How The GOP Grew Gangrenous- From Nixon to Trump, Pt. 5

“Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.”
-Harry Truman

Is it fair to start with Checkers?

In 1952, a young Senator from California named Richard Nixon was tapped to become the running mate of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Muckraking columnist Jack Anderson and investigative journalist Drew Pearson wrote an article about money that Nixon might have taken from corporate interests during his tenure thus far in government, where he had served in the Congress since 1947.

In response to this claim, Nixon crafted and delivered his famous “Checkers speech,” in which he decried his opponents and stated that no matter what anyone said, he would not return his daughters’ dog, Checkers, which had been given to them as a gift. In Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of Washington’s Scandal Culture, professional correspondent Mark Feldstein gives a useful analysis of how that went over with the people.

“That resonated emotionally with the public, and a huge base — particularly of hard-core Republican conservatives — swelled to his defense and pressured Eisenhower to keep Nixon on the ticket,” Feldstein explains. “Meanwhile, liberal Democrats were nauseated by it and thought it was a maudlin speech. And the polarization that Nixon’s career would have ever after was indelibly marked.”

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Richard Nixon with his daughter’s dog, Checkers.

Thus did Richard Nixon embark upon his road to the White House. Many books have been written as to how he spent his time there, and it is not our purpose to touch on it deeply. Our interest rather lies in what effect it had on our system, to have weathered an assault on its every parameter. The Nixon administration treated America like an old Commodore 64.

Nixon’s failings were tempered and intertwined with great political gifts and considerable vision. His judgement was uneven and delusional, but he had a keen and nimble mind. In penetrating to the core of our system, he was to lay bare the groundwork of it, and expose key vulnerabilities to the light. This paved the way for a systematic undermining and devaluing of truth and objectivity.

Nixon went down in something rather less than a blaze of glory. The affair that became known as the Watergate scandal was a major political fiasco that occurred in the United States in the early 1970’s. Several Nixon operatives were caught attempting a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 1972.

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The Watergate Complex

The articles of impeachment drawn against him did not consider the break-in itself to be of primary importance in the reason why Nixon had to go. They focused rather on the tyrannical and power-hungry way he’d tried to cover it up. The first two of them read as follows.

(1) Making or causing to be made false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employes of the United States.

(2) Withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employes of the United States

He was convinced to resign by the four-star general sent in to be his chief of staff toward the end of his tenure in office, Alexander Haig, who played the role that his fellow four-star general John Kelly is playing in the Trump White House now. As Nixon became increasingly paranoid and miserable, Haig ran the daily affairs of the White House, and was instrumental in effecting the president’s resignation. It can only be hoped that Kelly will have similar luck.

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Alexander Haig

The legacy of the deleterious effects of the Nixon era on our democracy cannot be overstated. He had his fingerprints all over the most fundamentally anti-democratic projects ever put together in America, such as the Enemies List. This was the roster of famous liberals targeted by Nixon for IRS audits and other forms of extralegal retaliation. His smear campaigns against his likely 1972 opponent, Senator Edward Kennedy, were reminiscent in many key regards to the fake news attacks on our people last year.

The elimination of the American people’s ability to think critically has had many an epoch. It is certain that a large one took place under Nixon, who in one famous speech toward the end, insisted to America that he was “not a crook.” That statement proved sadly untrue. Nixon was a crook, and his crookedness has reverberated clearly into our own times.

By now it should be getting pretty clear. This new GOP, the one that came to power after the death of John F. Kennedy, was not at all the same entity we’ve been looking at up until now. In the days of Eisenhower, much less in the days of Theodore Roosevelt, this kind of conduct would have been unthinkable. Even Warren Harding, corrupt as a Chinese eunuch, was a far more genial type of criminal. Nixon’s era was vicious.

That ferocity came directly from the fascist element that absorbed into America and Europe after World War Two. It values nothing, except the will to power. It values power as both the ends and the means. Ideology is unimportant to it, but is often employed as its tool.

G. Gordon Liddy, one of the Watergate burglars who went to prison for it, wrote an autobiography and named it WILL. It sings the praises of Hitler and the Nazis on every page. He presents an anecdote inside as to how he silenced an entire D.C. county jail pod, by standing around naked and singing the Horst Wessel song.

This is why they’re getting together with Russia. It’s the same group of guys. The Russia of the modern era is fascist in every regard. Like other fascists, they are intent on controlling the resources of the world. They have picked up and adapted these ratf*cking strategies, included them in their disinformation programs, and used them to destabilize us last year in the very same way the CIA once used to destabilize Third World countries like Haiti and Nicaragua. We have been systematically prepared for this, like Hansel and Gretel, by the dirty work done by Richard Nixon and others.

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Richard Nixon, enjoying his uncrookedness.

The Nixon era is also when the Republicans most directly involved in the 2016 Russian election hacking fiasco started crafting their modern mask in earnest. Guys like Roger Stone, the soon-to-be-indicted Paul Manafort, and Karl Rove all got their start during this time. Their mentors were the men who ran the Nixon administration, a place overflowing with competing monsters. All of these were deeply complicit in last year’s ongoings with the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin.

Donald Segretti, the Nixon operative who coined the term “ratf*cking”, as in, “F*cking a DemocRAT”, played his role, did his prison time, and lived an unimportant life thereafter. However, Karl Rove, the GOP strategist whom George W. Bush referred to as “The Architect”, was a personal protege of his. Rove was already a deeply corrupt and ruthless person, even at nineteen. 

In 1969, posing as a volunteer at the Chicago campaign headquarters of Alan Dixon, a Democrat running for state treasurer, Rove stole official campaign letterheads, and sent out 1,000 invitations to people in the city’s red-light district and soup kitchens, offering “free beer, free food, girls, and a good time for nothing” at Dixon headquarters. A bunch of crazed alcoholics showed up at this important fundraiser for Dixon.

 Although Dixon still won the election, Rove succeeded in significantly disrupting it. Later, Rove said, “I got involved in a political prank.” Pranks of that nature made him useful to the Republicans all the way through the decades between Nixon and George W. Bush. The crimes and techniques of their generation were transmitted seamlessly to ours.

Policies such as the War on Drugs were developed and refined during these decades. Although this war on the American people is more commonly associated with Reagan, Nixon was the first to use the phrase. It was designed as a strategy to hamstring the lives of voters who Nixon saw as reliably Democratic, according to White House tapes.

Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman said, “We had two enemies- the antiwar left, and the blacks.  We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black. But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs themselves? Of course we did.”

Reagan’s continuation of this so-called ‘war’ was meant to heighten racial tensions for the benefit of the Republican Party. This was a linchpin of the “Southern Strategy” conceived by Lee Atwater, whom most political observers of both parties rate as the dirtiest political strategist of the twentieth century. Voting rights, food stamps, and even madhouses were all taken away from the people. This was effective because the aforementioned white malcontents like to see other people get the shaft- at any cost. They’ve been taught to accept this as a substitute for a decent lot in life since before the Civil War.

