Discussion:
What is next for the Republicans?
(too old to reply)
Rich80105
2021-01-12 04:01:23 UTC
Permalink
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/what-is-arizonas-gop-doing-recover-defeat-attacking-cindy-mccain/
and
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/republicans-democracy.html
(and from that second article:

One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the
rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.

No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant
electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile
conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s
progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in
any other Western democracy.

So all the rage is based on lies. But what’s almost as striking as the
fantasies of the rioters is how few leading Republicans have been
willing, despite the violence and desecration, to tell the MAGA mob
that their conspiracy theories are false.

Bear in mind that Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and
two-thirds of his colleagues voted against accepting the Electoral
College results even after the riot. (McCarthy then shamelessly
decried “division,” saying that “we must call on our better angels.”)

Or consider the behavior of leading Republicans who aren’t usually
considered extremists. On Sunday Senator Rob Portman declared that we
need to “restore confidence in the integrity of our electoral system.”
Portman isn’t stupid; he has to know that the only reason so many
people doubt the election results is that members of his party
deliberately fomented that doubt. But he’s still keeping up the
pretense.

And the cynicism and cowardice of leading Republicans is, I would
argue, the most important cause of the nightmare now enveloping our
nation.

Of course we need to understand the motives of our homegrown enemies
of democracy. In general, political scientists find — not
surprisingly, given America’s history — that racial antagonism is the
best predictor of willingness to countenance political violence.
Anecdotally, personal frustrations — often involving social
interactions, not “economic anxiety” — also seem to drive many
extremists.

But neither racism nor widespread attraction to conspiracy theories is
new in our political life. The worldview described in Richard
Hofstadter’s classic 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American
Politics” is barely distinguishable from QAnon beliefs today.

So there’s only so much to be gained from interviewing red-hatted guys
in diners; there have always been people like that. If there are or
seem to be more such people than in the past, it probably has less to
do with intensified grievances than with outside encouragement.

For the big thing that has changed since Hofstadter wrote is that one
of our major political parties has become willing to tolerate and,
indeed, feed right-wing political paranoia.

This coddling of the crazies was, at first, almost entirely cynical.
When the G.O.P. began moving right in the 1970s its true agenda was
mainly economic — what its leaders wanted, above all, were business
deregulation and tax cuts for the rich. But the party needed more than
plutocracy to win elections, so it began courting working-class whites
with what amounted to thinly disguised racist appeals.

Not incidentally, white supremacy has always been sustained in large
part through voter suppression. So it shouldn’t be surprising to see
right-wingers howling about a rigged election — after all, rigging
elections is what their side is accustomed to doing. And it’s not
clear to what extent they actually believe that this election was
rigged, as opposed to being enraged that this time the usual
vote-rigging didn’t work.

But it’s not just about race. Since Ronald Reagan, the G.O.P. has been
closely tied to the hard-line Christian right. Anyone shocked by the
prevalence of insane conspiracy theories in 2020 should look back to
“The New World Order,” published by Reagan ally Pat Robertson in 1991,
which saw America menaced by an international cabal of Jewish bankers,
Freemasons and occultists. Or they should check out a 1994 video
promoted by Jerry Falwell Sr. called “The Clinton Chronicles,” which
portrayed Bill Clinton as a drug smuggler and serial killer.

So what has changed since then? For a long time Republican elites
imagined that they could exploit racism and conspiracy theorizing
while remaining focused on a plutocratic agenda. But with the rise
first of the Tea Party, then of Donald Trump, the cynics found that
the crazies were actually in control, and that they wanted to destroy
democracy, not cut tax rates on capital gains.

And Republican elites have, with few exceptions, accepted their new
subservient status.

You might have hoped that a significant number of sane Republican
politicians would finally say that enough is enough, and break with
their extremist allies. But Trump’s party didn’t balk at his
corruption and abuse of power; it stood by him when he refused to
accept electoral defeat; and some of its members are responding to a
violent attack on Congress by complaining about their loss of Twitter
followers.

