The best thing about the impeachment trial of last week is that it enabled the Republican Party to fully define itself. After hours of listening to the slogans chanted and shouted by Republican insurrectionists and to speeches by leaders of the Republican base and their leader Donald Trump in the weeks leading up to the insurrection, and the tacit endorsement of it all by senate Republicans by their vote to acquit, it is now crystal clear to all Americans what it means to be a Republican. The Republican Party is a white nationalist organization led by Donald J. Trump, representing the fascist idea that only Caucasian Americans of European ancestry are legitimate heirs to the rights and privileges of American citizenship. Non-white people are only included to the extent that they subscribe to and support the Republican doctrine of white privilege. The Republican Party is a non-democratic entity in which democratic values, ideas, rule of law and traditions are only relevant to the extent they benefit the Dear Leader Donald Trump and the Republican Party. It’s objective is to take over the entire nation and allow Donald Trump (or a smarter version of Donald Trump) to rule the country as an absolute dictator with unlimited and unfettered power. It considers violence and intimidation against apposing political parties and apposing views, legitimate and necessary tactics and perfectly acceptable in the minds of their followers.
The Republican Party has been evolving into what it is today since the Reagan Administration. He was the first to invite rightwing religious extremists into the White House and he invented the dog whistle vernacular that had the effect of legitimizing America’s racist past, especially in the minds of northern white suburbanites. He also took strong measures to cripple programs designed to support child development and education. America continued to advance progressive views and become a more inclusive society in spite of the intense Republican efforts to resist such ideas. However, after 911 things changed precipitously.
After the attack on America’s heartland by brown people, Republicans said to Americans in effect, “You must give us everything we ask for in order to allow us to protect you from those brown and black people at home and abroad”. And that is exactly what Americans did. After the 2002 midterms, Americans gave them massive control over both houses of congress and consolidated their hold on the Supreme Court. They turned a blind eye to everything the Republicans were doing in financial markets (after all, the government must have money to fight terrorism). The American people allowed them to discard all of their principles regarding fiscal responsibility without electoral penalty, which Republicans exploited to do what they had been trying to since Roosevelt left office in the 1940s, which was to rescind all of the banking regulations designed to protect Americans from another crippling economic depression. To be fair, Bill Clinton started the ball rolling in that direction, but the Republicans took it to a whole new level.
But more than their greedy looting of the tax coffers to enrich their own pockets, it was their suspension of basic American values and ethics that placed them on the slippery slope that led to January 6, 2021. Their call to allow torture, because the enemy used torture, the illegal spying on American citizens ignoring well-established legal remedies to get what they wanted, the rendition and incarceration of thousands without due process, all contributed to the belief among Republicans that breaking the law and suspending democratic norms was permissible under certain conditions. The newly adopted Machiavellian ethic of the Republicans was well established in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. Unable to defend their irresponsible lack fiscal policy and betrayal of the American people in favor of their wealthy donors, they seized on the outrage of their far right constituents at a black man occupying the White House and with the help of Roger Ailes and Fox News, proceeded to tear this country apart. They became a people mad at everyone who did not look like them, even thought it was they, the Republicans, that made decisions that caused their predicament. For at least the past ten years, if you ask any one of them what they are so angry about, they will list a whole litany of issues and policies they attribute to Democrats that actually Republicans instituted and presided over. When you explain to them that Republicans in congress blocked every initiative Obama made to address their issues, they dismiss it as being deep state propaganda. The fascist element of the Republican Party has done a great job at convincing the rank and file Republican that all their troubles stem from government support of minorities of color. Donald Trump is the product of forty years of Republican justification and defense of white privilege in America.
Since World War II, to refer to another person or group as fascist is considered to be pejorative, particularly when used by political a opponent. Consequently it is more polite to use terms like neo-fascist or post-fascist when describing a person or group functioning they way I described the US Republican Party. However, if you look up the word fascism in Wikipedia or Webster’s dictionary, you will find the term is defined almost exactly as I have described the Republican Party. If the Republican Party were to prevail in its current form, the United States of America would be over. They are a disgraced party and I sincerely hope the American people can see them for what they are and soundly reject them in the 2022-midterm elections.