Is Democracy Under Attack?

A friend of mine recently said “I am at the point where I think a dose of real fascism might be the only way to teach the MAGA crew”. Certainly tongue in cheek, but in Wisconsin and nationally, as the possible outcome of next week’s mid-term elections come into focus, we may be getting closer to a real dose of fascism than we know.

For whatever faith we can put in national polling data, Republicans are favored to gain the majority in both the House and the Senate. Given the Republican efforts to suppress voter turnout across the country, engage in voter intimidation and knowing that there are voters who see little point in voting, it does appear that those polls may be accurate.

Without a strong turnout of those discouraged voters and young voters, we should expect Republican victories and another two years of deadlock and inter-party hostility. Of course, with the near total lack of respect and cooperation amongst politicians of both parties, regardless of who wins we can still expect more of the same, little progress, more hostility and continuing disregard for physical violence in the name of MAGA.

I would also guess that if Republicans do take a majority, they will see it as a “mandate” for their political philosophy, which, since their great walk-back in mid January of 2021, has become one of near total support of the former president.

The MAGA philosophy as President Biden described it, of “semi-fascism” was spot on accurate. While they didn’t succeed in stopping the transfer of power, they certainly tried as the official leader of the MAGA movement, “gleefully” watched it unfold. Overthrow of a democratic process, attempts to install an unelected president—look up the definition in any dictionary.

Wisconsin appears to be fitting squarely into the national trend with the race for governor, US Senate and contested Congressional races all looking favorable for a Republican sweep. Wisconsin’s gerrymandered voting districts have pretty much ensured Republican control of the state legislature for the next 10 years, a flip of a few more seats and their majority would be veto-proof.

Most voters are not in favor of one party control and statewide races can, as happened in 2018, trend to Democrats. Voters are supposed to choose their elected officials, yet the Republicans have, through gerrymandering, chosen their voters, ensuring their firm control of the political process for years.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michaels has said that if elected, he intends to get rid of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission and that after he is elected, Republicans will never loose another election in Wisconsin.

Senator Ron Johnson has, although he denies it, expressed a desire to re-evaluate (“read” severely cut) and privatize Social Security and Medicare, and told women if they don’t like the recent Supreme Court Dobbs vs. Jackson ruling they can leave. Senator Johnson also has a fondness for the insurrectionists who visited the Capitol on January 6th during their “peaceful protest”.

Derrick Van Orden Republican candidate for Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional district proudly attended the January 6th insurrection in Washington and on a campaign stop said that leftists cannot really be Christians– a would be politician and apparently a theologian as well.

I suspect the mid-term elections will not pass without controversy, a Republican party that feels the only fair election is one that they win has removed itself from the democratic process and fallen into politics that past generations have fought wars to end. While definitions of political structures can be complex, fascism is one of those things that, “we will know it when we see it” and we don’t want to see it, ever again.

Semi-fascim may be an understatement, and unfortunately, if we let the MAGA folks get their way and have their real dose of fascism, we will all get the dose and be in a place none of us should ever want to be.

Jim Goodman is a dairy farmer from Wonewoc, Wisconsin.