Time is now to unite an electoral majority to confront fascism
History reveals that fascism took power in Italy, Germany, and elsewhere through a long process. Fascists captured institutions and positions step-by-step, consolidated forces, crushed rivals, radicalized masses, and ultimately captured governmental power. The GOP coalition - Trump's MAGA stormtroopers and certain elements of Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry - is reading from their playbook. | AP photos

History reveals that fascism took power in Italy, Germany, and elsewhere through a long process. Fascists captured institutions and positions step-by-step, consolidated forces, crushed rivals, radicalized masses, and ultimately captured governmental power.

Taking this dire threat to democracy seriously and uniting the broadest majority to confront fascism at every turn of its ascent was the world’s bitter lesson. Without fighting the menace at every stage and in every arena, the pro-democratic, anti-fascist forces become ill-prepared to fight its full-blown manifestation. The stage and the arena to fight against fascism now is the Midterm elections currently underway. Failure to do so will weaken that all-important fight going forward.

Over the past 50 years, the extreme right and fascist forces have consolidated their domination of the Republican Party, creating a dangerous anti-democratic force. Therefore, blocking GOP MAGA fascist candidates, their billionaire backers, and the movement they represent from capturing positions of power in the 2022 elections is crucial, including in the House of Representatives, the Senate, governorships, secretaries of state, state legislatures, and state supreme courts.

The stakes in the November elections couldn’t be higher. Nothing less than constitutional democracy, eliminating democratic rights, the peaceful transfer of power, rule-of-law governance, and addressing the climate and ecological crisis are on the line.

“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic,” Pres. Biden said at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on Sept. 1. “For a long time, we’ve told ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed. But it’s not. We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Every one of us.”

“Americans are not powerless to stop extremism and do not have to act like ‘bystanders in this ongoing attack on democracy’ by failing to vote,” he said.

Rejected by voters

Voters rejected the MAGA GOP in the last two elections, and a majority, as reflected in the popular vote, voted against Trump in 2016. The turnout of the anti-MAGA voter majority again in these mid-term elections will have  enormous consequences:

Either the GOP “domestic terror cell,” including those involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection, captures Congress and increases its hold on governorships, secretaries of state, state legislatures, and courts or, by blocking and evicting MAGA fascists from power, new opportunities arise to strengthen democratic rights and institutions, respond forcefully to the climate and ecological crises, and increase the influence of the multi-racial working class and mass democratic movements.

With more significant Democratic majorities, passing progressive democratic economic, climate, and social reforms becomes possible.

We enter the election home stretch with a significantly changed political environment, boosting Democrat chances. The Uvalde massacre and ongoing gun violence, the U.S. Supreme court ruling striking down Roe vs. Wade, the real-life effect of new anti-abortion “trigger laws,” expose of the Jan. 6 insurrection, and the one-person Trump “crime wave” including stolen top-secret documents, and extreme GOP/MAGA candidates, have reawakened and energized the anti-MAGA majority. The defeat of the Kansas anti-abortion referendum and five special elections where Democratic candidates overperformed 2020 vote shares reflect this.

The dire threat to democracy and the rollback of rights has increased voter intensity. Support for Democratic candidates, particularly among young women, matches Republican enthusiasm. Most observers anticipate a big turnout on both sides. But because there are more Democratic-oriented voters than Republicans, this bodes well for Democrats.

The diverse, multi-racial coalition supporting Democratic candidates, including a broad array of independent forces and mass democratic movements, is largely united. Meanwhile, the GOP voter coalition is fraying in the face of repulsion to their extremist policies. Infighting is consuming the GOP, and some GOP candidates are panicking and scrubbing their websites of unpopular positions, particularly some of the extreme anti-abortion ones. Some past and present Republican elected officials, reflecting up to 20% of Republicans, openly support Democratic candidates.

The 2022 mid-term elections, far from the “red wave” predicted by many pundits, are highly competitive. Democrats are favored to retain and expand their U.S. Senate majority. The GOP lead in the House congressional generic ballot has evaporated, and the latest CBS poll shows a 4.5% lead for Democrats. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is on the offensive and funding campaigns in districts previously thought unwinnable.

So, what might the new political landscape look like after the 2022 elections? That depends on who wins.

Let’s start with the prospect of GOP MAGA fascist majorities in the House and the Senate. They could spew their white supremacist, misogynist, Christian nationalist, and QAnon conspiracy toxins from official positions and dismantle democracy from within. They would engage in lawlessness, collaborate with Trump to impose their agenda, and obstruct the last two years of Biden’s term.

