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The World’s Deck Is Stacked With Trumps

America has long been the land where everyone wants to live. Now the whole world is getting its wish, though in the worst possible way. Sunday’s election in Brazil has narrowly but decisively returned the left-wing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to power, but incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who proudly calls himself the Brazilian Trump, has refused to concede or issue any sort of statement. Convicted criminal Steve Bannon, the MAGA crackpot house intellectual and eminence greasy of the Nationalist International, is urging him to cling to power, not that his advice to that effect is needed. It is apparent that Bolsonaro, who has been threatening to stage a military coup throughout his presidency, has kicked preparations into high gear. Not being a terminal fuckup like his American counterpart, he may well pull it off successfully in the two months before Lula’s New Year’s Day inauguration. The key question is whether he has enough support in the country’s army, but in any case when he makes his move, it is unlikely to be a sinister clown show full of freakish characters like Rudy Giuliani, Roger Stone and Stewart Rhodes, who didn’t quite know what they were doing and so were unable to turn the January 6 Smear-Shit-in-the-Hall Putsch into an American “Revolution.”

It’s striking, though, how many parallels are developing between the “Nationalist Populist” movements in countries with wildly different cultures and histories—call them “Napis,” by analogy with those old German National Socialists, or Nazis. Though they have styled themselves as a great revolt by their respective Völker (the “real” Americans, French, Italians, Ruritanians, Elbonians, or what have you) against globalization, these Napis are actually the embodiment of what we might call dark globalization.

Future historians, if any, may expend a lot of effort trying to tease out where this movement began, but for our purposes it doesn’t matter much. We know that America is, still, the world’s leading nation, which means that what happens here is likely to prove decisive; at the same time, victory over our own MAGA Napis will avail little if they triumph in too many other places. One hopes that the Biden administration is already working to counter the malevolent efforts of Bannon and his ilk in Brazil by having the CIA provide intelligence to Lula; it would certainly be a great historical turnabout if the CIA were to help avert rather than promote a foreign right-wing coup. In Bannon’s case specifically, the prosecutors should ask the judge to impose a gag order to stop him causing further mischief while his case is on appeal. Most of us cannot possibly influence the course of events so directly, but we American anti-MAGAs must all do our tiny bit while understanding that we are part of a great worldwide struggle for civilization.


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