Whereof One Can Speak 🇺🇦 🇺🇦 🇺🇦

Nothing special, one post at a time since 2012

The Republican Party Today and Yesterday

The laughingstock Republican judge in Florida who’s interfering with the criminal investigation of her semi-fascist cult leader announced today that she wasn’t interested in the opinion of seven Republicans (former prosecutors and government officials) who said she should mind her own business:

The federal judge who issued an unusual Labor Day ruling appointing a special master to review thousands of files seized from the 45th president’s Mar-a-Lago estate issued a brief order on Tuesday refusing to allow several onetime GOP officials from filing an amicus brief in opposition to the special master appointment….

In their proposed brief, the lawyers and [former New Jersey governor] Whitman argued that there was “no legal basis” to appoint a special master in the case and, even if there was, that [FPOTUS] had no basis to claim executive privilege over the documents seized from his residence by the FBI.

Law professor Harry Litman, a former prosecutor and Department of Justice official, had this reaction:

I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen a court reject a proposed amicus brief, especially from eminent amici like the former GOP prosecutors [that judge] Cannon just refused to hear from. That’s now several bizarre and non-judicial moves, starting with her first announcement of intent to grant a Special Master.

The young judge, who may occupy a seat on the federal bench for another 40 years, offered no explanation for why she wouldn’t even allow the amicus brief to be filed.

Going back in time 66 years, we find a very different Republican Party:

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Attend your union meetings???

It Helps To Find the Right Judge, Plus the Big Picture

If you want to keep government documents you stole, put them in cardboard boxes with stuff you actually own. Then find a judge you nominated to the federal bench to make a ruling in your favor. It’s simple.

Legal experts are commenting on Judge Aileen Cannon’s decision to grant a motion by the former president and full-time criminal to delay the FBI’s investigation of his theft of government property. The technical legal language they’re using includes “crazytown”, “lawless”, “unbelievable”, she should be “impeached”, “a special exception to the law just for FPOTUS”, “she gave him more than he was entitled to”, “she is micromanaging the Executive Branch”, her decision is “biased even in its presentation of the facts”, her “ruling would demolish future white collar criminal investigations”, “this dumbass ruling”, “friggin’ absurd” and “for fucks’ sake”. Presumably, the Department of Justice will appeal her ruling or, even better, arrest her.

David Roberts of the VOLTS podcast sees the bigger picture:

I’m not a legal analyst, but I hope everyone is taking note of a particular maneuver that this judge pulled — a very, very familiar maneuver from reactionaries. It goes like this: first the right wing propaganda networks spread a bunch of lies and lunatic conspiracy theories.

Then other right-wingers implement particular policies in response to the “appearance” of something shady. So this judge says [FPOTUS] deserves extraordinary, unprecedented latitude because of the “extraordinary circumstances” and the “swirling questions about bias.” But her fellow reactionaries were the only ones raising questions of bias! It’s a perfectly sealed feedback loop — the propagandists “raise questions” and then politicians and judges pass/implement laws based on all the questions that have been raised. An ouroboros of bullshit.

ouroboros-symbol

The most familiar version of this bullshit loop is in reference to voting law. Right wing propagandists have spent decades “raising questions” about voter fraud. Of course, the questions have answers. It’s all bullshit. There is no appreciable voting fraud. Nevertheless, red state after red state has passed restrictive voting laws based on these bad faith questions that have been raised. Real voting restrictions in response to fake voting fraud.

Human beings have a strong instinctive heuristic that says, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” If enough people are talking about X or “raising questions” about X, then the default presumption is that there *must be something fishy about X”. Right wing media is basically a machine designed to exploit that heuristic. What right-wingers have realized is that they can create smoke around literally anything. Then they can use that self-created smoke as evidence of fire and pass policy to address the fire [that doesn’t exist]. It’s a neat trick.

I don’t even think it’s some grand, conscious scheme. It’s just a natural outgrowth of reactionary psychology — always claiming victimhood; always demanding special treatment. I’m sure this judge sincerely believes the “raised questions” justify special treatment for Trump.

