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Alive and Well: American Incendiary Populism 

Alive and Well: American Incendiary Populism 

by  J.D. Murphy

6 January 2021 meet 26 November 1933. This has happened before, and also, sanctioned by a chief executive.

Let’s review: The Oath of Office of the Congress of the United States:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

In stark relief in the attack by Mob Trump on the members of Congress, their staff, Vice President Pence, and the Capitol Police, it has never been reported or rumored that any Congressional oath of office taker physically opposed the breaching the Capitol building.  Genuinely terrified for their lives, all reportedly fled or hid, including the 147 Republicans who subsequently refused to confirm the Electoral College vote for Joe Biden. The Capitol Police were the oath of office surrogate against enemies domestic.

One may confidently assert that if the individual homes or businesses of Mob Trump were breached,  they would—likely absent reflection—use any means necessary to protect themselves and their property.

True to his word, President Trump orchestrated a protest in Washington, D.C. to coincide with the day Congress was to confirm 2020 Electoral College votes naming Joseph R. Biden President of the United States. Trump loftily proclaimed that he would march from the White House Ellipse to the Capitol building: “If you don’t fight, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Mob Trump embraced this statement as a mandate to physically interfere with the outcome of an allegedly rigged election of Joe Biden by personally confronting members of Congress after breaching the Capitol building. 

President Trump never walked the walk,  but instead retreated to the White House  to watch the attack on television for hours before being convinced by his family and staff to ask Mob Trump back off. 

Some 500 Mob Trump ideological mercenaries have been charged with assault that placed Capitol Police, members of Congress, their staff, and Vice President Pence in harm’s way. Mob Trump succeeded in delaying the vote to confirm Biden’s  presidency more than 13 hours after the attack on an authenticated democratic election result commenced.

As chief constitutional officer of the United States, former President Trump was the linchpin in the seditious assault on democracy. Trump’s incendiary populism has an ill-omened political precedent, the 1933 lynching of two white men, in what is now known as Silicon Valley, by a press-estimated mob of 10,000-15,000 men, women, and children. The roar of the lynch mob was audible ten miles away, a horror reprised by the roar of Mob Trump breaching this nation’s enduring symbol of democracy, our Capitol building in rabid pursuit of members of Congress and Vice President Pence. 

The 1933 lynching was also orchestrated by a Republican chief constitutional officer, California Governor, James “Sunny Jim” Rolph. Rolph became incensed when an attorney provided the life savings of the father of one of the accused kidnappers and murderers pleaded for the deployment the national guard. The local vigilance committee politically managing the lynching was overseen by a Republican attorney who helped elect Governor Rolph and the county sheriff who ran the jail where the accused were confined for a spurious arraignment that never took place, and barely provided symbolic resistance to the lynch mob.

Rolph not only refused to call out the national guard, but promised to pardon anyone convicted of the lynching. The accused, one severely brain damaged as a child still sleeping in the same room as a twenty-seven-year-old unemployed adult, the other, a twenty-nine-year-old married father two wholesale oil and gas salesman. The brain-damaged man was arrested 150 feet from the San Jose Police Department allegedly on a pay phone with the father of the kidnap and murder victim.

Exploiting, like President Trump, his chief constitutional role to incentivize the breaking of the law, Rolph’s public pardon proclamation was carried in both in print and on the radio throughout California the day of the lynching, attracting some 200 reporters and both still and newsreel photographers. A San Francisco newspaper doubled its circulation the day following the lynching, selling 1.2 million copies. Complicit in protecting the identity of the lynch mob members, faces in newspaper photographs of the lynch mob were editorially defaced.

Like members of Mob Trump enraged by transparently false claims that Joseph Biden’s election was stolen, members of the Silicon Valley mob genuinely believed that the two men accused of the kidnapping and murder of the Valley’s golden boy bound him, then threw him into the San Francisco Bay off a bridge, then attempted to extort ransom with the false promise that he would be returned home safely. Two weeks prior to the lynching, the sheriff and the F.B.I had verified two eyewitness accounts that placed the kidnap victim with five men one-half our following the kidnapping, but deliberately withheld the information.

Citizen rage engendered by transparent falsehoods endorsed by chief constitutional officers have no boundaries, while those taking an oath based upon the constitution are uncomfortably constrained by understandable physical self-preservation.

Congress is likely to have the opportunity to courageously exercise its oath given former President Trump’s continued exercise of his incendiary populist tropes. 

Murphy, is the author of “American Incendiary Populism”. He is a founder of the University of Phoenix authored an insider account of its formation and what transpired at the nation’s first accredited for-profit university after he resigned in 1997: “Mission Forsaken: The University of Phoenix Affair with Wall Street.”Subsequently, he wrote and produced the award-winning feature film, Valley of the Heart’s Delight based on the Republican politics of the 1933 San Jose lynching starring Pete Postlethwaite, Bruce McGill, and Gabriel Mann.