Fascism And Naziism Are Not The Same... & The GOP Is Dragging Us Straight Towards The Latter

Last night, I mentioned in passing that Trump wasn't invited to the Republican Governors Association conference in Phoenix last week. Anyone think he may have been a little pissed off? Michael Bender addressed that for Wall Street Journal readers in a piece about how Trump is turning his ire on red state Republican governors.

Trump, an increasingly senile petty asshole, has met with Lynda Blanchard, a former ambassador in his administration and Senate candidate challenging Trump puppet Mo Brooks, "and discussed a possible endorsement if she abandoned her U.S. Senate campaign and instead challenged Alabama’s Republican governor, Kay Ivey, according to Trump advisers. Trump has privately blamed Ivey for a state commission decision to block the former president from holding a rally in July at USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, which includes a World War II battleship and other historic military aircraft." The law gave Ivey had no say in the matter but since when would anyone expect Trump to respect the law?

Bender noted that "about half of the 16 Republican governors up for re-election next year also face primary challenges from opponents endorsed by the former president or otherwise inspired by him. The conflicts have highlighted divisions in the party."

Trump wasn't invited to the conference-- no one wanted him around-- but Pence was and he told the assembled governors that he had their back. Pence: "I want to be clear, I’m going to be supporting incumbent Republican governors." A Trump spokesperson, Taylor Budowich, "said the former president will remain an 'active and defining voice in gubernatorial races' to challenge 'radical Democrats' and 'weak Republicans.'"

Although in Trump's mind and in his statements, he is owed credit for Glenn Youngkin's win in Virginia, few outside his orbit acknowledge that, since Youngkin did all he could to keep Trump at bay and ordered him to stay out of Virginia during the campaign, including after Trump had publicly announced he would be there to campaign for Youngkin. Instead, Trump did a zoom call with Virginia fascists which Youngkin pointedly avoided and during which Trump barely mentioned Youngkin's name. Bender wrote that Youngkin's victory "added to the ranks of Republican governors who have maintained their distance from Trump, either by their choice or by his... Republican governors have largely closed ranks around their incumbents. Several said in interviews that the group has grown closer during repeated governors-only calls during the pandemic. The RGA, which spent $14 million for Youngkin in the general election, plans to spend some of the more-than $47 million it has in the bank to defend incumbents facing primary challenges, officials said.

In Georgia, where Trump was the first Republican presidential candidate in 28 years to lose, the former president has blamed Gov. Brian Kemp for resisting his demands to overturn the results.
Despite recounts and state investigations that didn’t find any problems that could have put in doubt the presidential election result, Trump has repeatedly criticized Kemp and encouraged Georgia Republicans, including former Sen. David Perdue, to consider primary campaigns. Perdue hasn’t ruled it out.
In an interview, Kemp lamented that his conservative bona fides have been questioned after a long record of support for Trump, supporting a new law to tighten state election regulations and leading the legal challenge of President Biden’s Covid-19 vaccine mandates. Georgia also announced a record-low 3.1% unemployment this week.
“It’s insane,” Kemp said.
In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker didn’t vote for Mr. Trump and has been a frequent critic of the former president. He hasn’t announced whether he will run for re-election. But Baker left allies with the impression that he was more inclined to seek a third term after Trump endorsed a potential primary rival last month in former state Rep. Geoff Diehl, who was co-chairman of Trump’s 2020 campaign in the state and lost a U.S. Senate bid in 2020 to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
Jim Conroy, Baker’s political adviser and former campaign manager, said the governor’s decision-making process would be informed by “what is best for Massachusetts and for his family-- not by the endorsements of politicians.”
In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine-- who supported Covid-19 restrictions longer than Trump and has said the former president bears some responsibility for the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol-- has drawn a challenge from Rep. Jim Renacci, a close Trump ally.
In Arizona, Trump has endorsed Kari Lake, a former TV broadcaster who has falsely said the 2020 election was “stolen,” to replace Gov. Doug Ducey, who opposed Trump’s bid to overturn the election.
Ducey, who will leave office next year due to term limits, said in an interview that he was considering his own endorsement in the race. While Republicans have lost both Arizona Senate seats since 2016 and the presidential race in 2020, Ducey was re-elected by 15 points in 2018.
“I’m going to reserve the right to get involved in one primary-- and that’s the one in the state of Arizona,” said Ducey, co-chairman of the RGA.
Trump recently endorsed Idaho Republican Janice McGeachin’s bid for governor, despite praising incumbent Gov. Brad Little just days earlier at a fundraiser in Mar-a-Lago. But McGeachin, the state’s lieutenant governor, had been discussing her insurgent campaign with Trump, who decided to back her after hitting it off with her during a private meeting, according to people familiar with his decision.

