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Paul Krugman reveals why the far right is living out its 'nightmare' — and could become more dangerous

Image via CNN Screengrab.

The “Justice for George Floyd” protests have been having a major impact all around the United States — even in the Deep South, where symbols of the Confederacy are being removed from public property. Discussing the impact of the protests in his New York Times column, liberal economist Paul Krugman asserts that far-right “reactionaries” are having a terrible month. But Krugman also warns that the more threatened reactionaries feel, the more “dangerous” they can become in the months leading up this year’s presidential election.


President Donald Trump has been highly critical of the removal of Confederate monuments from public places — which, Krugman stresses, speaks volumes about Trump’s mentality and the mentality of his party.

“Why should a guy who grew up in Queens care about Confederate tradition in the first place?” Krugman asks. “The answer is that Trump and most of his party are reactionaries.”

Krugman goes on to explain that “from a reactionary’s point of view, the past three weeks have been a nightmare. Not only are marginal people who are supposed to know their place standing up for justice — they’re overwhelmingly winning the battle for public opinion.”

Trump, according to Krugman, has responded to the Floyd protests in a variety of ways — from “wild conspiracy theorizing” to “law and order” rhetoric that seeks to “turn the clock back to 1968.” Krugman is obviously referring to the fear-mongering 1968 presidential campaigns of President Richard Nixon and segregationist George Wallace.

Another tactic of the far right, Krugman observes, is claiming that the Floyd protests are being organized by extremists.

“On the right, it’s a given that mass popular demonstrations have been orchestrated by Antifa radicals, though there’s not a shred of evidence to that effect,” Krugman writes. “And Trump, famously, suggested that a 75-year-old man knocked over by the police — we’ve all seen the video of him bleeding out on the sidewalk — was an Antifa provocateur who somehow engineered his own assault.”

Krugman points out that in the minds of far-right reactionaries, “the horror of the situation isn’t the possibility that protests might turn violent. It’s the fact that the protests are happening at all. And that’s why people like Trump and Tom Cotton have been so eager to send in the military.”

Moreover, Krugman says, reactionaries are terrified to see so many whites marching in the protests.

But Krugman ends his column with a warning: if far-right reactionaries believe they are losing public option, that could make them even worse.

“Don’t count the reactionaries out,” Krugman warns. “They remain extremely dangerous and will become more dangerous if, as seems increasingly likely, Trump finds himself staring at the prospect of electoral defeat.”

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