An anonymous campaign staffer for Donald Trump’s campaign released a very calculated threat but left Donald Trump the plausible deniability of every bully ever (“I didn’t say that, they did!”). The threat? Fall in line or else: if you are involved in an opponent’s campaign, or working with anyone who is supporting the #NeverTrump movement you “might” be blacklisted:
The Never Trump vendors and supporters shouldn’t be in striking distance of the RNC, any of its committees or anyone working on behalf of Donald Trump.
What does “blacklisted” mean? Barred from federal contracts? Blacklisted from working with the White House? Oh, wait, no — not exactly (not yet). At this point, they are actually just threatening to do this to anyone not willing to swallow their principles and help Trump fight for the White House.
The problem is that the #NeverTrump groups are pretty much the only thing between us and a complete take over of an entire major political party (albeit dying) by an authoritarian bully, Trump. The message is clear, in a Trump America, you will toe the line — regardless of your rights, freedoms, or beliefs — or you will be punished.
Trump’s campaign is, of course, not commenting. All they have to do is leave the threat hanging. Confirming or denying this would may actually weaken Trump’s ability to play this “forced participation” card to the fullest. If they confirm, then he no longer has deniability for the unAmerican refusal to allow people to fully participate in the political process according to their principles. If they deny, then when Trump withholds contracts from those that opposed him for no other reason, well, it would be a confirmed lie.
However, the RNC is denying that the Trump campaign has asked them to avoid any vendors, “clearing” them of complicit behavior, but avoided actually disavowing such behavior:
RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer said that senior Trump campaign officials have assured him there is no list of firms they do not want the party committee to use. “There has been no discussion of not using any vendors, pro or con,” he said.
But, really, what does “blacklisting” mean to these political organizations and politicos? Well, a group of consultants and firms, leaders in their respective fields, have received only $432,000 from Our Principles PAC, the leading anti-Trump Super PAC. The same group is reported to have received 16 million dollars from the RNC “over the years,” according to Federal Election Commission filings.
The group described above includes strategist Katie Packer, the Tarrance Group (pollster), online fundraiser Campaign Solutions, and data vendors TargetPoint and Targeted Victory. Katie Packer helps run the Our Principles PAC, and has NO problem with the potential of being blacklisted.
Katie Packer said of being added to a blacklist:
[I have] no interest in working for (Trump), nor do those I know who worked against him, I just hope they put me at the top and spell my name correctly. Winning a presidential election is hard. … They should focus on that and worry about settling scores if they win.
However, she is the only one out of those listed who said anything like that, most everyone else indicated they’d be quite happy to work with a Trump led RNC, even though they have been working with anti-Trump groups.
That seems to indicate they are just political bottom feeders, willing to accept income from whomever, lead by the principle of greed. In fact, officials from the Tarrance Group and Campaign Solutions declined to say whether they would work for a Trump-led RNC, covering their bases by stopping short of standing for their principles.
This is how oligarchy and authoritarianism work, it starts with fall in line or we won’t let you be involved. Then it is fall in line or we will imprison you. Then, well, if you fall out of line you lose everything — possibly even your life. But the trick is to introduce this slowly, in incremental steps.
It is a short step from blacklisting #NeverTrumpers to encouraging people not to work with business people who help his opponents, to running negative campaigns against anyone who disagrees with the actions of the government. No one who has been paying attention could honestly say they don’t believe the pre-kindergarten level of self-control demonstrated by Trump to this point indicates this isn’t a possibility.
This is what happens when continuing, unhealthy Nationalism meet a crooked Authoritarian leader with a slick salesman’s game in a political climate ripe for revolution: fascism.
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