Alexander Nazaryan, Yahoo, September 29, 2022
President Biden used the results of last week’s prime ministerial election in Italy, which saw hard-right candidate Giorgia Meloni prevail, as a warning of what could befall the United States if the nation’s politics succumbed to surging authoritarian impulses.
“You just saw what’s happened in Italy in that election,” Biden said at a Wednesday evening fundraiser for the Democratic Governors Association at a private residence in Washington, D.C. “You’re seeing what’s happening around the world. The reason I bother to say that is you can’t be sanguine about what’s happening here, either.”
Meloni’s Brothers of Italy, which has neo-fascist roots, will be the first far-right party to lead Italy since World War II. The party, which received about 26% of the vote and whose center-right coalition garnered roughly a 44% share, will be tasked to form a coalition government next month. Meloni will also be her country’s first woman premier.
Meloni is an ally of Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán, who in recent years has emerged as the leader of European revanchism. His agenda has been embraced by American conservatives, many of whom also see Meloni as a natural ally. “America is stronger when Italy is strong, sovereign, prosperous, and free,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., wrote in a Twitter message celebrating her victory.
For several months, Biden has been determinedly casting today’s Republican Party as having been captured by “MAGA Republicans” whose adherence to former President Donald Trump imperils, in his view, American democracy. Biden has also compared the ideology powering Trump’s movement to “semi-fascism,” describing its refusal to accept the results of the last presidential election as a deep aversion to democracy.