President Donald Trump and the Russian state are jointly fragmenting American society with “Marxist strategies,” argues Cass Sustein in a Thursday-published column at Bloomberg.
“Russia Is Using Marxist Strategies, and So Is Trump,” reads Sustein’s headline, with the subheadline: “Moscow's meddling in the U.S. election was aimed at stoking social tensions. Sound familiar?”
Portraying the narrative of Russian propaganda as “[helping] elect Donald Trump,” Sustein ignores the close similarities between the conventional anti-Americanism of Russian state propaganda and neo-Marxist narratives ubiquitous across the left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media landscape:
Karl Marx and his followers argued that revolutionaries should disrupt capitalist societies by "heightening the contradictions." Russia used a version of that Marxist idea in its efforts to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign. It should come as no surprise that the most powerful nation from the former Soviet Union, whose leaders were schooled in the Marxist tradition, is borrowing directly from that tradition in its efforts today.
What is more surprising, and far more important for American politics, is that President Donald Trump is drawn to a similar strategy.
Framing Russian propaganda as a powerful shaper of American political attitudes, Sustein offers no commentary on the political impact of neo-Marxist messaging pushed by CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times (NYT), The Washington Post, or similar news media outlets. Sustein points to a NYT article as evidence of Russia's supposedly significant impact on shaping American political attitudes via its propaganda:
During the 2016 campaign, Russians did something very much like that, not to produce a revolution, but to deepen and intensify social divisions (and to help elect Donald Trump). Mimicking American voices, they used Facebook to energize and inflame a diverse assortment of political groups: gay rights supporters, African-American activists, Texas secessionists and opponents of immigration. (“America is at risk and we need to protect our country now more than ever, liberal hogwash aside.”)
Neo-Marxism is the ideological foundation of the Democrat Party and broader left; portraying American society as a battleground upon which oppressed groups struggle against their privileged oppressors. Sustein, however, accuses Trump of advancing and benefiting from such political narratives.
Trump’s engagement in cultural battles fought across the left-right divide is framed as “[intensifying] social divisions” by Sustein, implicitly casting acquiescence from a Republican president to left-wing political agitation as a preferable path toward increasing national unity.
At no point in his op-ed does Sustein articulate the values or ideals around which Americans should coalesce in pursuit of e pluribus unum.
Sustein's wife, Samantha Power, shared her husband's article via Twitter.
Power is fully invested in the "Russian election hacking" narrative, framing the defeat of Hillary Clinton as a function of Americans being fooled by foreign propaganda.
Cass Sustein and Samantha Power attend the 2017 Time 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2017 in New York City.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.