I’m not so sure about that. I think it’s more a case of ends justifying the means. In order to achieve total political, economic and cultural power — which they think they fully deserve — it’s acceptable to tell lies and ignore the law. Lately, however, there’s another motivation. Stay on the cult leader’s good side or risk serious, possibly fatal, retaliation.

It Needed To Be Said

President Biden made a speech last night that more Americans should have heard. The TV networks didn’t interrupt their regular programming for it. You needed cable TV or an internet connection to watch it.

Earlier in the day, the former president, the criminal, said he would give full pardons to the January 6th insurrectionists if he’s re-elected. He went further. He said he’d apologize to them.

From what I’ve read today, the talking heads on TV were more focused on the setting for the President’s speech than what he said. They wondered how the speech would “play”. They were apparently concerned that Republicans would feel insulted.

Today, at least one reporter, John Harwood of CNN, spoke differently:

Of course, it was a political speech in a mid-term election year. The issues he’s talking about are inherently political. But … it’s important to say that the core point he made in that political speech about a threat to democracy is true! That’s not easy for us as journalists to say. We’re brought up to believe that there are two political parties with different points of view and we don’t take sides in honest disagreements between them. But that’s not what we’re talking about. These are not honest disagreements. The Republican Party right now is led by a dishonest demagogue. Many, many Republicans are rallying behind his lies about the 2020 election and other things as well. And a … portion of their constituency attacked the Capitol on January 6th violently. By offering pardons or suggesting pardons for those people … Donald Trump made Joe Biden’s point for him.

It was John Harwood’s last day at CNN. He’s one of the people the new management has fired in their attempt to make CNN a more pleasant viewing experience for Republicans and others lukewarm about democracy.

So here’s a partial transcript of the presidential speech that got so many people upset. It brings to mind what President Harry (“Give ’em Hell) Truman once : “I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell”.

THE PRESIDENT:  My fellow Americans, … I speak to you tonight from sacred ground in America: Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This is where America made its Declaration of Independence to the world more than two centuries ago with an idea, unique among nations, that in America, we’re all created equal.

This is where the United States Constitution was written and debated.

This is where we set in motion the most extraordinary experiment of self-government the world has ever known with three simple words: “We, the People.”  “We, the People.”

These two documents and the ideas they embody — equality and democracy — are the rock upon which this nation is built….

But as I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault.  We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise.

So tonight, I have come this place where it all began to speak as plainly as I can to the nation about the threats we face, about the power we have in our own hands to meet these threats, and about the incredible future that lies in front of us if only we choose it…..

But first, we must be honest with each other and with ourselves.

Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal.

Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.

Now, I want to be very clear — (applause) — very clear up front: Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans.  Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology…..

But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country.

These are hard things.

But I’m an American President — not the President of red America or blue America, but of all America.

And I believe it is my duty — my duty to level with you, to tell the truth no matter how difficult, no matter how painful.

And here, in my view, is what is true: MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution.  They do not believe in the rule of law.  They do not recognize the will of the people.

They refuse to accept the results of a free election.  And they’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections … to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.

MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards — backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.

They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.

They look at the mob that stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th — brutally attacking law enforcement — not as insurrectionists who placed a dagger to the throat of our democracy, but they look at them as patriots.

And they see their MAGA failure to stop a peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election as preparation for the 2022 and 2024 elections.

They tried everything last time to nullify the votes of 81 million people.  This time, they’re determined to succeed in thwarting the will of the people.

That’s why respected conservatives, like Federal Circuit Court Judge Michael Luttig, has called Trump and the extreme MAGA Republicans, quote, a “clear and present danger” to our democracy.

But while the threat to American democracy is real, I want to say as clearly as we can: We are not powerless in the face of these threats.  We are not bystanders in this ongoing attack on democracy.

There are far more Americans — far more Americans from every — from every background and belief who reject the extreme MAGA ideology than those that accept it.  (Applause.)