And there’s no reason to believe that the atrocities yet to come — for
there will be more atrocities — will make a difference. The G.O.P. has
reached the culmination of its long journey away from democracy, and
it’s hard to see how it can ever be redeemed.
Tony
2021-01-12 04:20:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich80105
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/what-is-arizonas-gop-doing-recover-defeat-attacking-cindy-mccain/
and
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/republicans-democracy.html
One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the
rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.
No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant
electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile
conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s
progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in
any other Western democracy.
No they are right of centre.
Post by Rich80105
So all the rage is based on lies. But what’s almost as striking as the
fantasies of the rioters is how few leading Republicans have been
willing, despite the violence and desecration, to tell the MAGA mob
that their conspiracy theories are false.
Bear in mind that Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and
two-thirds of his colleagues voted against accepting the Electoral
College results even after the riot. (McCarthy then shamelessly
decried “division,” saying that “we must call on our better angels.”)
Or consider the behavior of leading Republicans who aren’t usually
considered extremists. On Sunday Senator Rob Portman declared that we
need to “restore confidence in the integrity of our electoral system.”
Portman isn’t stupid; he has to know that the only reason so many
people doubt the election results is that members of his party
deliberately fomented that doubt. But he’s still keeping up the
pretense.
And the cynicism and cowardice of leading Republicans is, I would
argue, the most important cause of the nightmare now enveloping our
nation.
Of course we need to understand the motives of our homegrown enemies
of democracy. In general, political scientists find — not
surprisingly, given America’s history — that racial antagonism is the
best predictor of willingness to countenance political violence.
Anecdotally, personal frustrations — often involving social
interactions, not “economic anxiety” — also seem to drive many
extremists.
But neither racism nor widespread attraction to conspiracy theories is
new in our political life. The worldview described in Richard
Hofstadter’s classic 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American
Politics” is barely distinguishable from QAnon beliefs today.
So there’s only so much to be gained from interviewing red-hatted guys
in diners; there have always been people like that. If there are or
seem to be more such people than in the past, it probably has less to
do with intensified grievances than with outside encouragement.
For the big thing that has changed since Hofstadter wrote is that one
of our major political parties has become willing to tolerate and,
indeed, feed right-wing political paranoia.
This coddling of the crazies was, at first, almost entirely cynical.
When the G.O.P. began moving right in the 1970s its true agenda was
mainly economic — what its leaders wanted, above all, were business
deregulation and tax cuts for the rich. But the party needed more than
plutocracy to win elections, so it began courting working-class whites
with what amounted to thinly disguised racist appeals.
Not incidentally, white supremacy has always been sustained in large
part through voter suppression. So it shouldn’t be surprising to see
right-wingers howling about a rigged election — after all, rigging
elections is what their side is accustomed to doing. And it’s not
clear to what extent they actually believe that this election was
rigged, as opposed to being enraged that this time the usual
vote-rigging didn’t work.
But it’s not just about race. Since Ronald Reagan, the G.O.P. has been
closely tied to the hard-line Christian right. Anyone shocked by the
prevalence of insane conspiracy theories in 2020 should look back to
“The New World Order,” published by Reagan ally Pat Robertson in 1991,
which saw America menaced by an international cabal of Jewish bankers,
Freemasons and occultists. Or they should check out a 1994 video
promoted by Jerry Falwell Sr. called “The Clinton Chronicles,” which
portrayed Bill Clinton as a drug smuggler and serial killer.
So what has changed since then? For a long time Republican elites
imagined that they could exploit racism and conspiracy theorizing
while remaining focused on a plutocratic agenda. But with the rise
first of the Tea Party, then of Donald Trump, the cynics found that
the crazies were actually in control, and that they wanted to destroy
democracy, not cut tax rates on capital gains.
And Republican elites have, with few exceptions, accepted their new
subservient status.
You might have hoped that a significant number of sane Republican
politicians would finally say that enough is enough, and break with
their extremist allies. But Trump’s party didn’t balk at his
corruption and abuse of power; it stood by him when he refused to
accept electoral defeat; and some of its members are responding to a
violent attack on Congress by complaining about their loss of Twitter
followers.
And there’s no reason to believe that the atrocities yet to come — for
there will be more atrocities — will make a difference. The G.O.P. has
reached the culmination of its long journey away from democracy, and
it’s hard to see how it can ever be redeemed.
I have no disagreement with much of the above (other than my interjection
above).
The issue is simple, the once principled Republican party has abandoned those
principles.
Thank goodness we don't have a party like that here and thank goodness we don't
have a party as right wing as the Democratic party.
Rich80105
2021-01-12 06:30:52 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 11 Jan 2021 22:20:36 -0600, Tony <lizandtony at orcon dot net
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/what-is-arizonas-gop-doing-recover-defeat-attacking-cindy-mccain/
and
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/republicans-democracy.html
One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the
rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.
No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant
electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile
conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s
progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in
any other Western democracy.
No they are right of centre.
I agree - even the progressives among the Democrats are probably about
as "right of centrer" as New Zealand's National Party, but the
Americans have a distorted view of where the centre lies in world-wide
terms.
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
So all the rage is based on lies. But what’s almost as striking as the
fantasies of the rioters is how few leading Republicans have been
willing, despite the violence and desecration, to tell the MAGA mob
that their conspiracy theories are false.
Bear in mind that Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and
two-thirds of his colleagues voted against accepting the Electoral
College results even after the riot. (McCarthy then shamelessly
decried “division,” saying that “we must call on our better angels.”)
Or consider the behavior of leading Republicans who aren’t usually
considered extremists. On Sunday Senator Rob Portman declared that we
need to “restore confidence in the integrity of our electoral system.”
Portman isn’t stupid; he has to know that the only reason so many
people doubt the election results is that members of his party
deliberately fomented that doubt. But he’s still keeping up the
pretense.
And the cynicism and cowardice of leading Republicans is, I would
argue, the most important cause of the nightmare now enveloping our
nation.
Of course we need to understand the motives of our homegrown enemies
of democracy. In general, political scientists find — not
surprisingly, given America’s history — that racial antagonism is the
best predictor of willingness to countenance political violence.
Anecdotally, personal frustrations — often involving social
interactions, not “economic anxiety” — also seem to drive many
extremists.
But neither racism nor widespread attraction to conspiracy theories is
new in our political life. The worldview described in Richard
Hofstadter’s classic 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American
Politics” is barely distinguishable from QAnon beliefs today.
So there’s only so much to be gained from interviewing red-hatted guys
in diners; there have always been people like that. If there are or
seem to be more such people than in the past, it probably has less to
do with intensified grievances than with outside encouragement.
For the big thing that has changed since Hofstadter wrote is that one
of our major political parties has become willing to tolerate and,
indeed, feed right-wing political paranoia.
This coddling of the crazies was, at first, almost entirely cynical.
When the G.O.P. began moving right in the 1970s its true agenda was
mainly economic — what its leaders wanted, above all, were business
deregulation and tax cuts for the rich. But the party needed more than
plutocracy to win elections, so it began courting working-class whites
with what amounted to thinly disguised racist appeals.
Not incidentally, white supremacy has always been sustained in large
part through voter suppression. So it shouldn’t be surprising to see
