President Biden is right: MAGA Republicans are a threat to our democracy

President Biden has stopped tiptoeing about the problem of protecting democracy from malicious actors who would destroy what has been built and refined since 1776. The President has spent the last few weeks rightfully challenging MAGA Republicans, culminating in his strongest speech since the 2020 campaign. “As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under attack,” President Biden said in a prime-time televised address last week. “MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards: backwards to an America where there is no right to free choice, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”

As expected, Republicans took offense and have since branded the speech divisive, claiming the president called half the nation extremists. But the President was very clear during the speech, and since then not every Republican is a MAGA Republican — in fact, not even every person who voted for former President Donald Trump qualifies as a MAGA Republican. The President spoke specifically of those who would undermine our democracy, who believe the election was stolen and were willing to do something about it.

And President Biden is right that many of Trump’s voters are not in that camp. Recall that Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers voted for Trump and House Representative Liz Cheney voted with him 92.9 percent of the time. But no one wanted to stand by and watch as the former president tried to undermine democracy and called on a thug to attack the Capitol.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a prime-time speech at Independence National Historical Park September 1, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. President Biden spoke about “the ongoing battle for the soul of the nation.”
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Both Cheney and Bowers have since been forced out of office, not for their accomplishments as lawmakers but for their lack of subservience to Trump and his disregard for democracy. Despite being one of the most conservative members of Congress, Cheney has now been dubbed “RINO” by her party.

It goes beyond officials. There are some Republicans who disagree so much with Democrat politics that they favor Trump even if they don’t like his style. Although these people are problematic when flirting with authoritarianism in exchange for a tax cut, they are not MAGA Republicans.

MAGA Republicans are people who justify everything Trump does and distrust any attempt to hold him accountable. They’re the people who call January 6th a “normal tourist visit.”

It is true that President Biden used harsh language last week, calling MAGA Republicans “semi-fascists.” But those who criticize him for doing so seem to have forgotten that Trump referred to Democrats as “fascists” in 2020 and Trump didn’t use “semi” as a qualification.

Trump was wrong – but President Biden is right to issue this important warning to protect our country.

Fascism was a political movement founded by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, whose groups of ex-military thugs known as Blackshirts were tasked with fighting in the streets and beating up local officials who did not support Mussolini. The blackshirts famously marched into the Italian capital of Rome in a planned uprising that resulted in the capture of the government. This is how fascist rule began.

One can easily see a parallel between the blackshirts and some of the militiamen involved in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Many of the insurgents were disgruntled ex-servicemen and not representative of the masses of men and women who have served our country in uniform, and according to the Justice Department the Oath Keepers militia, many members of which are ex-servicemen, were involved in planning the attack.

Members of another militia called the Wolverine Watchmen allegedly plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. It was reported that the group initially planned to storm the state capitol in Lansing before settling on the Whitmer plan. The alleged kidnappers were prepared to use a grenade launcher against Whitmer’s safety.

The militarism of Trump’s rule is another classic aspect of fascism. Although Trump is the first president in recent memory to avoid engaging the US in a new conflict, his answer to many domestic problems has been to send in the military. He threatened to do so during the riots in the summer of 2020, when Trump, according to ex-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, asked that protesters be shot in the legs. Former President Trump also reportedly wanted to send 250,000 soldiers to the southern border to act as immigration officers, and Trump considered using the military to seize voting machines after his crucial election defeat.

Given all of this, it shouldn’t surprise us that 54 percent of Republicans think civil war is likely in the next decade, although that should worry us. President Biden is not the reason they think so, contrary to what you will hear from conservative news pundits. He is a leader who has decided that he cannot let the country continue on this path and cannot proclaim it.

The President’s most solemn responsibility is to protect the American people and the Republic itself. And President Biden is right: Our people and our republic are in danger from the MAGA Republicans. We can no longer pretend that this threat does not exist.

dr Jason Nichols is an award-winning professor in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Maryland College Park and was the longtime Editor-in-Chief of Words Beats & Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture. He is the co-host of the Vince and Jason Save the Nation podcast.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own. President Biden is right: MAGA Republicans are a threat to our democracy

Rick Schindler

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