Many pundits have written and spoken about their worries on how our country’s democracy is being threatened and undermined by Donald Trump and his legal quest to be anointed dictator of the United States.
Well, yes…it’s bad for our democracy to normalize the concept that the vindictive loser of an election can sue to throw out that election and seize power in this country but despite all of Trump’s efforts, the courts and state legislatures stood strongly against the overthrow of our democracy.
We’ve always known Trump was a dictator-to-be. Nothing about Trump displayed that he cared the least about justice, principles, institutions, history, respect, The Constitution, honor…you get the picture. He was insulting of other countries that were democracies while expressing “love” towards other top fascists around the world. He complimented dictators who corrupted their governments to allow them to be president-for-life and even expressed an envy to see the same happen in the U.S.. So we knew all along that Trump was an aspiring fascist (his campaign was in bed with Russia and Putin from the start) and that he expected to be able to do the same in the U.S. as these fascists had in their countries, corrupt and bully the U.S. system into installing him as president for life.
Remember this Trump-fan-modified Time Magazine video he retweeted?
No one should be surprised or shocked that Trump is acting exactly like we’ve seen fascist dictators act in other countries when the majority stood against them.
What is harder for many Americans to grasp is that the GOP has completed it’s decades-long transition from being a political party into being a de facto fascist organization. Plain and simple, we no longer have two political parties in our democracy, we only have one, The Democratic Party.
The GOP has used every authoritarian tool they could think of to retain minority rule in the U.S. (Democrats won the popular vote in 7 out of the last 8 presidential elections yet only “won” the presidency in 5 of those elections). They rely heavily on voter suppression through Voter I.D. laws, gerrymandering, mass voter registration purges, widespread propaganda campaigns in conventional and social media, partisan disqualifications of absentee and mail-in ballots, diminished polling places in Democratic districts with lines requiring hours of waiting, etc.
The plain and obvious position of Republicans on democratic elections is to oppose them. It is astounding that a political party in America can stand for preventing as many people from voting as possible and not be outcast as anti-American. Fascism/plutocracy and anti-democracy has been GOP policy for many decades (going back centuries, even though this same pro-racism/anti-democracy community was called “Democrat” back then, pre-Nixon’s Southern Strategy).
So the GOP hasn’t been in the pro-democracy camp for a very long time because their greed and racism don’t appeal to a majority of American voters. Nixon’s fascist attack on democracy and the lack of his prosecution for his crimes could only have emboldened Trump to comfortably commit his crime spree and build his authoritarian grip on power. Reagan’s rampant corruption in Iran-Contra that let pro-fascists like Oliver North off the hook contributed to this disregard for the rule of law when it comes to those in power. The SCOTUS’ election theft in 2000 on behalf of George W. Bush not only was a severe blow to our democracy but it veered this nation into the many disastrous times that have followed since then. Republicans don’t believe in democracy, they only believe in getting their hands on power at any cost.
This is what fascism does, it destroys from within, manipulates, harms, and dominates the majority. Fascism is about exploiting the many and holding onto power in collusion with the wealthy. Why do Republicans bow to the wealthy, committed only to cutting their taxes and handing them trillions of tax money? Because they are their sponsors in their quest to steer past our democracy…to the benefit of themselves and the wealthy.
For the first time in perhaps its entire history, the GOP had no platform this election cycle, just one commandment, “All Must Bow to Trump”. A legitimate political party has issues and social agendas driving it. The GOP now is wholly devoid of that, they are a cult that is invested through blind faith in an authoritarian cult-type leader. They believe that only votes of those in their own party, only votes that elect Republicans are legitimate, the votes of Democrats, people of color, etc. are illegitimate. They fully bought into Trump’s fascist screed, “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.” To them, elections aren’t fair contests, they are only acceptable as affirmations of their entitlement to power. If it walks like a fascist and quacks like a fascist…
Watching 19 Republican state Attorney Generals and 126 Republicans in the House of Representatives support the obviously insane lawsuit led by a likely-criminal in the AG seat in Texas (who appears motivated to have done this to curry favor for a pardon), should alleviate all doubts about the GOP being a fascist organization. The infamous effort by Texas AG, Ken Paxton, to set fire to democracy and the Constitution and establish the anointing of the loser of a presidential election (and so much else) as the court-appointed king of the United States, was an act of sedition that was joined by and supported by the GOP Chairman as well as all of the supporters in the party.
Let’s take a step back for a moment and consider the argument that something has gone wrong in 2020 with the GOP in believing that Joe Biden won’t be a legitimate president. This is nothing new. This has been the anti-democratic mentality of the GOP for many years.
