Morbid Monday: The U.S. fascist movement is still going, and Democratic Party leadership isn’t doing anything to stop it

In my opinion, the best shot the Democratic Party had at reversing the country’s slide into fascism was to nominate and elect Bernie Sanders as president. I suppose you could argue that that means they never had a “best chance”, but here we are. The second best chance is for the Democratic leadership to do everything in their power to both improve the material conditions of the American people, and to crack down on those who attempted to overturn the 2020 election.

The problem is, while I think this advice is good, I don’t think it’s enough. Even if they were to come down hard on everyone involved, if the general public doesn’t see their lives improving under Biden, they will ask – as some are already – why it was so important to remove Trump and the GOP. Throughout my life, when the Dems have had power, they have also had a tendency to act as though they lost the election anyway, and spend all their time trying to meet Republicans in the middle. If Pelosi, Biden, and Schumer believe in anything beyond their devotion to capitalism, it’s a nebulous conception of “The Process”. They don’t actually have material goals in mind that they want to fight for. It seems their goal is to be the “team” that always plays by the rules, even if the other team doesn’t even pretend to try. The GOP actually pushes the boundaries of what they can get away with to achieve their material goals, and guess what? It works. Everyone knew that Trump’s promised Muslim ban was unconstitutional, and they tried it anyway. When it got shot down, they adjusted the content and their legal argument and tried again, until the Supreme Court decided it could stand. There was no punishment for trying and failing, just as there is never punishment for those in power.

The Democratic leadership does not believe healthcare is a right. They do not believe housing is a right. They do not believe food or water are rights. They do not believe education is a right.

If they did, then they would be trying to ensure those rights existed in reality.  They would be pushing the boundaries of what’s known to be possible, because their goal would be to get those material results, not to “play the game” better or something.

They can’t even be bothered to look like they’re fighting for the rest of us, and it’s going to help the Republicans in the midterms, and in 2024. This is not a foregone conclusion. They could actually fight to deal with climate change and to make life better for people, but they don’t want to.

And so the threat of a fascist United States continues to loom, and those sworn to defend American democracy are either working on the side of fascism, or are in denial.

If you’re not involved in any form of community networking or organizing, that should change. Talk to friends and neighbors. Talk to family. If you need to start online, start online. Go through the suggestions and resources here, and if you can’t find anything to do, then think and talk about what’s preventing you. Comment about it if you like.

Our best shot at blocking a far-right movement is with left-wing policies that directly address the problems that are blamed on the groups the fascists try to blame for everything, and unapologetically work to build up the collective power of the working class. All we have is us.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Amanda Marcotte has a good piece up at Salon today making the same point about the Dems’ failure to extend the US eviction moratorium:

    Instead, Congress proceeded to begin a seven-week recess. … this pitch for the value of competent government will be drastically undermined if millions of Americans lose their homes and are turned out on the streets. … No number of self-congratulatory statements about expanding broadband and shoring up roads and bridges with infrastructure spending will overcome the alarmist right-wing messaging painting unhoused people as a public menace. … if Democrats don’t do something soon to fix this, it’s also going to be a huge political problem for them. … It is, after all, really hard to sell that bright-and-shiny image of America bouncing back if those fresh new roads and bridges you’re building are surrounded by tent cities.

  2. says

    It reminds me of how Chuck Schumer handed Trump and McConnell a whole bunch of judicial nominations uncontested so they could all go on vacation.

  3. Extinguisher says

    Doomers get replaced with videos of more useful creatures. If you’re feeling hopeless, get help, and try to find something to do that will make the world better in measurable way, however small. It’s the feeling of total helplessness that’s the real killer here.

  4. StevoR says

    @ ^ Extinguisher : Charming troll. Get yourself some help ASAP you pitiful fool.


    Yes, this is disappointing and worrying but I must say its still bloody good that Trump is no longer in power and making things so much worse. Biden has been better than I feared he would be but yes, the pressure needs to be maintained. It is still relatively early days in a very long slog and mayeb the climate horrors wer’re seeing every day on our news are finally starting tosink in for even the apathetic people and centrists? Hope so and not giving up here because wher ewillthat take us and what good will that do? At least Biden and teh Democratic leadership, weak as it is, can be persuaded to act as oppsoed to the side that goes out of their way to hurt even themselves to try and upset (“trigger”) good people.

