Democrats and corporate media cover-up Trump’s role in Michigan coup plot

Within 24 hours of the announcement of charges against 13 Michigan fascists who plotted to kidnap and kill Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the corporate media has pushed the story off the front pages. The far-reaching implications of this plot, and its connections to Trump’s strategy to transform the election into a coup, are being covered up.

By Friday morning, coverage of the Michigan conspiracy had all but disappeared from the online editions of the Washington Post and New York Times. Neither the Times nor the Post, the main newspapers politically aligned with the Democratic Party, have published an editorial on the plot. It was treated on the cable and network news as a minor part of the news cycle.

Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have not issued a major statement on the plot and did not even refer to it at a campaign rally Thursday night in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Democratic Party and the corporate press have raised no questions about the potential role of Trump’s fascist advisers or where the plotters obtained the money to plan their operations and buy equipment. Unlike Watergate, there is to be no investigation or congressional hearings into the connections between the plotters and top operatives in and around the Trump administration. No Democrat has called for subpoenaing Roger Stone, Stephen Miller, Steven Bannon, Erik Prince, or any other aides with ties to fascist groups. The position of the Democratic Party is: “nothing to see here.”

A right-wing protester carries his rifle at the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan in an April 30 demonstration against Whitmer [Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya]

The rapidity of the coverup by the political establishment is inversely related to the amount of information making clear the Michigan events were only one part of an ongoing nationwide conspiracy. There is a clear and present danger of dictatorship in America. Workers must demand answers to questions about the plotters’ ties to the White House, the Republican Party, and their powerful dark money sources within the ruling elite.

The only significant statements about the broader framework of the conspiracy have come from Michigan officials. The state’s attorney general, Dana Nessel, told MSNBC’s Katy Tur yesterday: “I will tell you this: this may very well be the tip of the iceberg. I don’t feel as though our work or the work of the federal authorities is complete. And I think there are still dangerous individuals that are out there.”

Speaking yesterday on ABC’s “Good Morning America”, Whitmer warned, “I’m not the only governor going through this… It is not unique to me.”

Neither Michigan official gave any details of what they know. However, it is clear that the threats to kill governors and launch insurrections are focused on battleground states with Republican legislatures and Democratic governors: Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. These states are the linchpin of Trump’s strategy to carry out a coup.

  • In May, Salon reported police were investigating organized militias armed with assault rifles who were threatening North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper over lockdown measures. Anti-lockdown protesters were bused to the state Capitol with “enthusiastic astroturf support from Republican operatives and megadonors—one of whom offered to pay to bus protesters into the city.”
  • In Pennsylvania, a 28-year-old was charged on May 11 for organizing an armed group to kill Democratic Governor Tom Wolf. The next day, on May 12, Trump tweeted: “The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now and they are fully aware of what that entails.”
  • In Wisconsin, fascist gunman Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two protesters on August 23 during protests in Kenosha against the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Rittenhouse was part of a network of fascist militia who descended upon the city. Trump praised Rittenhouse and defended his actions, writing in August that “he was in big trouble. He probably would have been killed.”

Similar threats have been made against the Democratic governors in other states.

  • Yesterday, a radio station in Louisiana (which is not considered a battleground state) reported that “more than 30 groups designated as ‘hate groups’ or anti-government militias like the group arrested last week in Michigan” place Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards’ life in danger.
  • In January, when over 10,000 militia rallied at the Virginia state capital in Richmond, Democratic Governor Ralph Northam said he had “credible intelligence” that the demonstrators “may be armed and have as their purpose not peaceful assembly, but violence, rioting and insurrection.” A state legislator, Democratic Socialists of America member Lee Carter, was forced to flee the capital to a safe house due to threats against his life.

On September 17, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the House of Representatives that the agency was conducting “a good bit north of 1,000 [investigations of far-right violence] this year.” This was “higher” than normal, he said, explaining that the threat posed by right-wing militias was “commensurate with ISIS.”

The next day, Trump threatened to fire Wray for these comments, saying, “I did not like his answers yesterday,” and “Antifa is bad, really bad.”

Wray’s testimony and the recent threats against other Democratic governors in battleground states raise serious questions. What do the remainder of the over 1,000 ongoing investigations show? How many fascist groups are mobilizing to carry out insurrection this November? Which governors are next? Who are the other figures on their “kill lists?”

On all of these questions, the Democrats and their main media mouthpieces are silent. By contrast, the pro-Trump Wall Street Journal went on the offensive, publishing an editorial on the Michigan plot that characterized Whitmer’s regime as an “overreaching state government,” which “exceeded her legal authority in the pandemic, and often in arrogant fashion.” It went on to denounce Whitmer for blaming Trump and echoed Trump’s declaration that she should have thanked the “Trump Justice Department.”

The silence of the Democrats and the media on what is the most advanced conspiracy to overthrow the constitution in American history can only be understood in class terms. The principal concern of the Democratic Party, a party of Wall Street and factions of the military-intelligence apparatus, is that the working class will become aware of the enormous dangers and take independent action.

On Wednesday, after Trump left the Walter Reed Medical Center, the World Socialist Web Site explained that he had to return rapidly to the White House because his ongoing political conspiracies could not be orchestrated from a hospital bed. While noting the extreme crisis of the Trump administration, the WSWS wrote:

There is one factor that works in Trump’s favor: the duplicity, spinelessness and fundamentally reactionary character of the Democratic Party. The Democrats can claim no credit for the crisis of the Trump administration. Rather than exposing his plots, they have done everything they can to stifle mass opposition to Trump’s fascistic conspiracies and cover up the danger of dictatorship.

The Democrats’ response to the attempted coup in Michigan once again exposes their political role. They want to ensure that the unprecedented political crisis remains confined entirely to the conflicts within the ruling class and its state.

Opposing Trump’s plot against America means pulling the rug out from under the financial aristocrats who plot and conspire against the democratic rights of the population. This task falls to the working class, which produces all of society’s wealth and is forced to go to work and school under deadly conditions. It is this powerful social force that must lead the opposition to Trump’s attempt to establish a dictatorship.