There’s a name for mass movements which aim to create a dictatorship, restore a mythical past and protect capitalism by violently suppressing the left, unions, racial and religious minorities and dissidents. That name is fascism, and the threat of fascism is growing in the United States.
Unfortunately, Donald R. Pollock embraces the kind of Big Lie used by the far right when he blames the Democratic party for this (“Democratic party is leading America into fascism,” The Daily News, Aug. 25). As Richard North Patterson has written, it’s the Republican party which has become “American democracy’s most dangerous enemy.”
How did this happen? This country has an ugly history of rapacious capitalism, virulent white supremacy, and violence against people of color, militant workers and dissidents. Since the civil rights advances of the 1960s, the Republican party has been mobilizing white voters opposed to the empowerment of people of color and women.
Chamber of commerce and country club Republicans have fared well in recent decades but the economic conditions of their middle-class supporters have eroded. The election of the first Black president and “the browning of America” have led many of the latter to scapegoat people of color — and to support a racist con man who pledged to “make America great again.”
As president, Donald Trump implicitly encouraged far-right violence and waged an unprecedented campaign to overturn the existing constitutional order. Hate crimes increased by almost 20 percent during his tenure. White supremacists killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso and dozens of other people from San Diego to New York.
Trump insisted that the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville included “some very fine people.” He downplayed the right-wing plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and refused to condemn the Proud Boys, urging them to “stand back and stand by.”
After losing in November, Trump and his allies falsely claimed the election was “rigged,” filed 60 lawsuits and pressured state officials to change the results. When these efforts failed, Trump incited the deadly Jan. 6 attack on Congress.
The Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, QAnon and other fascists weren’t the only insurrectionists. A majority of Congressional Republicans voted against certifying Biden’s electoral victory. As Timothy Snyder has emphasized, “An elected institution that opposes elections is inviting its own overthrow.”
This awful day made clear that the Republicans are now a far-right political party relying on the support of brazen fascists, as well as traditional corporate backers.
Most Congressional Republicans opposed the subsequent impeachment of Trump and an independent commission to investigate Jan. 6. Many Republicans are still hawking the Big Lie that the election was stolen, while Grand Old Party-dominated state legislatures are moving to suppress Black and Latino votes, prohibit anti-racist education, outlaw abortion and criminalize peaceful protests.
An American Enterprise Institute poll found that 56 percent of Republicans support using force to stop the decline of “the traditional American way of life.”
Thankfully, a decisive majority in our country opposes fascism and will stop it by any means necessary.