Throughout the final days of the 2022 campaign, Democrats centered their fire on former President Donald Trump. They claim “democracy itself” is threatened if he ever holds office again. Before Trump was even elected in 2016, Democrats unleashed the FBI against him — and against constitutional freedoms working people have won in blood and sorely need. They’ve used congressional witch hunts and launched a cascade of legal cases against him, his family members and political allies.
Speeches by prominent Democrats make abundantly clear they will continue on this course whoever wins control of Congress. The real culprits responsible for Trump, they insist, are the millions of working people President Joseph Biden calls “semi-fascists” and believes can’t be trusted to make political decisions.
The entirety of Biden’s prime-time Nov. 2 speech — his main address prior to the election — was to attack so-called MAGA Republicans as a “threat to democracy.”
Biden opened his remarks claiming that David DePape’s break-in to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home Oct. 28 and assault on her husband Paul was somehow tied to Trump. When DePape asked Paul Pelosi, “Where’s Nancy?” Biden said, he spoke “the very same words used by the mob when they stormed the United States Capitol on January the 6th,” after they were “whipped up into a frenzy” by Trump.
Numerous Republicans spoke out against the attack. “Disgusted to hear about the horrific assault on Speaker Pelosi’s husband Paul,” Republican Congressman Steve Scalise said. “Violence has no place in this country.” Scalise was one of five people shot in 2017 when a Bernie Sanders supporter opened fire on Republican elected officials during a Washington baseball practice. Paul Pelosi was released from the hospital Nov. 4.
But Biden wasn’t looking for solidarity. “You can’t condemn the violence unless you condemn those people who continue to argue the election was not real, that it’s being stolen,” Biden said Oct. 29.
Then in the Nov. 2 speech, Biden said Trump supporters threaten the rule of law, not because of what they do, but because of what they think and say. This is an attack on freedom of speech itself.
The Biden administration’s record has little to win support for his party, as inflation soars and the capitalist economy stagnates. Liberal commentators blame working people for the political challenges Democrats face in the elections. “Democracy is on the ballot,” Bill Maher said on Real Time, but saying so is “a waste of breath.” Hours of televised Jan. 6 hearings “changed nobody’s mind,” he complained bitterly, referring to the monthslong congressional show trial.
The only other issue Democrats campaigned around is abortion, built on false claims that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling this summer outlawed it. But that isn’t true. It held abortion had no basis in the Constitution and returned the debate over the issue to the people and their elected representatives.
Smear opponents as ‘foreign agents’
From the beginning, one key theme of the Democrats’ assault on Trump and his administration was the utterly disproven charge that they were hooked up with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They got the FBI to put forward the Steele Dossier, a collection of gossip and smears paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign, to try and impeach Trump.
One part of these efforts involved use of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a witch hunt law passed on the eve of the second imperialist world war to gut constitutional freedoms and deal blows to the labor movement.
The FBI began investigating Socialist Workers Party members under this act and others before charging party leaders and leaders of the Teamsters union with “conspiracy to overthrow the government.” The frame-up and conviction of 18 SWP and Teamsters leaders in 1941 was central to the government’s entry into the war. In the U.S. rulers’ eyes, their real “crime” was organizing opposition in the unions to Washington’s drive to win support for sending working people to fight and die in the carnage.
The same law was used to target and convict former Trump advisers Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Rick Gates.
But Thomas Barrack, chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, was acquitted of charges of being a “foreign agent” of Russia Nov. 4. “Not a single witness came into this courtroom” who showed they “had any personal knowledge of any relevant facts to the case,” Barrack’s attorney, Randall Jackson, said. But that didn’t stopped the Justice Department from bringing the prosecution.
The Justice Department is now adding more prosecutors to its sprawling crew probing the Jan. 6 melee. It continues to scour through material seized by the FBI in its armed raid at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Department officials are looking to appoint yet another special counsel to go after the former president, should he decide to run in 2024.
Like ex-FBI boss Robert Mueller, who was appointed special counsel to target Trump over five years ago, a new prosecutor wouldn’t start with actual evidence of a crime, but with a person to bring down.
Both Democrats and Republicans for their own reasons are looking for ways to refurbish the capitalist rulers’ political police — with its history of spying, black-bag jobs, frame-ups and disruption — to use against their political opponents. Their key target, however, is the working class and its political vanguard.
The fight to defend constitutional liberties is at the center of the class struggle today.