Monday, January 09, 2023

This is what the right stands for now

Two years ago, supporters of failed presidential candidate Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to overthrow America's democracy and overturn the results of an election they had lost. And today, just a few days after the anniversary of that event, supporters of Trump's ally Jair Bolsonaro did the same in Brazil. Fortunately they also failed. But the mere act of doing it - of challenging the peaceful, democratic transfer of power with violence - destabilises democracy. And it encourages future attempts, which may not fail. And not just in America and Brazil - these countries are now exporting their anti-democratic instability to the world.

When Trump and Bolsonaro were in office, they were wholeheartedly embraced by mainstream right-wing parties in other countries - including in Aotearoa. Former National Party leader John Key says he would have voted for both (and this was after Trump's riot). And Key isn't alone in that. Key honestly attributes that to right-wing tribalism, but that's actually the problem here: the refusal to look past partisan affiliation and say "actually, this guy is anti-democratic, an actual fascist, I don't support that".

If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. The natural conclusion about the right-wing parties around the world who embraced Trump as a leader and Bolsonaro as an ally is that they support the same things - not just inequality and bigotry, but insurrection and the violent overthrow of democracy (the latter is sadly a reversion to historical type). That's basicly what the right stands for now, until they prove otherwise.