A Case Against the GOP

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP (“Grand Old Party”), is one of the two major political parties in the United States. It was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed for the potential expansion of chattel slavery into the western territories. The party supported economic reform and classical liberalism while opposing the expansion of slavery. After 1912, the Republican Party began to undergo an ideological shift to the right. Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party’s core base shifted, with Southern states became more Republican in politics. The election of Republican Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016 marked a populist shift in the Republican Party.

Around 100 years ago, Democrats and Republicans switched their political stances. During the 1860s, Republicans, who dominated northern states, committed to an ambitious expansion of federal power, funding the transcontinental railroad, the state university system, settlement of the West, and instating a national currency and protective tariff. Democrats, who dominated the South, opposed those measures.

Sound like an alternate universe? Fast forward to 1936.

A influential Democrat named William Jennings Bryan blurred party lines by emphasizing the government’s role in ensuring social justice through expansions of federal power, up until that point, a Republican stance. But Republicans didn’t adopt the opposite position of favoring limited government. For a couple of decades, both parties promising an augmented federal government devoted in various ways to the cause of social justice, Only gradually did Republican rhetoric drift to the counterarguments. The party’s small-government platform cemented in the 1930s with its opposition to the New Deal. Both parties tried to exploit the discontent this generated, by promising the little guy of the federal help that had previously gone to the business sector. From this point on, Democrats stuck with this stance – favoring federally funded social programs and benefits – while Republicans were gradually driven to the opposite view of hands-off government. Although the rhetoric and to a degree the policies of the parties did switch, their core supporters didn’t. The Republicans remain the party of bigger businesses; it’s just that before they wanted want bigger government and later they didn’t. In other words, earlier on, businesses needed things that only a bigger government could provide, such as infrastructure development, a currency and tariffs. Once these things were in place, a small, hands-off government became better for business.

When Democrat Woodrow Wilson won the presidency, the Republican Party turned against many of his progressive reforms, which they believe expanded government’s power too far. When Republicans regained power and held it throughout the ’20s, they became the party of business. They thought prosperity for business alone was good for America.

That worked out well for them throughout most of the 1920s, but then the economy crashed in 1929 and the Great Depression began, because of how they governed, with the mind set of businesses first.

Republicans believe that free markets and individual achievement are the primary factors behind prosperity. Republicans advocate in favor of fiscal conservatism during Democratic administrations; however, they have shown themselves wantonly increasing federal debt when they are in charge (the implementation of the Bush tax cuts, Medicare Part D and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 are examples of this willingness). Modern Republicans advocate the theory of supply-side economics, which holds that lower tax rates on the wealthy increase economic growth.

Historically, leaders in the Republican Party supported environmental protection. Republican President Theodore Roosevelt was a conservationist whose policies eventually led to the creation of the National Park Service. Republican President Richard Nixon was not an environmentalist, he signed legislation to create the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and had a comprehensive environmental program. Since then, Republicans have increasingly taken positions against environmental regulation, with some Republicans rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change. From 2008 to 2017, the Republicans changed from “debating how to combat human-caused climate change to arguing that it does not exist”, according to The New York Times.

In the following the Civil War, the Republicans grew more supportive of immigration, as it represented manufacturers in the Northeast (who wanted additional labor) whereas the Democratic Party came to be seen as the party of labor (which wanted fewer laborers to compete with). In the 1970s, the parties switched places again, as the Democrats grew more supportive of immigration than Republicans.

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, many in the party have supported neoconservative policies with regard to the War on Terror, including the war in Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The George W. Bush administration took the position that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to unlawful combatant.

There were not highly polarized differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party prior to the Roe v. Wade 1973 Supreme Court ruling (which made prohibitions on abortion rights unconstitutional), but after the Supreme Court ruling, opposition to abortion became an increasingly key national platform for the Republican Party. Again, ignoring personal liberty and science, for votes.

Virtually all restrictions on voting have in recent years been implemented by Republicans. Republicans, mainly at state level, argue that the restrictions (purging voter rolls, limiting voting locations, and prosecuting double voting) are vital to prevent voter fraud despite peer reviewed research that has indicated that voter fraud is very uncommon. Many of these restrictions enacted by Republicans have been successfully challenged in court, with court rulings striking down such regulations and accusing Republicans of establishing them with partisan purpose.

Rarely has there been a large and significant transformation than that of the Republican Party, from a moderately conservative party to something it was never intended to be.

