Howard Dean: GOP ‘Is an Authoritarian Party’; Has Had ‘Strong Authoritarian Bent’ ‘for a Very Long Time’

Joining host Chris Hayes on Wednesday’s pre-Thanksgiving edition of MSNBC’s All In, MSNBC political analyst and former Democratic Vermont Governor Howard Dean tried to trash the Republican Party as nothing but “an authoritarian party” “for a very long time” due to their policy positions on voter I.D. and abortion to name a few.

Dean’s diatribe surprisingly shocked Hayes and seemed to come across to the liberal host as going too far with him repeatedly trying to rebut Dean and merely point out the GOP just has different opinions than liberals on many issues (as opposed to wanting to act as authoritarian fascists). 

After Hayes’s opening monologue about those arguing how Donald Trump’s political views are borderline fascist, he brought in Dean and simple asked him for this thoughts on Trump and current state of the GOP. 

Dean first emphasized that he believes conservatives are nervous that Trump could win the nomination but, more importantly: “[T]his is a very interesting, watching all these people who are all authoritarians themselves calling Donald Trump a fascist. The Republican Party is an authoritarian party.”

Much to the surprise of this humble news analyst, Hayes immediately interjected to explain that conservatives and Republicans “would argue that we are the opposite that they believe in limited government and — and strict restrictions on what the government can do” instead of exerting full and complete control over government and the lives of its citizens.

The former liberal politician disagreed, lamenting that they indeed are for authoritarian control and specifically because “[t]hey also believe in restrict the right to vote and any party which, as a party, and this one is a party that has done this, which restricts the right to vote is a party that places their own authority above the authority of the people and above the value of democracy.”

Once again, Hayes shockingly didn’t take Dean’s trashing their mutual enemy very lightly:

HAYES: You think — you're saying this efforts by Republicans, particularly the state level, to restrict the franchise, voter I.D., all sorts of things, show a kind of anti-democratic impulse in the modern Republican Party?

DEAN: Absolutely and it’s not only that. Here we are talking about taking away people's rights. What about the Republican Party taking away the rights of women away to decide for their own — their own reproductive future? This is a party that has a strong authoritarian bent. It has for a very long time and now, they’re complaining that Donald Trump is a fascist? 

With Dean not bending, Hayes properly explained: “There is a difference between people's positions on, say, abortion, right? And the idea of having Muslims register in some special database. That's your reaction.” 

Lacking any and all sense of irony that it’s liberals who want to control how people get and receive their health care, how much of Americans’ pay is seized for the government, and ignore the rights of the unborn, Dean continued to drop the a-word about how conservatives are the ones who are obsessed with running people’s lives:

So, their view is it's okay to take away people's right to vote if they happen to be poor or black or elderly, but it's not okay to put people on a registration. I don't think either one is okay. We are talking about grades of authoritarianism here. 

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes on November 25 can be found below.

MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes
November 25, 2015
8:06 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS HAYES: Joining me now, former Vermont Governor and DNC Chair, Howard Dean. Well, what do you make of all this? 

HOWARD DEAN: I make two things of this. One is Republicans are in fuller to mode that Donald Trump is going to get the nomination and they think he can't win and two, this is a very interesting, watching all these people who are all authoritarians themselves calling Donald Trump a fascist. The Republican Party is an authoritarian party. If you believe —

HAYES: Well, let me just say, they would argue that we are the opposite that they believe in limited government and — and strict restrictions on what the government can do.

DEAN: Well, they do and they don't. They also believe in restrict the right to vote and any party which, as a party, and this one is a party that has done this, which restricts the right to vote is a party that places their own authority above the authority of the people and above the value of democracy, so I've never thought —

HAYES: You think — you're saying this efforts by Republicans, particularly the state level, to restrict the franchise, voter I.D., all sorts of things, show a kind of anti-democratic impulse in the modern Republican Party? 

DEAN: Absolutely and it’s not only that. Here we are talking about taking away people's rights. What about the Republican Party taking away the rights of women away to decide for their own — their own reproductive future? This is a party that has a strong authoritarian bent. It has for a very long time and now, they’re complaining that Donald Trump is a fascist? 

HAYES: But there is a difference. There is a difference between people's positions on, say, abortion, right? And the idea of having Muslims register in some special database. That's your reaction. 

DEAN: So, their view is it's okay to take away people's right to vote if they happen to be poor or black or elderly, but it's not okay to put people on a registration. I don't think either one is okay. We are talking about grades of authoritarianism here. 

HAYES: Well, to me — to me, what's more indicative, frankly, the kind of backlash he is getting now is not precipitated by the first day, he basically said Mexico is sending rapists and criminals to — north of the border. 

DEAN: We also know that Republicans have been dog whistling this stuff for a long time. Look at Romney saying I'm not going to — I’ll veto the Dream Act if it gets to my desk. I mean, look at Hispanic — 

HAYES: I feel like you are conflating a mode of politics that Donald Trump is channeling here that is attracting this attention with the sort of, um, policy positions of the Republican Party.

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