I’m not going to hijack the thread where these statements originated, but I can’t let them pass unrefuted.
The scope of this thread is to discuss only whether one believes DeSantis is not or is a fascist or a fascist-in-the-making, and whether your understanding affects how you will vote in the 2024 presidential election.
Let’s start with the definition of a fascist:
Here’s the definition according to the above-referenced dictionary:
A fascist is someone who supports or promotes fascism—a system of government led by a dictator who typically rules by forcefully and often violently suppressing opposition and criticism, controlling all industry and commerce, and promoting nationalism and often racism.
I think a certain segment of our society is drawn to this type of leadership. But let’s call it what it is: Fascism.
In my view, Ron DeSantis is absolutely a fascist. A baby fascist at the moment, but he’s hoping to grow into a full-fledged one.
Here’s where he engages in Othering, with his campaign to force people to Don’t Say Gay:
Racism? Check. Election police unit, mostly targeting Blacks:
Corporate control, punishing Disney for not going along with Don’t Say Gay:
More racism, illegally shipping migrants to Martha’s Vineyard:
Banning books on slavery and gender diversity:
DeSantis has said he views his work in Florida as an example of how he intends to run the country should he be elected to the office of dictator president. His pet policies in Florida are textbook fascism, so far as I can tell. I think we should take him at his word.
He’ll go as far as we let him, and that’s worth thinking about when deciding how to vote in 2024.
Yeah, DeSantis is a fascist, the aspirant Il Duce of Florida. He’s been watching Trump, taking notes on what works, and muttering under his breath, “If that moron can do it, why not me?” He doesn’t care about gays or abortion or or Christian Fundamentalism except what it can do to elevate him to power, and the only thing really holding him back is having just slightly more charisma than Ted Cruz.
@Aspenglow Tan the Conman/45 is definitely a fascist and today’s GOP is completely beholden to that alignment because their base will not support anything else at the national level, and increasingly so at the state and local level. To get into office in the red areas, one must be fascist.
We’re collectively destroyed the meaning of political terms. We’ve thrown out all memories of history. We’ve devalued the horrors of extremist thinking by lumping all actions, speeches, and thinking into tiny little boxes. I’ve been guilty of doing so myself, which means I can hardly criticize others.
But if you’re asking the question, then the answer is that DeSantis is not a capital “F” historic-level Fascist, although he probably is a small “f” modern-day fascist. The country is not in danger of slipping into Fascism, and the state of Florida is not going there either. DeSantis needs to be opposed in virtually everything he does and I say “virtually” only because I don’t know everything he does, still he’s well within the historic bounds of governors riding roughshod over their political enemies. The “Solid South” states of the Jim Crow era were individually and collectively acting far more vile and authoritarian than DeSantis can ever hope to. Huey Long alone was a hundred times more Fascist a governor and managed to do it all under a guise of populism rather than sheer bigotry.
Is the Republican Party as a whole striving for Fascism? That’s a far more fascinating question, which depends greatly on how much control Christian Nationalists can exert over the party. Today only the most extreme nutcases espouse the doctrine, yet no one will overtly denounce it and advocates appear to be gaining traction. Some say that DeSantis has openly done so in his speeches to hardcore Christian audiences. That’s obviously concerning, although every right-wing politician talks one way to certain narrow audiences and another to broader ones. If DeSantis stops speaking strictly to the base, he may slip over the line. Is Theocracy Fascism?
The control of industry and commerce part of fascism is going to be the hard part for these American fascists, as we have a certain independence baked right in to our system. But with this fool’s war on Disney, the state’s largest employer, he’s trying his best to check all the boxes. My fellow citizens’ acceptance of this BS is what astounds me.
Trump isn’t really a fascist, not because it wouldn’t want to be but because he can’t pay attention long enough to formulate even a vaguely consistent ideology or consolidate his power. If he had actually been smart, or even just listened to and followed smart people like Steve Bannon, he could very possibly have won a second term; instead, he persisted in his narcissistic belief that he’s actually the smartest brain in very room that contains him, which isn’t even true when he’s sitting on the crapper in the bathroom.
DeSantis is smart enough to put together an ideology that would actually make an appeal to fascism appealing. And despite the notion that the citizenry at large is too distant from the tenets of terminal populism to fall prey to a fascist regime, in fact virtually every signpost of emergent proto-fascism is out there to be observed, from patently fake claims of election fraud and a general embrace of racist conspiranoia to attacks on public integrity and slavishly following one leader after another. And while Hitler gets all the press in the history books today, he was one of a wide field of populist and proto-fascist politicians in Weimar-era Germany making the most of spilt beer from hatred of Jews, Communists, queers, Roma, and basically anyone who could be scapegoated, making appeals to a return to a fabricated simpler time when a Teutonic ‘Master Race’ ruled Europe.
DeSantis is reading the playbook and looking for the choicest of goats to skewer.
I agree with your entire post, but wanted to clarify my views on Trump as a fascist. I think he’s an inadvertent fascist. His thinking is too disordered to focus on the specific goals of accomplishing it.
Unfortunately, the powers assisting him are very focused on it. (As you know better than me.)
I agree that DeSantis is a proto-fascist, although along with SoaT, that Trump isn’t - if only because he’s too much the petulant child to have a more sophisticated agenda that that of a pouty 4 year old.
Proto, because he’s feeling his way into just how far he can go. If I was honest, I think that he’s surprised at how little pushback he’s gotten. It seems to be a pattern for him. Do something a little outrageous, check the waters, find no one minds, then on to the next (slightly worse) step. And on and on and on. It’s that sort of surrender from those that should check or halt his power that is going to keep pushing him from the Proto- to the full blown version if it continues unabated.
As to why it isn’t recognized, a few things. Americans like to think “it can’t happen here” and so they refuse to see it. Second, most only see fascism through the lens of Hitler’s Germany, and if any of those aspects are missing, it isn’t fascist. As others have said, Fascist Italy on the other hand is a much better match. And plenty of people just want to see things work well for them, or at least, see that the people they disagree with suffering, which DeSantis is doing in spades.
Lastly, he is absolutely following the playbook by scapegoating the weakest possible opponents to direct his base against, immigrants and LGBQT+ as the sources of everything that must be eliminated to fix all the problems. Sure his fight with Disney grabs a lot of headlines (and if it weren’t for the causal factor, a plague on both their houses), but the actual emotional investment is at those ‘others’ for him and his base.
But is he a good fascist, or a bad fascist? I don’t know about either.
I lived in Florida, it was certainly a beautiful state, but the politics were very, very strange. Like California, its basically ungovernable. You just have to pick your city and ignore things on the state level, ala New Orleans.
He has a valid point on some of his views, and I’m a very liberal person who has gotten real tired of the PC People Police. I think this is more what he is about, pushing back against the Far Left in a state that has always been pretty conservative. I might be worried about him on the national level w/ a Congress that is what it is now, but he would be far from a shoe in. To many he appears to be too big for his britches.
Indeed. I’m an American who relocated to Europe several years ago. The perspective this affords, getting outside the exceptionalist bubble and looking at the US from the outside, is really valuable.
It’s also really unsettling. From the view out here, looking back in, the climate of American politics and the long-term trendline are terrifying. Not only can “it” happen there, I think it’s inevitable within two or three election cycles, maybe four, that a major tipping point will be reached, unless something really disruptively significant happens to alter the country’s course and steer the US back toward sanity.
But to get back to the topic of the thread, yes, DeSantis is absolutely a fascist-in-the-making.