The idea that the Republican Party would be a force for ethnic and anti-immigrant animus and racial division would appall original Republicans, even as far back as the 60s, because they cared about integrity in governance and personal rectitude. They believed in the independence of Congress. Its need to provide a check and balance against corruption in the executive branch, whether the president was from their own or the opposite party. They were unable to transfer those values to succeeding generations however, or to the rise of manipulative leaders, and the influence of extremist media. The Republican Party’s fall from those values came before Donald Trump. In recent years, the GOP has thrown away its values and embraced its darkest impulses. It has destroyed long-standing norms in the Senate; sat idly by allowing rank corruption in the White House; accepted the politicization of the DOJ and lies from the attorney general; avoided any oversight of misconduct; and failed to curb attacks on the independence of inspectors general and whistleblowers.

It has the last administration separate children from their parents at the border (and stick them in cages), mistreated asylum seekers, didn’t even try a meaningful response to a hurricane in Puerto Rico, attacked science, and opened new avenues for waste materials in our air and water. It did nothing about Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and is actively blocked efforts to combat it happening in 2020. It has refused to pass a new Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder eviscerated the legislation, which had passed the House unanimously (including the GOP min you). It refused to deal in any fashion with climate change, immigration, global competition, hunger, medical catastrophe, and poverty. It confirmed nominees who lied to the Senate, who inflated resumes, and who failed to meet minimum qualifications for a job. It confirmed judges who were unanimously rated unqualified by the American Bar Association.

The party jammed through a tax cut (without much support from the people) at a time of low unemployment and low economic growth, leaving little flexibility to deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. It slashed the budget of the CDC, delivering an 80 percent cut to global-health programs designed to fight pandemics, and leaving the agency without the resources necessary to battle COVID-19. It has said nothing about the reckless responses of Trump to the pandemic, which has resulted in half a million deaths that should never have happened. Remained silent when we learned that Russia offered bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers.

A reshaped GOP could be very conservative, but not radical. It would believe in limited government, but a government ran by people of ethics, morals, principles, standards. Respecting data and science, and operating fairly. It would believe in actual fiscal discipline. It would believe in the integrity of our institutions and insist that those in office adhere to ethical standards. It would respect the fundamental values of decency and equal treatment. It would work to broaden its base across racial and ethnic lines, not use division and voter suppression to keep power.

What happens to democratic societies when conservative parties become radical in their defense of the status quo? Harvard political scientist Daniel Ziblatt (co-author of How Democracies Die) argued in a 2017 book that “The importance of conservative parties in democratic systems has been largely underappreciated. Democracies tend to evolve in the direction of more equality, and how a society responds to those changes determines how healthy and stable it is over time. Since it’s often the conservative parties that dictate this response, how they’re organized and what they do (or don’t do) is hugely consequential.

The key thing is that conservative parties are governed by career politicians who have a stake in the continuation of the political system. That’s more important than whether conservatives win elections or not. So you can imagine a situation like late 19th-century Spain or late 19th-century Germany where conservatives do really well in elections, but it’s because the elections are rigged, and you have state officials tampering with the election and repressing the vote so that conservatives win.”

One of the frightening parallels between the current GOP to the Weimar era is that the leading figure in the German nationalist scene in the mid-1920s (Alfred Hugenberg), who had no political career. He was a businessman. But slowly, he built up a media empire. He owned movie theaters and newspapers and even the official German wire service, which provided news to local newspapers.

As this media infrastructure was developing, he was pushing a total nationalist agenda, using nationalist themes. And he then got selected as the head of the German Conservative Party in 1928. He was uncharismatic and a failure as a politician, but he helped turn the political debate in a more nationalist direction. Any of this sound familiar?

Today, it’s more complicated because the media infrastructure is so all-encompassing. I’ve seen people draw parallels to the end of World War I where you had a narrative emerge in Germany that said Germans were under assault by liberals and Jews and communists, that they didn’t really lose the war. This myth was perpetuated after 1918, and spread throughout the political system. As people retreated more into mythology, they started to believe what today we’d call “alternative facts.” Remember, “Those who do not know history””. Again, any of that sound familiar?

Why has the Republican Party become so thoroughly corrupt? The reason is historical as it goes back many decades. The party is best understood as an insurgency.

Today’s Republican Party has a base of ever older, whiter, more male, more rural, more conservative voters. Demography can take a long time to change but it isn’t on the Republicans’ side. They could have tried to expand; instead, they’ve walled themselves off. This is why, while voter fraud knows no party, only the Republican Party overstates the risk (to the point of outright lies) so that it can pass laws to limit the ways that have a partisan impact.