And, folks, it is within our power, it’s in our hands — yours and mine — to stop the assault on American democracy.

I believe America is at an inflection point — one of those moments that determine the shape of everything that’s to come after.

And now America must choose: to move forward or to move backwards?

… MAGA Republicans have made their choice.  They embrace anger.  They thrive on chaos.  They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.

But together — together, we can choose a different path.  We can choose a better path….

I know this nation.  I know you, the American people….

This is a nation that honors our Constitution.  We do not reject it.  (Applause.)

This is a nation that believes in the rule of law.  We do not repudiate it.  (Applause.)

This is a nation that respects free and fair elections.  We honor the will of the people.  We do not deny it.  (Applause.)

And this is a nation that rejects violence as a political tool.  We do not encourage violence.

We are still an America that believes in honesty and decency and respect for others, patriotism, liberty, justice for all, hope, possibilities.

We are still, at our core, a democracy.  (Applause.)

And yet history tells us that blind loyalty to a single leader and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy.

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 — each and every one of us.

That’s why tonight I’m asking our nation to come together, unite behind the single purpose of defending our democracy regardless of your ideology.  (Applause.)

We’re all called, by duty and conscience, to confront extremists who will put their own pursuit of power above all else.

Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans: We must be stronger, more determined, and more committed to saving American democracy than MAGA Republicans are to destroying American democracy. …Today, there are dangers around us we cannot allow to prevail.   We hear — you’ve heard it — more and more talk about violence as an acceptable political tool in this country.  It’s not.  It can never be an acceptable tool.

So I want to say this plain and simple: There is no place for political violence in America.  Period.  None.  Ever.  (Applause.)

We saw law enforcement brutally attacked on January the 6th.  We’ve seen election officials, poll workers — many of them volunteers of both parties — subjected to intimidation and death threats.  And — can you believe it? — FBI agents just doing their job as directed, facing threats to their own lives from their own fellow citizens.

On top of that, there are public figures — today, yesterday, and the day before — predicting and all but calling for mass violence and rioting in the streets.

This is inflammatory.  It’s dangerous.  It’s against the rule of law.  And we, the people, must say: This is not who we are.  (Applause.)

Ladies and gentlemen, we can’t be pro-insurrectionist and pro-American.  They’re incompatible.  (Applause.)

We can’t allow violence to be normalized in this country.  It’s wrong.  We each have to reject political violence with — with all the moral clarity and conviction this nation can muster.  Now.

We can’t let the integrity of our elections be undermined, for that is a path to chaos.

Look, I know politics can be fierce and mean and nasty in America.  I get it.  I believe in the give-and-take of politics, in disagreement and debate and dissent.

We’re a big, complicated country.  But democracy endures only if we, the people, respect the guardrails of the republic.  Only if we, the people, accept the results of free and fair elections.  (Applause.)  Only if we, the people, see politics not as total war but mediation of our differences.

Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election: either they win or they were cheated.  And that’s where MAGA Republicans are today.  (Applause.)

They don’t understand what every patriotic American knows: You can’t love your country only when you win.  (Applause.)  It’s fundamental.

American democracy only works if we choose to respect the rule of law and the institutions that were set up in this chamber behind me, only if we respect our legitimate political differences.

I will not stand by and watch — I will not — the will of the American people be overturned by wild conspiracy theories and baseless, evidence-free claims of fraud.

I will not stand by and watch elections in this country stolen by people who simply refuse to accept that they lost.  (Applause.)

I will not stand by and watch the most fundamental freedom in this country — the freedom to vote and have your vote counted be taken from you and the American people.  (Applause.)

Look, as your President, I will defend our democracy with every fiber of my being, and I’m asking every American to join me.  (Applause.)

… MAGA Republicans look at America and see carnage and darkness and despair.  They spread fear and lies — lies told for profit and power.

But I see a very different America…  Just look around.

I believed we could lift America from the depths of COVID, so we passed the largest economic recovery package since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  And today, America’s economy is faster, stronger than any other advanced nation in the world.  (Applause.)

I believed we could build a better America, so we passed the biggest infrastructure investment since President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  And we’ve now embarked on a decade of rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges, highways, ports, water systems, high-speed Internet, railroads.  (Applause.)

I believed we could make America safer, so we passed the most significant gun safety law since President Clinton.  (Applause.)

I believed we could go from being the highest cost of prescriptions in the world to making prescription drugs and healthcare more affordable, so we passed the most significant healthcare reforms since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act.  (Applause.)

And I believed we could create — we could create a clean energy future and save the planet, so we passed the most important climate initiative ever, ever, ever.  (Applause.)

… It’s never easy.  But we’re proving that in America, no matter how long the road, progress does come.  (Applause.)

… We have never fully realized the aspirations of our founding, but every generation has opened those doors a little wider to include more people who have been excluded before….This is the work of democracy…

We can’t afford to leave anyone on the sidelines.  We need everyone to do their part.  So speak up.  Speak out.  Get engaged.  Vote, vote, vote.  (Applause.)

And if we all do our duty — if we do our duty in 2022 and beyond, then ages still to come will say we … kept the faith.  We preserved democracy.  (Applause.)  We heeded … not our worst instincts but our better angels.  And we proved that, for all its imperfections, America is still the beacon to the world, an ideal to be realized, a promise to be kept….

We just need to remember who we are.  We are the United States of America.  The United States of America.  (Applause.)

Identifying Semi-Fascism Again

I posted something a few days ago regarding Biden’s use of “semi-fascism” to describe what’s happening in the Republican Party. The author I quoted said some of the factors he listed should be given more weight than others. Being in thrall to a single leader is, for example, more important than making a fetish of the young. Here’s another take on “semi-fascism” from Brooklyn writer John Ganz:

“Semi-fascist” is actually used by scholars….In Stanley Payne’s A History of Fascism: 1914-1945, the author employs it several times and invests it with real content. In fact, semi-fascism was a common phenomenon because fascist movements had so much difficulty obtaining popular support and had to meld with conservative allies and existing institutions. In most places, fascist movements either failed or became a junior tendency in a broader political context:

Thus in the absence of a plurality of generically fascist regimes and systems, it is possible to refer only to a number of semifascist or would-be fascist regimes, while in turn distinguishing between the character and structure of each type and subtype both among themselves and in comparison with diverse kinds of conservative (or at least nonsocialist) nonfascist authoritarian regimes.

One of Payne’s primary examples of “semifascism” is Franco’s Spain: “That early Franquism contained a major component of fascism is undeniable, but it was so restricted within a right-wing, praetorian, Catholic, and semipluralist structure that the category ‘semifascist’ would probably be more accurate.” That is to say, in Franco’s Spain, hardcore fascists were part of a broad coalition of a more traditional authoritarian right and were subordinated to the role of junior partner and eventually swamped by the regime. You can also see similar processes take place in Legionary Romania, Horthy’s Hungary, Vichy France, and Salazar’s Portugal. Even Mussolini’s Italy had to make serious accommodations with conservative forces and kept aspects of the constitutional order in place at the beginning of the regime.

So, that’s regimes, but what about movements? Surely those must be more ideologically pure or clear-cut? Well, how would you characterize Action Française, Croix de Feu, or the Ku Klux Klan for that matter? The America First Committee contained Nazi sympathizers and others who were just sincerely anti-war. So, it was quite literally “semi-fascist.” Huey Long was not really a fascist, but he attracted a number of fascist followers, like Lawrence Dennis and Gerald L. K. Smith, because he looked close enough to them. They thought he could be turned into a more full-blown fascist, which was probably similar to the attitude of people like Bannon towards T____. Suffice it to say, there are many historical movements that anticipate fascist-style mobilization and themes, or copied some aspects of fascism while being more traditionally conservative in their desired outcome, or that excited and inspired fascists without fully delivering.

… As the highly-respected scholar Robert Paxton points out, fascism is less a coherent ideology than a set of “mobilizing passions:”

  • a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions;
  • the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual
  • the belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external;
  • dread of the group’s decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;
  • the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;
  • the need for authority by natural leaders (always male), culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s destiny;
  • the superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason;
  • the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group’s success;
  • the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group’s prowess within a Darwinian struggle.

Now obviously some of these features apply more to T____ism than others, so “semi-fascism” seems to be right on the money.

The fact of the matter is this: T____ism at its core is a movement fixated on restoring national greatness through the charismatic leadership of a single providential individual who “alone can fix it.” It is obsessed with national decline and attacking internal enemies. Although more loosely organized and weaker than those of the classical fascisms, MAGA also has paramilitary formations that have tried to carry out this project to the point of attempting the overthrow an elected government. From the very beginning of his political ascent, he attracted the interest and enthusiasm of the extreme right. He was the kind of thing they’d been looking for for a long time. Perhaps now a disappointment, perhaps now a failure, but certainly a step in the right direction as far as they were concerned.

Biden was probably hedging: his aides were concerned if he said “fascism” it would be too strong. But he was landing on a pretty reasonable interpretation of the case….

Saying someone is fascist or semi-fascist does not make all their supporters to be goose-stepping stormtroopers or say they deserve to be in the dock at Nuremberg.

Many normal people, including conservatives and even former leftists, at one point or another supported Europe’s fascist regimes. They did so because one or another part of their appeals sounded good to them, or they did it as a protest vote against a system that wasn’t functioning well; many sensible and educated people thought of fascism as essentially technocratic solution to the ills of liberal democracy. Fascism was, at one time, and as I fear it is becoming again, attractive and persuasive, not just brutal and overwhelming. The problem was that it was not a solution to any of the crises that beset these democracies: it was a disastrous series of lies and delusions. And that is the reason to call this for what it is: to say, “Look, we’ve seen this before. It doesn’t end well….”

Unquote.

Biden will address the nation on television tonight concerning this ongoing threat to democracy. He might not use “semi-fascism” again but it’s clear what and who he’ll be talking about.

Fascist? Semi-fascist? You Be the Judge

You may have heard that Joe Biden said something impolite recently. At a fundraiser, he said:

What we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy. It’s not just T____, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I’m going to say something — it’s like semi-fascism.

Later, at a rally, he added:

The MAGA Republicans don’t just threaten our personal rights and economic security. They’re a threat to our very democracy. They refuse to accept the will of the people. They embrace — embrace — political violence. They don’t believe in democracy.

Today, the Guardian published an interview with Jenna Griswold, who chairs the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State (the officials who, among other things, administer state elections):

Colorado’s secretary of state, Jena Griswold, is warning anyone who will listen that the fate of free and fair elections in the United States hangs in the balance in this November’s midterm contests.

In many of the most competitive races for offices with authority over US elections, Republicans nominated candidates who have embraced or echoed [the] myth of a stolen election in 2020.

Griswold … is urging Americans to pay attention to the once-sleepy down-ballot contests for secretary of state – lest they lose their democracy.

“What we can expect from the extreme Republicans running across this country is to undermine free and fair elections for the American people, strip Americans of the right to vote, refuse to address security breaches and, unfortunately, be more beholden to Mar-a-Lago than the American people,” Griswold, 37, said….

Dana Milbank of The Washington Post welcomed Biden’s language:

Good for him. Those who cherish democracy need to call out the proto-fascist [my emphasis] tendencies now seizing the T____-occupied GOP.

Republican candidates up and down the November ballot reject the legitimate outcome of the last election — and are making it easier to reject the will of the voters in the next. Violent anti-government rhetoric from party leaders targets the FBI, the Justice Department and the IRS. A systemic campaign of disinformation makes their supporters feel victimized by shadowy “elites.” These are hallmarks of authoritarianism.

President Biden still apparently thinks most Republican politicians are “mainstream”. They haven’t fallen under Dear Leader’s spell. But the past six years have shown that the Republican “mainstream” is now the Republican minority.

So what about fascism or semi-fascism? How should we describe today’s Republican Party?

The internet has lots of descriptions of fascism. I found one from six years ago, published two weeks before the disastrous 2016 election. “How fascist is D____ T____?” was written by J. R. McNeill, a history professor:

Since the 1950s, dozens of top historians and political scientists have put fascism, especially the Italian and German versions, under the microscope. They’ve come up with a pretty solid agreement on what it is, both as a political ideology and as a political movement, factoring in all the (sometimes contradictory) things its progenitors said as they ascended to power. As a political ideology, fascism has eight main traits. As a political movement, it has three more. So: Just how fascist is T____?

Prof. McNeill then lists eleven fascistic traits and grades the Republican’s two-time  presidential candidate and favorite to run again on each trait, using a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 being Hitler or Mussolini-level fascism. Keep in mind that in 2016 the professor hadn’t yet seen the “billionaire” candidate in action as president.

1 — Hyper-Nationalism: “By the standards of American politics, he is a hyper-nationalist, but by the standards of historical fascism, he is not in the upper echelon”: 2 points

2 — Militarism: “By and large, [he] does not blithely recommend military action and often lambastes his rivals for allegedly incompetent military adventurism. He does not dress his followers in ersatz military garb” (well, that’s something): 2 points

3 — Glorification of violence and readiness to use it in politics: “[His behavior is] well short of the standard of Mussolini’s blackshirts or Hitler’s brownshirts, who not only called for political violence but resorted to it extensively”: 1 out of 4, but knowing what we know now, let’s give the professor the benefit of the doubt. It has to be 2 or 3 now, so let’s say 2 1/2.

4 — Fetishization of youth: 0 points. He has nothing like the Hitler Youth, for example.

5 — Fetishization of masculinity: “On swaggering machismo he gets full marks”: 4 points.

6 — Leader cult: “Fascists always looked to a leader who was bold, decisive, manly, uncompromising and cruel when necessary — because the parlous state of the nation required such qualities. Mussolini and Hitler … encouraged their followers to idolize them as Il Duce and der Führer.” (Remember “I alone can fix it” at the Republican convention? That should have immediately disqualified him): 4 points

7 — Lost-golden-age syndrome: Did someone say “Make America great again?”: 4 points

8 — Self-definition by opposition: Considering the myriad groups and individuals he’s condemned, it’s hard to believe he didn’t earn 4 points. But as Prof. McNeil says, “he does not advocate their annihilation, as Hitler did” (at least not in public): 3 points

9 — Mass mobilization and mass party: “He made a venerable [political party] into his vehicle” and “likes to refer to his following as a movement”. The professor only gave him 2 points, but since he later got 46% and 47% of the vote in two national elections (137 million votes in all, although less than his opponents), let’s bump his number up: 3 points

10 — Hierarchical party structure and tendency to purge the disloyal: “Fascist movements, like revolutions, ate their children. Anyone who displayed only tepid loyalty to the leader or who showed the potential to outshine the leader risked being purged or killed. So did followers who outlived their usefulness.” Prof. McNeil only gave him 1 point (no Night of the Long Knives), but given the fate of “moderate” Republicans these days: 2 points

11 — Theatricality: “In style and rhetoric, fascism was highly theatrical. Film and audio of Mussolini and Hitler make them seem like clownish buffoons, with their exaggerated gestures, their salutes, their overheated speeches full of absolutes and superlatives”. That sounds like somebody: 3 points

Prof. McNeil ended up giving the first-time presidential candidate 26 points out of a possible 44 on the fascist scale. His conclusion is interesting, especially given Biden’s recent remarks:

T____ is semi-fascist: more fascist than any successful American politician yet, and the most dangerous threat to pluralist democracy in this country in more than a century, but — thank our stars — an amateurish imitation of the real thing.

Having recent history in mind, I gave him 29 1/2 points. No Adolph or Benito, but definitely semi-fascist. And since nobody better represents today’s Republican Party, we should apply the same label to the outfit that should no longer be called the “Grand Old Party”.

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