As we remember and honor the sacrifice of American GIs who died at Normandy in the battle against fascism, it is vital to realize that the struggle against that evil form of government is once again before us.

From November 2020 until last week we lived in the era of Trump Big Lie 1.0, his assertion that he had won an election he actually lost by over 7 million votes. It was a bold, audacious move, something no American politician had ever had the fundamental lack of integrity, decency, or shame to try.

While some of the most spineless, craven, and sold-out Republicans were quick to take his side with Big Lie 1.0, 139 of them in the House of Representatives and 8 in the Senate — even in the face of his throwing a deadly mob against the US Capitol that tried to hang his Vice President and murder the Speaker of the House — there were still some who held to principle and did not vote to overthrow the election.

Those Republicans are now mostly all gone, purged from the party, or cowed into silence by fear of violence against their families or the end of their political careers. And now, as of last week, we live in the era of Trump Big Lie 2.0: that Trump is the victim of a political prosecution.

It has completely changed the political landscape. Trump and his spokesmen are now openly calling for the imprisonment and even the death of members of law enforcement, the FBI, and the judiciary. We have moved from the Beer Hall Putsch to the Night of the Long Knives.

Ironically, many of the Republicans who now compete to most fulsomely kiss Trump’s rear end in public were the very same ones who, in 2015, first warned us against him. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Lindsey Graham, for example, all once referenced his long history of criminal and immoral behavior, unbefitting a politician of any party.

This was, after all, the man who before he ran for the GOP nomination in 2015:

  • Screwed his casino workers out of $2 million in retirement funds as he drained them of millions in cash
  • Admitted in a settlement with the IRS that his casinos had engaged in years of violations of money-laundering laws and “willful and repeated” violations of the Banking Secrecy Act, many on behalf of Russian oligarchs
  • Targeted and then defrauded veterans and veterans’ widows for a $35,000 “tuition” to a fake university that then gave them mostly publicly available books and materials that Trump neither wrote nor approved
  • Stole over $400,000 intended for a children’s cancer charity in cahoots with his son Eric
  • Raised $2.8 million “for veterans” that he diverted to his own purposes
  • Pushed the blatantly racist trope that President Obama could not possibly have been a “real American,” demanding to see his “long form” birth certificate
  • Was credibly accused of rape or sexual assault by more than 20 women, including one who was 13 years old at the time
  • Refused to pay at least 60 workers who filed lawsuits against him and fought over 3,000 lawsuits for similar behavior
  • Hired undocumented Polish workers and then screwed them out of their pay, leading to a $1.4 million judgment against him
  • Had multiple documented associations with New York area mobsters that he then lied about
  • Got multiple deferments to dodge the draft for the Vietnam War by purchasing an X-ray of somebody else’s bone spurs from a corrupt doctor
  • Stole millions from his siblings and relatives and then pissed it all away as an incompetent playboy businessman, having to declare bankruptcy six times.

Nonetheless, when Trump won the Republican primary most of his opponents fell in line. Those who didn’t go along were systematically purged from the party. In the years between then and now, Trump has been:

  • Found by a jury of his peers to have committed rape, “as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape’” according to the judge
  • Adjudicated liable for a massive, multi-year tax and insurance fraud, and forbidden from doing business in New York state for three years
  • Outed by his former Defense Secretary for ridiculing American veterans who died at Normandy as “suckers” and “losers”
  • Held responsible for 19 violations of nonprofit law by his foundation, which was then shut down, with the state requiring his children to take classes on how to not steal from charities, after paying back $2 million to eight charitable organizations they had defrauded
  • Collaborated with Putin to get elected and, when the FBI tried to investigate it, engaged in at least 10 documented felony obstructions of justice
  • Indicted for trying to overthrow the 2020 election and criminally hang onto power
  • Charged with stealing national security documents and storing them in a room with a functioning high-speed copier accessible for over a year to multiple known spies for Russia, China, and other countries, and, among other things
  • Found guilty of 34 felonies relating to stealing the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton by paying off a porn star and a Playboy bunny

Now that our criminal justice system has tried to hold him accountable for a small fraction of the crimes we have all watched him commit, he has claimed that he was the victim of political persecution. In response, he and his spokesmen are promising that if he again becomes president they will arrest and imprison those who tried to hold him to account, including judges, jurors, prosecutors, and even members of the media.

During his presidency, Trump tried to convince Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, and White House attorney Don McGann to initiate prosecutions of Hillary Clinton. Each deferred, telling him it was not possible.

That will not happen with Big Lie 2.0; Trump has learned his lesson.

If re-elected, he will be entirely unconstrained and has, in the past four years, surrounded himself with open fascists who are eager to create a “Unified Reich” right here in the United States. And, so long as his white followers believe the victims of his pogroms will be limited to Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Gays, and Democrats, millions are openly eager for the “fun” to begin.

Hitler had two big lies: that Jews had stabbed Germany in the back in World War I, and that he had been imprisoned for his politics. Now Trump has his own two big lies: that the election was stolen and he is the victim of political prosecution.

Where will this lead? All we need do is look at how this same script played out in Germany in the 1930s.

The Night of a Long Knives, as Hitler was reinventing his chancellorship and consolidating his power. The middle-of-the-night arrests, detention camps, show trials, and mass deportations. The confinements and executions that extended to average citizens who dared speak out or were suspected of not being sufficiently white. The eventual wars to distract people from protests against domestic repression. The end of democracy.

It is not too late to stop this madness, although that task is being made harder every day as gutless Republicans, a spineless national media, and collaborating billionaire donors fall into line either for political expediency, profits, or the promise of more tax cuts.

We are the last barrier to America being overwhelmed by this fascist tide that threatens to force upon the world the need for a repeat of D-Day. You, me, and average people like us. Nobody else is coming to our nation’s rescue.

Double-check your voter registration, particularly if you live in a Red state. This may be our last chance.

Lee Matz

© Thom Hartmann, used with permission. Originally published on The Hartmann Report as Headline Title Goes Here with Link

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