right-wingers howling about a rigged election — after all, rigging
elections is what their side is accustomed to doing. And it’s not
clear to what extent they actually believe that this election was
rigged, as opposed to being enraged that this time the usual
vote-rigging didn’t work.
But it’s not just about race. Since Ronald Reagan, the G.O.P. has been
closely tied to the hard-line Christian right. Anyone shocked by the
prevalence of insane conspiracy theories in 2020 should look back to
“The New World Order,” published by Reagan ally Pat Robertson in 1991,
which saw America menaced by an international cabal of Jewish bankers,
Freemasons and occultists. Or they should check out a 1994 video
promoted by Jerry Falwell Sr. called “The Clinton Chronicles,” which
portrayed Bill Clinton as a drug smuggler and serial killer.
So what has changed since then? For a long time Republican elites
imagined that they could exploit racism and conspiracy theorizing
while remaining focused on a plutocratic agenda. But with the rise
first of the Tea Party, then of Donald Trump, the cynics found that
the crazies were actually in control, and that they wanted to destroy
democracy, not cut tax rates on capital gains.
And Republican elites have, with few exceptions, accepted their new
subservient status.
You might have hoped that a significant number of sane Republican
politicians would finally say that enough is enough, and break with
their extremist allies. But Trump’s party didn’t balk at his
corruption and abuse of power; it stood by him when he refused to
accept electoral defeat; and some of its members are responding to a
violent attack on Congress by complaining about their loss of Twitter
followers.
And there’s no reason to believe that the atrocities yet to come — for
there will be more atrocities — will make a difference. The G.O.P. has
reached the culmination of its long journey away from democracy, and
it’s hard to see how it can ever be redeemed.
I have no disagreement with much of the above (other than my interjection
above).
The issue is simple, the once principled Republican party has abandoned those
principles.
Thank goodness we don't have a party like that here and thank goodness we don't
have a party as right wing as the Democratic party.
Tony
2021-01-12 19:36:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich80105
On Mon, 11 Jan 2021 22:20:36 -0600, Tony <lizandtony at orcon dot net
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/what-is-arizonas-gop-doing-recover-defeat-attacking-cindy-mccain/
and
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/republicans-democracy.html
One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the
rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.
No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant
electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile
conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s
progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in
any other Western democracy.
No they are right of centre.
I agree - even the progressives among the Democrats are probably about
as "right of centrer" as New Zealand's National Party, but the
Americans have a distorted view of where the centre lies in world-wide
terms.
I believe that the Demcratic party is well right of centre and the NZ National
party is to the left of them (just about at centre).
Post by Rich80105
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
So all the rage is based on lies. But what’s almost as striking as the
fantasies of the rioters is how few leading Republicans have been
willing, despite the violence and desecration, to tell the MAGA mob
that their conspiracy theories are false.
Bear in mind that Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and
two-thirds of his colleagues voted against accepting the Electoral
College results even after the riot. (McCarthy then shamelessly
decried “division,” saying that “we must call on our better angels.”)
Or consider the behavior of leading Republicans who aren’t usually
considered extremists. On Sunday Senator Rob Portman declared that we
need to “restore confidence in the integrity of our electoral system.”
Portman isn’t stupid; he has to know that the only reason so many
people doubt the election results is that members of his party
deliberately fomented that doubt. But he’s still keeping up the
pretense.
And the cynicism and cowardice of leading Republicans is, I would
argue, the most important cause of the nightmare now enveloping our
nation.
Of course we need to understand the motives of our homegrown enemies
of democracy. In general, political scientists find — not
surprisingly, given America’s history — that racial antagonism is the
best predictor of willingness to countenance political violence.
Anecdotally, personal frustrations — often involving social
interactions, not “economic anxiety” — also seem to drive many
extremists.
But neither racism nor widespread attraction to conspiracy theories is
new in our political life. The worldview described in Richard
Hofstadter’s classic 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American
Politics” is barely distinguishable from QAnon beliefs today.
So there’s only so much to be gained from interviewing red-hatted guys
in diners; there have always been people like that. If there are or
seem to be more such people than in the past, it probably has less to
do with intensified grievances than with outside encouragement.
For the big thing that has changed since Hofstadter wrote is that one
of our major political parties has become willing to tolerate and,
indeed, feed right-wing political paranoia.
This coddling of the crazies was, at first, almost entirely cynical.
When the G.O.P. began moving right in the 1970s its true agenda was
mainly economic — what its leaders wanted, above all, were business
deregulation and tax cuts for the rich. But the party needed more than
plutocracy to win elections, so it began courting working-class whites
with what amounted to thinly disguised racist appeals.
Not incidentally, white supremacy has always been sustained in large
part through voter suppression. So it shouldn’t be surprising to see
right-wingers howling about a rigged election — after all, rigging
elections is what their side is accustomed to doing. And it’s not
clear to what extent they actually believe that this election was
rigged, as opposed to being enraged that this time the usual
vote-rigging didn’t work.
But it’s not just about race. Since Ronald Reagan, the G.O.P. has been
closely tied to the hard-line Christian right. Anyone shocked by the
prevalence of insane conspiracy theories in 2020 should look back to
“The New World Order,” published by Reagan ally Pat Robertson in 1991,
which saw America menaced by an international cabal of Jewish bankers,
Freemasons and occultists. Or they should check out a 1994 video
promoted by Jerry Falwell Sr. called “The Clinton Chronicles,” which
portrayed Bill Clinton as a drug smuggler and serial killer.
So what has changed since then? For a long time Republican elites
imagined that they could exploit racism and conspiracy theorizing
while remaining focused on a plutocratic agenda. But with the rise
first of the Tea Party, then of Donald Trump, the cynics found that
the crazies were actually in control, and that they wanted to destroy
democracy, not cut tax rates on capital gains.
And Republican elites have, with few exceptions, accepted their new
subservient status.
You might have hoped that a significant number of sane Republican
politicians would finally say that enough is enough, and break with
their extremist allies. But Trump’s party didn’t balk at his
corruption and abuse of power; it stood by him when he refused to
accept electoral defeat; and some of its members are responding to a
violent attack on Congress by complaining about their loss of Twitter
followers.
And there’s no reason to believe that the atrocities yet to come — for
there will be more atrocities — will make a difference. The G.O.P. has
reached the culmination of its long journey away from democracy, and
it’s hard to see how it can ever be redeemed.
I have no disagreement with much of the above (other than my interjection
above).
The issue is simple, the once principled Republican party has abandoned those
principles.
Thank goodness we don't have a party like that here and thank goodness we don't
have a party as right wing as the Democratic party.
James Christophers
2021-01-12 23:18:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
On Mon, 11 Jan 2021 22:20:36 -0600, Tony <lizandtony at orcon dot net
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/what-is-arizonas-gop-doing-recover-defeat-attacking-cindy-mccain/
and
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/republicans-democracy.html
One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the
rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.
No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant
electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile
conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s
progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in
any other Western democracy.
No they are right of centre.
I agree - even the progressives among the Democrats are probably about
as "right of centrer" as New Zealand's National Party, but the
Americans have a distorted view of where the centre lies in world-wide
terms.
Exceptionalism breeds parochialism, the shuttering and crabbing of both mind and thought. And not only in the US, either!
Post by Tony
I believe that the Demcratic party is well right of centre and the NZ National
party is to the left of them (just about at centre).
If I may...

