Editor's note: This piece was co-authored by William E. Perry.
President Biden referred to Donald Trump and roughly half the country that supports him as “semi-fascists” during a recent fund-raising speech. A week ago, Robert Reich, a prominent media commentator and former U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, suggested that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was a “fascist.” While some would attribute these comments to election year name-calling, referring to the two front-running Republican Party leaders as “fascist” reveals just how unprincipled, deceitful, or blind the Democrat Party leadership really is.
The reason for the popularity of both Trump and DeSantis is that they both focus on delivering solutions to everyday problems that people care about. They are the true anti-fascists, believing in limited government, law, and order, with an emphasis on individual freedom and responsibility. Both Trump and DeSantis believe that the primary role of government is to protect the unalienable rights of the people, and that part of the genius of the Constitution is the 10th Amendment which reserves to the states and the people all powers not delegated to federal government.
If there are fascists in America today, many are found on the left side of the political spectrum, embedded in the Democrat Party. And that is consistent with the history of fascism in both Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, where fascism grew out of the socialism of the left. Adolph Hitler rode to power as the leader of the National Socialist Party. Benito Mussolini was a revolutionary socialist up until 1919, whereupon he combined socialism with nationalism to create fascism. With the help of the fascist paramilitary, he became prime minister in 1922, and then consolidated power and established a one-party totalitarian state, which joined in alliance with Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
In his September 1 prime-time speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, complete with a dark red backdrop and the flanking of military guards, President Biden claimed he had the way to win the “battle for the soul of the nation.” His militant speech repeatedly disparaged supporters of Donald Trump’s MAGA movement and condemned anyone who questioned the honesty and legitimacy of the 2020 elections. He specifically charged those election deniers as being threats to “democracy.”
In fact, Biden’s staged speech with his many references to “democracy” were more reminiscent of Mussolini’s edict—"All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state”—than they were connected with of the ideas and safeguards that have made the United States the oldest, freest, and most successful constitutional republic in the history of mankind.
Trump and the MAGA supporters are the antithesis of fascists, for their general love for freedom hinges on minimizing interference from the state. Additionally, they have a natural inclination to embrace solutions coming from individual creativity and entrepreneurial initiative rather than government programs. Their instincts and choices clearly reflect a preference for freedom. And freedom is the polar opposite of fascism.
Whereas the Republican Party recognizes the virtue of freedom, the Biden Democrat Party has different priorities. What is a matter of record regarding changes in the Democrat Party since the rise of Barack Obama is increasing intolerance and the embrace of radical ideology. And now Democrats want to extend that party control into the state by eliminating their opposition. And as we survey the last five years, that control is ever expanding and includes using schools to demoralize and indoctrinate children and extending influence into the establishment and social media to control what people say or think. Cancel culture and censorship have now been normalized by the Democrat Party. This is a harbinger of fascism not a free society.
Fascism is a system wherein businesses are coopted to serve the state. During the prior Democrat administration of Barack Obama, unprecedented controls by the state enveloped about one-third of the U.S. economy in three sectors—health care, banking, and energy. Under Biden, we have seen an expansion of creeping fascism with greater cooption of the media and social media, bringing 40 percent of the U.S. economy under government influence and control. Even more troubling than the creeping fascism within the U.S. economy, the FBI and other government agencies have been politically weaponized to provide cover for Biden and undermine Trump. This troubling development is the immediate precursor to the total loss of political freedom.
It has always been a high priority of fascist totalitarian states to bring the major media under state control. Mussolini contended that “Fascism requires militant journalism.” Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda for Hitler’s Third Reich described the secret of propaganda and the media as a process by which “people who are to be persuaded by it should be completely immersed in the ideas of the propaganda, without realizing that they are being immersed in it.”
The rise of social media in America poses an additional challenge because it promotes a kind of groupthink conformity that subtly marginalizes and silences opposing views. It might even be that propaganda in a pluralistic and free nation like America is more effective in shaping thought and attitudes than in fascist totalitarian societies with state-controlled propaganda because people there are more cynical and distrustful of media messaging.
The good news is that American voters from across the political spectrum continue to wake up and see the latent fascist anti-democratic tendencies of the Democrat Party. Let’s hope that will steepen and broaden that red wave coming on November 8.
Scott S. Powell is senior fellow at Discovery Institute and author of anew book, Rediscovering America, #1 Amazon New Release (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1637581599).
William E. Perry, an international trade attorney, was formerly employed by the U.S. Commerce Department and worked for the International Trade Commission.