Taking away democratic rights (extreme gerrymandering; blocking an elected president from nominating a Supreme Court justice; voting suppression; creating spurious anti-fraud commissions; misusing the census to undercount the opposition; calling lame-duck legislative sessions to pass laws against the will of the voters) is the Republican Party’s main strategy

Republicans have chosen authoritarianism because, unlike the Democrats, their party isn’t a coalition of interests. Its behavior is ideological. The Republican Party we know is a product of a series of insurgencies against the established order. Several of its intellectual founders-Whittaker Chambers and James Burnham, among others-were shaped early on by Communist ideology and practice (you read that right, the GOP we have today is because of communist ideals), and their Manichean thinking, their conviction that the salvation of Western civilization depended on the devoted work of a small group.

It took only 16 years, with the election of Ronald Reagan, for the current party to merge. During those years, conservatives hammered away at the institutional structures, denouncing the established ones for their “treacherous liberalism”, and building alternatives, in the form of right-wing foundations, think tanks, business lobbies, legal groups, magazines, publishers, professorships. When Reagan won the presidency in 1980, the products of this “counter-establishment” (from the title of Sidney Blumenthal’s book on the subject) were ready to take power.

But conservatism remained an insurgent during the 1980s and ’90s, and the more power it amassed the more it set itself against the web of established norms and loved breaking them.

The second insurgency was led by Newt Gingrich, with the avowed aim of overthrowing the established Republican leadership and shaping the minority party into a fighting force that could break Democratic rule by destroying the “corrupt left-wing machine.” Gingrich liked to quote Mao’s definition of politics (again, communist influence) as “war without blood.” He made audiotapes that taught candidates how to demonize the opposition with labels such as “disgrace,” “betray,” and “traitors.” When he became speaker of the House, Gingrich announced, “There will be no compromise.” How could there be, when he was leading a crusade?

The third insurgency came after the election of Barack Obama. The Tea Party. Eight years later, it culminated in Trump’s victory, an insurgency within the party itself-because revolutions tend to be self-devouring (“I’m not willing to preside over people who are cannibals,” Gingrich declared in 1998 when he quit the House). In the third insurgency, the facets of the original movement surfaced again, but more grotesque than ever: paranoia and conspiracy thinking; racism and other types of hostility toward entire groups; innuendos and incidents of violence, all to prey upon kneejerk reactions of fear and ego. Their new leader is like his authoritarian counterparts: illiberal, demagogic, hostile to institutional checks, demanding and receiving complete acquiescence from everyone, and enmeshed in the financial corruption that is integral to the political corruption of these regimes. Once again, Democrats failed to see it coming and couldn’t grasp how it happened. Neither could some conservatives who still believed in the US.

The corruption of the Republican Party in the Trump era set in with breathtaking speed. It took more than a half century to reach the point where faced with a choice between democracy and power, the party chose the latter. Its leaders don’t see a dilemma, they have the view of, and democratic principles are disposable, sometimes useful, and sometimes inconvenient. The higher cause is conservatism.

Politicians in Washington are looking out for themselves and their donors instead of serving the people they represent. This kind of corruption has become the norm under President Donald Trump’s White House and the Republican-controlled Congress. Congressional Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (Which no one wanted, but they passed anyway), which gave hundreds of billions of dollars to the lobbyists and corporations who contribute to their campaigns (read as, bribe government officials). Working Americans pay the price because all the problems they are facing-from higher drug costs to lower wages-are ignored.

Nationally, special interest groups representing Wall Street, pharmaceutical industry, oil and gas, and more are seeing a great return on their bribes to their favorite members of Congress. The cost of corruption is growing, but luckily, we have the receipts.

Recently there is been an uptick in extremism in the GOP. Since Trump announced his bid in June 2015 he has drawn praise and formal backing (and worship) from some of the country’s neo-Nazis, white supremacists, (fake) militia supporters, and other extremist groups. They include the head of the American Nazi Party, three former Ku Klux Klansmen, four people involved in a recent armed standoff against federal authorities at an Oregon wildlife refuge, and at least 15 individuals affiliated with organizations described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups. Trump denounced none of them.

Racial hatred (that has always been there) helped fuel the rise of Donald Trump. Since the end of the civil rights movement, Republican strategist Lee Atwater’s “Southern strategy” used racism as cudgel against Democrats. The Republican Party has played a welcoming host to racial tensions and fears.

“We have a wonderful OPPORTUNITY here folks, that may never come again,” wrote Rocky J. Suhayda, the head of the American Nazi Party at a rally. “Donald Trump’s campaign statements, if nothing else, have SHOWN that ‘our views’ are NOT so ‘unpopular’ as the Political Correctness crowd have told everyone they are!”

Others among Trump’s extremist endorsers have advocated a violent overthrow of the US government, expressed hatred for blacks, Latinos, Muslims, and Jews, and threatened to “level and demolish every mosque across this country.”