US politics is steeped in and shaped by its history of early pioneering, revolution and, not that far distant from living memory, civil war, all from which it claims and flaunts it's proudly self-arrogated exceptionalism. The essence and mindset underlying this blunt-force forging of US history and its character resides at the heart of the Second Amendment. Not forgetting, that is, the beyond-shameful history of American slavery and its deprivations, and its modern-day re-interpretation in the criminal actions of rich white hoodlums seeking to disenfranchise the black voter, or even the armed law-enforcer gunning him down on the street in broad daylight "cuz he wuz dressed funny and looked at me strange".

The born New Zealander has no similar history past or present. By comparison, then, New Zealand politics are distinctly "vanilla", pivoting closely around an already small and undefined 'centre'. So the New Zealander tends, I think, to judge the boundaries and character of the US's clamorous and highly polarised politics through their experience of the US media's interpretations of them. But such judgements cannot help but be reinforced - warped, even - by the way so much of the biased corporate-owned US media each overtly panders to its own favoured party.

During the endless process of gearing up to the next 4-year term, the same US media, already host and mouthpiece to any demagogue out there, raises the seismic polemic further by gratuitously screening a seemingly endless succession of "poll-rating" members of the Great Unwashed, be it hard-right, pitchfork bullneck or vaping, weed-clad dingbat. Certainly, there's plenty of worthy, sober, thoughtful opinion and analysis to be had from some of the US media - e.g. PBS - but there's little if any profit in it and, above all, there are shareholders for whom ever higher dividends can still never be enough. So, as in New Zealand, "worthy, truthful and informative but dull", or however you may judge it, is inevitably pushed to the margins and then, likely as not, consigned to the graveyard hours there to expire unremarked and unprotested.

So, what price does everyman American or New Zealander **really** place on their very different histories and modern-day interpretations of their own so-called democratic ideals? Would either of them even begin to know where to begin?

