They are all Fascists Now

by Steven D –

Trump makes the most noise, gets the most headlines, but make no mistake, the Republican party is quickly devolving into a fascist party at all levels.  Here is the most recent poster boy for the Nazification of the GOP, Wisconsin state representative, Bob Gannon, whose calls for armed vigilante violence by civilian gun owners are profoundly disturbing:

Rep. Bob Gannon (R) responded to a recent shooting at East Towne Mall in Madison by saying that the incident could have been stopped if more people were carrying guns. During the incident over the weekend, a teen was shot in the leg and suffered non-life threatening injuries.

“Wisconsin does not have a death penalty law, but with significant practice and careful aim, law-abiding citizens can help clean our society of these scumbags,”Gannon said in a statement on Monday. “Criminals no longer have any fear of our courts or our prisons, so it’s time that the citizens of this fine state stand up and fight back.”

Gannon argued that a “gang banger in the mall with a gun is going to think twice if there could be a law-abiding (concealed carry weapon) holder standing behind them fully prepared to shoot center mass, as this is how you’re trained to eliminate the threat these creeps pose to you, your family, and all law-abiding citizens unwillingly dragged into their public crime spree.”

Note the clearly racist tone of his remarks.  Does he mention white supremacists or other domestic terrorists?  Of course not.  His first reference is to “a gang banger,“ a term everyone recognizes as referring to African-American and Latino youth.  Forget about the entire absurdity of his claim that “good guys with guns” would prevent shootings by “bad guys.”  We all know that argument is prima facie ridiculous.

Just consider for a moment the toxic emotions Rep. Gannon into which he is tapping.  Violence against the “other” is now justified.  The government cannot protect you from “them.” It’s the same message we have heard repeatedly from Trump, but also from the current second choice among the Republican candidates, Ted Cruz, who has pushed the same meme regarding civilians using guns to take matters into their own hands, in this case to protect us from Muslims, a group that represent 1% of our population.

“And you know, I have to admit, I enjoyed telling the reporters, listen, I don’t think it’s my job to be sensitive to radical Islamic terrorists. And you don’t stop the bad guys by taking away our guns. You stop the bad guys by using our guns, and a free and armed American citizenry is how we keep ourselves safe, and we need a president who can distinguish between law-abiding American citizens defending our families, and radical Islamic terrorism committing acts of jihad and President Obama last night showed he’s utterly incapable of doing that.”

Then only thing that the modern day GOP has not yet called for are organized street gangs ilike the S.A. a/k/a the “brownshirts” to use violence to intimidate their political opponents, as well as racial, ethnic and religious minorities of which they actively disapprove.  On the other hand, we do have Trump’s rallies, where mob violence against protesters has been given a wink and a nod by Mr. trump himself, as heard in this video beginning at the 11:30 mark.

“Maybe should have been roughed up.”  And by roughed up, this is what the Donald was referring to:

But let me be clear, Trump is only the catalyst for the recent upsurge in violent rhetoric among prominent Republican and Far Right political figures.  These calls for violence has long been a staple of the right wing media, from Bill O’Reilly (“Tiller the baby killer”), Glenn Beck (“You’re going to have to shoot them [i.e., liberals] in the head”), Rush Limbaugh (“I tell people don’t kill all the liberals, leave enough around so we can have two on every campus; living fossils, so we will never forget what these people stood for.”) to any number of other commentators who have the language of hate and calls for violence against the left and minorities.  Read David Niewart’s classic book,Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right for starters.

Now, however,  Republicans running for office are more and more willing to publicly adopt the hate speech tropes of talk radio and Fox News “personalities” as part of their campaigns.  What used to be an embarrassment for them (remember this guy?) is rapidly being seen as a point of pride.  What else explains the bizarre Republican right love affair (“That’s what you call a leader” said Rudy Giuliani.) with Vladimer Putin?

And they have a whole host of scapegoats they are demonizing, a tactic straight out of the Fascist playbook.  Take the Black Lives Matters movement as a case in point.

With increasing frequency over the last week, Republican candidates have sallied attacks on Black Lives Matter, the movement born of protests against police killings of African-Americans. The Republican candidates have been testing new messages with various subtle edges – and abilities to cut.

And of course the newest target of Republicans, American Muslims.  It’s telling that only one of the Republican candidates at the last debate (Jeb, of all people) spoke out against scapegoating Muslims.  Not surprisingly, a recent poll shows a majority Republicans view Muslims and Arabs unfavorably, all while attacks on Muslims or those perceived to be Muslim (Sikhs, Indians, etc.)  have risen dramatically over the past month.

And let’s not forget the hate speech employed by numerous Republicans against Planned Parenthood, even after the mass murder and shooting in Colorado Springs by a radicalized Christian extremist, notably by Carli Fiorina, who continued to peddle lies about the fetal tissue donation program and refused to accept any responsibility for her hate-filled rhetoric:

Fiorina, who has been one of the most outspoken GOP candidates in her opposition to Planned Parenthood and continues to allege that the organization has “harvested” fetal body parts for sale, called the shooting a “tragedy” that cannot be justified. She described attempts to blame the attack on rhetoric she has campaigned on as “typical left-wing tactics.”

“This is so typical of the left to immediately begin demonizing a messenger because they don’t agree with the message,” Fiorina told FOX “News Sunday.” “What I would say to anyone who tries to link this terrible tragedy to anyone who opposes abortion or opposes the sale of body parts, this is typical left-wing tactics.”

And then there is the “Big Lie” tactic that is so omnipresent in Republican speeches by candidates at all levels, that it is almost impossible to keep track of them all.  From blaming Black Lives Matters for increased police deaths, to blaming a massive influx of Mexican and other Latin American immigrants for the decline of middle class wages, to claiming large numbers of Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks, lies are the standard operating procedure for any Republican politician running for office these days.

It’s no longer a question of whether the Republicans have begun slouching toward fascism.  They have arrived.  You can see it at Trump’s rallies and in the comments his opponents now feel emboldened to make, once he shattered the wall that kept past republicans from openly and avowedly using racist and xenophobic appeals to their supporters.  Regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, rest assured the candidate they face will be one who will use the tropes of fascism to attempt to win the election.  And it won’t just be at the top of the ticket, either.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos