Greg Sargent at The Washington Post is worried about the growing trend of Republican candidates aping Trump’s authoritarian style to excite the GOP’s base:
The question all this raises is whether there is a large swath of GOP primary voters who are fully prepared to march behind Trump into full-blown authoritarianism. The original plan was for Republicans to make tax cuts the centerpiece of their midterm campaign agenda. But in the Virginia gubernatorial race, the Republican candidate resorted to Trumpian xenophobia and a defense of Confederate statues to activate the GOP base, and in the Pennsylvania House special election, Republicans cycled the tax cuts out of their messaging. There just doesn’t appear to be much of a constituency for Paul Ryan Republicanism among today’s GOP voters.
I like Sargent because he actively shuns the “both parties are guilty” garbage that many of his fellow reporters traffic in. Despite this, he still suffers from that curious Beltway Media reluctance to see white Republican voters for who they really are.
There is no question about whether or not a large swath of white Republican voters would goose step their way into authoritarianism. They’ve made it quite clear that they want it. They see ending democracy as far preferable to the end of white (male) hegemony over the United States.
- They view voter suppression as a legitimate electoral tactic.
- They no longer consider any president but their own to be legitimate.
- They consider control of the Supreme Court to be their by right of birth.
- They’re fine with a foreign power interfering with our election on their behalf.
- They literally want Trump to arrest his political opponents.
- They literally want Trump to shut down dissenting news outlets.
- They literally want Trump to put himself above the law because they like the idea of an unaccountable strongman for a leader.
These are not people that might follow Trump into fascism, these are people who are openly waiting for him to make the jump because it’s the only way to keep white people in charge of a nation that is slipping from their grasp.
Once Trump showed Republicans that they can run on fascism and white nationalism and win, it was inevitable that more would follow in his footsteps. The base will never go back to dog whistle racism voluntarily; they have a taste of white power now and they won’t give it up without violence.
Greg Sargent is not asking the right question. The question isn’t “whether there is a large swath of GOP primary voters who are fully prepared to march behind Trump into full-blown authoritarianism”, it’s how large is that swath and how violent are they going to become when they fail to replace American democracy with the fascist enthostate they desperately want?