Let’s take a look at other endorsements Trump has received”

Praise for Trump from former Klansman David Duke attracted widespread media attention, eventually spurring Trump to distance (but not denounce) himself from the Louisiana political figure.

Publisher of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, “Trump is willing to say what most Americans think: it’s time to deport these people,” Anglin said in a June 2015 endorsement. “He is also willing to call them out as criminal rapists, murderers and drug dealers.”

Alex Linder/Vanguard News Network, “Only Trump can turn back the brown tide, and thinking Whites know this,” stated a VNN post in February 2016. “Is Trump the ideal man? Nope, but he’ll do until the ideal man gets here.” VNN has also described Trump as “the Last Hope for Whites Before America Turns Brown and Non-Western.”

Don Black, Former KKK grand dragon and founder of the white supremacist website Stormfront, In a 2015 interview with New York, Black said Trump “resonates with many of our people, of course, and with white, middle America, which has been seething for many years now about the immigration issue. It’s been ready to boil over for a long time.”

August Kreis III, Former KKK member and former Aryan Nations Minister of Information and Propaganda, Kreis praised Trump publicly in the courtroom during his November 2015 trial for sexual misconduct with a child: “I will always hate the Jew. This government is run by an evil group of people, and, please, vote for Trump!” (He was convicted and sentenced to 50 years.)

Rachel Pendergraft, National organizer for the KKK-affiliated Knights Party, in a December 2015 Washington Post interview, Pendergraft said for the first time that Knights Party members were behind Trump: “They like the overall momentum of his rallies and his campaign” They like that he’s not willing to back down. He says what he believes and he stands on that.”

Peter Brimelow, Founder of the white nationalist website VDARE, “They are stunning!” Brimelow said of Trump’s immigration policies in an August 2015 podcast. “This is the most explicit any presidential candidate has ever been.” James Edwards, White nationalist host of the Political Cesspool radio program, “Our people just needed a viable candidate and they’ve identified Trump as that man,” Edwards said on Political Cesspool in March. “There is no doubt that Trump’s populism and nationalism is galvanizing our nation and may change the course of American history for the better right before our very eyes.”

Brad Griffin (pen name Hunter Wallace), Founder of the white nationalist website Occidental Dissent, “The signal has gone out to join the Trump campaign and to openly organize in the mainstream under the banner of the Republican frontrunner to take down the hated cuckservative establishment.”

Matthew Heimbach, Leader of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, and training director of the neo-Confederate group League of the South, “The fires of nationalism, the fires of identity, the fires of anger against the corrupt establishment are arising all around Europe, all around America, all around the entire world,” Heimbach said in a May 2016 Radio Aryan podcast. “So we just need to strap in, because the future is gonna definitely be interesting, and I believe we could have a switch in our direction even more”Hail, Emperor Trump! And hail, victory!”

Gregory Hood, Book author and blogger for the white nationalist websites Radix Journal and American Renaissance, “The survival of the current political, economic, and cultural system is a death sentence for the European-American population,” Hood wrote in July 2015 Radix post. “Trump creates an opening to disrupt that system.”

Jared Taylor, Founder of the white nationalist American Renaissance website, “I urge you to vote for Donald Trump because he is the one candidate who points out that we should accept immigrants who are good for America,” Taylor said in a January 2016 robocall. “We don’t need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture.”

Trump and the GOP denounced none of them. Let that sink in.

Given that some of the types of people mentioned above stormed the capital building in a treasonous act, you can also put them down as supporters of terrorism.

On Saturday, October 10 2020, the Taliban (world recognized terrorist organization, guilty of the 9/11 attack, for those that may have forgot) did endorse Trump’s re-election in an interview with CBS News. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the group, told CBS that the Taliban’s leaders “hope” Trump wins in November.

“We hope he will win the election and wind up U.S. military presence in Afghanistan,” Mujahid said. The spokesman pointed to a recent tweet from the president promising that U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2020.

“Trump might be ridiculous for the rest of the world, but he is sane and wise man for the Taliban,” a senior Taliban leader told CBS News.

One has to ask, when Nazis, Terrorist Organizations, White Supremacists, Nationalists (Nationalism is an ideology by people who believe their nation is superior to all others. This sense of superiority often has its roots in a shared ethnicity.), and Fascists agree with the party and its people, what does that say about said party and people? What does it say about the Americans that support said party and people when they agree with them?

The GOP started as an anti-slavery, pro people group, and has fallen to a group baked by Nazis, Terrorist Organizations, White Supremacists, Nationalists, and Fascists. That alone means they are a threat to our nation.

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