Yesterday, Umair Haque wrote that he sees very dark days ahead for America-- a perfect storm of fascism, "worse than... the Trump years." It isn't something that was discussed-- at least not publicly-- at the Republican Governors Association. Are Democrats thinking about it? How and why does Umair come to that conclusion?

The Republican base is now consumed by violence. Not just lurid fantasies of violence, but the real thing. There are footsoldiers on the streets-- teenagers-- being driven to violence, and being rewarded for it. They’re then acquitted at trial by juries of their sympathetic peers, and lenient judges who intercede on their behalf. That’s not an isolated event anymore: it’s a trend. The American right now feels it’s open season. It seems they feel like they can hunt and kill their opponents with impunity. The sad fact is that so far, they can.
The Republican base, in other words, has been more or less fully radicalized. 1 in 3 Republicans think that violence is necessary to defend their way of life and save the country…whatever that even means. It doesn’t mean anything, really. It just means they’re out for blood. That they crave violence, the thrill of it, that they lust for it. All those guns they’ve been buying forever? They want to now use them.
...That is not normal. The only other places that people like me, who’ve studied and lived through social collapse, fascist implosion, have seen this change in moods and attitudes is in societies right before the worst comes to pass. It is not remotely normal for half a society, more or less, to revel in ultraviolence, to applaud violent death. And no, Republicans haven’t always been like this either. There was a period, at least, between civil rights and Trumpism, where violence was not acceptable amongst Republicans.
But now the mood is different. Republicans have reverted to type. They are much more like the white supremacists of the 1960s-- who opposed civil rights and would regularly abuse civil rights leaders, like John Lewis, openly, in public-- than the GOP of the 80s or the 90s. They want not just violence but ultra violence. The notorious shooter seemed to have finished off one of his target with a “kill shot” to the back. It wasn’t enough just to kill. There had to be overkill. All that rage and hate had to come out in the form of extreme violence.
Let me say it again. Republicans have become manically bloodthirsty. They glorify ultra violence. They justify it as “self-defense.” They legitimise it as “necessary to save the country.” They want a nation of supremacist vigilantes, gunning down people in cold blood-- why else are they celebrating just that? For them, Jan 6th was a fond memory-- and a beginning. This thirst for blood is not normal.
It is profoundly, profoundly disturbing. This kind of change in attitudes, this hardening of brutality, this mass maniacal craving for ultra violence. It’s a mania in the sense that it’s sweeping the base. The average Republican seems to genuinely crave ultraviolence, the bloody punishment of those they consider subhumans-- because that is the new norm that’s emerged amongst their tribe. If you don’t think that way, then you’re not really one of them, it seems.
But this change in attitudes-- bloodlust-- is one of the strongest predictors of fascist collapse there is.
[T]hat is what the Republican leadership is goading the base into wanting and believing and craving... it defines the party.
...They are legimitizing bloodlust and ultra violence. They’re licensing it. Encouraging it and inciting it.
...[T]he Republican base is picking up guns and beginning to shoot. The message coming from the top is: violence isn’t just OK, it’s necessary, desirable, a good thing. Our new norm, the new set of values in our political tribe, is to use violence to settle any differences we may have. We will simply attack and annihilate anyone standing in our way. No shocker then that teenagers are shooting people in the streets. That’s the message they’re hearing. Little wonder that armed Republicans carrying machine guns are commonplace sights in American political life.
But again, that’s not remotely normal. Because when you carry a machine gun in a democracy, something has gone badly wrong. With you. You are saying that you don’t believe in consent or equality or peace. You will use force to get your way if necessary, and you believe that anyone standing in your way is a subhuman, who deserves a bullet, not a human being, with the same rights and freedoms as you.
If you think I’m kidding, think about what happens when Republicans use their guns. When they do, they don’t get punished. They get rich and famous and powerful. They’re made heroes of. They get invited to become Congressional interns and pundits on Fox News and all the rest of it. This is an institutional infrastructure for violence emerging. Shoot-- and we’ll take care of you, kid. Do the right thing. They’re subhumans. You eliminate them for us. And we’ll give you money, power, and fame. And maybe even an official title.
Where does this road end? Well, what is happening in America now is the construction of genuinely Nazi institutions and values. Not just fascist ones. There’s an important distinction between fascism and Nazism. Fascism is an abstraction, a project of teaching the true of faith and pure of blood that they’re the long-suffering chosen people, wrongly persecuted by hated minorities, and all they have to do is violently attack those minorities to reclaim their status as ubermen. Nazism is when all that begins to happen in the real world.
