Smedley Butler won’t be around next year to save us.

       The former Marine Corps general was offered a ton of money in 1933 to murder newly-elected president Franklin Roosevelt and stage a fascist coup.

Armed with the then-huge sum of $3 million, infamous billionaires funded a “Banker’s Plot” with 500,000 armed thugs set to erect a corporate dictatorship atop FDR’s grave.

Butler had led US troops throughout Latin America during the “Dollar Diplomacy” 1920s. He crushed grassroots uprisings and installed brutal dictators. America’s richest barons now wanted him to do the same thing here.

But they chose the wrong guy. In shocking Congressional hearings, Butler blew the whistle on (until then) US history’s best-funded attempted coup“War,” he warned, “is a racket.”

The super-rich plotters hotly denied Butler’s account. None of them went to prison.

Butler won’t be around next year to expose the Trump coup attempt, already in progress. He won’t have to. It’s already visible for all to see.

But can we stop it?

FDR was the landslide successor to the failed Herbert Hoover. He took power just as Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.

FDR, with his legendary progressive wife Eleanor, promised “Happy Days.” Hitler preached hate. He was backed in Deutschland by many of the same corporatists then plotting Butler’s would-be coup here in the US.

Donald Trump has spent a lifetime preaching hate. In 2021, he’ll have limitless money at his disposal, much of it from actual descendants of the 1933 Banker Plotters. His armed fascist militias are already in the streets, murdering peaceful protestors (see: Kenosha), threatening Governors (see: Gretchen Whitmer), promising to kill even Republican doubters (see: Gabriel Sterling)

Hitler spent years preaching the “Dolchstosslegende,” the “stab in the back.” Germany could never be a “loser,” he screamed, and did not lose World War I. Victory was “stolen” by radicals, socialists, communists … not to mention Jews, Roma (gypsies), gays, Jehovah Witnesses, “genetically inferior” Slavs.

Likewise Trump and 2020. Donald is the tenth US incumbent to lose the presidency, his margin of defeat exceeded only by Hoover and Jimmy Carter.

But he could never be a “loser.” The “fake election” was “stolen” by radicals, socialists, communists … not to mention gays, uppity women (re: Kamala Harris), immigrants, “genetically inferior” people of color, “millions” of whom voted with “fake ballots.”

As Hitler filled his concentration camps with political opponents, Trump has poisoned our border with COVID death camps for “murderers, rapists, Bad Hombre” asylum seekers and their children.

Hitler’s infamous Big Lie has been more than matched by Trump’s endless stream of blatant falsehoods and Orwellian Hate Speak.

It will not stop. Hitler was imprisoned for a failed 1920s coup attempt in Munich. He used his prison time to dictate Mein Kampf, the manifesto of his fascist takeover.

Trump could also go to jail, more likely for his money laundering, tax evasion, rape, theft, mobsterism. His martyrdom would be tangible.

Or a successor will arise, as utterly devoid of empathy, compassion and common sense as The Donald and Der Fuhrer.

As with Germany’s Weimar Republic, which Hitler easily trashed, Team Biden comes with a damning record of weakness and failure.

Bill and Hillary Clinton have long since sold the Democratic Party to Wall Street. Their corporate “New Democrats” have delivered virtually nothing to an increasingly angry, frustrated working/middle class. NAFTA, stagnant wages, a deteriorating environment, the Crime Bill/Drug War, the assault on welfare, skyrocketing student debt, failure to confront Wall Street after the 2008 crash, endless warfare, and their elitist contempt for a “deplorable” working class has made the Clinton-Obama-Biden elite a symbol of hateful grassroots disdain.

In other words, they present the perfect failed state target for a rising fascist assault. Unless the new administration can deliver real change, and make life better for the vast number of working/middle-class Americans, Trumpist fascism is set to succeed where the 1933 Banker’s Plot failed.

Of course, salvation lies precisely where the Democrats focus their greatest contempt. Biden won 2020’s popular vote with ballots cast by tens of millions of Millennials and their even more diverse younger Zoomer siblings. Voters 40 and under rejected Trump by more than 60%. Without them, the Dems’ 2020 down-ballot defeats would make the Reichstag Fire seem a backyard barbecue.

Predictably blaming “socialism” for their Congressional and state-by-state debacles, the corp/Dems come up short on everything (besides hatred of Trump) that inspired the Millennial/Zs to vote for them: universal health care, a Green New Deal, ending student debt, free public higher education, a $15 minimum wage, stronger unions, ending racism, controlling the police, banishing poverty, hunger and homelessness, secure hand-marked paper ballots for future elections, an end to gerrymandering and the Electoral College, and dismantling the empire.

To save the US from Trumpist fascism, the Democrats’ corporate gerontocracy – Pelosi, Schumer, Feinstein, etc. – must now go. Biden and his successors need to deliver real social change. Life must get tangibly better at the crumbling grassroots of our failing post-industrial/imperial state.

After decades of elitist arrogance and greed, the Weimar Democrats need to march with The Donald straight into the ash heap of history.

The alternative is not pretty. Time is short. And Smedley Butler is not around to save us.


Harvey Wasserman co-convenes the weekly Election Protection 2024 ZOOM. His People's Spiral of US History is at

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