The Roots of Trump’s Cruel Populism

Donald Trump’s angry and ugly populism has roots going back to Jim Crow-era race-baiters and Cold War-era red-baiters, including Joe McCarthy’s adviser Roy Cohn and his disciples, write Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.

By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

There’s a virus infecting our politics and right now it’s flourishing with a scarlet heat. It feeds on fear, paranoia and bigotry. All that was required for it to spread was a timely opportunity — and an opportunist with no scruples.

There have been stretches of history when this virus lay dormant. Sometimes it would flare up here and there, then fade away after a brief but fierce burst of fever. At other moments, it has spread with the speed of a firestorm, a pandemic consuming everything in its path, sucking away the oxygen of democracy and freedom.

Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, who led the "Red Scare" hearings of the 1950s.

Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, who led the “Red Scare” hearings of the 1950s.

Today its carrier is Donald Trump, but others came before him: narcissistic demagogues who lie and distort in pursuit of power and self-promotion. Bullies all, swaggering across the landscape with fistfuls of false promises, smears, innuendo and hatred for others, spite and spittle for anyone of a different race, faith, gender or nationality.

In America, the virus has taken many forms: “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman, the South Carolina governor and senator who led vigilante terror attacks with a gang called the Red Shirts and praised the efficiency of lynch mobs; radio’s charismatic Father Charles Coughlin, the anti-Semitic, pro-Fascist Catholic priest who reached an audience of up to 30 million with his attacks on Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal; Mississippi’s Theodore Bilbo, a member of the Ku Klux Klan who vilified ethnic minorities and deplored the “mongrelization” of the white race; Louisiana’s corrupt and dictatorial Huey Long, who promised to make “Every Man a King.” And of course, George Wallace, the governor of Alabama and four-time presidential candidate who vowed, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

Note that many of these men leavened their gospel of hate and their lust for power with populism — giving the people hospitals, schools and highways. Father Coughlin spoke up for organized labor. Both he and Huey Long campaigned for the redistribution of wealth. Tillman even sponsored the first national campaign-finance reform law, the Tillman Act, in 1907, banning corporate contributions to federal candidates.

But their populism was tinged with poison — a pernicious nativism that called for building walls to keep out people and ideas they didn’t like.

The McCarthy Connection

Which brings us back to Trump and the hotheaded, ego-swollen provocateur he most resembles: Joseph McCarthy, U.S. senator from Wisconsin — until now perhaps our most destructive demagogue. In the 1950s, this madman terrorized and divided the nation with false or grossly exaggerated tales of treason and subversion — stirring the witches’ brew of anti-Communist hysteria with lies and manufactured accusations that ruined innocent people and their families.

Billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“I have here in my hand a list,” he would claim — a list of supposed Reds in the State Department or the military. No one knew whose names were there, nor would he say, but it was enough to shatter lives and careers.

In the end, McCarthy was brought down. A brave journalist called him out on the same television airwaves that helped the senator become a powerful, national sensation. It was Edward R. Murrow, and at the end of an episode exposing McCarthy on his CBS series See It NowMurrow said:

“It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the junior senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism.

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.”

There also was the brave and moral lawyer Joseph Welch, acting as chief counsel to the U.S. Army after it was targeted for one of McCarthy’s inquisitions. When McCarthy smeared one of his young associates, Welch responded in full view of the TV and newsreel cameras during hearings in the Senate.

“You’ve done enough,” Welch said. “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?… If there is a God in heaven, it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further.”

It was a devastating moment. Finally, McCarthy’s fellow senators — including a handful of brave Republicans — turned on him, putting an end to the reign of terror. It was 1954. A motion to censure McCarthy passed 67-22, and the junior senator from Wisconsin was finished. He soon disappeared from the front pages, and three years later was dead.

The Roy Cohn Link

Here’s something McCarthy said that could have come straight out of the Trump playbook: “McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled.” Sounds just like The Donald, right? Interestingly, you can draw a direct line from McCarthy to Trump — two degrees of separation. In a Venn diagram of this pair, the place where the two circles overlap, the person they share in common, is a fellow named Roy Cohn.

President Reagan meets with publisher Rupert Murdoch, U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Wick, lawyers Roy Cohn and Thomas Bolan in the Oval Office on Jan. 18, 1983. (Photo credit: Reagan presidential library)

President Reagan meets with publisher Rupert Murdoch, U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Wick, lawyers Roy Cohn and Thomas Bolan in the Oval Office on Jan. 18, 1983. (Photo credit: Reagan presidential library)

Cohn was chief counsel to McCarthy’s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the same one Welch went up against. Cohn was McCarthy’s henchman, a master of dark deeds and dirty tricks. When McCarthy fell, Cohn bounced back to his hometown of New York and became a prominent Manhattan wheeler-dealer, a fixer representing real estate moguls and mob bosses — anyone with the bankroll to afford him. He worked for Trump’s father, Fred, beating back federal prosecution of the property developer, and several years later would do the same for Donald.

