Donald Trump, the old man version of Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka/President of the United States, is seeking to label ANTIFA a terrorist organization. I say, "seeking" because despite him releasing this tweet:
It doesn't appear he has the power to do this. But I'll get to that later because first, I have to talk about how stupid this even is. ANTIFA, which means "anti-fascist," is not an organized movement, but rather, a moniker that people who fight fascist groups apply to themselves. There is no initiation process. You could wake up tomorrow and say, "I'm ANTIFA," and, guess what, you're ANTIFA. Go punch Nazis or kick a Klan member in the nuts ya little scamp. Or do nothing, because again, there are no official rules to be in ANTIFA because ANTIFA isn't a thing you can be "in." To label ANTIFA a terrorist organization is akin to labeling fans of Phish a drug cartel on the presumption that each individual member will do LSD. Sure some of them will, and they'll talk to you about it for days after, but there's no requirement they actually do that.
But even then, this analogy fails to address the greater issue here. Before now, Antifa was a response to white-supremacist groups and Neo-Nazi groups like "the Proud Boys" and the Ku-Klux-Klan, etc. (which, by the way, our President has not labeled as terrorist organizations). But for Trump to equate the anti-fascists to terrorists is to suggest that his own government is fascist. It's the type of "self-own" you'd dream of when you were a kid on the playground, where the bully loudly proclaims he's the best at sucking farts. Of course, eventually, the bully realizes he misspoke and that sucking farts is embarrassing, but the worry here is that Trump has no shame about being a fascist. The double worry is that by Trump labeling ANTIFA as terrorists, he can arrest anyone who politically opposes him with impunity.
Fortunately, it doesn't look like he'll be able to do that. According to Mary McCord, the head of Georgetown University's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and the former head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, "There currently exists no legal authority to designate domestic organizations as terror organizations and any such designation would raise serious First Amendment concerns." For Trump to label ANTIFA an organized terrorist group, he'd have to first establish that they're an actual organization. Then he'd either have to pass a new law that enables him to designate domestic groups as terrorist organizations, or he'd have to find that ANTIFA was operating under foreign influence. You know, like if ANTIFA collaborated with Ukraine and Russia to take down their political rivals. Why does that sound so familiar?
Support Dan on Twitter and he will talk about his life with you in lieu of getting a therapist. He also hosts The Bachelor Zone Podcast, where you can hear him give a sports-style breakdown of all things happening on The Bachelor.
Top Image: Whitehouse.gov