Conservatism to Authoritarianism?

Go down

Conservatism to Authoritarianism?

Post by confuzzled dude on Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:12 pm

Around the country, Republicans embroiled in tough primaries are increasingly emulating President Trump — by echoing his xenophobia, his veiled racist appeals, his attacks on the news media, and even occasionally his calls for imprisoning his political opponents.

Meanwhile, all indications are that Trump is heading for a serious confrontation with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III or Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein over the Russia investigation.

So how long until multiple GOP primary candidates begin seriously running on the message that the Mueller probe is part of an illegitimate Deep State coup that justifies Trump shutting it down by any means necessary — that is, on a message of unabashed authoritarianism?

Two new articles — one in the New York Times, the other in National Journal — illustrate what’s happening in many of these GOP primaries. The Times piece, by Jeremy Peters, reports that in West Virginia, GOP Senate primary candidate Don Blankenship is running an ad that says: “We don’t need to investigate our president. We need to arrest Hillary … Lock her up!”

In multiple GOP races across the country, the Times piece reports, candidates are employing phrases such as “drain the swamp,” “build the wall,” “rigged system” and even “fake news.” The GOP Senate candidate in Tennessee ran an ad that promises to stand with Trump “every step of the way to build that wall,” and even echoes Trump’s attacks on African American football players protesting systemic racism and police brutality:  “I stand when the president walks in the room. And yes, I stand when I hear ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.'”

Meanwhile, National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar reports that in the Indiana Senate GOP primary, Mike Braun, the candidate who is most vocally emphasizing Trump’s messages — on trade, the Washington “swamp” and “amnesty” — appears to be gaining the advantage. Braun’s ads basically recast true conservatism as Trumpism in its incarnation as populist anti-establishment ethno-nationalism.

It gets worse. As the Indianapolis Star recently reported, one of the Indiana GOP Senate candidates has bashed “Crooked Hillary Clinton,” and all three have cast aspersions on the Mueller probe. One called it a “fishing expedition,” and another claimed: “Nothing’s been turned up except that Hillary Clinton is the real guilty party here.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/04/23/multiple-gop-candidates-are-now-mimicking-trumps-authoritarianism/?utm_term=.cc41c0a3b68e

confuzzled dude

Posts : 10095
Join date : 2011-05-08

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Conservatism to Authoritarianism?

Post by Idéfix on Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:28 pm

The Economist, a conservative magazine that is dedicated to free market principles, has two excellent articles this week about the current state of the Republican party. I found it to be the best narrative I have read so far about how the party got here.

https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21740741-dangerous-republican-party-organised-around-one-man

https://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21740748-it-will-not-easily-be-undone-donald-trumps-takeover-his-party-near-complete

As [Sen. Bob] Corker [R-TN] put it, Republican voters “don’t care about issues”. They just “want to know if you’re with Trump.”

The takeover of the party’s institutions is largely complete. As is usual when a party’s candidate wins the presidency, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has become a subsidiary of the White House.

What [Trump] offers politics is not a conservative agenda. It is not an agenda, or an ideology, at all. It is a set of feelings—about patriotism, about who is a proper American and who is not, about foreigners, about elites, about sovereignty and about power. This fits what Larry Bartels, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, has found out by trawling through survey data. People who identify as Republican are united by cultural issues rather than narrowly political ones. They tend to share respect for the flag and the English language, and negative feelings towards Muslims, immigrants, atheists, and gays and lesbians.

United in this, they are oddly divided on issues that have often defined the right in America and elsewhere—such as what the role of the state should be.

When Reagan was elected four years later his party was balanced on three legs. Economic conservatives wanted government to spend less and tax less; social conservatives, including many evangelical Christians, wanted the government to ban more and permit less; and national-security hawks wanted the government to wield enormous power overseas. This coalition ran the gamut from the libertarian to the deeply illiberal, but its factions had enough in common for the top brass to keep things moving along. The economic conservatives and national-security hawks, all well represented among party activists, elected officials and big donors, were allowed to run things, so long as they paid sufficient regard to the social conservatives. Part of the deal was they would not actually carry out their oft-stated aim to reduce government spending radically: more popular in theory than in practice. Tax cuts, on the other hand, were fine with all but the most dour deficit hawks—the more the merrier.

