Analyst Argues That Republicans Have "Embraced American Fascism”

Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks / Public Domain


"American fascism is lodged so deeply into our system that we are still fighting it on multiple fronts."

Today’s Republican Party “has embraced American fascism, an anti-democratic ideology that is unique to our country, and is engrained deeper in our collective consciousness and our history than most of us have been taught,” political analyst Linette Lopez wrote in Business Insider on Sunday.

  • The U.S. has a unique history with fascism, Lopez explained, going back to the Antebellum South, “when the slaveowners mounted an insurrection against the US government to establish and anti-democratic society.”
  • Historians, and Americans in general, have been slow to accept this brand of fascism. Lopez points to discussion around the Ku Klux Klan and, more recently, President Donald Trump to illustrate:

Robert Paxton, a preeminant (sic) historian of the political philosophy, called the Ku Klux Klan (which was founded by high-ranking former Confederate soldiers) “the earliest phenomenon that can be functionally related to fascism.” Yet somehow we do not own our American fascism.

Building on Paxton in the Washington Post in August, Princeton University historian David Bell acknowledges that Trump and the terrorist groups that support him are nationalists, yes. Anti-democratic, of course. But he says they are not fascists because they have not created a powerful mass movement — not like the movements in Europe between World War I and World War II.

  • “This logic reeks of American exceptionalism,” Lopez wrote.
  • The unwillingness to acknowledge this history has allowed American fascism to remain deeply embedded in the American system, she wrote, showing up quite noticeably as voter suppression, right-wing terrorism and racial injustice.

Both President Trump and his Vice President have refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if they lose the election. Militia groups emboldened by Trump tried to kidnap a Democratic Governor. A GOP Senator tweeted that America is not a democracy.

  • Last week, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) tweeted that "Democracy isn't the objective."

Instead, he argued, our government should strive for peace, prosperity and liberty — but for who? Without democracy there is only liberty for the strong, rich and violent. That is what we know from observing undemocratic countries around the world and through history.

Just hours after Lee’s tweet, on Thursday, the FBI arrested 13 men in connection with a domestic terrorist plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer, a Democrat, has agitated armed right-wing groups in her state by enforcing public health regulations during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • “Because of the legacy of the Confederacy, in our country white supremacy and fascism are inextricably linked,” Lopez wrote. “The militia groups threatening to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, and the marchers carrying Confederate flags in Charlottesville back in 2017, are all participants in this history.”
  • Lopez concluded:

In part because of our refusal to acknowledge this history, American fascism is lodged so deeply into our system that we are still fighting it on multiple fronts — voter suppression, right-wing terrorism and racial injustice. That same denial has permitted men like Donald Trump and Sen. Mike Lee to delude themselves into thinking they have some kind of commitment to freedom when they are, in fact, carrying on that fascist history. It’s time we all acknowledged that.

Read the full op-ed.


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