“If you need someone to get vicious toward an opponent,” Trump told a magazine reporter in 1979, “you get Roy.” To another writer he said, “Roy was brutal but he was a very loyal guy.”

Cohn introduced Trump to his McCarthy-like methods of strong-arm manipulation and to the political sleazemeister Roger Stone, another dirty trickster and unofficial adviser to Trump who just this week suggested that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin was a disloyal American who may be a spy for Saudi Arabia, a “terrorist agent.”

Cohn also introduced Trump to the man who is now his campaign chair, Paul Manafort, the political consultant and lobbyist who without a moral qualm in the world has made a fortune representing dictators — even when their interests flew in the face of human rights or official U.S. policy. [Editor’s Note: Roy Cohn was also the connection between President Ronald Reagan, an ally from the McCarthy era, and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. See’s “How Roy Cohn Helped Rupert Murdoch.”]

So the ghost of Joseph McCarthy lives on in Donald Trump as he accuses President Obama of treason, slanders women, mocks people with disabilities, and impugns every politician or journalist who dares call him out for the liar and bamboozler he is. The ghosts of all the past American demagogues live on in him as well, although none of them have ever been so dangerous — none have come as close to the grand prize of the White House.

Understandable Resentments

Because even a pathological liar occasionally speaks the truth, Trump has given voice to many who feel they’ve gotten a raw deal from establishment politics, who see both parties as corporate pawns, who believe they have been cheated by a system that produces enormous profits from the labor of working men and women that are gobbled up by the 1 percent at the top. But again, Trump’s brand of populism comes with venomous race-baiting that spews forth the red-hot lies of a forked and wicked tongue.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky.

We can hope for journalists with the courage and integrity of an Edward R. Murrow to challenge this would-be tyrant, to put the truth to every lie and publicly shame the devil for his outrages. We can hope for the likes of Joseph Welch, who demanded to know whether McCarthy had any sense of decency.

Think of Gonzalo Curiel, the jurist Trump accused of persecuting him because of the judge’s Mexican heritage. Curiel has revealed the soulless little man behind the curtain of Trump’s alleged empire, the avaricious money-grubber who conned hard-working Americans out of their hard-won cash to attend his so-called “university.”

And we can hope there still remain in the Republican Party at least a few brave politicians who will stand up to Trump, as some did McCarthy. This might be a little harder. For every Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham who have announced their opposition to Trump, there is a weaselly Paul Ryan, a cynical Mitch McConnell and a passel of fellow travelers up and down the ballot who claim not to like Trump and who may not wholeheartedly endorse him but will vote for him in the name of party unity.

As this headline in The Huffington Post aptly put it, “Republicans Are Twisting Themselves Into Pretzels To Defend Donald Trump.” Ten GOP senators were interviewed about Trump and his attack on Judge Curiel’s Mexican heritage. Most hemmed and hawed about their presumptive nominee.

As Trump “gets to reality on things he’ll change his point of view and be, you know, more responsible.” That was Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. Trump’s comments were “racially toxic” but “don’t give me any pause.” That was Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only Republican African-American in the Senate. And Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas? He said Trump’s words were “unfortunate.” Asked if he was offended, Jennifer Bendery writes, the senator “put his fingers to his lips, gestured that he was buttoning them shut, and shuffled away.”

No profiles in courage there.  But why should we expect otherwise? Their acquiescence, their years of kowtowing to extremism in the appeasement of their base, have allowed Trump and his nightmarish sideshow to steal into the tent and take over the circus.

Alexander Pope once said that party spirit is at best the madness of the many for the gain of a few. A kind of infection, if you will — a virus that spreads through the body politic, contaminating all. Trump and his ilk would sweep the promise of America into the dustbin of history unless they are exposed now to the disinfectant of sunlight, the cleansing torch of truth. Nothing else can save us from the dark age of unreason that would arrive with the triumph of Donald Trump.

Bill Moyers is the managing editor of Moyers & Company and Michael Winship is the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and, and a former senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos. Follow him on Twitter at @MichaelWinship. [This story previously appeared at]

38 comments for “The Roots of Trump’s Cruel Populism

  1. June 20, 2016 at 21:22

    Where do analysts such as yourself get the idea that Trump is “cruel” in any way? He has never made a cruel remark, and I know of no cruel acts he has committed. Certainly when attacked unfairly, Trump strikes back in kind. How else can he withstand the unprecedented vilification the media have perpetrated against him?