  5. StevoR says

    Off topic but a trio of recent~ish stories here from space dot com in case you haven’t seen them already :

    So much for the erstwhile denialist argument that clouds will save us and restroe balence .. 🙁

    Geoengineering possibilities discussed but hiding a key passing of a distuirbing milestone :

    In 2021, Earth reached a bleak milestone: The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere hit 150% of its value in preindustrial times, according to the U.K. Met Office. To prevent the worst effects of climate change, the world needs to decrease net emissions of carbon dioxide to zero by 2050.

    On the Holocene temperature conundrum being resolved confirming ” that Earth is hotter than it’s been in at least 12,000 years, and perhaps even the last 128,000 years, according to the most recent annual global temperature data. “

    Then there’s been the record ice-melt last week (?) in Greenland too..

  6. says

    @StevoR – yeah, at this point I’m not trying too hard to keep up with all the news, so much as find things about which I can say something useful. I think I might start doing a Saturday “here’s what happened this week” post, though.

    I also appreciate the links you (and others) provide – they make the posts more interesting/useful than if I was the only contributor.

  7. Allison says

    [T]he best shot the Democratic Party had at reversing the country’s slide into fascism was to nominate and elect Bernie Sanders as president.

    There’s no way Sanders would have been elected. Biden had nothing that the Republicans and Trumpkins could pin on him, and he still barely got elected. The accusation of “socialism” still has a lot of scare value in the USA, and they would have used it relentlessly.

    I suspect that, for all of their problems, Biden and the Democratic party leadership are about the best we can hope for at this point. When you consider that a huge fraction (maybe even a majority) of the USA population is still responding to the realities facing us (global warming, COVID, demographic changes, global political instability, etc.) with denial and temper tantrums, we should count ourselves lucky that at least one branch of our national government is even willing just to deal with reality.

  8. says

    Obviously I disagree with your assessment. I think Bernie would have won by a larger margin. Keep in mind that they call ALL Democrats socialists, and they ran against Bernie anyway.

    Except that they didn’t have anyone opposing their “anti-socialist” message, they just had Biden’s people insisting that they’re not socialists.

    Biden was a worse candidate for that moment and for that election, and he’s a bad president to have right now.

    Regardless, that doesn’t change the policies that I think are needed to deal with the situation we’re in, and the “best” we can get from the Democratic Party leadership clearly isn’t enough. I’ll have a new piece on building and exercising collective power tonight or tomorrow, but in the meantime, I will once again recommend my ongoing effort to figure out how to get around the limitations of our broken and corrupt electoral process.

  9. klatu says

    Oh, you did the ‘Morbid Monday’ thing. I love it, in a not creepy way!


    It is still relatively early days in a very long slog and mayeb the climate horrors wer’re seeing every day on our news are finally starting tosink in for even the apathetic people and centrists?

    I guess the point is that eventually the costs of climate change will become un-ignorable. Or maybe the point is that our political leadership will only act when they notice that you can’t bargain with physics.


    There’s no way Sanders would have been elected.

    The same was said about Biden. That said, either side of this debate is moot at this point. Biden won, not Sanders. So the world is stuck with a perpetual do-as-little-as-noticeable president of th US.

    Yes, Biden was surprising in his first few days of office. He kind of did more than people expected. But maybe that just means that people’s expectation were pretty fucking low.

    Let’s also not forget that Bernie Sanders was basically backstabbed by the democratic establishment as soon as it looked like he actually stood a chance of winning. Power serves power, and Sanders positioned himself in opposition to the *system*. It’s really no wonder why things didn’t work out for him.

    And all that said, should you (Americans, I mean) really pin your hopes and dreams on an 80-year old white man? Does your entire political class really not contain anyone under 50 with the same values? My concern is purely practical: Why bet on someone who might as well be dead next week? Maybe that’s crass but this “Lonesome hero” bullshit you people keep pushing is such nonsense. You need a change in your entire political system. Swapping out a few candidates here or there won’t save you (or us from you), at the rate you’re going.
    The solution is a cultivation of values, not people. Maybe you should actually vote for a third party next time.

  10. StevoR says

    @ ^ Klatu : Yes. That “eventually” looks like its happening anyday (even everyday?) now given the headlines globe-wide, the Unprecedented Bushfires in Australia the other year, Europe burning now, the heatwave and massive forrest fires in the USA now, the storms, floods etc .. we’re seeing globe-wide all breaking more and more records. I’m not sure how much more can be taken and people not just laugh in Deniers faces although of course they’ve already caused so much harm. History will not be kind to them or their funders – and I hope we see retrospective laws and trials holding those who helped cause this to account.

