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"America Under Communism!" shrieks the sub-head for the cover to 1947's agit-prop comic book, "Is This Tomorrow?" - which according to MTG and other right-wing hysterics, is today. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Willie Horton Redux: MAGA Will Save Us From Communists, Crackheads, Immigrants and More Scary Others

Abby Zimet

Utterly devoid of ideas or ideals with which to face upcoming mid-terms - but happily chock full of dog-whistles - an increasingly incendiary right wing is resolutely skewing straight to the fear-and-hate-mongering to render their opponents "soft on crime," "different and dangerous," suspiciously chocolate-hued, so "woke" they wear sports bras, socialist in all its evil incarnations and whatever other paranoid, amorphous threats can convey that  "they're" coming for you unless you vote for the extremists and insurrectionists who make up the Republican Party. Orwell, as usual, was prescient on the subject of political language "designed to make lies sound truthful," even when it's a "catalogue of swindles and perversions." Today's fever-pitch name-calling and preposterous rhetoric - Biden's "Communist Green New Deal" - also serves as a vital reminder of the right's gift for projection; for today's GOP, notes one observer, "Every accusation is a confession." Thus do we have Trump's latest, pointless, diversionary stunt, announcing on Monday he's suing CNN for defamation and at least $475 million for their "series of ever-more scandalous, false and defamatory labels" - racist, Russian lackey, insurrectionist, Hitler - "for the purpose of defeating him politically," because it's not like he actually is racist, a Russian lackey, an insurrectionist or distinctly Hitler-like, right?

As they've veered sharply right, the GOP's down-the-rabbit-hole lies and delusions are most often utilized to demonize multiple "others" as a threat, which we guess they are to white and class supremacy. Cue a deeply racist new ad from Lousiana's fake-corn-pone Sen. John Kennedy, a "cut-rate Joe McCarthy" who once called John Kerry a "woke Trotskyite" and snickered at a hearing for an economist from the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan that, “I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.” In his new TV campaign ad, Kennedy cites his state's surging crime rate - a problem with a complex backstory - blames unnamed "woke leaders" who want to "defund the police" - though he voted against $350 billion in new funding for local police departments - and sneers, "If you hate cops just because they're cops, the next time you get in trouble, call a crackhead" - ugly code for Black, like most of the victims of a 1980s War on Drugs that saw millions of black Americans unjustly and brutally incarcerated for what was then deemed a crime, not an illness. "I know the difference between criminals and innocent victims," snarls the racist creep who supported the Jan. 6 insurrection and the guy who sparked it, voted against medals for Capitol Police but now, at election time, is Back-the-Blue all the way to the bank.

The racist hypocrisy and fear-mongering goes on and on. Wisconsin Rep. and Jan. 6 Fan Boy Ron Johnson, running against (black) Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, ran an ad showing Barnes with the "Squad" - all women of color - above the words, "Different and Dangerous"; to ensure his white base got the hint, he sent out a mailer with Barnes a scarily chocolate hue. In "racialized carnage porn," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot got the same twisted treatment from a conservative PAC ad portraying a city ravaged by crime and her face darker; her response: "News flash. I’m Black and I’m proud...No need to use cheap tricks to darken my skin." The duel bugaboos of race and crime are also being wielded against John Fetterman in his Pennsylvania Senate race, where his lead has slipped in the face of sketchy soft-on-crime charges from Doc Snake Oil Oz, who has no solutions but is happy to use a real problem to win. And if race fails, there's culture wars: Right-wing blogger Rod Dreher, who has called trans rights "psychotic" and admires Victor Orban so much he hooked him up with "most important conservative figure in America" Tucker Carlson, threw a Twitter fit when he discovered Target sells sports bras, which he deemed binders "so you can present as male. That's how far the revolution has gone, Mom and Dad. We live in Babylon...We live in Weimar." Responses: "So this guy's goal is replace fun and art with Nazis?," "Wait till this guy finds out about haircuts," "He's never tried to run with boobs," and "Why are men?"

Finally, ambling back past Willie Horton to the Red Scare days is queen of paranoid hyperbole Marjorie Taylor Greene, who in a recent fundraising email ranted about Biden's "scheme to impose socialism on America" and the $5 billion "Hollywood liberals" raised for "my communist Democrat opponent," though she ran unopposed. This weekend, at a Trump rally in Michigan, she went further, charging Dems are murdering Republicans. "We're all targets now (for) daring to push back against the regime," she shrieked. "I am not going to mince words with you all. Democrats want Republicans dead and they have already started the killings." As proof, she cited two  incidents. In North Dakota, a drunken man was charged with murder in the fatal hit-and-run of an 18-year-old; he said the teen was "a Republican extremist" who was "threatening him," but police have "uncovered no evidence" politics was involved. In Michigan, she said "an 83-year old woman was shot in the back just for advocating for the unborn," except it was an accident - a warning shot into a tree - and she was shot in the shoulder by a 74-year-old man whose pro-choice wife had gotten into a "screaming match" with the zealot who repeatedly refused to leave their property; she was treated at a hospital and released. The moral: Don't drive drunk, don't wave guns around, don't lie about what happens when you do. But MTG barreled on. "Joe Biden has declared every freedom-loving American an enemy of the state," she declared. "We will take back our country from the communists who have stolen it, and want us to disappear." Yes, well. If wishes were horses.


Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email:

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