Looking back at recent elections, you’d be tempted to say the last year was not a bad one at all for liberal democracy, or even that far-right populism might be in decline. That would be a shortsighted conclusion and a dangerous one.
Brothers of Italy’s victory represents several firsts. Italy will have its first woman prime minister. And both Italy and Western Europe will have their first far-right majority government since the fall of Mussolini and the end of the Second World War.
There is no Left/Right Equivalence in America. There is only the Radicalisation of the Right. ISIS taught us the means and its being applied by the Christian Far-Right’s Fundamentalism in the USA. It’s reflected in Qanon, Alex Jones, the anti-abortion, anti-education, and pro-Militant MAGA groups like the American -Nazis, Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys all of which are fast becoming a Christian version of an ISIS in America where tolerance is eliminated as dangerous, and a pure Nation state created. ISIS was never simply seen as “Polarisation” but Muslim Radicalisation and the American right-wing admired them Israel, Kim Jong-un Orban and Putin for it.
Many liberal responses to Trumpism lament “polarization” on all sides. But the call to return to a sensible centrism ignores the real crises we face — falsely equating those who want to solve them with a far right who would make them worse.
After all, Fox News did it! They infact lead the applause heard in Western media and they did it as a team. Carlson, Ingraham, Watters all vocal but then when they realised the division they caused and the potential loss to Fox like all convictionless scammers they backed off, scattered and ran for cover.
“Can we get a round of applause for Russia?” asked Nick Fuentes, on stage last week at a white nationalist event. Amid a roar of applause for the Russian president, just days after he invaded Ukraine, many attendees responded by shouting: “Putin! Putin!”
When Nazis join ranks with New Age spiritualists are they Nazis New Age spiritualists?
The Australian far right has joined forces with New Age spiritualists, snake-oil salesmen, and wellness gurus to take advantage of social alienation caused by the pandemic. Despite the new branding, their anti-union, anti-working-class politics remain the same.
It’s unconfirmed yet whether it was intentional or an unfortunate coincidence, but it seems at least symbolic that even the CPAC stage itself is shaped like a symbol adopted by Nazis and subsequent white supremacist movements.
All of it points to a grim future for the country if the movement currently animating the conservative movement holds majority power over the next decade. Defeat has not chastened the movement, but rather emboldened it. And if CPAC is the predictor it normally is, the next incarnation of Republican power will be even more aggressively racist and authoritarian than its predecessor.
But CPAC isn’t a sideshow. It’s the main stage of the conservative movement, predicting its future behavior in an era of widening asymmetric polarization. CPAC presaged the rise of the Party of Reagan over that of Gerald Ford and Dwight Eisenhower. It heralded the scorched-earth confrontational politics of Newt Gingrich in the Bill Clinton era. It elevated George W. Bush at a time when the mainstream GOP still saw itself more in the mold of John McCain. It celebrated the Tea Party before GOP legislators had fully embraced it. And it promoted openly racist birthers and conspiracy theorists like Donald Trump at a time when the the mainline GOP was producing superficially anti-racist autopsies and promoting candidates like Marco Rubio and Spanish-speaking Jeb Bush. So if we want to know where the Republican Party is heading today, we should pay close attention to CPAC. So what’s the theme now? Where is it going? The answer seems to be doubling down on Donald Trump, white supremacy, insurrection and conspiracy theories. One theme of CPAC this year is unwavering loyalty to Donald Trump, and an insistence that not only is there no conflict within the party over Trump, but anyone who suggests otherwise is a has-been or fifth-columnist attempting to subvert the movement:
Right-wing extremist groups are drawing in new members from wellness and anti-vaxxer communities online, using the COVID pandemic and outrage over state border closures as a “recruiting tool” to swell their ranks.