You can’t listen to conservative talk radio for very long before you will hear one of its personalities call Joe Biden a socialist. It has been repeated over and over again in a relentless 24/7 propaganda campaign that seeks to tear Biden down. And, if you believe the polls, it’s working.
Is Biden a socialist? If you ask him, he’ll certainly say no. He may have some policies that are socialistic in that they are designed to help the most vulnerable members of society at the expense of the most privileged, but that is a far cry from the kind of autocratic socialism that conservative propagandists are trying to link him to. They want you to believe that Biden is a socialist like the leaders who created communist Cuba and the Soviet Union. It is interesting that conservatives want to link Biden in your mind to the Soviet regime, when it is in fact Trump who seems to embrace Putin, the man who is bent on restoring the USSR.
But this is a classic page out of the far right playbook. They accuse the left of undertaking some devious tactic, and it turns out not only that the accusation is false, but also that it is exactly what the conservatives are busy doing themselves. For instance, they accuse the Democrats of rigging the 2020 election, a falsehood that has been repeatedly disproved, while they are actively engaged in sabotaging minority voting rights and putting officials and laws in place that will enable them to overturn the popular vote if it goes against them, in other words, seeking to rig the 2024 election!
But back to Biden — whether he is or isn’t a socialist isn’t really the point. The point is that conservative propagandists are damaging him by calling him a socialist. And it’s time for the left to hit back and put an equally damaging, but arguably more accurate label on Trump and his enablers. They are fascists, and we should start saying so.
Fascists are enemies of democracy. They seek authoritarian control that stifles dissent and does not allow for free and fair elections. They lie to the public in order to lift up a controlling cadre of the power elites.
This is exactly what is at the root of today’s Trumpism. Trump wants to be Hitler and Mussolini, and he isn’t even hiding it. He has repeatedly expressed admiration for their current day ideological successors — Putin, Xi, Erdogan, Kim Jong Un, Duterte, Orban. And he has refused to respect the result of free and fair elections, telling the Big Lie that Biden was only elected because of fraud. This lie has led to the January 6 insurrection and a flurry of election repression laws. And to a purge of Republicans who refuse to play along.
The Big Lie is the perfect name for this, because it was the Big Lie that was at the root of the rise of Nazism. The famous idea is that if you tell a big lie often enough, the people will believe it. Note that according to Nazi wisdom, it has to be a big lie — because big lies are so outrageous that people assume no one could have just made them up. The Big Lie in the case of the Nazis was that the Jews were responsible for Germany’s decline and thus Germany had the right to defend itself by exterminating them. The phrase first appears in Hitler’s Mein Kampf, his foundational publication. Ironically, Trump’s iconic book, The Art of the Deal, also embraces lying. Here’s the Trump quote from the book: “You tell people a lie 3 times, they will believe anything. You tell people what they want to hear, play to their fantasies, and then you close the deal.”
Folks, this is how fascist nations are born. They start with a Big Lie, then a circle of supporters is assembled, and the masses are manipulated to become increasingly angry and violent, as we saw a year ago today on January 6. Indeed, that event had chilling similarities to the famous Munich Beer Hall Putsch and the Reichstag fire, the former being a failed first attempt by Hitler to seize power in which he was injured and arrested (did Trump know this? Is it why he didn’t go with the insurrectionists to the Capitol, because he didn’t want to risk getting injured or arrested like Hitler did?) and the latter being the burning of the German Parliament that led to Hitler’s consolidation of power. Google it — the similarities between Hitler and Trump are absolutely frightening!
If we don’t start calling it like it is, we are apt to become a dictatorship just like the ones that Trump so admires and just like the last one that was built on The Big Lie. So it’s time to call a fascist a fascist. And to say it again and again so people will understand it and believe it.
Trump and his political allies who seek to destroy democracy are fascists, and people who love democracy on both sides of the aisle must stop them before it is too late.