Although rarely discussed in the popular press, one of the most troubling aspects of Donald J. Trump’s upcoming presidency was his ability to attract voters who previously despised the Republican Party in the United States. Or any party at all. This is perfectly illustrated by the example of Ashli Babbitt, the ex-US military veteran who was fatally wounded by armed security officials during the January 6th storm of the US Congress building by Trump supporters. Like many others in the violent crowd, the middle-aged woman was a passionate believer in the conspiracy theories that have become the norm of reactionary law in the United States. From a supposed “deep state” trying to prevent the re-election of the President to the White House in a dispute with the Democratic Party and the liberal media elite, to the fantastic cultic beliefs of the Internet-born QAnon movement.
However, this was only one aspect of Ashli Babbitt’s political beliefs: although the one that most directly contributed to her tragic and futile death. As investigative website Bellingcat notes, she herself claimed to be a former Barack Obama voter who turned away from the Democrats because of her dislike of Hillary Clinton and, ultimately, the gateway drug of law to Trumpism – and anti-establishment sentiment in general – passed over -libertarianism. Yes, the ex-Air Force member has undoubtedly been radicalized by her longstanding preoccupation with some of the more unfortunate corners of the World Wide Web. The roots of their radicalization, their ideological madness, however, lie in part in the dysfunction of contemporary American politics and the lack of democratic choice and accountability in a two-party corporatist state.
For those with a keen interest in US politics, this isn’t exactly a brand new revelation. The Obama-Trump voter phenomenon has been the subject of in-depth study and debate over the past four years. Much of it pretty astute. Were the Obama supporters of 2008 and 2012 Republican voters loaned out? Or did the 2016 and 2020 Trump voters loan out Democratic voters? What about independents and traditional non-voters and the political trips they have made over the past two decades? And how much did all of this contribute to Trump increasing his support in last November’s presidential election by a shockingly large margin?
There is no doubt that there is a pain in American voters for a revolutionary change in policy in the country, a demand for reform from a significant segment of the population who feel disenfranchised from the current, institutionally incestuous system. A feeling that is not limited to a specific population group or group of people; although in some cases it puts the disenfranchised into perceived – and for ethnic-racial chauvinists actual – opposition to one another. The demand for a return to the pink status quo ante of the pre-Trump years is just as great. For the “civil” domestic politics of the Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill eras, when the two power blocs in Washington DC found a way to live peacefully and prosper together – both in the elections and in their pockets.
General dissatisfaction with democratic accountability is not confined to the United States. Nor is the contempt of those in power expressed in view of the voters’ calls for reform. Here at home we have seen the hostility the news media has directed against Sinn Féin and other parties of the center-left and left. Yes, the historical legacy of the so-called troubles plays a role in this sentiment, and post-war views of many Irish journalists were shaped by observations made during the war. However, this does not adequately explain the ridicule that has been seen in our national newspapers against vaguely progressive policies by SF and other parties on the social democratic and socialist spectrum. However, this explains the unprecedented coalition of the old civil war parties in 2020, which for almost a century exchanged governments and cast out the spirits of old enmities in order to retain power when faced with a democratic electorate revolt. And cheered on in their closed row by an equally established press.
For this reason, in recent days, numerous reactionary commentators in Ireland have tried to liken the Trumpists’ storming of the US Capitol to Sinn Féin and the anti-austerity campaigns of the Troika era or the unprecedented results of the 2020 general election feared in the fears Official Ireland ranks that the cozy order of a Golden Circle-led continuity state established in the 1930s could succumb to the plebeian masses. By those who are unable to lead or be led. In Ireland, populism is the ideology of democracy, of those who want to see the people rule for the people. And not just the right people.
I didn’t think the Irish news media could somehow link Sinn Féin to the storming of the US Congress by far-right and reactionary conspiracy theorists, racists and various lunatics, but in fairness they did it anyway … 😆 Irish journalism, hey 🤪 pic .twitter.com / nyCtRGAghB
– EIN FIONNACH FIONN (@AnSionnachFionn) January 9, 2021