    What is truly cruel is Hillary, as Secretary of State, approving the drone killing 2192 people from her Blackberry. Let us put these events in perspective. Perhaps the most unkind deed Trump has ever done was to damage some of the Scottish wetlands with his golf course resort. This is trival compared to launching regime change and devastation in Libya, a hideously cruel act if there ever was one.

    Trump is actually a very kind man. He was an avid follower and close friend of Normal Vincent Peale, author of Power of Positive Thinking. Trump pursues that philosophy with great success, hence his demeanor of unrelenting confidence. That is what positive thinking is all about.

    Compare Trump’s reasonable foreign policy with the vague status quo position of Bernie Sanders. Trump wants friendship with Russia and US non-intervention. Sanders says no such thing. Excerpts from their foreign policy speeches can be found at the end of the following commentary:

  2. Deschutes
    June 18, 2016 at 05:15

    I don’t get why my comment from yesterday was deleted by the moderators of this website? It was totally within comment guidelines. I guess Consnorium Snooze doesn’t like comments which don’t mirror the author’s opinions 100%. It seems as if there is less and less tolerance of diversity of thought everywhere these days, be it on MSM websites or even tiny alternative sites like this one. I have less respect for consortium nooze now :-(

  3. June 17, 2016 at 22:39

    Communist espionage deniers should know better. The biggest problem is that people simply don’t read or care to read the latest revelations.

    The awesome persona of McCarthy does not negate the damage done to our country by thousands of Soviet agents of influence at work since the Tsarist overthrow. Keeping alive the McCarthy bogeyman conveniently diverts attention from that.

    When the Left in Foggy Bottom during Roosevelt -Truman was purging anti-Soviet diplomats and security specialists, dissolving our military intelligence libraries, sanitizing personnel records, lying to the House Committee on Un-American Activities, supporting the Communist takeovers, was there any concern from the Left about careers ruined and the millions overseas killed or enslaved?
    McCarthy never said in his Wheeling WV speech there were 207 Communists in the State Department. This has been debunked many times. No person present at the actual speech ever confirmed it and McCarthy put the number at 57.

    Over and over, we get this battle cry: Army attorney Joseph Welch’s question to McCarthy, “have you no sense of decency?” Perhaps it wasn’t a good move by McCarthy to have brought up at Army-McCarthy hearings the subject of Welch’s associate Fred Fisher having been a past member of the communist-front National Lawyers Guild. Yet it was Welch himself earlier in the April 15, 1954 New York Times who first outed Fisher. That fact wouldn’t interest today’s Trump-McCarthy attackers.

    The Left always leaves out McCarthy’s response, “Mr. Welch talks about this being cruel and reckless. He was just baiting; he has been baiting Mr. Cohn here for hours. . . ” Gay-baiting on national television by Establishment proxy Welch?

    It turns out that Welch welched on a pre-hearing agreement where he wouldn’t bring up the brilliant young prosecutor Roy Cohn’s homosexuality in return for McCarthy’s silence on Fisher.

    Crocodile tears Welch continued his acting career next in Hollywood until his death in 1960.

    According to the late M. Stanton Evans in his “Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and his Fight Against America’s Enemies,” McCarthy was correct in his accusations of Communist subversion all the way up to the White House. This was documented by way of the Army’s ultra-secret project Venona decrypts of Russian cable traffic, J. Edgar Hoover and other federal investigators, everyday whistleblowers, a brief opening of the KGB archives, Russian defectors. People came to McCarthy and his committee, not the other way around. Government secrecy had kept a lid on the true story, warping our national history.

    McCarthy, a former judge with a near-photographic memory, a keen poker player, was liked by commoners as well as the Kennedys. He smeared no one. When liberal Democrats attacked him, he fought back. He was feared all right in Washington, D.C.; many a Democrat scalp dangled from his campaign belt.

    It was no exaggeration that we gave Eastern Europe to Stalin and China to Mao. The devil is in the details. President Eisenhower especially hated McCarthy for blasting his friend George Marshall and the so-called Marshall Plan (really the Morgenthau Plan). And like Truman before him, Eisenhower during the time of the Army investigations would invoke executive privilege to stymie McCarthy’s inquiry.

    Finally Eisenhower did in McCarthy, sending Vice President Richard Nixon to the Senate rounding up censor votes for the kangaroo court. Renowned defense attorney Edward Bennett Williams knocked down every charge except “conduct unbecoming a senator” – in other words, abusing Democrats. Williams pointed out that some senators had done far worse in general, and in particular to McCarthy. To no avail.

