Where the Fascists Are (those darn Democrats)

Chip Berlet cberlet at igc.org
Wed Nov 17 09:46:20 PST 1999


The idea that Buchanan's popularity fell after the speech at the 92 convention is a myth circulated by centrist pundits. Actual statistical work by John C. Green and others show that his speech had little effect on Republican voting patterns, and if anything, there was a short term increase in popularity after the speech.

Not all racism is fascism. If the argument is that neo-liberal coded racism poses a serious threat to democracy, then I would certainly agree.

-Chip Berlet

----- Original Message ----- From: Steve Perry <sperry at usinternet.com> To: <lbo-talk at lists.panix.com> Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 1999 10:25 AM Subject: Re: Where the Fascists Are (those darn Democrats)

> Well, I was one of the folks who started this brouhaha
> over the definition of "fascism," and while I very much
> appreciate all the useful material marshalled by various
> contributors to the thread, there's one point that seems
> worth repeating. At a certain point, it becomes academic
> whether you call it fascism; the fact remains that the
> greatest potential for a potent and invidious coalition
> of capital, the state, and the working class lies not
> in all the bogeyman-groups of the fringe right, but
> in the Democratic Party--for a couple of reasons,
> very broadly speaking: first and most obvious, because
> the Democratic Party is still the institution that
> claims greatest working class allegiance; and second,
> because the kind of racism required to appeal to the
> broad mass of Americans is concentrated there--the
> polite, genteel, muted... let's say *scientized*
> variety, of which dp moynihan was an architect. In
> re: racism in politics, one thing ought to be pretty
> clear by now, and that is that most Americans don't
> like outright bigotry and hate rhetoric. It scares and
> offends them; witness the precipitous decline in Pat
> Buchanan's popularity after his *kulturkampf* rants at the
> '92 convention, stemmed only by his conversion to nativist
> economic themes. Or consider Newt's freefall in the opinion
> polls following the election of the '94 Republican Congress,
> which is really what saved Bill Clinton's ass. There's no
> way that bogeys like Buchanan or the militia-monsters are
> going to get across with a plurality of Americans. But the
> kind of relentless pathologizing of the poor and dusky
> masses that neo-lib Democrats specialize in--you can sell
> that shit all day long, apparently.

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