The Rising Authoritarian Tide of the Republican Party

My now defunct Twitter feed was littered with tweets declaring that the Republican Party was an anti-democratic authoritarian bent on creating a single-party pseudo-democratic state in order to further enrich the one percent. In this argument, the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is nothing more than a means to an end. In this case the wrecking ball that they’re taking to the last vestiges of actual democracy.

If you’ve long wondered why Repubes in Congress won’t grow a spine and put country before party and all of that jazz, well, you’ve got your answer: They don’t want a democracy. They want exactly what they’ve got, an authoritarian demagogue in the White House to distract while they funnel as much of the nation’s wealth as fast as they can to the one percent. Good-bye national parks, the Continental Shelf, endangered species, clean air, clean water, healthcare! You name it, they’ll squeeze every last penny out of it without giving an ounce of value back.

If you haven’t caught on by now, let me spell it out to you: the middle class is expendable. We are simply a cost-benefit center to be exploited as any other resource is for the enrichment of the one percent.

With the pieces of the Russian collusion puzzle falling into place, it is clear that sometime between 2011 and 2016, Putin whispered his sweet lullaby of greed and power into the lustful ear of the GOP, dangled a few rubles, and bing-o presto Bob’s your uncle, he had bought himself an American political party. And, it weren’t hard, neither. The Repubes had been on this train since the Goldwater stop in 1964. Putin just turned it into a high-speed train to authoritarian pseudo-democracy like he has.

Don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at three articles from the mainstream press that are making similar points.

First up is an article from Defense One about the Ol’ Pussy Grabber grabbing the country by its power and wielding it like a true autocrat. Think it can’t be done? Congress has handed the presidency the keys to the castle through emergency power acts.

What Trump Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency

A president’s emergency powers are extensive, and largely unchecked.

By Elizabeth Goitein 8 December 2018

In the weeks leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, President Donald Trump reached deep into his arsenal to try to deliver votes to Republicans.

Most of his weapons were rhetorical, featuring a mix of lies and false inducements—claims that every congressional Democrat had signed on to an “open borders” bill (none had), that liberals were fomenting violent “mobs” (they weren’t), that a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class would somehow pass while Congress was out of session (it didn’t). But a few involved the aggressive use—and threatened misuse—of presidential authority: He sent thousands of active-duty soldiers to the southern border to terrorize a distant caravan of desperate Central American migrants, announced plans to end the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship by executive order, and tweeted that law enforcement had been “strongly notified” to be on the lookout for “ILLEGAL VOTING.”

These measures failed to carry the day, and Trump will likely conclude that they were too timid. How much further might he go in 2020, when his own name is on the ballot—or sooner than that, if he’s facing impeachment by a House under Democratic control?

Continue reading at Defense One: What Trump Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency

The next article is a very interesting one because it takes on the worldwide rise in autocracy by examining its common denominator: oppression of women. By now we are all familiar with the rights war on women and the absurd attempts to force women to stop using birth control by inserting employers between a woman and her doctor vis-a-vis her health insurance and to insert the state between a woman and her doctor in order to prevent abortion. We’re given an even more absurd picture of the “right” to life perspective by the blame the right is putting on Jakelin Caal Maquin and her father for her death and absolving the Border Patrol and the US government of any culpability at all. Had she been a fetus and the Border Patrol an abortion provider that would’ve been a different story.

So don’t go discounting the theory that all this authoritarianism that is breaking out the world over is about anything less than oppressing women and returning men to their place atop the hierarchy until you’ve read this article from The Atlantic .

The New Authoritarians Are Waging War on Women

Donald Trump’s ideological cousins around the world want to reverse the feminist gains of recent decades.

