Vermont Conversation: America is in the 'legal phase' of fascism, says Jason Stanley

Mathew Andreini</a></p> " data-image-caption="<p>Pro-Trump rioters broke through barricades and clashed with police in an unprecedented and violent disruption of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday. Photo by <a href=https://vtdigger.org/2022/01/09/vermont-conversation-america-is-in-the-legal-phase-of-fascism-says-jason-stanley/"http://mathewandreini.com/">Mathew Andreini</a></p> " data-medium-file="https://vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/andreini_CAPITOLinsurrection__01062021_03-300x200.jpg" data-large-file="https://vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/andreini_CAPITOLinsurrection__01062021_03-610x407.jpg" width="610" height="407" src='data:image/svg+xml,%3Csvg%20xmlns=%22http://www.w3.org/2000/svg%22%20viewBox=%220%200%20610%20407%22%3E%3C/svg%3E' data-src="https://vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/andreini_CAPITOLinsurrection__01062021_03-610x407.jpg" alt="Trump flags in front of US Capitol" class="lazyload wp-image-347231" data-srcset="https://vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/andreini_CAPITOLinsurrection__01062021_03-610x407.jpg 610w, https://vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/andreini_CAPITOLinsurrection__01062021_03-300x200.jpg 300w, https://vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/andreini_CAPITOLinsurrection__01062021_03-125x83.jpg 125w, https://vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/andreini_CAPITOLinsurrection__01062021_03-768x512.jpg 768w, https://vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/andreini_CAPITOLinsurrection__01062021_03-1536x1024.jpg 1536w, https://vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/andreini_CAPITOLinsurrection__01062021_03-2048x1366.jpg 2048w" data-sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" />
Reflecting on the events of January 6, 2021, author Jason Stanley warns that Donald Trump and his followers employ classic fascist tactics to spread their message and secure power. Photo by Mathew Andreini

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President Biden used the F-word — fascism — on Thursday to describe the struggle confronting America as he marked the first anniversary of a failed coup attempt by a pro-Trump mob. Biden said that for American democracy to survive, it must confront and “triumph over the forces of fascism” as previous generations have done.

Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale University and author of the bestselling 2018 book "How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them" explained, “Fascism is a cult of the leader who promises national restoration in the face of supposed humiliation by minorities, leftists, immigrants, feminists, and the LGBT community.” A fascist leader, he said, “promises that that only he can protect the nation, protect its traditions from this threat, and restore lost glory.”

Stanley warns that Donald Trump and his followers employ classic fascist tactics to spread their message and secure power. Denying election results, creating alternative realities, attacking science and even targeting reproductive rights are all pages out of the authoritarian handbook.

Stanley said that fascism has now entered a legal phase in the U.S. 

“What we're seeing is a slow legalization of things like anti-protest laws. … We're seeing the worst of all situations — like Georgia and Arizona, where the state legislature can appoint its own slate of electors, thereby enabling a stealing of an election. And we've already seen the takeover of the courts," he said.

Despite the fact that Trump lost the 2016 election by 3 million votes, he appointed “one third of the Supreme Court, [who] are very young, hard-right jurists," Stanley said. The result is that “the minority of the country is dictating the policy and imposing their will on everyone else.”

“I am extremely alarmed,” Stanley said of the current state of democracy in the U.S.

“I don't want to give this sense that it's out of our hands, because it's not … It's not too late to have a uniform consensus between conservatives and progressives and liberals and libertarians and say, 'Can't we all agree that our democracy should be protected?' I don't think it's too late," he said.

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David Goodman

About David

David Goodman is an award-winning journalist and the author of a dozen books, including four New York Times bestsellers that he co-authored with his sister, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. His work has appeared in Mother Jones, New York Times, Outside, Boston Globe and other publications. He is the host of The Vermont Conversation, a VTDigger podcast featuring in-depth interviews about local and national topics. The Vermont Conversation is also an hour-long weekly radio program that can be heard on Wednesday at 1 p.m. on WDEV/Radio Vermont.

Email: [email protected]

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