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above: Vladimir Lenin, 1920 (photo by Pavel Semyonovich Zhukov/public domain)

Editorials

Learning from Lenin

Vladimir Lenin observed in State and Revolution (1917) that “all previous revolutions perfected the state machine, whereas it must be broken, smashed.” He meant, as Marx had written in The Civil War in France (1871), that “the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes.” Power, simply put, must be used transformatively—it is not enough to merely perpetuate the status quo of the regime with different masters.

Middle Americans could use a little Leninism, or at least aspire to a similar grandeur of vision. The willingness to exercise power remains a weakness of the right, and this was never clearer than in the lead-up to and during the 2020 election.

So confident was President Trump’s administration in the certainty of victory that it took no precautions to protect itself from electoral fraud. The White House, for example, sidelined at least two election integrity proposals in 2019 and 2020. Whatever Democrats could throw at them, so it was thought, the “Trump Train” would mightily smash through all obstacles. There was no plan except for trusting that an assured landslide would see the campaign through to reelection. Whether the Deep...

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