Oh, and if asked, I would likely call our National Party 'Tory-lite', and Labour a little less so, this for no reason other than that in a democracy political oppostion is ipso facto legitimate and therefore shall have its voice.
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
So all the rage is based on lies. But what’s almost as striking as the
fantasies of the rioters is how few leading Republicans have been
willing, despite the violence and desecration, to tell the MAGA mob
that their conspiracy theories are false.
Bear in mind that Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and
two-thirds of his colleagues voted against accepting the Electoral
College results even after the riot. (McCarthy then shamelessly
decried “division,” saying that “we must call on our better angels.”)
Or consider the behavior of leading Republicans who aren’t usually
considered extremists. On Sunday Senator Rob Portman declared that we
need to “restore confidence in the integrity of our electoral system.”
Portman isn’t stupid; he has to know that the only reason so many
people doubt the election results is that members of his party
deliberately fomented that doubt. But he’s still keeping up the
pretense.
And the cynicism and cowardice of leading Republicans is, I would
argue, the most important cause of the nightmare now enveloping our
nation.
Of course we need to understand the motives of our homegrown enemies
of democracy. In general, political scientists find — not
surprisingly, given America’s history — that racial antagonism is the
best predictor of willingness to countenance political violence.
Anecdotally, personal frustrations — often involving social
interactions, not “economic anxiety” — also seem to drive many
extremists.
But neither racism nor widespread attraction to conspiracy theories is
new in our political life. The worldview described in Richard
Hofstadter’s classic 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American
Politics” is barely distinguishable from QAnon beliefs today.
So there’s only so much to be gained from interviewing red-hatted guys
in diners; there have always been people like that. If there are or
seem to be more such people than in the past, it probably has less to
do with intensified grievances than with outside encouragement.
For the big thing that has changed since Hofstadter wrote is that one
of our major political parties has become willing to tolerate and,
indeed, feed right-wing political paranoia.
This coddling of the crazies was, at first, almost entirely cynical.
When the G.O.P. began moving right in the 1970s its true agenda was
mainly economic — what its leaders wanted, above all, were business
deregulation and tax cuts for the rich. But the party needed more than
plutocracy to win elections, so it began courting working-class whites
with what amounted to thinly disguised racist appeals.
Not incidentally, white supremacy has always been sustained in large
part through voter suppression. So it shouldn’t be surprising to see
right-wingers howling about a rigged election — after all, rigging
elections is what their side is accustomed to doing. And it’s not
clear to what extent they actually believe that this election was
rigged, as opposed to being enraged that this time the usual
vote-rigging didn’t work.
But it’s not just about race. Since Ronald Reagan, the G.O.P. has been
closely tied to the hard-line Christian right. Anyone shocked by the
prevalence of insane conspiracy theories in 2020 should look back to
“The New World Order,” published by Reagan ally Pat Robertson in 1991,
which saw America menaced by an international cabal of Jewish bankers,
Freemasons and occultists. Or they should check out a 1994 video
promoted by Jerry Falwell Sr. called “The Clinton Chronicles,” which
portrayed Bill Clinton as a drug smuggler and serial killer.
So what has changed since then? For a long time Republican elites
imagined that they could exploit racism and conspiracy theorizing
while remaining focused on a plutocratic agenda. But with the rise
first of the Tea Party, then of Donald Trump, the cynics found that
the crazies were actually in control, and that they wanted to destroy
democracy, not cut tax rates on capital gains.
And Republican elites have, with few exceptions, accepted their new
subservient status.
You might have hoped that a significant number of sane Republican
politicians would finally say that enough is enough, and break with
their extremist allies. But Trump’s party didn’t balk at his
corruption and abuse of power; it stood by him when he refused to
accept electoral defeat; and some of its members are responding to a
violent attack on Congress by complaining about their loss of Twitter
followers.
And there’s no reason to believe that the atrocities yet to come — for
there will be more atrocities — will make a difference. The G.O.P. has
reached the culmination of its long journey away from democracy, and
it’s hard to see how it can ever be redeemed.
I have no disagreement with much of the above (other than my interjection
above).
The issue is simple, the once principled Republican party has abandoned those
principles.
Thank goodness we don't have a party like that here and thank goodness we don't
have a party as right wing as the Democratic party.
Rich80105
2021-01-13 03:55:01 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 12 Jan 2021 15:18:02 -0800 (PST), James Christophers
Post by James Christophers
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
On Mon, 11 Jan 2021 22:20:36 -0600, Tony <lizandtony at orcon dot net
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/what-is-arizonas-gop-doing-recover-defeat-attacking-cindy-mccain/
and
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/republicans-democracy.html
One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the
rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.
No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant
electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile
conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s
progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in
any other Western democracy.
No they are right of centre.
I agree - even the progressives among the Democrats are probably about
as "right of centrer" as New Zealand's National Party, but the
Americans have a distorted view of where the centre lies in world-wide
terms.
Exceptionalism breeds parochialism, the shuttering and crabbing of both mind and thought. And not only in the US, either!
Post by Tony
I believe that the Demcratic party is well right of centre and the NZ National
party is to the left of them (just about at centre).
If I may...
US politics is steeped in and shaped by its history of early pioneering, revolution and, not that far distant from living memory, civil war, all from which it claims and flaunts it's proudly self-arrogated exceptionalism. The essence and mindset underlying this blunt-force forging of US history and its character resides at the heart of the Second Amendment. Not forgetting, that is, the beyond-shameful history of American slavery and its deprivations, and its modern-day re-interpretation in the criminal actions of rich white hoodlums seeking to disenfranchise the black voter, or even the armed law-enforcer gunning him down on the street in broad daylight "cuz he wuz dressed funny and looked at me strange".
The born New Zealander has no similar history past or present. By comparison, then, New Zealand politics are distinctly "vanilla", pivoting closely around an already small and undefined 'centre'. So the New Zealander tends, I think, to judge the boundaries and character of the US's clamorous and highly polarised politics through their experience of the US media's interpretations of them. But such judgements cannot help but be reinforced - warped, even - by the way so much of the biased corporate-owned US media each overtly panders to its own favoured party.
During the endless process of gearing up to the next 4-year term, the same US media, already host and mouthpiece to any demagogue out there, raises the seismic polemic further by gratuitously screening a seemingly endless succession of "poll-rating" members of the Great Unwashed, be it hard-right, pitchfork bullneck or vaping, weed-clad dingbat. Certainly, there's plenty of worthy, sober, thoughtful opinion and analysis to be had from some of the US media - e.g. PBS - but there's little if any profit in it and, above all, there are shareholders for whom ever higher dividends can still never be enough. So, as in New Zealand, "worthy, truthful and informative but dull", or however you may judge it, is inevitably pushed to the margins and then, likely as not, consigned to the graveyard hours there to expire unremarked and unprotested.
So, what price does everyman American or New Zealander **really** place on their very different histories and modern-day interpretations of their own so-called democratic ideals? Would either of them even begin to know where to begin?
Oh, and if asked, I would likely call our National Party 'Tory-lite', and Labour a little less so, this for no reason other than that in a democracy political oppostion is ipso facto legitimate and therefore shall have its voice.
This is an area where there are few who even attempt to measure or in
any way justify opinions. I believe it is worth looking at:
https://www.politicalcompass.org/nz2020
which puts National at +8 on the left right scale; Labour at +5.5,
Green party at -3, and ACT at +9.5
For the USA, no comparison is given of the Democrat and Republican
parties, but Biden is assessed at +7.5; just to the left of National,
and Trump at 8.5 :
https://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2020

The UK shows a huge divide between Conservatives at the far right
(+9.5) and Labour at -4.5 - more left than our Green Party. I suspect
a measurement now would show Labour at closer to the Lib-Dems (in 2010
they were firmly top right at +4)

Of course the authoritarian / libertarian axis is also important, but
the likelihood of holding crazy conspiracy theories does seem to
correlate with the far right - interesting that a former ACT Party
candidate had his Twitter account suspended
https://www.newsroom.co.nz/nz-far-right-twitter-accounts-suspended
and Nathan Smith was with the "New Zealand Initiative."

