Trump’s fascist consolidation of GOP advances as Haley quits, McConnell endorses

The Republican Party’s lurch toward fascism appeared to accelerate Wednesday as former President Donald Trump notched two important political victories and fresh warnings emerged of the stark choice U.S. voters face with a 2020 rematch against President Joe Biden now all but certain.

Following a slew of Super Tuesday defeats and Monday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court—which includes three Trump appointees—to block states from barring the presumptive Republican nominee from the ballot for engaging in insurrection, Nikki Haley dropped out of the GOP presidential primary and outgoing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) endorsed the 77-year-old former president.

Christina Harvey, executive director of the progressive advocacy group Stand Up America, emphasized the stakes of the upcoming election, saying that “Republicans have effectively chosen an aspiring dictator as their nominee for president.”

“Trump’s plans to undermine our freedoms and our democracy should be chilling to every American, including his pledges to abuse his power to seek revenge on political opponents, pardon his violent allies, and purge dissenters from the federal government,” she said. “Voters will face a clear choice this fall, between an aspiring dictator who is running for office so that he can escape accountability and punish his political enemies, and a leader who will protect our democracy and fundamental freedoms.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also warned against Trump and suggested the choice could not be more clear.

“Another Trump presidency would be a disaster—not only for our country, but for the world,” Sanders said. “We will lose the fight against climate change. Women will no longer have control over their own bodies. Billionaires will get richer and working people will suffer.”

Sanders, who ran for president in both 2016 and 2020, also spoke about the threat Trump poses during a Tuesday night appearance with late-night host Stephen Colbert.

Haley, who previously served as South Carolina’s governor and Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, was the last Republican challenging him. She suspended her campaign after winning just the District of Columbia and Vermont.

“I have always been a conservative Republican and always supported the Republican nominee,” she said. “It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him and I hope he does that.”

Responding to Haley’s decision to exit the primary race, Biden said in a statement Wednesday that “Donald Trump made it clear he doesn’t want Nikki Haley’s supporters. I want to be clear: There is a place for them in my campaign.”

“I know there is a lot we won’t agree on,” he acknowledged. “But on the fundamental issues of preserving American democracy, on standing up for the rule of law, on treating each other with decency and dignity and respect, on preserving NATO and standing up to America’s adversaries, I hope and believe we can find common ground.”

“We all know this is no ordinary election. And the stakes for America couldn’t be higher,” Biden stressed.

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) president Heather Williams also warned of the threat posed by Trump and his committed far-right allies nationwide.

“As Donald Trump solidifies his control of the Republican Party, we can’t lose sight of the hundreds of MAGA Trump loyalists serving in legislatures across the country who pose a direct threat to our communities and our democracy,” she said. “These MAGA die-hards will stop at nothing to advance Trump’s dangerous agenda, even as he careens more and more towards becoming a hardline dictator.”

“From pushing for a nationwide abortion ban to destroying the foundation of our democracy, a Trump presidency would be supported and enacted by his allies in state legislatures,” Williams warned. “The DLCC is sounding the alarm on the dangers of a united MAGA front at the national and state level, and we are laser-focused on defeating MAGA loyalists in state legislatures.”

Although the U.S. Supreme Court last June ruled against the independent state legislature theory that Trump supporters used to justify their attempts to overturn the 2020 election results, CNN‘s Marshall Cohen noted at the time that “the somewhat limited ruling leaves plenty of avenues for future election-related challenges, regarding how districts are drawn, the deadlines for mail-in ballots, and other key questions.”

Trump has been the GOP front-runner since formally launching his campaign in November 2022 and recent polling shows him having a slim lead over Biden in this year’s anticipated rematch. This, despite the Republican being impeached twice during his first term and now facing four criminal cases—two related to his 2020 election interference.

Biden has faced criticism from many Democratic and younger voters for not being bold enough in tackling the climate emergency and for supporting Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip, which is being investigated at the International Court of Justice as genocide.

Congressman Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), a longshot Biden primary challenger, suspended his campaign on Wednesday and endorsed the president for reelection, saying that “in light of the stark reality we face, I ask you join me in mobilizing, energizing, and doing everything you can to help keep a man of decency and integrity in the White House. That’s Joe Biden.”

Speaking on MSNBC after McConnell’s endorsement on Wednesday, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said that he believes American voters “know who Donald Trump is,” but the real question for 2024 remains: “Who are we?”

“Are we going to stand with democracy and freedom or will we lapse into some other kind of theocratic or autocratic kind of government?” the congressman asked. “That’s really the question for the American people.”

Raskin—who led the historic second Trump impeachment following the January 6, 2021 insurrection—also called out the ex-president for continuing “to campaign almost exclusively on his Big Lie and the idea that he was somehow cheated out of an election.”

“He wasn’t. He lost the election in 2020,” Raskin added of Trump. “He’s going to lose the election in 2024 because the vast majority of the people reject what it is he’s selling.”

From Common Dreams.