The culturally populist position re-emerged in 2008, when the party no longer needed to support a sitting president and some became smitten with the vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, an Alaskan governor who compensated for not knowing things by making Republican voters feel feisty.

This form of Republicanism attracted a number of former Democrats. John Sides of George Washington University says this migration of working-class whites to the Republicans “mainly occurred from 2009 to 2015. It was not a consequence of the 2016 campaign” (see chart 2). Mr Bartels concurs: “I find remarkably little change in partisanship between 2015, when Trump was first emerging as a national political figure, and late 2017,” he wrote recently. Many of Mr Trump’s supporters joined the party before he did so himself.

After Mr Ryan, [Romney's] vice-presidential candidate, talked like a regular fiscal conservative about tackling the deficit with cuts to social security and Medicare, the campaign whisked him into a witness protection programme. Never again was he allowed to trouble elderly Republican voters who wanted to keep the government’s hands off their Medicare. Spending cuts were not for the party faithful: they were for other, less worthy people—a position that helpfully allied prejudice to prudence.

But Fox is an entertainment channel built on righteous indignation as well as a political operation, and in Mr Trump it faced for the first time a politician whose star power outgunned it.

What happened between 2009 and 2015 to bring about the shift in non-college white voters Mr Trump profited from? The great recession which followed the financial crisis of 2008 might suggest an economic cause; the presidency of Barack Obama suggests a racial one. Neither explanation is wholly satisfactory.

The most comprehensive recent survey of the influence of racial attitudes on voting, “Us Against Them” by Donald Kinder of the University of Michigan and Cindy Kam of Vanderbilt, finds that voters who espouse racial stereotypes (“black people are lazy”) are indeed more likely to be found in the Republican Party. But it finds that to be mainly because more white people vote Republican. White Democrats are pretty much as likely to hold such views as white Republicans are, and most of them voted for Mr Obama. A majority of whites who voted for both parties in 2016 said that it was important for whites to work together to change laws that are unfair to whites.

There was also something broader going on. The rise of social media allowed people to talk about politics in an unmediated way, reading and saying things that would never have been seen on broadcast television or read in newspapers. Fox understood, to some extent, how this new unfettered and often fact-free discourse worked. Mr Trump knew it in his bones. He could, and did, speak the language of vulgar resentment like a pro. For many of his supporters, the more this was disapproved of, the more valid and admirable it seemed.

Mr Trump will not bequeath a set of political ideas as Reagan did those he had inherited from Goldwater and others. But the attitudes he has ridden to office will still outlive him.
avatar
Idéfix

Posts : 8805
Join date : 2012-04-26
Location : Berkeley, CA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Conservatism to Authoritarianism?

Post by confuzzled dude on Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:43 pm

The best rebuke to Mr Trump’s solipsism would be Republican defeat at the ballot box, starting with November’s mid-term elections. That may yet come to pass. But Mr Trump’s Republican base, stirred up by his loyal media, shows no sign of going soft. Polls suggest that its members overwhelmingly believe the president over Mr Comey. For them, criticism from the establishment is proof he must be doing something right.
This is what I see as well, and am afraid will help Republicans (in mid-term) & Trump get reelected, which essentially means back to the '50s & '60s

confuzzled dude

Posts : 10095
Join date : 2011-05-08

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Conservatism to Authoritarianism?

Post by Idéfix on Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:30 pm

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”
― George Orwell, 1984
avatar
Idéfix

Posts : 8805
Join date : 2012-04-26
Location : Berkeley, CA

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Conservatism to Authoritarianism?

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum