Ironic words uttered by a man who represents the epitome of McCarthyism, Donald Trump protests and projects too much. He intends to finish as he began ... with verbal assaults against any critic, smears against any opponent, deceptions, defamations, and falsehoods. Trump bends spoons with his mind.
Is Trump a rogue politician? Or the stereotypic Republican following standard operating procedure? Republican defeats in the recent election give rise to speculation about the future drift of the party. Which faction will survive: The conservative wing? The nativist wing? Or the evangelical wing? With each faction more right-leaning and reactionary than the last, we ask: Are there any centrists or pragmatists left in the GOP?
No longer the party of Lincoln, modern Republicanism is the offspring of Senator Joseph McCarthy, and his legacy has become the DNA of the GOP. McCarthyism determines how Republicans … past, present, and future … run for office.
McCarthy stumbled upon opportunistic fear-mongering by accident. He gave postwar America a new, more sinister, more implacable enemy than defeated fascism. He gave us subversive communism, arch villain of the Cold War. From Korea to Vietnam and beyond, McCarthy bequeathed a powerful electoral weapon that has driven American politics for the past 75 years. Communism is gone, but Trump has conjured new enemies to fear. He scapegoats impoverished immigrants and refugees and their children. He calls them as ‘rapists and murderers,’ and his base of suckered bumpkins believe every word.
Remember: Trump voters were Nixon voters before they were Reagan voters, and every GOP president owes a debt of gratitude to McCarthy.
Today’s GOP draws support from rural America, Dixie America, and the ‘value’ voters of evangelical America. Nativist and xenophobic, these voters long for a fabled past when life was simple and America was great before the evils of modernism, globalism, and internationalism invaded their lives.
In Trump, we have the culmination of toxic populism raised to the level of demagoguery. Long after Trump is gone, the McCarthy gene of the GOP will still be with us … spawning the next demagogue de jour.