I think it unlikely that any accounts that post to nz.general will be
cancelled, even though there are a couple who post to nz.general that
appear to hold extremist views similar to those that have led to
Twitter account closures
Post by James Christophers
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
So all the rage is based on lies. But what’s almost as striking as the
fantasies of the rioters is how few leading Republicans have been
willing, despite the violence and desecration, to tell the MAGA mob
that their conspiracy theories are false.
Bear in mind that Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and
two-thirds of his colleagues voted against accepting the Electoral
College results even after the riot. (McCarthy then shamelessly
decried “division,” saying that “we must call on our better angels.”)
Or consider the behavior of leading Republicans who aren’t usually
considered extremists. On Sunday Senator Rob Portman declared that we
need to “restore confidence in the integrity of our electoral system.”
Portman isn’t stupid; he has to know that the only reason so many
people doubt the election results is that members of his party
deliberately fomented that doubt. But he’s still keeping up the
pretense.
And the cynicism and cowardice of leading Republicans is, I would
argue, the most important cause of the nightmare now enveloping our
nation.
Of course we need to understand the motives of our homegrown enemies
of democracy. In general, political scientists find — not
surprisingly, given America’s history — that racial antagonism is the
best predictor of willingness to countenance political violence.
Anecdotally, personal frustrations — often involving social
interactions, not “economic anxiety” — also seem to drive many
extremists.
But neither racism nor widespread attraction to conspiracy theories is
new in our political life. The worldview described in Richard
Hofstadter’s classic 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American
Politics” is barely distinguishable from QAnon beliefs today.
So there’s only so much to be gained from interviewing red-hatted guys
in diners; there have always been people like that. If there are or
seem to be more such people than in the past, it probably has less to
do with intensified grievances than with outside encouragement.
For the big thing that has changed since Hofstadter wrote is that one
of our major political parties has become willing to tolerate and,
indeed, feed right-wing political paranoia.
This coddling of the crazies was, at first, almost entirely cynical.
When the G.O.P. began moving right in the 1970s its true agenda was
mainly economic — what its leaders wanted, above all, were business
deregulation and tax cuts for the rich. But the party needed more than
plutocracy to win elections, so it began courting working-class whites
with what amounted to thinly disguised racist appeals.
Not incidentally, white supremacy has always been sustained in large
part through voter suppression. So it shouldn’t be surprising to see
right-wingers howling about a rigged election — after all, rigging
elections is what their side is accustomed to doing. And it’s not
clear to what extent they actually believe that this election was
rigged, as opposed to being enraged that this time the usual
vote-rigging didn’t work.
But it’s not just about race. Since Ronald Reagan, the G.O.P. has been
closely tied to the hard-line Christian right. Anyone shocked by the
prevalence of insane conspiracy theories in 2020 should look back to
“The New World Order,” published by Reagan ally Pat Robertson in 1991,
which saw America menaced by an international cabal of Jewish bankers,
Freemasons and occultists. Or they should check out a 1994 video
promoted by Jerry Falwell Sr. called “The Clinton Chronicles,” which
portrayed Bill Clinton as a drug smuggler and serial killer.
So what has changed since then? For a long time Republican elites
imagined that they could exploit racism and conspiracy theorizing
while remaining focused on a plutocratic agenda. But with the rise
first of the Tea Party, then of Donald Trump, the cynics found that
the crazies were actually in control, and that they wanted to destroy
democracy, not cut tax rates on capital gains.
And Republican elites have, with few exceptions, accepted their new
subservient status.
You might have hoped that a significant number of sane Republican
politicians would finally say that enough is enough, and break with
their extremist allies. But Trump’s party didn’t balk at his
corruption and abuse of power; it stood by him when he refused to
accept electoral defeat; and some of its members are responding to a
violent attack on Congress by complaining about their loss of Twitter
followers.
And there’s no reason to believe that the atrocities yet to come — for
there will be more atrocities — will make a difference. The G.O.P. has
reached the culmination of its long journey away from democracy, and
it’s hard to see how it can ever be redeemed.
I have no disagreement with much of the above (other than my interjection
above).
The issue is simple, the once principled Republican party has abandoned those
principles.
Thank goodness we don't have a party like that here and thank goodness we don't
have a party as right wing as the Democratic party.
Gordon
2021-01-13 03:59:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
On Mon, 11 Jan 2021 22:20:36 -0600, Tony <lizandtony at orcon dot net
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/what-is-arizonas-gop-doing-recover-defeat-attacking-cindy-mccain/
and
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/republicans-democracy.html
One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the
rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.
No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant
electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile
conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s
progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in
any other Western democracy.
No they are right of centre.
I agree - even the progressives among the Democrats are probably about
as "right of centrer" as New Zealand's National Party, but the
Americans have a distorted view of where the centre lies in world-wide
terms.
I believe that the Demcratic party is well right of centre and the NZ National
party is to the left of them (just about at centre).
In context, the GOP have early USA values, individualism, and I am all right
Jack (who cares about you?). So things which affect the whole country, Covid,
climate change measures, health care for all, etc are seen as Government
interfence in their lives (nany state). America was not built this way.

From the point of view of climate change measures, Covid, health care the
Democrats are "left" however there is still alot of individual
responsibility (the right) compared to other countries.

End of rave.
Tony
2021-01-13 05:51:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Gordon
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
On Mon, 11 Jan 2021 22:20:36 -0600, Tony <lizandtony at orcon dot net
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/what-is-arizonas-gop-doing-recover-defeat-attacking-cindy-mccain/
and
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/republicans-democracy.html
One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the
rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.
No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant
electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile
conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s
progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in
any other Western democracy.
No they are right of centre.
I agree - even the progressives among the Democrats are probably about
as "right of centrer" as New Zealand's National Party, but the
Americans have a distorted view of where the centre lies in world-wide
terms.
I believe that the Demcratic party is well right of centre and the NZ National
party is to the left of them (just about at centre).
In context, the GOP have early USA values, individualism, and I am all right
Jack (who cares about you?). So things which affect the whole country, Covid,
climate change measures, health care for all, etc are seen as Government
interfence in their lives (nany state). America was not built this way.
From the point of view of climate change measures, Covid, health care the
Democrats are "left" however there is still alot of individual
responsibility (the right) compared to other countries.
End of rave.
No rave but somewhat simplistic.
The GOP which is not quite the Republican party of today freed the slaves.
Yes, we could have a debate for ever over the development of the party but that
would be pointless.
I have little regard for either of the major US parties, both of which are to
the right of all of our major parties.
Rich80105
2021-01-13 20:20:30 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 12 Jan 2021 23:51:27 -0600, Tony <lizandtony at orcon dot net
Post by Tony
Post by Gordon
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
On Mon, 11 Jan 2021 22:20:36 -0600, Tony <lizandtony at orcon dot net
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/what-is-arizonas-gop-doing-recover-defeat-attacking-cindy-mccain/
and
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/republicans-democracy.html
One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the
rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.
No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant
electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile
conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s
progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in
any other Western democracy.
No they are right of centre.
I agree - even the progressives among the Democrats are probably about
as "right of centrer" as New Zealand's National Party, but the
Americans have a distorted view of where the centre lies in world-wide
terms.
I believe that the Demcratic party is well right of centre and the NZ National
party is to the left of them (just about at centre).
In context, the GOP have early USA values, individualism, and I am all right
Jack (who cares about you?). So things which affect the whole country, Covid,
climate change measures, health care for all, etc are seen as Government
interfence in their lives (nany state). America was not built this way.
From the point of view of climate change measures, Covid, health care the
Democrats are "left" however there is still alot of individual
responsibility (the right) compared to other countries.
End of rave.
No rave but somewhat simplistic.
The GOP which is not quite the Republican party of today freed the slaves.
Yes, we could have a debate for ever over the development of the party but that
would be pointless.
I have little regard for either of the major US parties, both of which are to
the right of all of our major parties.
Presumably by our major parties you intended to include ACT New
Zealand and the Green Party, each with 10 seats. Economically,
National is slightly to the right of the US Democratic Party, but to
the left of the Republicans; ACT New Zealand is to the right of
National and the Republican Party, while the Green Party is to the
left of all of them. In our modern world, slavery in the old sense has
been replaced by economic dependence - effectively economic slavery;
and the parties of the Right are generally less concerned about that
than those to their left - as shown through decisions regarding
minimum wages and 'the living wage'.

