The GOP: An Authoritarian Party

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An internal memo from the head of DHS I&A formally changing the blame for Portland violence from “Violent Opportunists” (VO) to Antifa.Via https://twitter.com/benjaminwittes/status/1287343604038598656

The party of Lincoln is an authoritarian party. This did not start with President Donald Trump. He is the end result of at least two generations of increasing radicalism and denial of the rights of others. The only thing the GOP cares for is to maintain power by any means, and they do not care at all how they achieve it. In my view, radical Republicans no longer believe in the Constitution, even when they claim to be the real defenders every chance they get. This is critical, the party has increasingly become a cult, with a designated list of holy texts, like the Constitution, that is used as a cudgel, but is hardly read. This is not unlike some branches of fundamentalist Christianity that use the Bible in the same exact way. It is not what the text says. It is how you exploit it.

A strain of the party is precisely this pious, authoritarian, white dogmatic Christianity. Why you see some GOP politicians quote from the good book all the time. These are the same politicians who in many cases have gone down the path of The Family well described by Jeff Sharlett. For some in the movement, which tends to stay out of sight, is to transform the country into a new kingdom, a Christian kingdom. A new authoritarian caste society. So be suspicious of politicians who quote constantly from the Bible, while at the same time ignoring authoritarianism in our midst. This is but one corner of the GOP cult.

Many in the cult do not understand the Constitution. For them using it is a statement of faith, bordering on fanatism, when they invoke it. It is cultish behavior. And let’s be transparently clear, anybody who is not part of the cult, is the enemy. So if you are not a Republican, and more precise, a member of this cult, which is radical, you are not one of them. This in-group out-group dynamic is very close to attitudes preceding Genocide. This has been building for over two decades, and AM radio and Rush Limbaugh led the way. Is dangerous. These attitudes did not start with Donald Trump, though he is the logical end.

It is a very dangerous moment for all of us. Radical Republicans are watching as the nation shifts away from them and their radical program, and they are not dealing well with their changing fortunes.

Where Are We?

When Senator Ted Cruz, among others, share conspiracy filled Tweets, we know this is where radical Republicans are. It is a method to distract from the current reality. What follows is an example of a Tweet that he posted after two (white) people brandished their Guns at protesters. The Tweet Is a textbook example of Antisemitism, and conspiracy ideology. It is one step removed from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which mainstream GOP politicians continue to embrace. Cruz is hardly a backbencher in the GOP. So when Trump loses, they will try to say he was unique. Tweets like this speak to the radicalism.

https://mobile.twitter.com/tedcruz/status/1285236667734011904

Cruz also mused in another Tweet on how their program would die if they lost the Senate. They are worried because it is in play, and without the majority they will be unable to block Democrats for at least two years. Moreover, so far, radical Republicans have said nothing about the deployment of the Border Patrol tactical teams, BORTAC for short for interior enforcement. There are many other issues they remain silent, including Russian bounties on American troops, or interference of state actors in American elections. If it benefits them, as in maintaining power, they are fine with it.

Read this again, if you need to. The GOP has no problem with foreign interference as long as they keep power.

Let’s concentrate a second on BORTAC who are not trained in crowd control either. The videos that emerged out of Portland are the kind of systemic violations of the civil rights of Americans that trouble real patriots. And I am not using the word patriot accidentally. Most of the far-right see itself as patriotic and lovers of their country, but they do to extend this to anybody outside of the far-right movement. This is why they paint Democrats as traitors, nazis, and haters of the country, as well as communist and statists. Some of these talking points are very old, going back to the 1950s, but in the latest iteration, we can thank Rush Limbaugh for establishing this in the modern sense. A couple is of more recent extraction, with possible influence from foreign state actors exploiting these wedges.

At its core, what DHS officers are doing is violating the constitutional rights of Americans. What is even more telling is that the same people who said not one word about militias demanding states open by rushing statehouses while armed, defend this, or remain silent. This federal over-reach is what some of these same people feared would occur with the Jade Helm exercise in 2015, which came out of their fevered imagination. That was a precursor to the current QAnon conspiracies. This overreach is for real. This is not a drill.

They are silent. Silence means they consent.

Why? In their fevered imagination, this is a battle against the far left (there is no far left) and ANTIFA, which they invoke Citizen Goldstein like, in the three minutes of hate used with party members in George Orwell’s 1984. They believe these abuses will make the nation better by silencing the left and stopping non-existent riots. So when you hear from these people that Democrats hate the country and want to silence them, remember what is happening in Portland, and increasingly elsewhere. This is purely an exercise in projection.

Radical Republicans know that they are in trouble because the American people are increasingly turning against the president and his party. Americans, even as much as we are not aware of what occurs abroad, realize that the response to the pandemic is a disaster. More are waking up to the reality that the anti-science pro-corporate ideology is killing the planet. Most importantly, the instability of the moment is in large part caused by Republican ideology. This explains why Republicans are resistant to help the common person, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

We also have another fact: In 2018 the suburbs turned against the GOP, and the House went blue in a blue tsunami. The same thing is happening right now. The suburbs are turning against the GOP in large numbers and a few states that are usually not in play are entering the fray. These include Arizona. Florida and Texas are leaning Democratic. If Texas and Florida go for Joe Biden, it will be a blood bath for Trump in the Electoral College.

Why this election matters

This brings us to the general election in November. This is a fight for the future of American democracy, which many in the far-right utterly hate. We know that at this moment the polls (and I am talking of state-level polls as far as the presidency is concerned, national really matters little), point to a defeat for the GOP of historic proportions. This is a battle for the future of the country. But it is far more than just a regular election. The right is both delegitimizing the election and trying to suppress the vote. Both are old tactics.

The expanded map may include places you would rarely expect. For example, yes Kentucky is competitive and Leader Mitch McConnell is facing a real race. This is not what you would expect in a deep red state.

And if the Senate was not enough, Joe Biden leads in multiple polls nationally. In fact. It looks at this point that we may see an electoral college landslide. Why? People want a return to some normalcy. What we have right now is far from normal.

The response we are experiencing is predictable and straight from the authoritarian handbook. It is to distract, mobilize the party believers, and suppress the vote of others. The next few months will be the most dangerous in modern American history. Populist authoritarian movements do not relinquish power easily. This is a test that I think we will pass. But there is one thing to be said about DHS troops, stay frosty my friends. They are trying to elicit a violent (Armed) response. We all need to channel our inner John Lewis and live a life of peace.

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.

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