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Lee Atwater’s Southern Strategy
The Republicans were able to use the McGovern-Fraser Commission ruling to their advantage, time and again. They became quite adept at handpicking their opponents. Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis were all considered weak candidates by Republican National Committee officials. Although Carter did manage to unseat the incumbent, former vice president to Nixon Gerald Ford, Carter would not likely have been elected, had the GOP post-Nixon not been so hated that Christ himself could not have been elected on a Republican platform.
By 1980 they had significantly regrouped, behind Ronald Reagan, who handily won the presidential election. Many independents and a significant number of Democrats joined Republican voters in electing Ronald Reagan to be the fortieth president of the United States. He won the 1984 election in what was the biggest landslide victory since Cox-Harding, and his vice-president George H.W. Bush had little trouble succeeding him on the strength of that momentum. The very word “liberal” had become an epithet. The Republicans reigned supreme, and that showed every sign of continuing.
That all changed with the arrival on the scene of Bill Clinton. Lee Atwater said at a meeting of Republican leaders in Little Rock in 1989, “What scares me is a southern moderate or conservative Democrat, and the scariest of all, because he’s the most talented of the bunch, is Bill Clinton.”
In that sentence, lies the motive of the “vast, right wing conspiracy” that Hillary Clinton has spoken of, out there for one purpose- to destroy her and her husband.
The campaign to destroy the Clintons was launched in 1989 by none other than the good old Lee Atwater, who was named head of the Republican National Committee. He was a natural choice, having recently put together President Bush’s winning campaign in 1988, personified accurately by the “Willie Horton” TV ad, which attempted to portray the Democratic candidate as a defender of black rapists and black murderers.
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Willie Horton
His job this time was to re-elect George H.W. Bush, and he was worried. Bill Clinton was young, charismatic, and eloquent. Most of all, he was likeable. The reptilian Bush hardly made for a winsome figure to begin with. Next to Clinton, he seemed like a cyborg.
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In 1992, Republicans tried to make experience, character and trust the central issues. Voters indicated that the theme of change sounded by the Democrats was more important, but more important still was the personal power of Bill Clinton, and the amazingly effective duo that he and Hillary had made, ever since their college days.
Clearly, the opposition would have to come up with some new strategies. The techniques developed by Reagan had been skillfully snatched away from them. It became clear immediately that there was no one on the Republican end of the playing field capable of competing with the Clintons on level ground.
This fear and insecurity on the part of the Republicans was the reason behind the launching of what became known as the “Arkansas Project”. Funded by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, this project was designed to damage and end the presidency of Bill Clinton. After wasting more than $25 million of taxpayer money to trump up charges against the Clintons on Whitewater, Troopergate, Travelgate and Filegate, the right had nothing better than to settle with the Monica Lewinsky affair, and the unjust vilification of Hillary Clinton.
Today it is not possible to determine how many millions have been spent by privately held companies like The Washington Free Beacon, America Rising, Burning Glass Consulting and Citizens United to discredit Hillary Clinton.
Back then, the Arkansas Project ended up a failure. In spite of innumerable attempts to force Bill Clinton out of office, he finished his term, and left office in a country that was in far better shape than it had been before his tenure.
Its legacy proved enduring, though. Last year, every one of those old slanders was unearthed and spread around with the greatest of zeal by the rabid supporters of Bernie Sanders, paving the way conveniently for Donald Trump’s Crooked Hillary attacks. The Arkansas Project cast its shadow over that entire chapter of last year’s debacle of an election. It has also provided a permanent and ever-growing repository of ammunition, used to effect by the revived partnership of mass media and fundamentalism, in the form of Rush Limbaugh and other celebrities of conservative talk radio in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
Those radio shows, which provide daily lessons in the art of propaganda, have done as much to eat away at the fabric of democracy as any other single factor within the last forty years. They gathered in strength and reach across the nation all through the Clinton presidency. Combined with the entering of Fox News and Rupert Murdoch into the game, the conservative media provided the Republicans with a potent weapon, one they would use to clear effect in 2000.

The US 2000 presidential election was the triumph of media over mind and matter.

To an objective observer, two facts are clear: Clinton’s Vice-President Al Gore won the nationwide popular vote, and according to a recent Miami Herald analysis, he was also in all likelihood the favorite of Florida voters as well.

In a fair count, without cheating or election irregularities, and leaving aside Ralph Nader, the Miami Herald estimated Gore would have won Florida by 23,000 votes. The Bush strategy all along was to prevent a recount and run out the clock.

Jeb Bush, the brother of the Republican candidate for president, George W. Bush, was also the governor of Florida. He was a key component in the plot to steal the Florida election on behalf of his brother. If not for Jeb, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia would never have had the chance to cast that fateful vote on behalf of Bush.

The impropriety of that decision was obvious even to the members of the court.  That is why they passed a second ruling, that the decision used in the process used to block Gore’s final recount could never be used again, as a legal precedent for any future cases.

