Trump vs. the “Deep State” (Part II)

Adam Marletta
7 min readJan 15, 2024

The “deep state” is dead set against Donald Trump returning to the White House. That is why the former president finds himself mired in legal battles, including four criminal indictments. That is why he has been barred from the primary ballots in Colorado and here in Maine. And that is why Trump has become the first president in U.S. history to be charged with a crime upon leaving office.

Look, I have no desire to see Trump back in power. I suspect most readers are in agreement with me on that count. (That said, there is a compelling argument to be made that, between Trump and “Genocide Joe” Biden, the former is truly the “lesser evil” …)

Nor is there really any doubt in my mind as to Trump’s guilt in the crimes has been charged with. Indeed, in many instances, Trump has openly boasted of his criminal wrongdoing.

But every single president in my lifetime has a been a war criminal. George W. Bush is guilty of far more heinous, monstrous human rights abuses compared to Trump’s mostly petty-bourgeois, white collar crimes. Where are the criminal charges against Bush? Oh, that’s right: Liberals love Bush now because he shared his candy with Michelle Obama during Sen. John McCain’s funeral.

Even Trump’s most egregious offense, the petty-bourgeois “insurrection” on the Capitol, on Jan. 6, 2021, has been massively overhyped and propagandized by the Democrats and the corporate media. The Capitol rioters’ actions were, no doubt, unnerving. And their outward displays of racist bigotry with their Confederate and “Thin Blue Line” flags cannot be ignored. But can you really call it a “violent insurrection” when the Capitol police literally opened the door for the protesters and then proceeded to take selfies with them…?

It is a Witch Hunt

The unfortunate reality is that when Trump and his supporters decry the Democrats’ various lawfare measures against him as a politically motivated “witch hunt,” they are not wrong. It is a witch hunt.

The Democratic Party is basically doing to Trump what it did to Bernie Sanders in both 2016 and 2020. Except this time it is not taking any chances. The Democrats have dialed the sabotage campaign up to 11. And, unlike the compliant, “sheep-dog” Sanders, who mostly went along with the Democrats’ efforts, Trump will not go down without a fight.

Even Vladimir Putin has derided the lawfare actions against the former president as “political revenge.”

“As for Trump, for us what is happening in today’s conditions, in my opinion, is good because it shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others democracy,” Putin said at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, last September.

“Everything that is happening with Trump is the persecution of a political rival for political reasons,” Putin added. “That’s what it is. And this is being done in front of the public of the United States and the whole world.”

Democratic lawmakers in both Maine and Colorado have banned Trump from the Republican primary ballots based on his role in inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Lawmakers in both states have argued that the former president violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment which prohibits U.S. officeholders from “engag[ing] in insurrection or rebellion against the United States…”

While Trump’s role in agitating the Jan. 6 petty-bourgeois protesters cannot be denied (he is on video instructing the crowd to march to the Capitol), the fact remains that Trump has not been formally convicted of a crime. Under the U.S. bourgeois legal system, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Again, I am in no way attempting to defend Trump. But jubilant liberals may want to reconsider their support for the highly anti-democratic efforts to kick Trump off the ballot. Simply put, if they can do it to Trump, they can do it to anybody — to any candidate for office. This is a chilling precedent that should frighten every citizen.

The Supreme Court will ultimately intervene to render a legal decision on Trump’s electoral eligibility.

The Democratic Party: “Democracy For Me, Not For Thee!”

All the while the Democrats and Biden lecture voters about how the “fate of our democracy is at stake” in the upcoming election. “Democracy is on the ballot!” they assure us. Indeed, the Democrats’ concerns about “democracy” ring incredibly hollow when they are actively kicking the leading candidate off of state ballots and trying to throw him in jail. If the presidential election were held today, Trump would win in a landslide. Apparently, the Democrats’ campaign strategy amounts to: “If you can’t beat ’em, lock ’em up!”

The Democrats’ hostility to democracy is likewise evident in the party’s refusal to hold any primaries. Nobody within the Democratic Party is mounting a serious, viable primary challenge to Biden’s miserable first term. Behold, just how committed the Democratic Party is to “America’s sacred cause” of democracy.

“[D]emocracy is always hemmed in by the narrow limits set by capitalist exploitation,” Lenin wrote, “and consequently always remains, in effect, a democracy for the minority, only for the propertied classes, only for the rich. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slaveowners.”

He adds: “… Democracy for an insignificant minority, democracy for the rich — that is the democracy of capitalist society.”

Thus, Lenin argued the need for a working-class revolution to “smash the state” and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Trump Against the Empire

Trump is simply too erratic for the establishment’s taste. He does not sufficiently toe the imperialist line — at least not rhetorically, anyway.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump presented himself as something of an isolationist, anti-war candidate.¹ He openly denounced George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s “forever wars” in the Middle East. And he effectively employed his (alleged) opposition to Bush’s invasion of Iraq to promptly sideline Bush’s brother and heir apparent, Jeb Bush, during the Republican primaries.

Trump called the Iraq war a “big, fat mistake.”

“They lied,” Trump said of the Bush administration. “They said there were weapons of mass destruction [in Iraq]. There were none and they knew there were none.”

As a result, on matters of foreign policy, Trump ran to the left of Hillary Clinton. He, likewise, appealed to the thousands of disaffected working-class Americans who have served in the U.S. military — only to come home physically and psychologically maimed from the experience.

Trump is again attempting to mine this anti-war playbook with his opposition to the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine. (On Israel-Palestine, however, Trump would be no different than Biden. This “anti-war-except-for-Israel” attitude highlights a major inconsistency in the right’s supposed anti-interventionist wing.)

The Soft Coup Against Trump

Ultimately, Trump is too much of a crass, unrefined outsider for the ruling-class establishment. He did not graduate from the proper ivy-league schools. He does not speak in the traditional “presidential” rhetoric the Beltway favors. (After Trump delivered his now-infamous “American Carnage” speech at his inauguration, former President Bush, in attendance with Hillary Clinton, is said to have muttered, “That was some weird shit.”)

Perhaps most importantly, the ruling-class cannot fully control Trump — and that terrifies them. This fact alone is why the state is opposed to allowing Trump back in the White House.

And Russell Dobular, co-host of the podcast, Due Dissidence, believes the state will ultimately go to “extreme” (read: Extralegal) lengths to ensure that Trump does not become president again. Indeed, it is likely that neither Trump nor Biden will end up in the 2024 presidential race. Six months from now, voters could find themselves facing a contest between Nikki Haley and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, for all we know.

Regardless of what you think about Donald Trump, it is a stinging indictment of our so-called “democracy” (the one that is supposedly the envy of the world) when the leading candidate for president — the guy who is currently poised to win the election — is being thrown off the ballot, and threatened with jail time. This is the sort of stuff that routinely happens in “third-world” countries. The fact that it is happening here should give you an idea of just how desperate the ruling-class is to get rid of Trump.

As Lenin observes in State and Revolution:

Marx grasped this essence of capitalist democracy splendidly when, in analyzing the experience of the [Paris] Commune, he said that the oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class shall represent and repress them in parliament!

¹ Trump’s actual record as president on foreign policy matters is something of a mixed bag. He fired 59 missiles into Syria — earning lavish praise from the pro-war capitalist media in doing so. Additionally, he authorized the arbitrary assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, via drone strike. But Trump also signed the Doha Agreement, leading to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Perhaps the best that can be said of Trump’s tenure as president is that he did not start any new wars.



Adam Marletta

Writer, socialist, and coffee-fiend. I have written for the West End News, Socialist Worker, a bunch of decidedly less interesting publications.