The Covid 19 pandemic was a lucky stroke for their project because it added to the disruptive environment they saw as a tool to weaken American's already unstable commitment to democratic processes and structures. It made Americans even more vulnerable to untruth and propaganda to undermine public confidence in both government, politics, the economic order and a free press.
Enablers of this fascist project underway, wittingly or unwittingly are megachurches with its adulation of authoritarian ministers offering a brand of Christianity suggesting righteousness offers material rewards, right wing evangelical Christianity offering a deeply mythological interpretation of the gospels and a fearsome deity threatening hell to non-believers and Catholicism rooted in a male dominated authoritarian ruling structure.
The Bannon and Republican de-democracy project has entailed capitalizing on American derangement in practicing the mind control techniques refined in the Stalin and Hitler eras, repetition and the use of it in selling untruth over proven fact and science based truths. The use of logic and reason so well explored by Plato, Aristotle and those developing the processes of metaphysics, ontology and epistemology by early Catholic scholars, later refined in the Age of Enlightenment have been largely abandoned by this fascist program in favor of myth and "alternative facts" promulgated by this crowd to a vulnerable, mostly poorly educated/informed sector of our citizenry. Reason has been replaced for these people who rely mostly on "faith", much as was the case in the Dark Ages before the Enlightenment which gave birth to a rejuvenation of democracy attempted in the pre-Christian/Islamic era.
Add to that a distortion of American history depicting colonists as religious and material saviors of indigenous people already populating and self governing the Americas, supported by an economics propelled by enslaved Africans brought here to do the heavy economic lifting, mostly condemned by European nations though cheering on the American project. These existing forces further created a mindset receptive to fascist authoritarianism which promises faster results in governance and a promotion of the Anglo Euro-centric dominance of a rapidly diversifying American demographic threatening their interpretation of American Exceptionalism. Critics of this trend in American life of course are called unpatriotic and bleeding heart liberals.
Studies are being published one year or more after the post Covid 19 pandemic are suggesting further conditions favoring the success of the fascist movement. For example, one study suggests 34% of patients who survived Covid have indications of diagnoses of mental or neurological problems. Their lives are destabilized.
A recent study of Q-Anon followers reveals that 68% of them informed of mental health disease diagnoses. 44% informed of serious psychological trauma in the medical history. IMO their mental health status mirrors that of other right wing extremist groups with whom they are collaborating.
14 % of us experiencing the consequences of more than a year of erratic and conflicting information on the health future we face, quarantine isolation and disruption of our previous life routines report psychological distress triple the rate we reported in 2018. 4 in 10 of us report anxiety and depression, up from 1 in 10 in previous non-Covid years.
Thus, a huge sector of the American populace are vulnerable to right wing promises of results-producing governance and improved lives through fascist authoritarianism.
This is not to excuse the pre-Trump drift toward authoritarianism, Trumpite behavior of racism, sexism, selfishness and tolerance for predatory behaviors or the diminishing commitment to the democratic project. It is to explain at least in part the causation of the state of conflict we find ourselves in .
It may offer some hope that if we are successful in containing and minimizing the pandemic and the Biden Administration's encouraging demonstration that government can actually work to help improve our lives, there may be a way forward with democracy.
Stable comportment of those of us not on the right as an example of how American life can be lived together with a massive expansion of mental health services might at least bring us some remedy to this current American Derangement.