The Bush era is when most of us millennials entered the story. Many of us remember the new heights of indecency and state-sanctioned lying reached on nearly a daily basis. The disinformation campaign that’s been used on us by the GOP since the Nixon era was taking a terrible toll by this point. The people didn’t know who to believe, and they didn’t know who to trust. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that this did a great deal to soften us up for the Russian disinformation machine.

The Republicans know that the only strength the people have is in their numbers. If they can make sure the left doesn’t work together, they can pick us off one by one. Karl Rove and the Republican Party know this very well. It has been a tactic of rulers since the days of Rome and before.

And so, both in 2000 and in 2004, the Republicans used a man named Ralph Nader, then the Green Party of the U.S.’s (G-PUS) candidate for president, to divide the left and hamstring the Democratic candidates.

We were to see those techniques again, as they were used to cheat Hillary Clinton from her rightful place in the White House. Jill Stein, the milkwater replacement of Nader in the G-PUS, and Paul Manafort were both attendees at that infamous meeting with Putin in Russia.

Al Gore was a highly principled and competent man, but he lacked the drive for victory that Bill Clinton had, and he lacked the necessary vigor to withstand the ferocity of Republican greed. Bush got into office, and spent his time there dragging his country so deeply through the mud that it still has yet to be seen whether or not we can recover.

The next four years changed everything for America.

When Bill Clinton left office, the country had a balanced budget and even a surplus. That was gone within ten months, nine of which had been very quiet. Bush hunted armadilloes, hung out at Camp David, and agreed to read My Pet Goat to some kindergartners.

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George W. Bush reads My Pet Goat

Then 9/11 hit.

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September 11, 2001.

The strange circumstances surrounding that cataclysmic and unlikely disaster will be debated for as long as people walk this earth, and it is not our purpose to look deeply into the mysteries surrounding. We will stick to what we know for sure. Regardless of its causes, George Bush used the biggest foreign assault our nation has ever been victimized by to pass some of the most invasive and insidious legislature ever conceived.

The War on Terror has mostly come and gone, but the domestic effects of the Patriot and Homeland Security Acts will be with us until the end. A war in Afghanistan was started, which we are still fighting. And then Bush used all the nation’s rage to finish a job that his father had started, the rousting of Saddam Hussein from the apex of the power structure of Iraq. By 2003, we were at war in Iraq. By 2004 it was clear we were in big trouble. Nothing else mattered in 2004, except getting George W. Bush out of office.

However, when the election finally came around, an election so crucial that a movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 was made about the slovenly evils committed by the Republican candidate Bush, an unbelievable amount of different things went wrong. Half of the six million people living abroad, for example, got their ballots too late to vote. Malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.

All in all, nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment – roughly one for every 100 cast. But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent. Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush. Robert Kennedy Jr. wrote at the time, “After carefully examining the evidence, I’ve become convinced that the president’s party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004.”

In 2008, the anti- Clinton machines to the right and the left geared back up for another battle. A lot of the same old smears were employed by the Obama campaign, as well as the new tactic of associating her with big business and Wall St. Hillary Clinton called at the time for higher regulations on Wall St. Their decision to side against her cost her the presidency.

As 2009 began, the same juggernaut of lies was employed consistently during her tenure as Secretary of State, most notably in the drumming up of unimportant nonsense like Benghazi and email servers. None of it did them much good with Obama in office. Romney was a joke in 2012. Obama’s reign, hateful as it was to the racist fascist network, was secure.

During the eight years of his tenure, the GOP was to reach heights of total desperation. Outlets like Breitbart and Fox News were a help, but on their own they would never have been enough. It’s only once you factor in RT and Sputnik and the Russians that you can see they had a chance, and this is what led to the devil’s bargain in 2016 that Robert Mueller is now closing in on.

The continuing radicalization of the GOP has now been amply documented for 120 years. Scholars, party insiders, and any human being who has ever set foot in Virginia can all bear witness to that.

