MAGA Trumpism comes down to violence, driving invective, intimidation, insurrection, and invasions

Considering the Inciter-in-chief’s love of violence, who can predict whether winning or losing produces greater mayhem.


Dying for retribution? Russian invasions? Carnage against “vermin”? Wrestlemania writ large? Trump’s your guy!

Who would have thought in a saner time that one-third of America would go, hook, line and sinker, for America’s Dark, Clown Prince of Demolition and Sneering Entertainment? And never let go, entranced by endless charades that leverage petty vengeances of media-driven grievance. Trump is turning into an evil Peter Pan. Or a vicious Barbie.  Or a mean-spirited glory shark. Other than self-aggrandizement, Trump has almost never been FOR anything that helped people beyond his family –  on healthcare, jobs, taxes, diplomacy, or immigration.

Item: when he malevolently (falsely) attacked the (black) Central Park Five, crowned later by bogus (false) Birtherism against a black candidate; or impugned “loser” John McCain for being a prisoner of war, despite history as a draft dodger. Trump is the political, moneyed version of Bluto from the Popeye cartoons, icon of brute force and trickery. To truly understand the bad joke, bad faith Donald: watch this painfully phony wrestling cartoon on youtube, “What happened in Trump’s real WWE wrestling match.”

Demolition of norms, plus smashing democratic institutions, informs an arrogant contempt that aligns a spoiled, unevolved billionaire with angry, working joe sixpacks conned to think they share values. Sure, smack down some mock villain and turn the world into a simple-minded cartoon to release anxiety. Were he born in a blue-collar family, Trump might well have become a sham wrestler for a cheap buck and a cheaper smash mouth thrill. Fine, when power is limited to an entertainment venue, not the full potency of the White House. Trumpism has never been about building up when knocking down wins more publicity. Wrestlemania fits the Donald’s low-class, grifter model of fame and fortune. His theatrical moniker could well be Donald the Impaler, likely his legacy, too.

Donald the Impaler

After all, what puppeteer impaler commits crimes without conning others to do his bidding, keeping blood off his hands? Thus is violence, even pretend assassination of foes, the nightmare keystone of Trumpism. How better to defy majority rule plus democratic sacred cows: election outcomes and respect for jurisprudence – with a doomed substitution of cartoon glory to overcome modern complexities? This weekend Trump urged the lawless, imperious Russia to violently invade any NATO country. To delink Trumpism (or Putinism) from violence is like separating icons of malignant narcissism from their core. Embracing fire and brimstone raining down typify both belligerent cult and fascist takeover dreams. 

Trumpism, whatever its nominal anti-government, anti-tax, anti-elitist drivers, started with violent threats, descends of late to malicious calls for vigilantism against those who criticize or indict him. Trump’s rhetoric is violent (punish immigrants, eradicate vermin, incite insurrections), thus his explicit retribution against judges, witnesses and juries. When besieged, echoing nincompoop Palin, don’t retreat, just reload. Presumably, a felony conviction would produce enough rage to foment another Jan. 6 uprising. Such overt intimidation damps down GOP opposition to his promised dictatorship, even keeps the recent Supreme Court hearing blind to the actual Trump insurrection crimes, lost instead in a sea of technicalities and implied outcomes. 

Whatever happens, blood will flow

There will be blood, the direct consequence of ongoing, Trump-triggered violence – true whether he wins or loses. If he is disqualified or blunted, even loses a fair election, his cult followers will then realize their twisted dream for a second shot at power is toast. That won’t mean civil war (compare the cowardice of MAGA types with central government force – as with Gaza), but we will have disorder and mayhem until the Trump mania implodes. That may batter the GOP but not the rightwing crusade. Thus from the New Republic, “The Far Right Is Growing Stronger—and Has a Plan for 2024:”

Experts who watch the far right are concerned about possible violence if Trump does not become president. David Neiwert, author of The Age of Insurrection, says that although he thinks it is unlikely that Trump will win, if he doesn’t his “hardcore supporters are going to engage in acts of domestic terrorism.” (If convicted and sentenced to jail time, Neiwert believes they may even go so far as to“try and break him out” of prison.)

Since MAGA cultists will over-react to any perceived obstacles to a Trump triumph, brace for civil disorder and the emergence of countless guns residing in closets and basements. Were Trump to win, there could well be leftwing protests and sustained street opposition that will give the Dictator-in-chief an excuse to mercilessly crush dissent. A re-elected Trump, with nothing to lose, will lead a Take No Prisoners holy war to achieve his promises: undermine institutions that dare challenge Trumpism. Dispatching “vermin,” censoring unfriendly media, caging immigrants and further militarizing police all to amp up belligerence towards minorities, especially in northern cities. Like any wannabe dictator, what happens to others, not in the white MAGA tribe, barely registers– with his cruelty and heartless domination on display daily. 

Clash looming, outcome unclear

Even if Trump gets seriously ill, or drops dead, his MAGA crowd will invent bizarre conspiracies that “someone high up” couldn’t stand having Trump crusade on behalf of alleged American greatness. Anything that removes Trump will be treated as malevolence towards lost, phantom MAGA glory. Considering the Inciter-in-chief’s love of violence, who can predict whether winning or losing produces greater mayhem. When you can’t win at the bar of justice or at the ballot box, let alone the court of public opinion, the disappointed and desperate will grab for pitchforks and torches, a disease well beyond “making sense” to declared interests. 

Widely stated, Trumpism is a corrosive suicide pact, whether he wins (and destroys the life of democracy) or loses (and destroys the lives of more MAGA protesters clashing with police). When a fixated mass, armed with weapons and refusing compromise, can’t face losing after courts or voters decide the future, we will see the true menace of what Trump channeled and released: the transformation of grievance into serial insurrection aimed at disorder. To paraphrase Shakespeare, “Come what, come may, time and fury run through the roughest day.” 

The issue today isn’t whether there will be bloodshed but by whom and in what context – and how much force will put down  uprisings. Unlike Germany in the 1930’s few Trumpers endure dire economic straits, have not endured national humiliations, and have much to lose by sacrificing all on behalf of a clown prince many know is a deranged entertainer. Trumpism was always a calculated time bomb waiting to go off – and cynically ignited by an egomaniac who figures he has nothing to lose. Everyone else will pay the harsh price. 

Whether we can fully restore Humpty-Dumpty after the scourge of Humpty-Trumpty, that remains beyond even the best futurist. Yet this conflict is hardly America’s first rodeo wherein violence raged from top to bottom (civil war, uprisings, union busting, KKK, civil rights and anti-war eras, police brutality). As they say, ruthless, well-funded oppressors don’t give up power without a fight. And the MAGA crowd, with so many perceived, self-inflicted losses, has had enough time to seethe in outrage and talk up violent revenge. Violence is MAGA’s middle name. 


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.