    What’s it to me? I was born in 1956. After seeing the stark black and white, smoke roiling, Klieg-lit images of McCarthy thousands of times, I wanted to know what was beyond the Red Scare marquis. McCarthy was bloody Samson in the pagan temple who pulled down the house — provoking the eternal unquenchable hatred of the eastern liberal establishment.
    Sadly, the same bunch would like to put the chains on Trump.

    • dahoit
      June 18, 2016 at 11:00

      Eastern Europe was taken by the SU during the war,and no way would we have been able to stop that wo a continuation of the ww that just concluded.
      And Mao took China from the imperialists and subsequently it has turned into the economic miracle of the 21st century.
      Self determination,and why do you care?The Commies are dead,a footnote of history(NK?)and have absolutely nothing to do with our current debacle of neolibcon capitalism destroying US and the world,by its agent,Zionism.

      • J'hon Doe II
        June 19, 2016 at 13:49

        Eastern Europe was ceded to the Russians vis-a-vis their victory over the Nazi army — the US took charge of Western Europe and initiated Operation Paperclip — recruiting Nazi scientists and Nazi spies.

        The CIA set up their international reign of terror, assassinations, overthrows, drug smuggling, false flag/black ops and nefarious shenanigans in 1947 and has operated non-stop for seven decades murdering at their will & whim.

        i.e.- Operation Phoenix is among

        The CIA’s Greatest Hits

    • June 18, 2016 at 13:08

      You are much closer to the truth than Moyers is here.

      Click this 10 page photo album on Facebook and all the holes will be filled.

    • J'hon Doe II
      June 19, 2016 at 14:10

      You write like a staunch John Bircher, Peter B. Hrycenko.

      McCarthy seemed to target liberal Jews in his idiot grandstanding. While doing that, hundreds, if not thousands of Nazi’s received safe harbor into the US and South America.

      Did McCarthy knowingly provide cover for the transfer of Jew-Hating Nazi criminals… ?


  4. Christene
    June 17, 2016 at 09:42

    Sorry, Mr. Moyers and Mr. Winship, but all of this gut wrenching gnashing of teeth and soul searching is all a little too little and a LOT too late. I don’t know if word has reached the Beltway Bubble, but the American people are checking out. We have lost faith in the media, our government, our financial institutions, our religious institutions, the list goes on and on. The ONLY institution that has any credibility left is our military and the Obama administration has spent 7 years trying to demoralize them into non-existence. And yet, the powers that be in the Republican/Democratic Establishment think that “their” guy or gal is going to step into the Oval Office January 2017 and somehow govern this nation?? With what?? Good lord, take a gander at the national landscape. What exactly does one have to lead with when all trust and credibility are irrevocably lost??
    Trump and Clinton are the flip sides of the same coin; two morally and ethically corrupt individuals who perfectly represent the morally and corrupt Establishment which will put one of them in office. Unfortunately, whoever grabs that brass ring is going to find themselves trying to lead a nation in which a large portion of the people will simply tune them out. Good luck with that.

    • J'hon Doe II
      June 17, 2016 at 16:15

      Christine — “Trump and Clinton are the flip sides of the same coin; two morally and ethically corrupt individuals who perfectly represent the morally and corrupt Establishment which will put one of them in office. Unfortunately, whoever grabs that brass ring is going to find themselves trying to lead a nation in which a large portion of the people will simply tune them out. Good luck with that.”

      —- take a look at how the ‘better-have’ live

      • Christene
        June 17, 2016 at 17:30

        And I will share a link with you;

        “Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells…..”
        “…..The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.”

        Care to take a guess as to who is responsible for establishing the for-profit prison system and has profited handsomely from it? Yep. The Clintons. Along with many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. It’s not difficult to follow the money. The stench is over powering.

      • Christene
        June 17, 2016 at 17:36

        Also, I will share some information on the truly disenfranchised, forgotten people in this country, Native Americans. They live in third world conditions and are so insignificant, politicians don’t even make a pretense of pandering to them.