The decent and moderate conservatives of the old school, who meant the word in the sense of conservation, who once played such a key role in the enactment of civil rights and environmental legislation, have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Rich and poor alike, the Republican Party of today, as in the 1920’s, is overwhelmingly reactionary. They are strongly opposed to doing business with their Democratic counterparts, and will hamstring them any way they can.

Republicans know perfectly well that when people vote for them, they are voting against their own interests. The day people realize that is the day the GOP stops winning elections. So they have developed an entire playbook of dirty tricks, with which to demoralize the Democratic base and suppress the vote as much as possible. Every time you hear someone say that they don’t vote, because their vote doesn’t matter, you have heard an example of their strategy working.

Republicans have fewer adherents every year, but they have two major factors on their side; a fanatical base willing to carry out the dirty tricks, and the greediest billionaires to finance them. They deceive good people by appealing to their worst instincts. raising the red flag of abortion and gay marriage to divert attention away from their arrogant and greedy policies which cause the poverty, war and pollution we are facing today.

2016 proved once and for all that there is no trick too dirty and nothing too low for the Republicans, who went so far as to collude with Russia, our biggest global rival, rather than see another Democrat in the White House.

In 2016, extremists on both ends of the political spectrum did a great deal to spread around the notion of a moral equivalency between the two parties. They say it doesn’t matter who you vote for, because the President doesn’t really run the country anyway. They say it doesn’t matter who you vote for, because all politicians are corrupt, They say the system is broken, that it can’t be fixed, and that the right thing to do is just stand back aloof from the whole mess until it collapses under its own weight.

Those ideas are paid for by the Republicans, who are only too happy to keep right along tightly controlling the “broken” system. Votes matter tremendously. They’re the only power we have. That’s why the Koch network and others spend so much money every year to keep us from being able to use them.

The new development is for the GOP to link hands with its ideological allies in Russia, who have developed the same sorts of ideas to their most logical conclusions. Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, who is now an exile in London for the crime of having run against Putin in a supposedly democratic election, summed it up best by saying that comparing America’s approach to the management of its global affairs against modern-day Russia’s is like comparing the work a surgeon does to Jack the Ripper. Both of them cut people open, but that is where the similarity ends. Certainly that was true during Obama’s reign, but the future of everything has been thrown into uncertainty by the hacking of our election and the coming to power of Donald Trump.

Democrats have found ourselves beset on many sides, with no control in any branch of government and facing the most terrible international and domestic threats through the disastrous medium of Trump. Knowing the extent of our domestic paralysis, and encouraged by the failure of the West to respond when they annexed the Crimea from Ukraine, it is all too likely the Russians may attempt another seizure of formerly Soviet-dominated areas, daring the West to respond once again.

Last month, they moved tens of thousands of troops, plus accompanying artillery and air support, unsettlingly close to Baltic borders, in what they have labeled “strategic war exercises”, and given the name of the Zapad War Games. In the same week, it came out that over one hundred United States power stations are infected with the very same Stuxnet virus used to turn the power off in Ukraine in 2014, just before Crimea was taken.

In the meantime, the Syrian Civil War is winding down. Assad and the Russians won, while the rebels we were supporting were left to their fate. North Korea is firing rockets over Japan, and instead of entering talks with them Trump is exchanging schoolyard insults with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il on the floor of the United Nations. The rest of the world is watching. It’s become painfully clear that things with the Party of Trump have gone terribly awry.

Going forward, we have got to find a way to reveal and highlight the fundamental fact of this whole series. A tremendous amount of social illness in this country is directly attributable to an imported and organized fascist network that has infiltrated and radicalized the Republican Party.

The long road to tyranny is a slippery slope, and one without organized mile markers. None of this has happened overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight either. It’s hard to dig your way back out of a hole, especially when that hole is 120 years deep. But it is incumbent upon us to undertake this task, nonetheless. This is our country, for better or worse, and stranger things have happened. Victories have been won against worse odds.

Recognizing the problem is the first step. The one positive of 2016 is that many people have awoken to the general plot. The Republican Party has become an impediment of colossal and vicious proportion. Ohio Governor and 2016 GOP Presidential candidate John Kasich said on Sunday that unless the Republican Party reforms, he can no longer continue to support it.

