BY ARLEN GROSSMAN
Published as a “trending story” in dailykoz.com, October 25, 2022
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2131047/editwith over 135 comments.
Published at opednews.com, October 27, 2022 (headline)
Americans know very little about fascism. Most of us aren’t familiar with this dystopian form of government that peaked in Europe during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Only a handful of Americans remember the era of Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, and Adolf Hitler.
Most Americans do not fully realize that one of our two political parties has strong fascist tendencies, and what that means for this country. With just days before the midterm election, Republicans are expected to make gains in Congress (by blaming President Biden for inflation, crime, and possibly the weather). If that comes to pass, we will move a step closer to learning what American fascism looks like.
Merriam-Webster defines fascism as “a political philosophy, movement, or regime…that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”
That pretty much sums up what the Republican Party is all about. They worship the flag, favor the white race over people of color, prefer an autocracy headed by Donald Trump, advocate a conservative Christian lifestyle, and pass laws to restrict voting. Yes, the current version of this party checks off all the boxes. And trends worldwide show that autocracy (a nicer word than fascism) is gaining popularity.
We’re not there yet, but this country has never been closer to finding out how an American form of fascism would work. To understand how we have come to this place, we will have to come to terms with the unfortunate reality that the American electorate doesn’t understand what the stakes are in the coming midterm election. In general, American are low-information voters, easily manipulated, and seriously lacking in political understanding. You want proof? In the 2016 presidential election, 74 million votes were cast for a clearly incompetent, psychologically disturbed, compulsively lying, morally bankrupt con man. Even now, about a third of the country still believes Donald Trump’s notorious and innumerable lies.
The Democratic Party deserves some blame. They struggle to convince voters that they would be a good alternative to the Republican candidates. But the truth is that most Democratic lawmakers rely on donations from big corporations and a reliance on pandering to minorities for their votes, instead of advocating and working for the entire working class (as they once did). That limits their appeal.
And while Republicans continually go on attack and hold back on nothing in their quest to regain power, Democrats are conciliatory, polite, and eager to compromise. With a party leadership of mostly septuagenarians and octogenarians, the Democratic Party appears to lack the fire in the belly that motivates Republicans, who would give up their first born (almost) to regain power and defeat their “socialist” enemy. In contrast, Democrats are unwilling to go on the offensive, instead waiting for the GOP to come to its senses. Good luck with that.
The prospect is frightening, but if Republicans gain one or both houses of Congress, fascism will begin to take root. It won’t all happen at once. President Biden has the veto pen until at least January 20, 2025, and can keep a lid on some of the worst right-wing atrocities. But with their skills at voter suppression and election denial, Republicans, in a short time, likely will control the Oval Office, both houses of Congress, and of course, the courts. The prospects of a Democratic Party comeback are near impossible.
This groundswell of hate and crazy QAnon conspiracy would never would have gotten this far without the help of a cluster of popular truth-free TV stations (like Fox News, Newsmax and OAN), right-wing hate radio (Rush Limbaugh wannabes) and an endless stream of hateful social media propaganda. These media sources confirm the lies from Trump, Alex Jones, and the multitude of deranged GOP voices. Consumers of this right-wing propaganda are increasingly living in a bubble of distorted reality, in which objective truth doesn’t exist and facts are what their leader say they are.
Democrats right now should be shouting from the rooftops about how dangerous the Republican Party is. The GOP’s patriarch, the former president, is reckless and volatile. Republicans came close in January 6, 2021 to a frightening coup targeted to overthrow President Biden’s election. They have no realistic policies to solve the country’s problems. They deny climate change (endangering our planet), are eager to take away rights (especially for women), and their first loyalty is always going to be to the wealthiest One Percent.
Democrats urgently need to communicate to voters that the Republicans are extremists and endanger our country and the world. But Democrats, sad to say, appear too nice to frame the election in those terms. Big mistake. The effects of Republican rule will be consequential and dangerous, so we can expect that dark days are ahead. Good luck to all of us.