ACT New Zealand is however far less authoritarian and more libertarian
than other parties (including the Green Party).

It is recent history that is of most relevance to both the Republican
Party in the USA and the National Party in New Zealand. Both need to
rebuild.
See
https://www.ft.com/content/cabfd2bc-54d9-4a9e-8cd2-d8e1e19351d1

it is paywalled (not expensive), but starts:

"Why the Republican party will be hard to rescue

Moderates must undo decades of paranoid politics, not just five years
of it

Senator Lindsey Graham is escorted by security personnel at Reagan
National Airport in Washington, where he was jeered and heckled by
Trump supporters © Oreo Express/Social Media/Reuters

It was a Republican, vice-president Mike Pence, who most exercised the
crowd in the US Capitol last week. It was another, Senator Lindsey
Graham, who found himself encircled and jeered in a local airport.
Neither man’s unctuous service to Donald Trump over four years counted
for much once they chose to uphold his presidential election loss of
last November. For that lapse in purity they will now be hounded, to
quote one marcher, “forever”.

A feature of extremism is the relish with which it attacks its own
side. The doubter and the schismatic incur more wrath than the
outright non-believer. And so mainstream Republicans are in for a
vicious and open-ended struggle with the wilder edges of their own
movement. If only the Grand Old Party were at stake, the nation could
leave them to it. But no democracy can prosper long without two
responsible parties. It is of existential import to the US (and to the
world it helps to anchor) that Republican moderates prevail.

How tragic, then, that they probably won’t. Their first problem is the
depth and age of the internal rot. Republicans have to undo decades of
flirtation with paranoid elements, not just five years’ worth. Whether
we date it to the congressional midterm election of 1994, or Barry
Goldwater’s White House bid in 1964, or the McCarthyite 1950s, the
party has not policed its right flank for a long time. The Republican
portrayal of government as inherently malign is hardly new. Nor is the
cheapness with which the American Revolution is invoked (both Richard
Nixon and the former congressional leader Newt Gingrich did it). The
impugning of opponents’ legitimacy did not commence with
president-elect Joe Biden’s this winter.

Few Republicans who connived at this style of politics expected it to
morph out of control. But nor should they pretend it is a recent
aberration, and that includes the otherwise-vindicated Never Trumpers.
The rich genre of commentary on whether there will be Trumpism after
Mr Trump tends to gloss over the Trumpism before Mr Trump. "
_____________

In New Zealand, the impact of "Dirty Tricks" has had a bigger effect
on the National Party than they appear to believe. The fundamental
dishonesty was strongly linked with the leadership of the party. The
emphasis on their policy has moved from support for employers to
support for big capital, including overseas owned NZ Companies at the
expense of NZ owned companies. Their "gotcha" politics have led to
them taking inconsistent positions over time as they blindly oppose
the Labour / Green government; their current choice of leader remins
us of their evident self-interest (think Oravida and the export of
swamp Kauri 'totem poles" with minmal 'carving"). I believe it will
take a long time for National to regain the trust of enough voters to
regain office, but just as in America, we will be stronger for not
having an opposition party that is inherently distrusted by so many.
James Christophers
2021-01-13 21:53:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich80105
On Tue, 12 Jan 2021 23:51:27 -0600, Tony <lizandtony at orcon dot net
Post by Tony
Post by Gordon
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
On Mon, 11 Jan 2021 22:20:36 -0600, Tony <lizandtony at orcon dot net
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/what-is-arizonas-gop-doing-recover-defeat-attacking-cindy-mccain/
and
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/republicans-democracy.html
One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the
rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.
No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant
electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile
conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s
progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in
any other Western democracy.
No they are right of centre.
I agree - even the progressives among the Democrats are probably about
as "right of centrer" as New Zealand's National Party, but the
Americans have a distorted view of where the centre lies in world-wide
terms.
I believe that the Demcratic party is well right of centre and the NZ National
party is to the left of them (just about at centre).
In context, the GOP have early USA values, individualism, and I am all right
Jack (who cares about you?). So things which affect the whole country, Covid,
climate change measures, health care for all, etc are seen as Government
interfence in their lives (nany state). America was not built this way.
From the point of view of climate change measures, Covid, health care the
Democrats are "left" however there is still alot of individual
responsibility (the right) compared to other countries.
End of rave.
No rave but somewhat simplistic.
The GOP which is not quite the Republican party of today freed the slaves.
"Not quite"? They could hardly be more different!

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/27/politics/what-matters-august-26/index.html

(Today, "GOP" is a historical colloquial endearment rather than a style or title.)
Post by Rich80105
Post by Tony
Yes, we could have a debate for ever over the development of the party but that
would be pointless.
Certainly pointless to (try to) debate when lacking the material to do so. But that doesn't somehow mean simply discounting or even dispensing with a deeper consideration of the extraordinary variety of changes - including character and self-presentation - the Republican party has undergone since 1860. Essential, too, to remember that whatever the nature of the changes and developments at each stage in its progress, since 1860 and right on up to the 1930's, the Republican Party has been **the** dominant force behind US politics.