        Here are some facts about life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the poorest in the nation.
        Unemployment rate of 80-90%
        per capita income of $4,000
        8 times the United States rate of diabetes
        5 Times the United States rate of cervical cancer
        twice the rate of heart disease
        8 times the United States rate of Tuberculosis
        Alcoholism rate estimated as high as 80%
        1 in 4 infants born with fetal alcohol syndrome or effects
        suicide rate more than twice the national rate
        teen suicide rate 4 times the national rate
        infant mortality is three times the national rate.
        Life expectancy on Pine Ridge is the lowest in the United States and the 2nd lowest in the Western Hemisphere. Only Haiti has a lower rate.
        Across this “great” country of ours;
        -322,000 Native Americans have no access to running water
        -40% have no access to telephones, electricity, or basic amenities
        -Healthcare?? A quote from a report to a Senate Hearing Feb. 16th, 2016;

        “The state of health care services on Native American reservations was divulged at a senate hearing on Wednesday, where eyewitnesses reported “horrifying” and “unacceptable” conditions. Funded by the government-run Indian Health Service (IHS), the conditions in these hospitals are proof of the racial disparities that exist in the nation’s health care system, according to legislators and rights activists.”
         You can read the entire appalling report here;

    • elmerfudzie
      June 18, 2016 at 22:22

      Christene, the thing to ask yourself is, who dug up that old fossil, Moyers, in the first place?
      And my thanks to you for bringing attention to the plight of the American Indians. In many respects, their fate resembles the Palestinian(s) suffering.

  5. Mike Flores
    June 17, 2016 at 05:18

    There was a roomful of reporters and none reported any number from Joe’s speech in Wheeling. One article did and in a libel case the journalist admitted he hadn’t been at the talk and he, the writer just put in a number.

    Tydings gave a press conference during hearings against Joe where he held up a record and stated that he had a recording of Joe saying a number ( I think it was supposed to be 205). He too was asked in a libel trial if Joe hadn’t said it, what was on the record? He admitted the record was music, he had no such recording. If anyone in the press had asked to hear it, the manufactured evidence would have been discovered.

    There were only two lists. The first Joe did not want made public but he was overruled by the committee. Because the second list was Soviet agents within CIA, that was obviously not made public. Everyone on that list was arrested, traded or deported. If any were executed I don’t know about it and have found no evidence any were. They were probably more valuable alive.

    The only fake name was the one planted by CIA maniac Jesus Angleton on orders from Dulles as revealed in the CIA declassified article on The Pond. Angleton convinced an agent in The Pond, our only truly and effective spy hunter organization to give Joe a phony dossier that CIA had made on a still classified General, though it is easy to find as everyone from William F. Buckley to Ayn Rand would denounce Joe for making the allegation.

    That shook Joe up and made him question The Pond reports and names he’d been getting, and it was right before the Army hearings.

    Joe had told Dulles that he wanted hearings on CIA after the Army hearings and CIA was deathly afraid Joe would discover he had hid over 200 Nazi Intel officers and heads – giving them passports, money and in some cases jobs within CIA. The man who was the architect of the mechanics of the holocaust was one of these men and he was sent to West Germany to head German Intel there. This was an illegal action, and would have been a goldmine for Soviet propaganda.

    Back in those days government agencies actually ended so if either the nazi story or what CIA did to Joe had come out my guess is Eisenhower would have had to end the agency.

    Here is the bizarre footnote to the story: Angleton would be told by a trusted friend that there was a Soviet mole ( agent planted within our agency) and he began a disturbed search which crippled CIA. Several hundred agents were placed under house arrest, some were sent to mental institutions and signed in against their will – all were given massive doses of LSD and interrogated, some were even tortured. Domestic CIA ground to a halt as the search continued. This was very bad as domestic CIA was ignoring warnings from analysts about the expansion of the war in Vietnam and why it was a really bad idea.

    Angleton accomplished what they feared Joe would accomplish, bring CIA to a halt. It would take Nixon to revive CIA by allowing it to spy on the Vietnam protest movement. The mole within CIA/ It turned out there was no mole in CIA. The trusted friend who told him there was, turned out to be the Soviet agent. Just one of many victories by the Soviets over nation and Intel.

    • J'hon Doe II
      June 17, 2016 at 12:22

      ‘bring CIA to a halt’???——

      Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State
      February 21, 2014
      by Mike Lofgren

      The Legacy of Theodore Shackley

      • Mike Flores
        June 18, 2016 at 13:04

        Domestic CIA was at a virtual standstill in the 1960’s, foreign CIA already planted in Vietnam in the 1950’s was actually doing a pretty good job. Bur foreign and domestic CIA are often on different agendas. When 911 happened foreign CIA each agent was only two people from the director, domestic CIA some agents never saw Tenet. Of course the revolutionary act of using declassified documents and CIA and NSA studios is all the propaganda is dropped and we learn our true history. I am an educator at the Pritzker Military Library and Museum in Chicago and lecture on the Cold War. I study Intel history and terrorism as well. In other words- I can back up every single claim I make. Just ask.

    • dahoit
      June 18, 2016 at 10:54

      Oh,yeah,the victorious SU that collapsed from its own shortcomings.
      Why can’t we be friends?What is this search for enemies about anyway?Who creates this enemies list?

