All the right-wing paranoia that led to Trump and Jan. 6 is visible in the exaggerated hatred for one woman
The eroticization of women's pain and fear. Fascism is a masculine political imaginary that emphasizes violence, "virility" and dominance. This is true of authoritarianism more generally as well. While many men (and women) on the right find Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's intelligence, personal strength, skin color and cultural background threatening (if not repulsive), they are also titillated and excited by her fear because in their minds it reaffirms (white) male dominance and power. This is almost the dynamic of the slasher film as applied to politics.
Victims are responsible for their own suffering. Conservative authoritarians are more likely to believe that people who are victims of assault, abuse or violence somehow deserve their own suffering. If Ocasio-Cortez or other Democrats (or disloyal Republicans) had been injured or killed in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, far too many Republicans would have convinced themselves, consciously or otherwise, that somehow "they had it coming."
Hostile sexism and racism. Social scientists have shown that "hostile sexism" helps to explain Donald Trump's appeal for his voters and followers. White supremacy, racism and racial authoritarianism also strongly predict support for Trump and his movement (as well as for Republicans more generally). By speaking out forcefully about her experiences during the Jan. 6 attack, Ocasio-Cortez violated the norm that women, especially nonwhite women, must be silent in the face of white male authority.
The annihilation of emotion. Fascism in its various forms involves destroying the capacity for targeted groups (the enemy Other) to experience any emotions other than fear. Chronic fear in turn creates a state of learned helplessness and lack of resistance.
By comparison, except for fear and "weakness," the fascists (in this case, "conservatives" and Trumpist Republicans) are allowed a full range of emotions. This explains why Republicans and other members of the right can cry or become angry or even hysterical without negative professional or personal consequences.
For example, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh cried during his confirmation hearing — and was praised for showing such "passion." Members of the right-wing propaganda media cry and rage all the time and it is taken as evidence of their "authenticity." Trump's movement is rooted in white rage and white irrationality. Those emotions won Trump the White House once — and almost did so a second time.
Democrats, liberals and progressives — especially women and nonwhite people — are generally not allowed such behavior within the boundaries of America's approved public discourse.
White women — or at least subservient conservative white women — are to be protected, admired, adored, and honored. A thought experiment: if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were a white Republican, and the Capitol had been overrun by "Democrats" or "liberals" in a lethal mob assault, the response from the same voices who are mocking and condemning her now would be entirely different. This alternate-reality version of Ocasio-Cortez would be a right-wing heroine.
Donald Trump is now being tried in the U.S. Senate for the crime of encouraging an insurrection and a lethal coup attack on the Capitol. In all likelihood, Republicans will not convict Trump despite the abundant evidence of his guilt. In fairness, why should they? Whatever their personal or aesthetic objections to Trump may be, they agree with Trump's policies, including the use of political terrorism and other forms of violence to win and keep power. In that context, the Age of Trump is best understood not as an aberration or derailment in the right wing's embrace of anti-democratic extremism but as part of a long campaign to radically remake American society.
As seen with the attacks on the humanity of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the world the white right is trying to fully create is even more racist, white supremacist, woman-hating, pathological, anti-human and anti-democratic than this one.
In the America that exists today such values are increasingly rejected. Much of the white right wants to elevate those noxious values, because it sees them as virtues.
Ultimately, Donald Trump's second impeachment trial is much bigger than a decision about the crimes of one man — who happened to be the worst president in American history. It is a referendum on the future of American democracy.
Last week, on the verge of Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, Republicans and their hate media launched a coordinated attack on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York progressive Democrat. Why? Because she publicly shared the emotional trauma that she and many others suffered during and a...