Why Fascism Won’t Go Away

Here’s a sobering thought from David Kurtz at TPM:

By the time we sit down for turkey again next year, Donald Trump may be the president-elect for a second time. That persistent thought soured my holiday like spoiled deviled eggs. If this was the last Thanksgiving before the end of democracy as we know it, I hope you made it a good one.

In the last post I linked to Eric Lutz at Vanity Fair, Trump’s Attacks On Judge and Law Clerk Triggers “Hundreds” Of Threats: Report. David Kurtz adds,

Trump’s rhetorical attack on Thanksgiving came the day after a new revelation about the consequences of those kinds of attacks. The judge in the New York fraud case against him defended his gag order in a filing that revealed that he and his law clerk had received hundreds of credible threats in response to Trump’s attack. Among other things, the law clerk’s cell phone number and personal email address have been compromised.

Yet, somehow, the gag orders keep getting lifted, and the courts are taking their sweet time deciding whether to reinstate them. It’s as if the ambulance picks up a guy having a heart attack and then stops for doughnuts on the way to the hospital. Does one of Trump’s targets have to get killed to light a fire under some people?

Last night I finished reading Rachel Maddow’s book Prequel. You. must. read. this. There was much I did not know, although little of it was surprising. The one element I didn’t expect is that this massive plot that originated with the Third Reich to overthrow the U.S. government and replace it with a pro-German fascist state, for which the Department of Justice had tons of evidence clearly showing even some members of Congress were in on it, all got swept under the rug and the evidence classified after the War. So the corrupt thugs who took Hitler’s money and did Hitler’s bidding even as U.S. troops were fighting in Europe all got off without penalties. Because people were ready to move on, or something.

What was fueling a lot of the pro-Hitler sentiment in the U.S. was, of course, racism and antisemitism. Lots of people were ready to sell out the Constitution and democracy so they could deport — or worse — nonwhite people and Jews. Some things don’t change.  And if they’d had Fox News back then, they might have succeeded.

(What screwed Hitler’s plans more than anything else was Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, which I understand he did not know about until it happened. For years he had spent considerable effort and money to ensure that the U.S. stayed out of his wars in Europe. December 7, 1941, swept all that away. Even then Hitler might not have declared war except that his invasion of the Soviet Union had stalled, and he persuaded himself that Japan would keep the United States busy in the Pacific, and that Japanese threats to Britain’s Asian colonies would weaken Britain.)

A lot of these American fascists were thugs who might as well have been wearing MAGA hats. They would have (and possibly did) murder their fellow Americans for the sake of the Cause. The rule of law meant nothing to them. And hardly anybody in the U.S. got the full story of the sedition, and now here we are again on the edge of a neo-fascist takeover.

Trump isn’t at all shy about letting the world know what he intends to do in a second term. See Donald Moynihan, Trump Has a Master Plan for Destroying the ‘Deep State’ at the New York Times. No paywall. If we as a nation survive this, no more moving on. There must be full public disclosure and justice this time.

Note: We haven’t heard from gulag in a few days. Yesterday I sent him an email and also an ecard (I will get a notice if it is opened), but I haven’t received a response. I will let you know if I do.

6 thoughts on “Why Fascism Won’t Go Away

  1. "By the time we sit down for turkey again next year, Donald Trump may be the president-elect for a second time"

    Doubtful, but you know it is certainly possible. The only thing I can do is vote, I have no other control and I sure as hell am not going to spend the next year worrying about another bout with Stump. I'll cross that bridge when and if I get there. I don't think all the hand wringing on our side does one bit of good. Instead of dire warnings about what Stump may or may not do I'd like to see some positive coverage of President Biden, he's had a pretty successful run at it so far but you sure wouldn't know it by listening to media types from all sides. It's past time for moderate Senators and congress-critters to get out there and show some god damn positive support!

  2. I'm glad you talked a bit about Doc Maddow's book (if I may borrow Charlie Pierce's name for her). Saw a short interview of her on Nicole Wallace's show, and it piqued my interest, I was going to suggest you write a few posts about it.

    Fascism won't go away because, as Karen Stenner concluded, about 1/3 of any population are authoritarians. Trump may go away, but the desire for an authoritarian ruler won't. IMO Trump will be severely damaged goods by next November.  His cult won't care, but the rest of the country will be ready to move on, especially as he and his henchman more clearly state their outrageous ambitions, and Trump spews more crazy hate, which he's guaranteed to do as the walls close in.

