Since former Oklahoma Republican Rep. Mickey Edwards called out the cult-like devotion of Donald Trump’s followers in 2021, more and more people have come to recognize the accuracy of his assessment. Perhaps the most striking example of his followers’ adoration is their willingness to sacrifice their own health and well-being to further his cause – currently the establishment of himself as a dictator reeking vengeance upon any and all who oppose him.

          Ironically, while senior MAGA-hats certainly do not oppose him, they, too, are in the crosshairs as he strives to establish an American oligarchy. They embrace the vitriol and bigotry of his campaigns, but ignore how another Trump presidency would impact their own lives.

          Former Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger recently highlighted the fascist-by-definition rhetoric that resonates the most with his adherents:

          • Warnings about evil conspiracies – “the Radical Left.”

          • Harkening back to a lost golden era – the days when America was “Great.”

          • Fear of those who are different – immigrants who are “not people.“

          • Machismo – Trump’s profanity.

          • Reverence for those who take action – Trump’s praise for the jailed January 6  Capitol attackers.

          Kinzinger provided single examples when many were available. Two of Trump’s more dehumanizing remarks were calling political opponents “vermin” and alleging (in pure nazi nomenclature) that immigrants, “are poisoning the blood of our country.” Denying people’s personhood is the first step toward endorsing violence against them.

          Two more examples of Trump’s “machismo,” which women Trumpistas willingly ignore, are his disdain for women’s rights and his view of women as targets for sexual predation.

          And, can his anti-republican tendencies be more evident than when he calls the goons he sent to seize power on Jan. 6, 2021, “hostages” for being convicted for their attempted coup?

          Kinzinger warned:

          “If you want proof of Trump’s dictatorial intentions, consider the plans being made by the activists and ideologues who will fill his administration. With the candidate’s approval, they plan to bring every agency, including those made to be independent and apolitical, under Trump’s control. His rival President Biden would be subject to a criminal investigation. Federal workers would lose job protections and the disloyal would be purged.”

          But, Trump’s followers lap up the hatred. Yeah! Yeah! Stick it to the Libs!

          These devotees should be wary ere they find themselves hoisted on their own petards. Trump has explosive plans for their lives, too.

          He and Congressional Republican Trumpistas have always planned to gut and even dismantle federal earned credit programs such as Social Security and Medicare. And, hey, Medicaid is for poor people. They have no standing with the GOP.

          On March 11, Trump just blurted out on CNBC,  “there is a lot you can do… in terms of cutting” so-called ‘entitlements’ like the program for retirees as well as Medicaid and Medicare.”

          Since then, he has tried to “walk back” this admission, But last year War Room reminded us that:

          • Each of his White House budget proposals included cuts to Social Security and Medicare programs.         

          • Trump promised during his 2020 campaign that “the payroll tax (that funds both Social Security and Medicare) will be rescinded.”

          And, Trump has sycophants in Congress ready to back his play.

          On March 20, Jessica Corbett of Common Dreams reported:

          “Defenders of Social Security and Medicare on Wednesday swiftly criticized the biggest caucus of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives for putting out a budget proposal for fiscal year 2025 that takes aim at the crucial programs.”

          Social Security Works President Nancy Altman explained:

          “This budget includes a so-called ‘fiscal commission,’ which the White House has accurately referred to as a ‘death panel’ for Social Security and Medicare. The commission is designed to slash vital earned benefits through a fast-track, closed-door process, intended to allow Republicans to avoid political accountability.

          ”Every Republican who voted for this budget voted to cut Social Security and Medicare. During the mark-up, Democrats proposed numerous amendments to protect Social Security and Medicare. Republicans voted down all of them.”

          This latest GOP attack is not surprising. After Rep. Mike Johnson defaulted into the House speakership, the Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee warned: “A week into his tenure, MAGA Mike Johnson is ALREADY calling for closed-door cuts to the Social Security and Medicare benefits American workers have earned through decades of hard work.”

          Social Security Works joined that chorus: “MAGA Mike Johnson’s NUMBER ONE priority is to cut our earned benefits behind closed doors.”

          Following Trump’s March 11 slip of the tongue call to axe the Social Security and Medicare,

Social Security Works’ Altman observed:

          ”This is consistent with Trump’s record as President, when he proposed cuts in every single one of his budgets and tried to permanently eliminate Social Security’s dedicated funding. It is consistent with Trump’s past calls to privatize Social Security and raise the retirement age, as well as his slandering it as a ‘Ponzi scheme.’

          Altman added:

          “Perhaps most insultingly, given the Republicans’ claim to be the party of ‘family values,’ this budget would eliminate Social Security spousal benefits, as well as children’s benefits, for middle-class families. That would punish women who take time out of the workforce to care for children and other loved ones. This coming from a party that wants to take away women’s reproductive rights!”

          Maybe her conclusion can breach the blinders of Trump’s senior supporters:

          “Make no mistake: Social Security is on the ballot this November.”

          Is it noble or foolish that Trump’s senior supporters are willing to sacrifice themselves on the altar of oligarchy?

            (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party.)

Trump targets senior supporters

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