No question that it has been the most extraordinary and illustrious history for any political party to have earned itself, and anywhere you can name.

Even so, extremism invariably gives licence to evil, and in so doing leads to the corruption and degeneration not only of those who exercise and foster it, but also of the entire body politic and even the very nation itself.

This is why the shame and disgrace that degnerate Trump and his extremist toadies have brought upon a once noble, honourable and universally recognised political institution, are not only tragic but cataclysmic.
Gordon
2021-01-13 03:51:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich80105
On Mon, 11 Jan 2021 22:20:36 -0600, Tony <lizandtony at orcon dot net
Post by Tony
Post by Rich80105
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/what-is-arizonas-gop-doing-recover-defeat-attacking-cindy-mccain/
and
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/republicans-democracy.html
One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the
rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.
No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant
electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile
conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s
progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in
any other Western democracy.
No they are right of centre.
I agree - even the progressives among the Democrats are probably about
as "right of centrer" as New Zealand's National Party, but the
Americans have a distorted view of where the centre lies in world-wide
terms.
Well, we all have our own reality. the idea of right and left is a general
term which shifts with time.

It is fair to say that National and Labour are a great deal closer together
than GOP and the Democrats.
James Christophers
2021-01-12 06:42:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich80105
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/11/what-is-arizonas-gop-doing-recover-defeat-attacking-cindy-mccain/
and
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/opinion/republicans-democracy.html
One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the
rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.
No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant
electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile
conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s
progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in
any other Western democracy.
So all the rage is based on lies. But what’s almost as striking as the
fantasies of the rioters is how few leading Republicans have been
willing, despite the violence and desecration, to tell the MAGA mob
that their conspiracy theories are false.
Bear in mind that Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and
two-thirds of his colleagues voted against accepting the Electoral
College results even after the riot. (McCarthy then shamelessly
decried “division,” saying that “we must call on our better angels.”)
Or consider the behavior of leading Republicans who aren’t usually
considered extremists. On Sunday Senator Rob Portman declared that we
need to “restore confidence in the integrity of our electoral system.”
Portman isn’t stupid; he has to know that the only reason so many
people doubt the election results is that members of his party
deliberately fomented that doubt. But he’s still keeping up the
pretense.
And the cynicism and cowardice of leading Republicans is, I would
argue, the most important cause of the nightmare now enveloping our
nation.
Of course we need to understand the motives of our homegrown enemies
of democracy. In general, political scientists find — not
surprisingly, given America’s history — that racial antagonism is the
best predictor of willingness to countenance political violence.
Anecdotally, personal frustrations — often involving social
interactions, not “economic anxiety” — also seem to drive many
extremists.
But neither racism nor widespread attraction to conspiracy theories is
new in our political life. The worldview described in Richard
Hofstadter’s classic 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American
Politics” is barely distinguishable from QAnon beliefs today.
So there’s only so much to be gained from interviewing red-hatted guys
in diners; there have always been people like that. If there are or
seem to be more such people than in the past, it probably has less to
do with intensified grievances than with outside encouragement.
For the big thing that has changed since Hofstadter wrote is that one
of our major political parties has become willing to tolerate and,
indeed, feed right-wing political paranoia.
This coddling of the crazies was, at first, almost entirely cynical.
When the G.O.P. began moving right in the 1970s its true agenda was
mainly economic — what its leaders wanted, above all, were business
deregulation and tax cuts for the rich. But the party needed more than
plutocracy to win elections, so it began courting working-class whites
with what amounted to thinly disguised racist appeals.
Not incidentally, white supremacy has always been sustained in large
part through voter suppression. So it shouldn’t be surprising to see
right-wingers howling about a rigged election — after all, rigging
elections is what their side is accustomed to doing. And it’s not
clear to what extent they actually believe that this election was
rigged, as opposed to being enraged that this time the usual
vote-rigging didn’t work.
But it’s not just about race. Since Ronald Reagan, the G.O.P. has been
closely tied to the hard-line Christian right. Anyone shocked by the
prevalence of insane conspiracy theories in 2020 should look back to
“The New World Order,” published by Reagan ally Pat Robertson in 1991,
which saw America menaced by an international cabal of Jewish bankers,
Freemasons and occultists. Or they should check out a 1994 video
promoted by Jerry Falwell Sr. called “The Clinton Chronicles,” which
portrayed Bill Clinton as a drug smuggler and serial killer.
So what has changed since then? For a long time Republican elites
imagined that they could exploit racism and conspiracy theorizing
while remaining focused on a plutocratic agenda. But with the rise
first of the Tea Party, then of Donald Trump, the cynics found that
the crazies were actually in control, and that they wanted to destroy
democracy, not cut tax rates on capital gains.
And Republican elites have, with few exceptions, accepted their new
subservient status.
You might have hoped that a significant number of sane Republican
politicians would finally say that enough is enough, and break with
their extremist allies. But Trump’s party didn’t balk at his
corruption and abuse of power; it stood by him when he refused to
accept electoral defeat; and some of its members are responding to a
violent attack on Congress by complaining about their loss of Twitter
followers.
And there’s no reason to believe that the atrocities yet to come — for
there will be more atrocities — will make a difference. The G.O.P. has
reached the culmination of its long journey away from democracy, and
it’s hard to see how it can ever be redeemed.
There is not a word of the above that I don't concur with. But to really appreciate and begin to understand the history and latent "pitchfork" psychology of a party that would, over the past 50 years, be peopled, controlled and betrayed by the likes of 1970's Nixon and Spiro Agnew (qv) and, today, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, buy and read "Grand Old Party" by Lewis L Gould.

https://www.amazon.com/Grand-Old-Party-History-Republicans/dp/0375507418

Required reading and go-to reference.
Loading...