House insurrectionists could defeat Rep. Kevin McCarthy for the speakership and head up Congressional committees, like Rep. Jim Jordan over the Judiciary Committee, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and Matt Gaetz. And under a GOP Senate majority, Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, Tommy Tuberville, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and others could head committees.

With insurrectionists in charge and promoting threats and violence against elected officials, judges, and election workers, no Democratic elected official would be physically safe. With MAGA fascists in charge of Capitol security, would domestic terrorists be allowed freedom to roam the halls? And given top-secret documents stolen by Trump, would the GOP Congress undermine national security?

Has not released an agenda

The GOP has not released a legislative agenda, believing the economy, inflation, and high gas prices is enough to defeat Biden and Democrats. But the economy is improving along with Biden’s approval numbers.

Belatedly, the GOP is taking a page from the “Contract on America” and issued a vague “Commitment to America,” that still focuses on “sky-high inflation, record prices at the pump, but also includes out-of-control crime,” which they attribute to Democrats.

But the real GOP MAGA plan includes:

  • Impeaching Pres. Biden, conducting endless investigations of Hunter Biden, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and other departments, painting Biden as a criminal leading into the 2024 elections.
  • Ending all investigations into crimes committed by Trump and his confederates, including by the Jan. 6 Select Committee and the DOJ.
  • Launching new attacks on the right to privacy, including a national abortion ban, marriage equality, LGBTQ rights, and interracial marriage.
  • Privatizing public education, including funding Evangelical and fundamentalist charter schools, restricting school curriculum through Critical Race Theory hysteria, and increasing the assault on the separation of church and state.
  • Reversing Pres. Biden’s cancelation of student debt, defunding higher education and trying to scrap student loans.
  • Privatizing Social Security and Medicare or, at the very least, mandating Congressional reauthorization every five years or yearly, slashing these and other social benefit programs.
  • Making permanent the $2 trillion in tax cuts to the wealthiest. Removing all restrictions on fossil fuel extraction. Ramping up hysteria around border security and deportations of undocumented immigrants. Inflaming the trade war with China, along with anti-Chinese racism.
  • Invoking Article 5 to call for a Constitutional Convention to rewrite the U.S. Constitution imposing authoritarian governance and eliminating the Bill of Rights.

Perhaps the most significant immediate danger is the possibility of stealing the presidency during the 2024 elections. GOP insurrectionists are implementing plans to install Trump as president even if he loses the next election. The danger of a successful coup would increase.

Campaigning on achievements

Democrats and Biden are campaigning on actual achievements, and the essential role of government in solving economic, social, and structural problems. Those achievements include the America Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, the CHIPs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the most significant gun control legislation in 30 years, legislation the GOP universally opposed.

More significant Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, including an anti-filibuster majority backed by an energized mass democratic movement, could create new opportunities for the passage of progressive legislation. Biden outlined the post-election agenda in a recent Maryland rally speech.

The election of an anti-filibuster majority in the U.S. Senate would allow the passage of legislation with a simple majority rather than 60 votes. Democrats could revisit bills they scuttled or pared down during this session.

These would include:

  • More funding for clean energy, mitigation, and resiliency planning, environmental justice, accelerating the transition to green energy, and adaptation to the ravages of the climate crisis.
  • The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Freedom to Vote Act, and For the People Act, and legislation outlawing extreme gerrymandering, protecting against election subversion, including efforts to steal the 2024 elections, and adopting statehood for Washington, DC.
  • An assault weapons ban and other gun safety reforms, including universal background checks.
  • Citizenship for DACA and DAPA recipients and passage of immigration reform with a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented citizens.
  • Guaranteeing the federal right to privacy, including abortion access, contraception, transgender transition, marriage equality, etc.
  • Funding universal pre-k, free community college education, total cancelation of student debt, the restoration of the childcare tax credit, and a cap on insulation costs.
  • Protecting and reforming Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, expanding benefits, and lifting the income cap to tax the rich.
  • Passage of the PRO Act, the most advanced labor law reform in decades.

The American people have rejected Trump and the MAGA movement in three elections, in which the GOP never surpassed 46% of the vote. The 2022 elections are an opportunity to defeat the MAGA GOP again, shatter it as an anti-democratic political force, and evict it from power by mobilizing the biggest voter turnout possible.

The above article reflects the opinion of the author.


CONTRIBUTOR

John Bachtell
John Bachtell

John Bachtell is president of Long View Publishing Co., the publisher of People's World. He served as national chair of the Communist Party USA from 2014 to 2019. He is active in electoral, labor, environmental, and social justice struggles. He grew up in Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Albuquerque and attended Antioch College. He currently lives in Chicago where he is an avid swimmer, cyclist, runner, and dabbler in guitar and occasional singer in a community chorus.

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