Historians Warn the GOP Is Pushing Nation Toward Trump-Based Authoritarianism

Two Kentucky historians have voiced their concern about the future of democracy in America and the possibility that Trumpism might return after the 2022 midterms and the 2024 presidential elections.

“This is real, this is serious and it’s frightening,” Brian Clardy, professor of history at Murray State University, said regarding the potential for the nation to descend into a far right authoritarian state focused on white supremacy.

The solution to countering that possibility, Clardy suggested, was for Democrats to point out how extreme the GOP has gone over the past decade or so — and what damage could result if Republicans are given the chance to run things again.

“The Democrats have to remind people that next year and in 2024, democracy itself will be on trial,” Clardy wrote.

John Hennen, professor emeritus at Morehead State University, agreed, adding that those who shared such concerns need to be part of a structure to “build a democratic resistance” to Trumpism. “In short, we must all become ‘antifa,’ or antifascists,” Hennen said.

Berry Craig, a professor of history at West Kentucky Community College in Paducah highlighted Clardy and Hennen’s comments in an opinion piece. in the Louisville Courier-Journal on Wednesday.

Many pundits and political analysts believe that being anti-Trump won’t be enough for Democrats to retain control of Congress past the 2022 midterms. The passage of important legislation such as bills aimed at protecting voting rights and President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better economic packageThese are necessary achievements to keep voters happy and prevent electoral defeat next year.

It is essential to ensure that democracy remains intact by keeping Congress out the hands of Trumpists and ensuring far right Republicans don’t win the presidency three-years from now. Craig wrote in his op-ed.

Craig observed that Democrats are failing Trump and his associates to be called out for what they are.

“Trump and his sycophants ceaselessly demagogue against President Joe Biden and his party, falsely portraying them as ‘radical socialists’ and even ‘communists’ who conspired to ‘steal’ the 2020 election,” Craig wrote. However, too many “Democrats resist calling Trumpism what it is — a racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic and religiously bigoted movement that is anti-democratic and embraces violence and vigilantism.”

The rise of authoritarian tendencies on the right is indeed worrisome — and it’s a bigger problem than some might believe, data seems to suggest. According to research from Morning Consult, 26 percent of the U.S. population qualifies as “highly right-wing authoritarian.” That rate is more than double what is seen in Canada and Australia, the organization noted.

These tendencies can lead to acceptance of violence in order achieve political ends. Morning Consult’s research also pointed out that more than one-in-three right-leaning adults in the country (34 percent) viewed the attack on the Capitol almost one year ago as happening to “protect the U.S. government,” not an attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election results.