  6. David G
    June 16, 2016 at 23:34

    I think this article validly links Trump to McCarthy and a larger demagogic tradition, but I think Winship is a little free in ascribing courage to those calling Trump out for what he is.

    I don’t even know where to start with the assertion that Mitt Romney is a “brave politician”, especially considering where he is in his career as an elected official (i.e. after it).

    But more importantly, unlike with McCarthy, it takes no courage for mainstream journalists and media people to attack Trump on these grounds: they’ve been doing it for the whole year since he entered the race, or at least since they stopped laughingly dismissing his candidacy. (The fact that this editorial stance has coincided with the massive gift of free publicity the media has given Trump is a paradox for another day.)

    Trump is a legitimate target, but he is also an easy one. The actual *courage* will continue to lie in directing the same unforgiving eye toward his corrupt, warmongering opponent. Over to you, Michael Winship.

    • June 17, 2016 at 04:33

      I agree, David G. Watching the circus from Germany, and reading Robert Parry, Trump still seems to me the candidate least likely to cause WW3. At least one can appeal to his “business sense.” Dropping the sanctions and rolling back NATO (or getting Russia to join) makes great economic sense as well as existential sense (since otherwise nuclear war becomes ever more likely). I hope this at least gets discussed at the coming NATO summit in Warsaw.

      Then those terrible T- agreements (TPP and TTIP), which Trump seems to oppose. Are they good for anybody but the big corporations? I’m not even sure the EU is a good idea, since, for example, a number of countries that want to drop the Russian sanctions are constrained to maintain them because the EU conforms too easily to US pressure.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      June 17, 2016 at 11:58

      It is easy to be “courageous” when a massive imperial establishment supports the aims of your propaganda.

    • dahoit
      June 18, 2016 at 10:50

      McCarthy’s error was not realizing that all those commies were really Trotskyite Zionists,who have taken over America at our peril,and destruction by divide and conquer.
      Look at how their manipulations make some small minded morons here ready to stick a fork in the only person who take back America from the traitors within.Unbelievable the piteous comments by dweebs who think there is any way out of our dilemma other than voting for DT,the Zionists bane,or at least they fear him as such.

  7. elmerfudzie
    June 16, 2016 at 21:19

    This writer begins: I have a dream! I had a dream, no, I had a nightmare…. Now, switching gears, to the Trump campaign HQ: RInnnnnngggg, RInnngggggg,RInnnnnnnngggg, (a phone call to Trump) from a very important person situated in an architecturally ugly building Langley Virgina. Oddly, Trump picks up the receiver, all- by- himself-! and says- hello?… Mr Trump, my name is George Smiley, I’d like nothing more than to rendezvous with you at Camp David. It just so happens that I have two passes to enter the compound, one for you and one for me. Trump, heart pounding and eager…sensing that a juicy ego boost is right around the corner, reply’s Okay Mr Smiley!! At the Camp, the two meet and order up a very thick steak and endless flows of Beefeater martinis, by the by, with a note, affixed on the neck of the gin bottle, complements to you Don, from the boys at Fenchurch Street… Mr Smith begins with an opening proposition; MR Trump, why don’t you pull off one of those Ross Perot maneuvers and tell the voters that your bowing out of the race to remarry a former wife-tantalizing idea isn’t it? (doesn’t have to be, what’s that word, I keep forgetting it, ah yes, the truth, true). In exchange MR Trump, we’ll divert some of our meager drug smuggling funds into your coffers and purchase one or two down market casino’s in Atlanta, put them in your name we will! Your face will be prominently displayed, everywhere…my firm, I mean my people, no, I mean my friends, guarantee it!! Mr Trump, rather quickly, agree’s and proceeds to fade into political history. Just at that moment,I wake up, sweating, mumbling- it’s a better option then that Dealey Plaza thing was. Dammit Dulles!, you and your brother are still patrolling around…..

  8. Bill Bodden
    June 16, 2016 at 20:21

    Come November 8th, if Trump’s mouth or the GOP oligarchs don’t do him in, it looks like another Tweedledum – Tweedledee. Looking for the 2016 lesser evil? There is none.

  9. John
    June 16, 2016 at 20:06

    Can or does anyone stand up to the neocon agenda….If so ….how ?

    • dahoit
      June 18, 2016 at 10:45

      Trump does.

  10. akech
    June 16, 2016 at 19:41

    Who are the organizers of these protestors who are targeting Trumps campaign events?
    If it is true that these are organized or paid for agitators, then the funders and the brains behind their actions have absolutely nothing to offer 99.9% of American citizens who are drowning in debt or are jobless or have lost their homes or cannot make ends meet!

