The Very Real Threat of MAGA (Semi)Fascism
Joe Biden is right substantively, politically, and morally to call out the dangers of MAGA extremism
Joe Biden is not known for inflammatory rhetoric. He ran for President on the “No Hot Takes” Platform. I have known him over the years to search for redeeming qualities in even the worst people. In recent months, his instincts and leadership style are validated by a string of bipartisan successes on guns, infrastructure, and manufacturing. Therefore, I was a little surprised to hear Biden refer to the MAGA philosophy as “semi-fascism.”
If I was surprised, Washington was awestruck. Otherwise reasonable pundits went searching for pearls to clutch. Some Democrats, uncomfortable with our recent run of political success, aimed to re-form the circular firing squad. And Republicans, desperate to change the subject from their unpopular extremist agenda and criminal former President, tried to flood the streets of Washington with crocodile tears.
Kevin McCarthy, who voted to overturn the 2020 election AFTER Donald Trump sent his supporters on a murderous rampage of the Capitol, played the victim in this ridiculous speech:
President Biden has chosen to divide, demean, and disparage his fellow Americans – Why? simply because they disagree with his policies. When the President speaks tonight at Independence Hall, the first lines out of his mouth should be to apologize for slandering tens of millions of Americans as ‘fascists.’”
The White House has not backed away one inch from the President’s words. While the phrase “semi-fascism” did not appear in the President’s recent prime-time address, the argument about Republican extremism was the thrust of his remarks.
Did the President go too far? Are Republicans fascist — semi or otherwise? Is this the right argument to be making in the upcoming midterms?
Are MAGA Republicans (Semi) Fascists?
I talked about this a little on a recent episode of Pod Save America, but want to go deeper and offer more context. There are two parts to this overly pedantic, pundit-driven debate. First, is fascism the correct word to describe the MAGA movement? I think the answer is self-evident, but don’t take my word it. Federico Finchelstein, a scholar on fascism, wrote in the Washington Post:
Donald Trump represents a new type of global autocratic ruler who is legally elected, but also embraces elements that fascist figures like Perón felt were too controversial: totalitarian lies, racism and illegal means such as coups to destroy democracy from within. Trump might best be considered a “wannabe fascist.” By that I mean he is a populist who aspires to return to a form of fascism. His rule was not full-fledged fascism because it did not descend into dictatorship. But it could have been, if his attempts to retain power after the 2020 election had been successful.
Feel free to use your common sense in determining whether or not Biden is correct.
The leader of the Republican Party and the frontrunner for the 2024 nomination led a violent insurrection to overturn a legitimate, democratic election. Trump reportedly wanted to use the military and the Department of Homeland Security to prevent the peaceful transition to power. He also just demanded to be reinstated. But this is bigger than Trump.
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