And that is what is happening in America right now. America is seeing the transition from fascism to Nazism. The Republicans have become something very much like an emerging Nazi party. Again, let’s go through the evidence. They have Nazi values-- they promote and incite violence. They are building Nazi institutions-- a new era of Jim Crow, which turns minorities into second class citizens, if that, vigilante justice laws that leave any woman or minority at the mercy of any man who’s pure and true. I could go on. The GOP is the closest thing that the rich world has to a Nazi Party by a very, very long way, and it’s eerily close right now to the Nazi Party as it was maturing.
What institutions will it build next? Well, you can see them in plain sight. Brownshirts. SS’s. Gestapos. All the shooters to be inspired by the exoneration of the others-- will they become “Congressional interns,” too? More likely, they’ll form the youth wing of an American SS. Think about what happened in Nazi Germany. There, too, extrajudicial assassinations of hated minorities were key to the rise of fascism. Beat a Jew, punch a Jew, shoot a Jew. And those performing this violence? They weren’t punished. They were rewarded. With official titles. They were made “obersturmfuhrers” and whatnot, little SS leaders in every town. The most violent bully was made the overseer, whose job it was to enforce Nazi ideology and conduct.
...The moderates have been pushed out, with a jeer. They’re not bloodthirsty enough, not extreme enough. They’re too peaceful, too middle of the road. In their place has risen a new wave of fanatical GOP leaders. And each is more openly bloodthirsty than the last. They’ve gone from intimidation and harassment to open death threats.
Hence, that is what their base has done, too. It’s not just the shooters you should be worried about. It’s the fact that average Republicans are now issuing death threats to teachers, principals, municipal officials. Again, not normal. And different. Republicans even a decade or two or three didn’t do this. This is new. This is Nazism.
This is an entire political side united in a new-- or very old-- politics. Democracy is inconsequential. Any opposition is to be annihilated. As violently as possible. Take a look at today’s shooters. Now look at the average Republican sending death threats to teachers. How long is it before one becomes the other?
...It’s not just fascism anymore. It’s not some abstract pseudo philosophical discussion-- a ludicrous one-- about how oppressed our race is, or how they took everything from us, or how they’re out to get us, and we’re the persecuted ones, even though we’re really the chosen ones. It’s not some kind of theory or paradigm anymore. It is Nazism in the real world. It is the construction of fascist politics, norms, values, expressions, and desires-- which is Nazism.
Let me say it again. The rising tide of violence on the American right is Nazism. Once, I might have said “the hard right.” But there is no more soft right anymore, is there? The hard right is the only right, and it’s hard in the sense that it wants to use an iron fist to eliminate any opposition. To what? To its dream of an ethnically purified supremacist state. Which is what all those Jim Crow and vigilante laws-- not to mention the overt hate-- are about.
So how far away is a Final Solution? You begin to see why I shudder. Let me sum up those dismal trends. One, the Republican base has been fully radicalised: they accept, even crave violence, supremacy, and annhilation, and abjure and reject democracy, equality and peace.
...Biden’s sinking Presidency. Biden’s doing abysmally badly. Yes, passing the infrastructure bill will shore up his waning fortunes. But how much? If history’s any guide, the answer is: not enough. It takes full blown social reconstruction plans to avert fascism-- and that’s if you’re lucky. The Democrats didn’t offer one. They didn’t pursue a special justice process for Trumpism, either, like a Nuremberg Trials. Hence, today’s wave of GOP leaders are even more fanatical, because, well, who’s punishing them for transgressing deeper and deeper into the wilds of violence and hate? Nobody is.
Biden’s Presidency will probably be a failed one. I don’t want it to be, but the economist in me has a bad feeling that history is not a kind mistress. It’s hard to see how at this juncture a half-baked not much of a social agenda can stem the growing tide of violence and hate in America.
Put all that together, and what do you have? A very, very bleak picture. America’s heading into a perfect storm of fascism. The liberals didn’t punish the fascists. The fascist became Nazis. The Nazis taught their base to become little Nazis, too. Violence and hate spread from abstract ideological goals, to real ones pursued by average people with machine guns and death threats.
...You should probably begin to prepare for the worst, because even in the most hardcore social collapses that I’ve seen, there was some semblance of sanity and dignity retained among the fascist right, some restraint, some limit.
In America right now? There’s none. If you ask me, there couldn’t possibly be a worse omen than that.

It's easy to just pin this mess on Nazi degenerates like Madison Cawthorn (Nazi-NC), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Q-GA), Lauren Boebert (Q-CO), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Ronny Jackson (R-TX), Kat Cammack (R-FL), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Mary Miller (Q-IL), Barry Moore (R-AL), Matt Rosendale (R-MT), Jody Hice (R-GA), Scott Perry (R-PA), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Gym Jordan (R-OH)... but what about the people who voted for them? What about the 74,216,154 people who voted for Trump last year? And what about congressional Republicans who are willing to let it all slide or, worse-- like Kevin McCarthy-- who enable it and run to the head of the parade to appear to lead it in the name of self-serving careerism?