Election 2014  
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5 Disturbing Signs Romney Would Steer Us to Towards a Capitalist Dictatorship

The lies and activities of Mitt's campaign show a contempt for democracy itself.

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4. Romney's devotion to increasing military spending and his rattling of sabers at Russia, China, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (aren't we up to about half the world now?) are typical of the militarism of capitalist dictatorship. His repeated pledges to defer to the wishes of the officer corps with regard to whether to end the Afghanistan war suggests a certain amount of Bonapartism, where the business classes bring in the generals to make key decisions. The problem for small authoritarian business classes is that they are in competition for resources with the much larger middle and working classes and in a parliamentary system they risk being outvoted. In order to suppress the latter's claims on resources and deflect any tendency to vote along class interests, the business classes in this system pose as defenders of the nation, thus hiding class conflict and legitimating the diversion of resources to arms manufacturers and other corporations. Nationalism, militarism and war, along with voter suppression, can even the playing field for the rich.

5. The Romney campaign's remarks about "Anglo-Saxons" better understanding allies like Britain, and its support for the racist Arizona immigration and profiling law show a preference for racial hierarchy, with "Anglo-Saxons" at the top. Again, many capitalist dictatorships privilege a dominant ethnicity, as with Apartheid South Africa or discrimination against native Chileans by the Pinochet regime in Chile. Fostering racism is a way of dividing and ruling the middle and working classes, of binding a segment of them to the dominant business classes.

Obviously, the Romney version is capitalist dictatorship lite. But its strong resemblance to the full form of that sort of polity is highly disturbing. While these tendencies have existed on the Republican Right for some time, the sheer level of contempt for democracy as demonstrated in the Big Lies, the exaltation of war, the racial profiling, and the new extent of attempts at voter suppression and union-busting all indicate a sharp veering toward authoritarianism.

Juan Ricardo Cole, a blogger and essayist, is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.