According to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, the Republican Party is going to stake their 2020 elections on accusing Democrats of being "socialists" in the hopes it will fire up the portion of the conservative base that still remembers when socialism was a red-meat devastating attack in American elections.
In his column, the Nobel Prize-winning economist ridiculed the notion and -- using how the GOP has acted since Donald Trump was ensconced in the Oval Office -- suggested that the GOP is a lot closer to becoming a fascist party than the Democrats are of full-fledged socialism.
"Leading Republicans, however, routinely describe Democrats, even those on the right of their party, as socialists. Indeed, all indications are that denunciations of Democrats’ 'socialist' agenda will be front and center in the general election campaign. And everyone in the news media accepts this as the normal state of affairs," Krugman wrote. "Which goes to show the extent to which Republican extremism has been accepted simply as a fact of life, barely worth mentioning."
Adding, "To see what I mean, imagine the media firestorm, the screams about lost civility, we’d experience if any prominent Democrat described Republicans as a party of fascists, let alone if Democrats made that claim the centerpiece of their national campaign," the economist made his case for Republican fascism.
"The other day The Times published an Op-Ed that used analysis of party platforms to place U.S. political parties on a left-right spectrum along with their counterparts abroad," he explained. "The study found that the G.O.P. is far to the right of mainstream European conservative parties. It’s even to the right of anti-immigrant parties like Britain’s UKIP and France’s National Rally. Basically, if we saw something like America’s Republicans in another country, we’d classify them as white nationalist extremists."
"One might even argue that the G.O.P. stands out among the West’s white nationalist parties for its exceptional willingness to crash right through the guardrails of democracy," he continued. "Extreme gerrymandering, naked voter suppression and stripping power from offices the other party manages to win all the same — these practices seem if anything more prevalent here than in the failing democracies of Eastern Europe."
Add to that, Krugman pointed out, the propensity for Trump's rabid followers to resort to violence in defense of their leader.
"Isn’t it remarkable how blasé we’ve become about threats of legal persecution and/or physical violence against anyone who criticizes a Republican president?" he asked. "So it’s really something to see Republicans trying to tar Democrats as un-American socialists. If they want to see a party that really has broken with fundamental American values, they should look in the mirror."
In the end, he suggested, how the GOP's bogus socialism charges play out will depend on a complicit media that is also cowed by GOP bullying.
"A lot will depend on how the news media handle dishonest attacks. Will we keep seeing headlines that repeat false claims ('Trump Says Democrats Will Ban Hamburgers), with the information that the claim is false buried deep inside the article?" he wrote. "Will we get coverage of actual policy proposals, as opposed to horse-race analysis that only asks how those proposals seem to be playing?"
"I guess we’ll soon find out," he teased.
You can read more here.