    Yes, myexpectations for Biden were low and remaion not that high but still he remains so much vastly better than the alternative and, yes, we can throw around all sorts of hypotheticals about what might have been now and they are all moot. Biden had an overwhelming, fair(ok, fair ~ish anyhow) win in the Democratic nomination and he managed to beat Trump in a landslide even bigger than Hillary’s technical win that she was robbed of by the Electoral College las.. no, time before last now.

    I don’t pin my hopes and dreams on Biden – he may well be dead before his term ends but I’m stillgla dhe ‘s inpower now and gald he’s been better than I feared he might be. Hes also 78 not 80. Cultivationof values not peopel yes. Third party?> Not until the USA has political reforms that stop third parties being mere spoilers incapable of winning but capable of causing others to lose. The consequences of Nader’s and Jill Stein’s counter-productive runs for POTUS not demonstrated that enough already for you?

    @ 6 & 3 Abe Drayton :Thankyou. Much appreciated and much better, big improvemnet there and much more worthreadingadn seeing! Aye-ayes are awesome critters and love them. 🙂

    @ 7. Allison :Sadly – or maybe very happily – we will never know that for sure. Bernie might’ve beaten Trump – or he might have lost to him and either way, what good is arguing about the hypotheticals there going to do us all now?

  11. billseymour says

    klatu @9:

    Let’s also not forget that Bernie Sanders was basically backstabbed by the democratic establishment …

    I remember a “Politics Monday” segment on The PBS Newshour, back when Sanders was still a viable candidate, in which Amy Walter could hardly construct a simple declarative sentence without some version of “electable” in it.  It wasn’t even subtle.  I would, however, describe it as shameless.

  12. StevoR says

    @ ^ billseymour : Do you think that one interview mattered & made that much difference?

    Or even a lot of suchlike interviews.

    Do you think it matters now?

    Do you think a hypothetical President Sanders would do better with the current Senate and SCOTUS in place? Another moot point of course.

    What would you have us do as in response to your comment here other than wish things were different and better which, yes, I already do? Maybe more with a possible hypothetical President Warren or even POTUS Kamala Harris or, hey, imagine Al Gore had won (More convincingly that is) over Bush the lesser in 2000* or Hilary Clintonion 2008 (yes 2008) or .. (insert about a hundred other alternative universe now fictions here.) But still..

    * If say Nader hadn’t intervened like, oh, a certain person coud have done in 2016 had they dropped out much earlier and condemned misogynist supporters much earlier .. You think you’re bitter about past election histories? Yeah. Fair enough. So are many others -me included incas ethatwasn’t already crystal clear – for equally arguable reasons and equally fictonal moot scenarios.

  13. StevoR says

    Imagine Sanders never ran in 2020 realising he was too old and had too much baggage and put his full weight and support behind Elizabeth Warren… If only. Or ingrudging fairness,vice-versa and therewa sone and only one clear progeressive candidate for the Democratic party nomination like there ended up being just one clear righter wing less progressive centrist candidate when the other ones dropped out.. If flippin’ only. Sigh.

    Tangential and changing the topic to something also horrifically saddening but guess you’ve already heard and yet in case you haven’t :

    *Asterisk correction If say HRC had been the Democratic nominee and won in 2008 not Obama with Obama then suceeding her.. So very many things that never happened but might’ve been so wonderful though we’ll nevre atcually know. Which is not unique to the US of A. If only Bill Shorten was PM of my country now or Julia Gillard or if only Mars was where Venus is now and vice-versa or Pluto orbited where Mars does or how convenient would it be if Pi = exactly 3 but all sadly (or otherwise?) not to be..

  14. billseymour says

    StevoR:  you’re making a straw man argumnent.

    I have no idea whether Sanders could do any more with the current Congress than Biden can, probably not; nor do I think that one segment of a TV news show could make any significant difference.  I was just giving one example of neo-liberal bias that clearly exists among “establishment” Democrats and in the main news media, even The PBS Newshour.

  15. says

    Voting third party will not, in my opinion, solve anything. The way the U.S. is set up, third parties are nearly impossible to make relevant. The focus needs to be on organizing separate from the electoral system. At some point that also translates to organization WITHIN that system, the American government is basically designed to make change as difficult as possible while still being technically allowed.

    Beyond that, I don’t know that there’s anything to be gained from speculating on what might have been. We should expect those in power to stop at nothing to keep their power, and that means we should expect shady tactics from the Democratic Party.

    That means we need to organize enough collective power to overcome the ruling parties. That means supporting the left-most candidate in elections, and it can mean running for office or participating in campaigns. What matters is that we go beyond just the electoral system that got us here. At this stage, organizing and networking matters more, as far as I can tell.

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