangerous perverse lesson –– the American institutionality damages his project of doing what he wants with the country and with his supporters, an attitude perfectly consistent with his caudillo personality.

Trump will be more dangerous in the opposition than in a position of power conditioned by law. In 1922, Benito Mussolini presented a dilemma to King Victor Emmanuel III, “Either we are given the government or we will go to Rome and take it.” The king gave in and fascism settled in the country. First, they complied with the laws, but very soon they were out of control. Since the assassination of Giacomo Matteotti, the totalitarian die was already cast.

The example of Mussolini is not useless when trying to understand what Donald Trump would do. Europe's extreme right has found its match in the United States. Who feels comfortable with Trump? Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, the Greek comrades of “Golden Dawn,” even Vladimir Putin of Russia, another kind of autocrat. All nationalists and anti-immigrants. All opposed to free international trade, that is, furious “anti-globalization.”

What will the Democratic-Republican establishment do in front of Trump after the coup attempt on January 6?

Many people have resigned from their positions in the White House. Some –– all the Democrats and a few Republicans –– want to apply Constitutional Amendment 25 and remove Trump for mental incapacity. (Of course, he is not crazy.) Others want to start an impeachment.

I don’t think there is time for anything. He has a few days left in power. Then again, under the law, it is very important to keep him busy in court defending himself from the thousand misdeeds he has committed, among them, naturally, inciting his compatriots to rebellion by founding his arguments on a lot of lies. ©Firmas Press

Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is Sin ir más lejos (Memories), published by Debate, a label of Penguin-Random House.


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