    These may be the same brains who orchestrated the Iraq war. While American young men/women were dying Iraq by thousands and others being maimed for life, many of these same war mongers were making huge profits from the war while crashing the economy. In 2008/9 all of them have their paid legislatures bail them out for criminal their behaviors.

    Trump may have a foul tongue, but, the Wall Street funders of Hillary and the neocons who are pushing her buttons are some of the most ruthless people on the face of the universe. These people are merciless. It is tragic that they operate on both sides of GOP and Democratic establishments, regardless of which party occupies the White House! Head, they win; tail, they win!

  11. June 16, 2016 at 19:06

    I think this comparison is way off base. McCarthy was a politician who was up to no good. Trump’s problem, which is also his secret to success in winning the nomination, is that he’s the anti-politician who his followers believed could tear the current corrupt system out by the roots. But, they are likely to be very disappointed because Trump doesn’t know the first thing about politics, government, or economics. He’s been successful by understanding the art of persuasion, and as such is a pretty good negotiator. He’s a guy that flies by the seat of his pants like most promoters. But, I don’t believe he’s an evil man looking to cleanse the country of “the other” like McCarty was. His early sentiments about doing something about immigration, bringing jobs back to the country, stopping foreign entanglements and destabilizing wars, and getting along with other countries instead of trying to control them is what sounded right to his followers, and it was. Unfortunatly, he didn’t know the first thing about how to accomplish it. It appears now, that he is being advised and molded by the same politicians that his followers wanted ousted, and is being attacked by the same Wall Street Democratic establishment that wants another term or two of the same ol’, same ol’ war and corruption prescribed by the one percent. We again have the choice of the lesser of two evils, but the lesser evil is still evil. It’s really too bad that the Democrats rejected the one opportunity they had to bring the party back to its roots as a party of the people, Bernie Sanders.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 17, 2016 at 01:35

      Elwood, your assessment of Trump compared to Joe McCathy is a good one. I see the trickle down interpretation of a bombastic president Trump statement, being implemented in the most dastardly way by a Senator McCathy type being equally a threat to the people’s commons. Trump will always remain in his Trump world, but how his underlings roll out his words into actions, could be a real problem for anyone trying to live within their own peaceful world from day to day. Let’s face it Trump so far is mostly all talk, but then there’s that Hillary who has walked the walk, and already has done many of the things Trump swears yet to do. Working behind the scenes with a Hondurian junta coup of a democratically elected president, no problem. Rejecting refugee Hondurian children, the result of that coup, away from our American borders, done. Illegally enforcing a Libyian no fly zone, no problem there, we are still leading from behind. Oh, and how about Hillary’s reaction to that killing of Muammar Qaddafi? Just think all the while she was rejoicing over Qaddafi’s brutal death, she was most likely working on Ambassador Stevens new mission to funnel weapons to Syria via his post in Libya. Back then Donald Trump was probably busy making commercials while instituting his new university ripoff deal, and doing business by denying vendors their well earned due. After that recollection of our nations most esteemed presidential candidates, this almost makes Joe McCarthy look like a walk in the park. I pity our country this coming Thanksgiving time, for when all of our crazy uncle (insert name here) will piss us all off with his political remarks (it’s always our stupid liberal stuff that messed everything up), and that is why America has gone to the dogs (it’s all those other people who are not like us that have to go). You see Joe McCathy’s way is simple. Simply wrong!

    • exiled off mainstreet
      June 17, 2016 at 11:55

      This is a fairly accurate statement of the situation. I even suspect that many of his advisors are better than that picture indicates. Ex-General Flynn, for instance, was against helping el qaeda in Syria and that is why he is an ex-general and not still a general. The fact is, war crimes should be a complete disqualification for the presidency and the Harpy is guilty for her actions in Libya which were ginned up in part to help replace the hated Assad with an el qaeda regime the neocons thought would be more acceptable. On trade, Trump is more acceptable. Hillary was for the trade agreements with the arbitration courts with the power to eliminate environmental and consumer protection before she was against them. Even Trump’s statement on global warming can be construed as doing what he had to to get the nomination. It is cynical and foolish, but Clinton’s real record is just as bad there. I think the picture of McCarthy in the article is almost like a picture of Hitler and, based on the facts of the situation, reduces the article to propaganda. I am sorry to see Mr. Moyers lending himself to this, which is being a lackey of the corrupt regime.

  12. June 16, 2016 at 17:56

    The authors forgot to conclude with “So please vote for Hillary Clinton.”

