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Normalizing fascism

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Obviously polls a year before the election are of limited usefulness, but what this poll illustrates is the extent to which Donald Trump’s current campaign to install himself at the head of a fascist dictatorship is not something that the American public as a whole either understands and/or disapproves of.

President Biden is trailing Donald J. Trump in five of the six most important battleground states one year before the 2024 election, suffering from enormous doubts about his age and deep dissatisfaction over his handling of the economy and a host of other issues, new polls by The New York Times and Siena College have found.

The results show Mr. Biden losing to Mr. Trump, his likeliest Republican rival, by margins of three to 10 percentage points among registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden is ahead only in Wisconsin, by two percentage points, the poll found.

Trump Is Ahead in Five of Six Swing States

Margins are calculated using unrounded figures.

Nevada+10 rep

Biden41%
Trump52

Georgia+6 rep

Biden43%
Trump49

Arizona+5 rep

Biden44%
Trump49

Michigan+5 rep

Biden43%
Trump48

Pennsylvania+4 rep

Biden44%
Trump48

Wisconsin+2 dem

Biden47%
Trump45

Based on New York Times/Siena College polls of 3,662 registered voters from Oct. 22 to Nov. 3

Across the six battlegrounds — all of which Mr. Biden carried in 2020 — the president trails by an average of 48 to 44 percent.

Discontent pulsates throughout the Times/Siena poll, with a majority of voters saying Mr. Biden’s policies have personally hurt them. The survey also reveals the extent to which the multiracial and multigenerational coalition that elected Mr. Biden is fraying. Demographic groups that backed Mr. Biden by landslide margins in 2020 are now far more closely contested, as two-thirds of the electorate sees the country moving in the wrong direction.

Voters under 30 favor Mr. Biden by only a single percentage point, his lead among Hispanic voters is down to single digits and his advantage in urban areas is half of Mr. Trump’s edge in rural regions. And while women still favored Mr. Biden, men preferred Mr. Trump by twice as large a margin, reversing the gender advantage that had fueled so many Democratic gains in recent years.

Black voters — long a bulwark for Democrats and for Mr. Biden — are now registering 22 percent support in these states for Mr. Trump, a level unseen in presidential politics for a Republican in modern times.

Add it all together, and Mr. Trump leads by 10 points in Nevada, six in Georgia, five in Arizona, five in Michigan and four in Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden held a 2-point edge in Wisconsin.

In a remarkable sign of a gradual racial realignment between the two parties, the more diverse the swing state, the farther Mr. Biden was behind, and he led only in the whitest of the six.

Now how and why is this happening? If we turn to another cyberpage of the Gray Lady we find a chatty cheerful conversation among four of its op-ed columnists, entitled “The Presidential Fantasy Draft,” with the sub-headline “Our 2024 options are terrible. Can we hope for more than Biden or Trump?”

The gist of this symposium is that Joe Biden is old and boring, and people — especially journalists needless to say — want somebody fresh and exciting to run against Trump, because somebody like Gretchen Whitmer or Gavin Newsom would obviously beat Trump easily (obviously). The evidence for this proposition is not presented, apparently because it’s too self-evident to require doing so.

Nor is there really any hint in this delightfully frivolous back and forth in this bien pensant salon that Trump might be “terrible” in some way that’s fundamentally different than the ways — old, boring — Joe Biden is “terrible.”

America is on the edge of installing a fascist dictatorship via a presidential election. This really shouldn’t be in any way controversial. I mean if you want to get all technical and pedantic you could say America is on the edge of installing an authoritarian dictatorship with a number of strikingly fascist-like features, so we don’t have to get into a stupid argument about whether Donald Trump actually meets the fascist minimum, whatever that might be defined to require.

And one reason this is about to happen is that our media elites simply refuse to acknowledge this extremely obvious fact. If they did, they couldn’t possibly hold chummy conversations among themselves about how Biden and Trump are both unsatisfactory options — a view I share if “unsatisfactory” in one case means “this pizza is slightly overcooked and therefore unsatisfactory,” while in the other case it means “this bubonic plague is an unsatisfactory disease.”

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