Living in Society

Before the Midterms

Pile of mulch near the village well.

Setting aside Thursday’s dozens of requests to help canvass, donate and generally do my part to help Democrats before Tuesday’s midterm election, I tuned into CSPAN to listen to part of the 45th president’s speech in Sioux City. Oh My God!

He doesn’t drink alcohol, yet his speech was slurred and difficult to understand. Perhaps he is on medication. He claimed to have teleprompters yet the stream of consciousness patter was more than a person could take for long. I listened for fifteen minutes then turned it off.

Promoters had trouble getting rid of all the tickets, according to news sources. There were no crowd shots on CSPAN yet the bleachers behind the speaker were not filled to capacity. The participants seemed restless, which distracted from the speech. Preparing for the camera view is basic event organizing, so event execution was not the best.

Republican Party of Iowa chair Jeff Kaufmann opened the event. His voice was hoarse from public speaking and difficult to understand. He welcomed the ex-president with enthusiasm and denounced news media outlets with opinion sections. He has changed since I met him in 2011. We used to be able to have reasonable conversations, but I don’t know in the post-Trump era. On hand for the event were Iowa governor Kim Reynolds, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, businessman Mike Lindell and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, along with other Republicans. Like all CSPAN videos, this one is archived online.

One had to be deep into Republican culture to understand some of the speech. I picked up the Hunter Biden laptop reference which is totemic in their culture. Much of what I heard was an airing of grievances by someone whose post-presidency period has turned him into the complainer in chief of the Republican Party.

Many of us believe the 2022 midterm election will determine the fate of our democracy now and for years to come. Based on yesterday’s rally, things could turn fascist if Republicans win majorities in the U.S. Congress. Radio commentator Thom Hartmann had some thoughts about this.

“American democracy is under attack because the defeated former president of the United States refuses to accept the results of the 2020 election,” President Biden told the nation (on Wednesday). “He refuses to accept the will of the people, he refuses to accept the fact that he lost.”

I wrote about this six months ago, and it’s time to talk again about what an American fascist government would look like. Because over the next two weeks we may — depending on how these elections turn out and how Trump’s followers react to the outcomes — very rapidly slide into a state-by-state form of fascism much like the old Confederacy.

Like the old Confederacy, it will feature political violence and threats of violence, rigged elections, and single-party rule combined with a corrupt oligarchy that finances the politicians.

And, just like the old Confederacy, it will reach out and try to destroy the historic democracy of the United States of America, only this time in 2024 and the two years leading up to it.

The word “fascism” gets thrown around a lot, but most Americans have no idea what it would look like or how it would actually play out.


First, and essential to American fascism, Republicans envision a strong-man Leader who will hold power for as long as he (it’s almost always a “he”) chooses, with the transition to the next Leader determined by The Leader himself.

Email Newsletter from Thom Hartmann, Nov. 3, 2022.

Despite the unsettling nature of the speech and the common refrains about fascism in the United States, I slept through last night. If we are turning into a fascist country, self-care will be important to our survival. I’m going to do something on the last weekend to help Democrats win races on Tuesday. I don’t relish the inclement weather forecast, yet I expect to spend some time in it. A lot depends on our participation this weekend.