From The Atlantic in 2012 in an article titled, “Almost Half of Republicans Indulge the ‘Stolen Election’ Delusion”:
The newest survey from Public Policy Polling doesn’t augur well for Republicans: “49% of GOP voters nationally say they think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama. We found that 52% of Republicans thought that ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama, so this is a modest decline, but perhaps smaller than might have been expected given that ACORN doesn’t exist anymore.”
The point is, the core dogma of the GOP has been fascism for decades, insisting that only Republicans are entitled to hold power and any elections that result in Democrats winning and people of color being empowered, are by definition, fraudulent.
So all the folks in the media stressing out about democracy suddenly being under attack and the country being put in an unprecedented position because Republicans see the Democratic winner of the presidency illegitimate due to cheating, are forgetting recent history.
This is the same dynamic we’ve been living with, worsened but far from new. The bottom line is that Republicans have and will always claim Democratic presidents are illegitimate. Republicans in Congress will exhibit the same nihilism that President Obama was subjected to. The only interest Republicans have in Congress when they don’t control the White House is handcuffing and denigrating the president in their single-minded quest to gain back the White House in the next election and gain more power and wealth. They simply don’t care about the people of the U.S. or being faithful to their oath of office. And they have no shame about betraying all of that in their single-minded pursuit of re-election, power and wealth.
So on one hand, President-Elect Biden could face the same situation he witnessed as President Obama’s VP, the intransigence and sabotage of the anti-American GOP in Congress to make him a one-term president as they attempted with Obama. In the best of scenarios, Dems win the remaining two Senate seats in Georgia and then by controlling both houses of Congress, real work could get done (if the filibuster is eliminated).
While it is critical that Americans recognize the cancer that has consumed the GOP and turned it into a fascist organization that’s a comfortable home for racists, theocratic religious extremists and anti-democratic authoritarians, President-Elect Biden needs to see things as they are, not as they were or as he hopes they could be.
Biden has emphasized that he wants to bring the country together, reach across the aisle, and work in a bipartisan way with Congress. It would be valuable to remember that President Obama started off and spent most of his presidency chasing after that same unreachable brass ring that kept him from accomplishing many of his goals.
Can you work across the aisle with fascists? With a party that will continue to be slaved to Donald Trump? With a party that has only one priority, sabotaging President Biden to damage his chances to win re-election?
A logical response would be, “You crazy or what?” No, you can’t have a reasonable collaboration with people who are unreasonable. Naturally, Biden wouldn’t reach across the aisle to congresspeople who were klansmen or neo nazis (or Qanon). Why would anyone think that fascists under the auspices of the GOP would be any better as partners?
It does make strategic sense for Biden to start off as Obama did, reaching out a welcoming hand to Republicans in Congress and making a few honest efforts to work together. But being that leopards are very diligent about not changing their spots, if Republicans display the “You lie!” kind of disrespect for the “illegitimate” President Biden that seems inevitable, Biden will need to swiftly change paths in the conduct his presidency as Obama did in his later years. Obama tried (for too long in the opinion of many) to find common ground with Republicans and compromise with them. In every case of import, it resulted in the Republicans stabbing him in the back for doing so. We can’t afford that in Biden’s term.
There is too much that needs to be fixed after Trump. Too much that needs to be changed to prevent another fascist GOP candidate from nearly destroying our democracy as Trump has. Too much suffering and death from COVID-19, too many people struggling day to day with a damaged economy, too much racial injustice, too much on the line for upcoming elections that could swiftly empower the GOP to finish the coup over our democracy that Trump has so fervently attempted.
President Biden must be successful so that Dems can keep control of Congress in 2022, Congress and the presidency in 2024 and onward. Ironically, the GOP theory that only one party can legitimately hold power in this country is true but it’s not them (at least until or unless they climb down from supporting fascism and return to being a legitimate political party).
Americans should be clear-eyed as they vote in upcoming elections. There is clearly only one democratic party left in this country and coincidentally, it’s in their name. There is no longer an alternative major party. Every election for the foreseeable future will be a contest between protecting our democracy and descending into fascism.
The choice is stark and there will only remain to be a choice for Americans as long as the fascist GOP is not voted back in power until they reject fascism. Losing can be a powerful influencer. If the GOP loses repeatedly, perhaps there could be a return for them to democratic principles. Our democracy is healthiest when there is a legitimate choice between political parties and competition on which paths are best for the country.
But as of now, the only path that the GOP offers is authoritarianism and the end of a real democracy in the nation. No free people should ever vote themselves out of a democracy, no matter the promised or perceived benefits. While the 2020 election is over now (sorry Donny, it’s over!), this responsibility to defend the United States from fascism will continue for the foreseeable future…and Uncle Sam needs you.