Written by Ron Malzer, La Crosse County Democratic Party, & Ben Wikler, Chair, Democratic Party of Wisconsin
“What we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of extreme MAGA philosophy,” President Joe Biden declared last week. Calling out those he labeled as “extreme” Republicans, Biden said: “It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins. … I’m going to say something; it’s like semi-fascism.” 
When neo-Nazis came to Charlottesville to stage an anti—Black, anti-Jewish rally that kills someone, and then-President Trump responded with “very fine people on both sides”, that was fascism. When refugees are called “drug addicts and rapists”, and children are separated from their parents, that’s fascism. When Donald Trump declares he will stay in the White House for life as America’s ruler, and calls in a mob to try to make that happen, that’s fascism.
So when Ron Johnson, Tim Michels, and Derrick Van Orden refuse to denounce these actions by Trump, they are choosing to go along for the ride; “semi-fascism” is not too strong a word for that.
All three have employed dog whistles: Johnson called for decertifying Wisconsin’s voters’ 2020 votes; Michels also wants to de-certify; and Van Orden tells us he was in Washington DC on the infamous day of January 6, 2021, but refuses to tell us whether or not he took part in the illegal,, unpermitted, White House to Capitol march.
Trump, and Trumpism, are very much on the ballot in 2022. What we in Wisconsin do in these next ten weeks will shape the future of American democracy, the question of whether our government fights for working people or sides only with the wealthiest special interests, and define fundamental freedoms—including control over our own bodies. And it will determine whether we lapse back into Trumpian denialism about this existential risk, or whether we continue to spread our wings into a cleaner and brighter future, where green jobs support families in all of our communities, and where our kids know that the earth they inherit will safely sustain them and their own kids for centuries and millennia to come.
Presidential scholar Michael Beschloss declared earlier this year: “W]e are all in existential danger of having our democracy and democracies around the world destroyed,” adding that if a Mussolini-styled government takes hold in America, we could suffer through 50 or more years of dictatorship.
Whether you are progressive, conservative, or somewhere in-between, you need to do your part to save democracy, and vote for candidates who believe in the democratic process, not semi-fascism. –406 words–