Historians warn GOP is pushing nation towards Trump-based authoritarianism

Two Kentucky historians have vehemently expressed concerns about the future of democracy in the United States and the possibility of Trumpism making a comeback after the 2022 midterm or the 2024 presidential election.

“It’s real, it’s serious and it’s scary,” said Brian Clardy, professor of history at Murray State University, of the potential for the nation to slide into an authoritarian, far-right-focused state. on white supremacy.

The solution to counteract that possibility, Clardy suggested, was for Democrats to point out just how extreme the GOP has become over the past decade – and what damage it could result if Republicans were given the chance to take matters back into their own hands.

“Democrats need to remind people that next year and into 2024 democracy itself will be on trial,” Clardy wrote.

John Hennen, professor emeritus at Morehead State University, agrees, adding that those who share such concerns must be part of a structure to “build democratic resistance” to Trumpism. “In short, we all have to become ‘antifa’ or anti-fascists,” Hennen said.

Clardy and Hennen’s comments were highlighted in an opinion piece written by a third historian, Berry Craig, professor emeritus of history at West Kentucky Community College in Paducah, in the Louisville Courier-Journal Wednesday.

Many pundits and political analysts believe that being anti-Trump will not be enough for Democrats to retain control of Congress beyond the mid-term of 2022. Indeed, the passage of important laws, including bills to protect voting rights and that of President Joe Biden Build Back Better economic package, are seen as necessary accomplishments to keep voters happy and avoid electoral defeat next year.

Keeping Congress out of the hands of the Trumpists, while ensuring that far-right Republicans do not win the presidency in three years, is key to keeping democracy intact, Craig wrote in his editorial.

Democrats don’t call Trump and his allies for who they are, Craig observed.

“Trump and his sycophants endlessly demagogue against President Joe Biden and his party, mistakenly portraying them as” radical socialists “and even” communists “who conspired to” steal “the 2020 election,” he said. he adds. Craig wrote. However, too many “Democrats refuse to call Trumpism what it is – a racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic and fanatic movement that is undemocratic and embraces violence and self-defense. “

The rise of authoritarian tendencies on the right is indeed worrying – and it’s a bigger problem than some might think, the data seems to suggest. According to research by Morning Consult, 26% of the American population qualifies as “very right-wing authoritarian”. This rate is more than double what is observed in Canada and Australia, the organization noted.

These trends translate into an acceptance of violent behavior for political ends. Morning Consult research also pointed out that more than one in three right-wing adults in the country (34%) viewed the attack on Capitol Hill almost a year ago as “to protect the US government.” ”, Not an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

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