The MAGA movement is starting a generational civil war.
There has been much research done on the “authoritarian mindset” and there is ample evidence that conservatives and those who support authoritarian figures do so because more than anything else, they are afraid and they want to see their perceived enemies punished. The authoritarian leader who promises to “punish their enemies” will always get their votes.
In today’s America, conservatives and right wingers perceive agitated black activists, dissatisfied youth, socialists and “Marxists” and others who are demonstrating against the System as their enemies. Look at the crazed, violent opposition to athletes that take a knee; to activists marching for Black Lives; to people like AOC and Ilhan Omar. These people are the perceived enemies of the MAGA nation.
And every time Trump promises to punish these enemies, he cements the support of his base. Hence Trump’s rhetoric about “Antifa” and “anarchists.”
The term “violent anarchist” has become the Administration’s code word for Millennials and Zoomers who have been totally screwed over by the Neoliberal system, who have graduated college with crushing debt and no job prospects, who cannot afford to buy a car much less a house; who cannot even dream of getting married and raising a family. These younger generations want to see fundamental change. That is why they are also more likely to have a negative view of capitalism and a more positive view of socialism than their older relatives.
The “enemies” of the Trump supporters are thus those poor and working class Millennials and Zoomers of all colors and backgrounds, who are themselves united in demanding change.
But like all good conservatives, Trump’s supporters resist change with every fiber of their being.
Thus, the “civil war” that is looming in America has become a generational conflict between the oldsters, comprised of the Boomers who had the best of everything and the Gen-Xers who were still just able to finance a decent life (even if it was through massive personal debt), and the youngsters, comprised of the Millennials and Zoomers who are now living through the second “unprecedented financial crisis” of their young lives.
These young people saw how the system collapsed in 2009. They saw how the peaceful Occupy movement that rose up in response to that crash was destroyed by a violent government crack-down (thanks, Obama!); now they are seeing how the system has totally failed to address the Coronavirus pandemic and the financial disaster that it has engendered. It is no wonder that these young people have severe doubts about capitalism and the so-called “American Way of Life.”
But their opposition to the status quo of their parents and grandparents — especially in this time of COVID — makes them the “enemy” that Donald Trump is promising to punish. Trump uses code words like “Antifa” and “Anarchists” to describe the young people of America who have been betrayed by the system that made him rich. He points to them and says, “they are your enemy.”
And Trump’s MAGA fans call for blood and demand to see their enemies punished, failing to realize that these enemies are, in the most literal sense, the future of America.