    Robert Hubbell's post for today is worth reading. He talks quite a bit about how the big papers – NYT and WaPo are biased against Biden. Hubbell references Warped Front Pages, a study from the Columbia Journalism Review. I wasn't all that convinced about claims of bias until I saw this data. (if you click on the CJR article, it you may need to click a "Close Window" button to see the article).

    Saw someone on MSNBC (Velshi interviewing a new host, Christine Romans, she has a business background, and the two of them wrote a book years ago). She explained that the reason people think the economy is bad under Biden, is that the recent improved numbers don't cancel out all the inflation that preceded it. In other words, there's some delay between the effects of current policies and them making a significant difference in the way people view the economy.

    The threat of fascism will always be with us. Get grounded in here-and-now reality, and don't worry about what could happen next Thanksgiving, is my advice.


  3. Responding to the title of the article: 

    Yes, fascism won't go away, but it works a lot like herpes. It's there always but the symptoms come and go. Sometimes, even most times, it isn't a problem. It's really bad now, globally, because (I think) fascism is being promoted by some big-money interests. And I have no evidence of that. 

    Even with big-money promoting authoritarianism, there are basic rules that control the psychology that dictate the extent of the flair-up. IMO, the first rule is that fascism requires a figurehead at the top. A charismatic Hitler or Mussolini. Second rule: opposing the figurehead is punishable by death. Third rule: The figurehead and his allies are not subject to the law. (Watch how different groups identify themselves by HOW they react to Trump losing in court.)

    There are institutional flaws to fascism coming into play. First Flaw: Fascists do not play well together. Best current example – the US House. Having driven out virtually ALL moderate Republicans with a narrow majority, the GOP is powerless to pass any legislation.  Second flaw: Fascism doesn't breed a second generation of leaders. There's a class of psychopathic followers competing for the approval of  Great Leader. But when in history has any second-generation lieutenant risen to the throne? Third flaw: when the figurehead is removed the wannabes emerge and the movement eats itself.

    When the figurehead is defeated, the movement disintegrates. Dissect the word. "Dis" = undo. "Integrate" = work as a unified whole. "Disintegrate" perfectly describes how the footsoldiers lose their power without the figurehead. They are still hateful and bigoted but no longer united and effective. (This is why I want Trump and his minions brought down hard and very publicly. It's a stake through the heart of fascism as an effective movement though the haters continue.)

    I've read speculation that Jack Smith will file charges against all the unidentified co-conspirators AFTER Trump's trial. Holding off for now means the trial goes forward without delays. Again, speculation, but Willis may not be offering deals to Rudy, Eastman, and Clark. I think it's true that Willis wants those scalps and she'll let all the lesser criminals off in exchange for the testimony that nails the big four for RICO convictions with a minimum mandatory of 20 years. 

  4. The fascist strain in the GOP is nothing new.  There were elements in the party that wanted the US to stay out of the war, in part because they agreed with Hitler.  Virulent anti Semites such as Lindbergh, Henry Ford, "Father" Coughlin and other bigots who hated Jews, blacks, Catholics for starters.  These people and some corporations around today were supporting Hitler at the time.  Interesting historical fact: Hitler credits the confederacy and the American south as his inspiration for racist policies in dealing with Jews and other racial minorities in Germany at the time.  When they debated the use of these policies some cautioned that they shouldn't go as far as "we" went here in racial segregation, discrimination and subjugation.  Some say its "going too far" to say it, but the fascists on the right today are the ideological and political descendants of Hitler, who are descendant from US bigotry in the south.  You can draw a straight line from the confederacy to Hitler to elements in the GOP today.

    We celebrate "The Greatest Generation" for the sacrifices and victories in WWII against fascism.  And yet right here at home we allowed the fascism and racism they fought in Europe to running amok.   This is another page in our history the right wants to whitewash, along with back history and any history that casts them in the true but horrible light they've earned for themselves.  But I digress…

    My biggest fear is voters don't get the seriousness of what an authoritarian government could mean.  For now all they see or care about is bread and circuses.  Trump's "cool," Biden's "old" and the economy is bad because that's what they're told, even though every indicator says otherwise.  But once that's in place, forget it.

  5. Maddow did a Fresh Air interview on the treasonous plot, back nearly a year ago. One point: the prosecution was finally stopped by President Truman, apparently to protect Congressional participants. In a recent interview, Juan Cole remarked, "Truman was a blockhead." I think he may have had a point.

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