Time to Add the Republican Party to the Domestic Terrorism Watchlist
The terrorism we feared after 9/11 has now come to America but it came from within — it’s time to crush it
It’s time for American media to tell the truth about what’s happening in the GOP: As the Republican Party continues to embrace Donald Trump and his white supremacist fascist ideology, that party is making the transition into a full-blown domestic-terror-supporting organization.
No American political party should ever condone terrorists within its ranks. Prior to the 1960s, the Democratic Party allowed racist terrorists from the Klan into its ranks, even electing some to the House and Senate. Since then, the GOP has picked up the white supremacist vote. And, now, the terrorists who inevitably go along with supremacist racial doctrines have shown up as well.
Today Donald Trump will step onto a Nazi-rune-themed stage in Florida and proclaim his absolute dominance over the Republican Party.
That same Nazi rune, among others, is often carried or worn by followers of Trump because he has presided over a four-year transition of a large part of the Republican Party from an American “conservative” political party to a fascist party that supports strongman rule and rejects democracy in a constitutional republic.
A few Republicans, like Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney, have openly called out Trump’s lurch toward fascism. Even Mitch McConnell, for a few days, spoke out about Donald Trump‘s role in attempting to overthrow American democracy, although, as is common in countries making a rapid transition to fascism, he has now backed down and is again bending his knee to the strongman leader.
But even the few remaining elected Republican officials who are willing to call out Trump’s Big Lie that he won the election and his embrace of strongman government have been reluctant to point to the white supremacy that has been at the core of his life and ideology and now has become the foundational tenant of the modern Republican Party.
Republicans in over 30 states have introduced legislation just in the past 10 weeks specifically designed to make it harder for Black and brown people to vote. Republican Senator Ron Johnson even suggested during a congressional hearing that Black people, via the BLM and anti-fascist movements, were partially responsible for the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
The last time a rightwing white supremacist group seized political control of about half of America, we fought a Civil War to stop them and over 600,000 Americans died.
Fascist political parties typically celebrate death when it’s visited upon the scapegoats they used to gain and hold power.
As I pointed out a month ago, the Trump administration had been vigorously working toward actual, positive public health outcomes in February and March of last year, including a plan to send five masks to every family in America via the US Postal Service.
That all came to a screeching halt on April 7th, 2020 when the headline across the New York Times, the Washington Post, and on every single television network was that the majority of people who were dying from COVID-19 were Black and brown people living in Blue states. The Trump administration and rightwing media turned on a dime, and now over half a million Americans — disproportionately minorities and low-income Americans — are dead.
Trump did his best throughout his presidency to scapegoat Black and brown people, from claiming that a movement to stop police violence against Black people was some sort of anarchist group vent on burning down America, to selectively throwing brown children in cages and blocking immigration to the United States from majority-Black countries.
He amplified anti-Asian bigotry by using racist language like “Kung flu” to describe Covid and its origins. Like in Germany in the 1930s, elected members of his party including, most recently, Marjorie Taylor Green are also going after LGBTQ minorities.
Fascist political parties primarily build their political base on grievance.
In the 1920s, Hitler said that socialists and Jews had hijacked negotiations to end World War I and “stabbed Germany in the back,” by prematurely ending the war when Germany was on the verge of victory. Over the next decade, he amplified that Big Lie from a fringe conspiracy theory to a central tenant of German politics, using it to justify imprisoning and murdering trade union leaders, socialists and Jews.
Trump rose to power promising to “build a wall” to keep brown people from the south out of America and promising white people in America that he would impose “law and order“ on Black people who were simply demanding an end to institutional racism and the police violence that flows from it.
His shout-outs to Christianity were, in reality, shout-outs to white protestants. He even encouraged their televangelist and big-box grifter leaders, multimillionaires all, to ignore US tax law and openly support him and his fascistic politics from the pulpit.
He made the transparent assertion that he would keep the white suburbs “safe” from “those people” who he said “Cory Booker,” the Black senator from New Jersey, was going to “move into them.”
The private school movement in America really started after the 1954 Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court decision that outlawed racial segregation in public schools. Ever since then, it has been primarily a white phenomenon, and Trump put this on steroids with his appointment of white billionaire Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.
In the classic fashion of strongman fascists, Trump constantly called out to police and rank-and-file military, encouraging the growing fascist and white supremacist elements in their midst. He repeatedly encouraged violence during his rallies and even in a speech to chiefs of police.
And now the acting Chief of the Capitol police tells us the same Republican sub-groups who planned and staged the January 6th coup attempt want another try, this time during a State of the Union address, to “blow up the Capitol” and “kill as many Members [of Congress] as possible.”
Even when Trump and his GOP allies talked about economics, it was in the context of protecting white people’s jobs from Asians and from brown people south of the border.
With every one of these instances, Trump and his political allies were amplifying the white supremacist streak that has infected the Republican Party since Richard Nixon declared himself a “law and order president,” and said that he represented the white “silent majority.”
The GOP had several opportunities to turn away from the politics of scapegoating and racial hatred, specifically during the George W. Bush presidency and the Mitt Romney candidacy.
Instead, Bush lied us into war against a Muslim country filled with brown people, and Mitt Romney famously trashed low-income people, implying the white supremacist meme of “lazy Black and brown people,” as the “47%” who don’t pay income taxes.
Harassment and hate crimes targeting Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Muslims and Asian Americans have exploded since Trump declared his candidacy in 2015 and his style of rhetoric what main stream in the GOP.
Every night on Fox News, you will hear grievance and outrage; it’s the coin of the realm on rightwing hate radio and across Trump-supporting websites and “news” organizations as well.
A bizarre and racist conspiracy theory, echoing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other blood libels that Hitler used in the 1930s, has seized what may be a full majority of the Republican base.
By embracing Donald Trump and continuing to support his Big Lie that he actually won the 2016 election, Republicans like Steve Scalise (who, when running for Congress from Louisiana, said that he was “David Duke without the baggage”), continue to expand and amplify this white supremacist neofascist movement within their party.
In Florida this weekend, we’re seeing an absolute celebration of this, complete with an ironically Made-in-Mexico golden statue of Dear Leader.
In all this, today’s Republican Party continues to encourage racial and partisan violence and the rise of a police state in America.
Those who continue to support the January 6th Trump coup attempt by echoing the Big Lie that animated it are openly working to destroy the United States of America and the ideals of liberty and pluralism on which it was founded.
They sneer at our national motto, e pluribus unum, which means “out of many, we become one.”
They try to rewrite the history of the Statue of Liberty, and are actually passing laws in some states to block the teaching of the true history of slavery and racial oppression in this country.
The terrorism Americans so feared after 9/11 has now come to America. But it came from within, and we must have the courage to explicitly identify it, call it out, and begin honest and serious efforts to crush it.