  13. Gregory Herr
    June 16, 2016 at 16:47

    I wouldn’t give Lindsey Graham too much credit for not backing Trump. Clinton is a neocon. He and his buddy John already have their candidate.
    I disagree with Trump as much as the next reasonable person. His (often detestable) comments should be scrutinized, and as warranted, pilloried. If Democrats “unite” behind Clinton, however, what Is being voted for needs to be as clear as what is being voting against.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      June 17, 2016 at 11:46

      The fact Lindsay Graham seems to be for Hillary is reason enough to suspect this is another one of those “lesser evil” hitjobs. The picture of McCarthy is also indicative. The fact is that Hillary’s factual proven crimes: her role in the destruction of Libya and her support of Jihadis to do this who engaged in a mass liquidation of Africans who had settled in Libya under Khaddafi makes her unacceptable to any person of good will. Articles such as these are only to make the cyanide of real fascism (as opposed to presumed fascism based on politically incorrect statements to get the republican base cynically energised) more palatable and as such I think they are ill-intended.

  14. Zachary Smith
    June 16, 2016 at 16:43

    Their acquiescence, their years of kowtowing to extremism in the appeasement of their base, have allowed Trump and his nightmarish sideshow to steal into the tent and take over the circus.

    I’m no longer a Republican, but once upon a time I was one of those “base” guys because if my high level of ignorance. Still, those Republicans remaining in the party had a choice of primary candidates numbering over a dozen. It’s my opinion that they chose the “least bad” of all of the people available to them.

    There is no doubt at all in my mind that Trump is not a nice person – rich ******** tend to be that way. It follows that he would be a horrible president too.

    But comparing him and Hillary on a point-by-point basis, one wonders how Mr. Winship would tally the matchup.

    Consider Global Warming. Trump flouts his ignorance, and declares it to be a fraud. Hillary pretends to accept GW as a problem, but has proposed precisely nothing to tackle the problem. My view – it’s a wash.

    TPP treaty. Hillary has a long history of favoring these ‘trade’ treaties, and until very recently she had nothing bad to say about the worst of them – TPP. By way of contrast, Trump claims to be opposed to the TPP. My view: advantage Trump.

    Torture. Trump says he’d order torture. Hillary has – to my knowledge – said nothing about prosecuting Bush’s Torturers, nor ending Obama’s sneakier legalization of torture. Both stances are despicable to me. Wash again.

    Wars For Israel. Hillary is totally in favor of these. Trump is all over the place, and it’s impossible to say what he really believes. Wash again.

    Wall Street. Hillary is in their pocket. Wall Street is terrified of Trump. Advantage Trump.

    I’d welcome any other verifiable comparisons of the two, but at the instant I can’t see that the undeniably nasty Trump is any worse than Hillary. Indeed, I’d say that he’s a speck safer than HRC.

    Not that I’m going to vote for Trump – the torture stance alone prevents that. But I’m not necessarily going to stand still when he’s dumped on while Hillary gets a pass.

    • Bart
      June 16, 2016 at 17:31

      Two words – supreme court

    • Zachary Smith
      June 17, 2016 at 12:32

      Good point.

      Supreme Court: Advantage Hillary

    • rosemerry
      June 17, 2016 at 14:49

      Your points are valid. It is frightening, though, that ALL the Republican candidates were terrible, especially Cruz and Rubio as well as Trump, and it is also sad that Bernie had to run against Hillary as a Dem, that in all those millions no other progressive suitable person dared/wanted to try.

  15. Abe
    June 16, 2016 at 16:23

    The realignment of the Republican Party brings Trump into the arms of the hardline neo-liberal Congressional-Wall Street elite. This shift means Trump’s ideological and mass base needs to be redirected toward greater hostility to domestic enemies – Mexicans, Muslims, women and ecologists.

    Trump is especially counting on the incorporation of Sanders’ electoral machine into the Clinton campaign. White workers face to face with Wall Street warmonger Clinton will be less likely to reject Trump’s embrace of the rightwing Congressional business alliance.

    Trump will deflect working class opposition from his turn to the neo-liberal Congressional Republicans by targeting Clinton’s big business and covert, illicit government operations. Clinton’s gross violations of federal laws, her felonious communications and liasons with foreign officials could hand the Presidency to Trump.

    Trump has gained working class voters in West Virginia, Ohio, and many other rust-belt states because of Clinton’s free trade and anti-working class history.

    Trump’s electoral victory will hinge on his capacity to cover-up his neo- liberal turn and to focus voters’ attention on Clinton’s militarist, Wall Street ,conspiratorial and anti-working class politics.

    Only Clinton Can Save Trump’s Electoral Victory
    By James Petras

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