Month after month of Democratic Party in-fighting in Congress, caused overwhelmingly by the Trotskyist bloc of Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent Socialist-VT) and House Progressive Caucus Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Ro Khanna (D-CA) on one side and the pro-corporate faction led by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) on the other side cost the Democrats dearly in elections in Virginia and New Jersey. The failure of the Democrats to pass legislation to give the U.S. economy a post-pandemic kickstart led directly to victories by pro-sedition right-wing Republicans Glenn Youngkin—a former Carlyle Group executive—for the governorship of Virginia and a razor-thin loss for “Stop the Steal” activist Jack Ciattarelli for governor of New Jersey.
New Jersey Democratic incumbent Governor Phil Murphy and Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Governor Terry McAuliffe had pleaded for congressional Democrats to get their act together before the election and pass President Biden’s legislation on infrastructure repair and improvement and funding important economic stimulus programs. Congressional inaction not only resulted in the loss of the Virginia governorship but also cost the Democrats their 10-margin edge in the Virginia House of Delegates. The current count is 50-50 with no tie-breaking provision in effect.
Democratic National Committee chairman Jaime Harrison, who overwhelmingly lost a much-ballyhooed race to unseat South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham in 2020, is under pressure to step down in the wake of election debacles in Virginia and New Jersey, the latter also seeing Democratic losses in state Senate races.
The Republicans in Virginia and New Jersey won on Republican far-right dog whistle propaganda that falsely claim that “critical race theory” and LGBTQ indoctrination are being taught in public schools. The blatant lie is not true in Virginia, New Jersey, or any other state. The Republicans have adopted the Nazi German “big lie” tactic and weaponized it for use with social and traditional media political messaging.
The electoral victories of the anti-democratic and anti-constitutional Republicans in Virginia and New Jersey do not bode well for the future of democracy in the United States. Republicans will control the top three government positions in Virginia, including lieutenant governor and attorney general heading into next year’s mid-term election and the 2024 presidential election. That means that there will be an attempt to restrict voters’ access in Virginia in much the same way as the Republicans are already limiting suffrage in Georgia, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and other states. Voters in New York appeared to have shot down referendum measures that would permit the legislature to pass laws for same-day voter registration and elimination of an approved excuse to obtain an absentee ballot.
Youngkin, who ran on a platform pushing caustic cultural issues, including restoration of the commonwealth’s homage to the leaders of the Confederacy, will be another voice in challenging and criticizing Biden and the congressional Democratic leadership, including Virginia’s two Democratic senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.
In many respects, the United States is in the same position that Weimar Germany found itself in 1933. With an aging President Paul von Hindenburg, who had been re-elected to a second term as president in 1932 in a second round, beating Nazi leader Adolf Hitler by 53 to 36.7 percent, the anti-Nazi opposition constantly bickered amongst themselves. It was the partisan squabbling between the Communists and Social Democrats—with the German Trotskyist leader Otto Schüssler (the Bernie Sanders of his era) stoking the anti-Communist/Stalinist flames on behalf of Leon Trotsky—and a failure to unite the left and political center of the German Party, Catholic Center Party, and the People’s Party in a grand popular alliance that allowed the Nazis to win 288 seats in the Reichstag with 33.1 percent of the vote in 1933.
Just as the Democratic Party currently spends more time dealing with internal bickering than in facing down the threat from the fascist Republicans and their führer, Donald Trump, who is seriously eyeing a return to the White House in 2025, the failure to establish a united opposition by the German pro-democracy parties allowed Hitler to become chancellor in 1933. With the death of Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler grabbed the presidency and combined it with the office of chancellor thus making himself German führer. Democracy in Germany officially died on August 2, 1934. America’s democracy could very well die on January 20, 2025.
This editor grew up in New Jersey and closely followed its politics in high school. I lived even longer in Virginia and not only provided political consulting to Jim Webb’s successful Democratic campaign for the U.S. Senate and John McCain’s primary run against George W. Bush but also explored a primary race against Representative Jim Moran (D-CD in 2004. For Virginia to elect as governor someone who attracted all sorts of unsavory neo-Confederate and Ku Klux Klan support means that it is “back to the future” for the commonwealth. Welcome to the Virginia of the 1950s and early 60s, where the American Nazi Party’s headquarters was located in Arlington and where the Sons of Confederate Veterans held ceremonies honoring John Wilkes Booth. For New Jersey to even provide a slight margin of victory for Ciattarelli, who, as a member of the Raritan Borough Council in 1994 wanted to ban the use of profanity in public, returns the Garden State to the 1930s, a time when Nazis ran large summer youth camps and Italian-American fascisti met in support of Benito Mussolini.
American democracy is on life support and the forces of fascism are getting ready to pull the plug. Hitler’s political strength grew out of victories in German state elections before their national success in 1932 and 1933 general elections. With the November 2 election, that is a trend that must be stopped at all costs in the United States.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and nationally-distributed columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).