Peter Beinart January/February 2019 Issue

When Americans look abroad these days, they see Donald Trumps everywhere: In Brazil, whose new president, Jair Bolsonaro, endorses torture, threatens to pull out of the Paris climate-change agreement, and suggests that his country was better off under military rule. In the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte has overseen the extrajudicial killing of thousands of alleged drug dealers and threatened to impose martial law nationwide. In Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has quashed the free press, enriched his cronies, and stoked fear and hatred of refugees. In Poland, whose Law and Justice Party has undermined the independence of the supreme court. Even in Italy, whose leaders demonize immigrants, bash the European Union, and pal around with Steve Bannon.

But the more you examine global Trumpism, the more it challenges the story lines that dominate conversation in the United States. Ask commentators to explain the earthquake that has hit American politics since 2016, and they’ll likely say one of two things. First, that it’s a scream of rage from a working class made downwardly mobile by globalization. Second, that it’s a backlash by white Christians who fear losing power to immigrants and racial and religious minorities.

Yet these theories don’t travel well. Downward mobility? As Anne Applebaum pointed out in this magazine just a few months ago, “Poland’s economy has been the most consistently successful in Europe over the past quarter century. Even after the global financial collapse in 2008, the country saw no recession.” In the years leading up to Duterte’s surprise 2016 victory, the Philippines experienced what the scholar Nicole Curato has called “phenomenal economic growth.” The racial-and-religious-backlash theory leaves a lot unexplained, too. Immigration played little role in Duterte’s ascent, or in Bolsonaro’s. Despite his history of anti-black comments, preelection polls showed Bolsonaro winning among black and mixed-race Brazilians. Racism has been even less central to Duterte’s appeal.

Continue reading at The Atlantic: The New Authoritarians Are Waging War on Women

Our last article is one that makes the point directly about the Repubes being the enemy of American democracy. It lays it out in no uncertain terms. With the out and out theft of a Supreme Court seat, the suppression of the vote, gerrymandering, shifting the powers of offices during lame duck sessions to limit the abilities of Democratic Party office holders to enact their policies and laws, the Repubes have gone to war with our democracy.

The Dems have two choices, fight fire with fire and eventually end up with one of the parties holding the remains of the country in a pseudo-democratic authoritarian single-party state, or continue to work towards a coalition that will be able to overwhelm their rigging of the vote and restore our democracy to what it once was. You know what that takes? It takes all of us voting Dem no matter how uncomfortable the pea is under our mattress.

The Corruption of the Republican Party

The GOP is best understood as an insurgency that carried the seeds of its own corruption from the start.

George Packer 14 December 2018

Why has the Republican Party become so thoroughly corrupt? The reason is historical—it goes back many decades—and, in a way, philosophical. The party is best understood as an insurgency that carried the seeds of its own corruption from the start.

I don’t mean the kind of corruption that regularly sends lowlifes like Rod Blagojevich, the Democratic former governor of Illinois, to prison. Those abuses are nonpartisan and always with us. So is vote theft of the kind we’ve just seen in North Carolina—after all, the alleged fraudster employed by the Republican candidate for Congress hired himself out to Democrats in 2010.

And I don’t just mean that the Republican Party is led by the boss of a kleptocratic family business who presides over a scandal-ridden administration, that many of his closest advisers are facing prison time, that Donald Trump himself might have to stay in office just to avoid prosecution, that he could be exposed by the special counsel and the incoming House majority as the most corrupt president in American history. Richard Nixon’s administration was also riddled with criminality—but in 1973, the Republican Party of Hugh Scott, the Senate minority leader, and John Rhodes, the House minority leader, was still a normal organization. It played by the rules.

Continue reading at The Atlantic: The Corruption of the Republican Party

Our democracy is in real trouble folks. The Russians are gunning for us using all kinda cyber crime techniques and the Repubes are willing to gut us in order to line their pockets with our wealth. We have got to continue organizing, calling your folks in Congress (see the sidebar), and getting the vote out.

6 replies »

  1. The GOP is what it has been since it rejected the Trust Buster, Teddy Roosevelt, the party of predatory capitalism. All the rest, “pro-life”, “law & order”, segregation, gay bashing, immigrant bashing, “MAGA”, and so on, is tactical BS for the befuddled masses.

    Liked by 1 person

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