‘Dear leader’ Trump fuels ‘race to bottom’ as GOP ‘leans into fascism’: columnist
President Donald Trump during a press conference in Trump Tower (Screenshot)

The Republican Party is "leaning into fascism" as GOP candidates across the country try to position themselves as the "purest" and "most extreme" supporters of their "dear leader" — former President Donald Trump — according to Daily Beast columnist Eleanor Clift.

Pointing to gubernatorial races in places like Idaho, Texas, Alabama and Virginia, Clift writes that the 2022 GOP primaries are "shaping up like the Hunger Games, dystopian battles among the Trumpian faithful."

Matt Bennett, a co-founder of Third Way, a moderate Democratic group, described the primaries as "incredible races to the bottom as they one up each other to be the craziest and the Trumpiest in whatever context presents itself."

While some may dismiss the trend as mere "politics," Clift notes that Trump and his followers are putting in place "policies that could allow Republican legislatures to overturn elections when they don't like the results."

She points to a recent Washington Post essay by Robert Kagan, a neo-conservative foreign policy scholar, who argued that "we have never seen a U.S. political movement tied so passionately to one man and his lies as it is to Trump."

"What we're seeing on the populist right is rhetoric that leans into fascism and fuels primary challenges to see who can be the purest, the harshest, and the most extreme voice on the Trumpian right to win the Dear Leader's endorsement," Clift wrote.

Bennett argued that prior to the 2022 elections, one could argue that Republicans were merely trying to keep Democrats from voting, which is "odious" but "within bounds."

"Since the election, it's become super-clear that if they don't like the outcome, they'll change it," Bennett said. "When we're talking about abrogating or nullifying people's votes, that is the end of the American experiment. Our democracy, at least for now, will be over."