• Sona Chaturvedi

Midterms Crucial for Global Democracy

President Joe Biden recently gave a speech warning Americans about Republicans' newfound embrace of fascism.

Global democracy is dying.

This is not a warning. This is not just my opinion. Many people share this sobering thought. It’s not just that democracy isn’t having its finest moment right now. It’s drawing its last breath before we enter the dark ages. The dark ages won’t be kind to anyone, not even the advocates of it. It cannot sustain itself, and yet the age of totalitarian global rule is increasingly becoming a possibility. Recently, Italy elected Giorgia Meloni, part of the right-wing coalition led by the Brothers of Italy (FdI), a political party descended from neo-fascists. In Sweden, the party known as the Swedish Democrats with neo-Nazi roots has the backing of a huge portion of the country. Hungary is already immersed in fascism with dictator Viktor Orbán posing a threat to democracy for the foreseeable future. Britain, since Brexit, is going through its own battle with authoritarian leanings; France always seems on the verge of electing the extreme right anti-immigration leader Marine Le Pen, and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro has recently sought to undermine his country's election in a major test of the world's fourth-largest democracy. And then we have a full-on fascist political party in America, the GOP. There are many complexities that contribute to this kind of disintegration into the abyss of authoritarianism. The most obvious factor is race, immigration and an inability to deal with the sins of the past. “The GOP, or the Authoritarian Party in America, has finally reached its autocratic goal,” says Anne Applebaum of The Atlantic. “They have managed to divide America, broken the education system and controlled the masses by only exposing them to a limited worldview. They encourage culture wars, a reckless abandon of social norms, and spew constant disinformation. So, their goal in this country has reached its pinnacle. Tyranny speaks to them as a genuine way to govern.” Applebaum argues that autocracy appeals to those who cannot tolerate complexity. “Blatant agenda pushing and propaganda in a sense ‘dumbs down’ the complex nature of any problem. It’s simple. There is nothing intrinsically ‘left-wing’ or ‘right-wing’ about autocracy. It is suspicious of people with different ideas. It is allergic to fierce debates.” This isn’t about intellect but rather a well-orchestrated plan by most autocracies to keep people uninformed. Joe Biden delivered a much-needed speech about the Republican agenda for the United States and the future of our democracy. Some say it didn’t go far enough. Some say it went too far. But the bottom line is, it needed to be said.

Until then, the media, politicians, and pundits had danced around the word fascist without actually saying it. It was necessary to voice it, and Biden delivered. Many hypothesize the rise of Trumpism in America gave the global community the freedom to unleash its own festering illiberal democratic tendencies. According to Umair Haque of Eudaimonia & Co., Trumpism became a model and beacon for anti-democratic movements everywhere. The German weekly newspaper, Die Zeit, had a full-page essay by leading journalist and political commentator Josef Joffe entitled: “Amerika’s blonder Mussolini (America’s blond Mussolini).” In it, Joffe connects the Trump phenomenon to similar movements in Europe and how they feed off each other, as mentioned in Rob Kores’s article: Signs of Fascism Rising. The GOP has shown us who they are, what they want for America, and proven they don’t respect the rule of law or believe in democracy. Although it’s a dire situation, we have an opportunity to show the world that we can defeat autocracy. America has a chance to lead the way, to once again be a force for change against illiberal ideology, as we were after World War II. That’s why these midterms and the next few weeks are not only going to decide America’s fate, but quite possibly the world’s. This is our last chance to save representative government. Fascists aren’t the only ones who feed off each other, democracies can do the same. Look no further than the brave women of Iran, who are inspiring the women of Afghanistan, or the ongoing war for democracy in Ukraine. People everywhere see the value of freedom. We can take inspiration from Biden’s words. He ended his speech by merely saying “Democracy,” with his fist raised. Let’s change things.