Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The GOP Discovers Fascism...And Likes It

The Republican leaders who a few months ago were calling Trump dangerous and extremist and bigoted and irrational are now lining up to support him. Maybe what this tells us is the Republican Party has been an authoritarian party for a long time. Fascist in all but name.

They are an obedient party. A shameless party. A party that ignores corruption and worships wealth and arrogance. When Deep Throat instructed Woodward and Bernstein to “follow the money” this is where it was leading. The Republican Party has gotten there at last.

The news media is doing its careful balancing job, where they refuse to report the insanity, bigotry and extremism of one candidate until they can invent something that makes the other candidate look just as bad.

The media message is “All politicians are dangerous, extremist, bigoted and irrational” so watch and laugh but get ready for the worst to happen.

They don’t report the policy differences (BORING!) they report the bickering, the tweets, the gossip, the bogus allegations. Trump is a master of the game of bogus allegations: he makes them ten at a time and is never called out for lying, and his lies quickly become the main story, turning the news cycle into a trash fiction contest.

Here are a few top national political observers bluntly admitting the F-word is the proper label for Donald Trump. He is a fascist.

This Is How Fascism Comes To America by neoconservative Robert Kagan in the Washington Post.

America Has Never Been So Ripe For Tyranny by conservative Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine.

The Dangerous Acceptance Of Donald Trump by liberal Adam Gopnick in the New Yorker.

There is still time for America to regain its sanity, but the 24-hour news cycle will be pushing insanity and unreason from now till November. FoxNews has gotten into the tank with Trump. The major networks report his excesses as if they are perfectly normal and reasonable and emphasize the continuing debate in the Democratic Party as if it an embarrassing failure to get in line and follow the leader. As if politics demanded an obedient public.

Those of us who remember Nixon might try to think Trump is no worse than that, and we survived that episode.

We survived it because it was not this extreme.

Nixon had a political resumé and was part of a fairly reasonable right-of-center political party of country clubbers and members of the chamber of commerce. Trump's resumé is a circus of bankruptcies, tax evasions and cynical corruption. There is no set of values in Trump's history, except property values, which he routinely inflates or hides or lies about to fool investors and avoid taxes and evade creditors. His business life has been one long confidence trick, or a series of confidence tricks. His personal life has been a series of confidence tricks too. His vulgarity is shocking––mocking a man with disabilities––in front of a national audience; making suggestive sexual comments about his own daughter and bragging about his penis size––in front of a national audience; slurring women, veterans and one minority group after another––in front of a national audience. How vulgar can a national figure get?

It's hard to imagine anyone more uncouth than Trump. And yet conservative church leaders are saying God demands that His followers vote for Trump. Trump who shows no familiarity with Christian values, and only contempt for all other religions. But it would be "unseemly" for the national news media to criticize one party's candidate without condemning the other equally. Their "standards" require "balance" but balance is a lie. There is no equivalence here. The Republican Party has disgraced itself but as long as its leaders and the news media refuse to notice this disgrace all will be well. And they may win the election by pretending all is well.

The leaders (can we call them leaders?) of the Republican Party think they can control this goon. Their only hope may be that their long campaign to degrade government, to make it weak and dysfunctional, has worked well enough that Trump will be installed at the head of a government that has no power at all. Our country has been a long, interesting experiment in democracy, but the founders never anticipated an experiment this deranged or cynical.

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