Hard as it may be for Mr. Kasich to accept, it’s too late to reform the GOP. But it’s not too late to learn from its example. We still have time to reform the country.

Over this series, we took a look at the hole the GOP has been digging for itself. We have learned why it is time to remove the Republican stumbling block from our path. Moving forward, we’ll be taking a closer look at the fascist network we’ve been making reference to, who they are, and where they came from.

By shining light on cockroaches, you make them skitter for cover. It’s the same with Nazis. We’re going to turn over the rocks they’ve been hiding under. By exposing their plots, networks, and strategies, we will truly #MakeNazisAfraidAgain. Fascism and democracy are incompatible, like mold and fungus. Democracy cannot live, where fascism is thriving. To save the  America that our ancestors lived and died in, we have got to see this through to the very end.

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How the GOP Grew Gangrenous-World Wars and Imported Fascism, Pt4.

In a free and open democracy, such as America was meant to be, the natural exchange and competition of ideas is a wholesome and essential part of social life. Citizens come together, hash out the issues, and forge a national dialectic on the anvil of debate. When communication thrives, interconnections between people come together of their own accord. This creates the large-scale social cohesion necessary to run a healthy state.

However, when that communication breaks down, those bonds start dissolving, and with them the prosperity and well-being of both individual and collective. It is our contention that the increasing ideological extremity of the Republican Party has grown increasingly corrosive, and as such has become a serious threat to national stability and harmony.

By the turn of the century, the political parties of America had become like the shells of hermit crabs, repeatedly picked up and sat down again by their varying occupants, the competing ideologies of the early 20th century.

Movements like socialism, anarchism, fascism, and communism were all established by this time. They settled naturally into their places on the political spectrum, and went about the business of fighting for control of humanity’s minds and hearts. The resulting struggles have had tremendous implication for the Republican Party, and for us all.

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The Great Cow Analogy

These days, the parties are more firmly in the hands of the two ideologies then at any other time in history, and in diametric opposition to one another. The result has made a pressure cooker out of our country’s political climate, which recently led to far-right Nazi thugs waving swastika flags around at Charlottesville and murdering our sister Heather Heyer.

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Colin Kaepernick

The President, at the time, said there were very fine people, waving around those Nazi flags and running down women- but says Colin Kaepernick is a son of a b*tch, over a perfectly nonviolent protest. LeBron James summed it up best on Tweeter this week, when on Sunday athletes nationwide took the knee in solidarity with the controversial quarterback and the protest that has made him famous.

This is all symptomatic of the larger problem, namely, that there is a well-entrenched and organized fascist element in American politics today. It has had control of the Republican Party for a very long time now. Cracks in the GOP defenses were opened gradually by disunity and change, and after World War Two, far more extreme and virulent faction has intermingled with their system and become it. In examining how these changes took place, it will be necessary to examine the foundation-shaking events that led to such massive upheaval,  for the Republican Party and for the world.

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The Revival of Fascism

In political science, realignment theory describes a synthesis of perspectives emanating from history, highlighting the existence and impact of “critical elections” as key factors in shaping the practice of democratic politics. The last two centuries have both seen their fair share, right around their turning. The Republican Party has radicalized increasingly as

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1900 Presidential election poster

President Woodrow Wilson, the beneficiary of the splitting of the Republican Party in 1912, spoke at length about World War One as a war being fought to make the world “safe for democracy”. That war was won, insofar as a war can be won. The war to decide the form that democracy would take was just beginning. This was to prove to  be of of the highest significance in the evolution of both American and international politics.

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President Woodrow Wilson

The general tendency in American presidential elections has generally been for one side or the other to win soundly. Extremely close elections like 2016 or 1896 used to be statistically rare. But in recent history, they’ve been the norm.  In times of unrest, when the public is highly polarized and inflamed against one another, it seems to be just the opposite.

The 1920’s came to be known as the Republican Decade for the three Republicans who occupied the White House during it: Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. Harding was corrupt and a fool, and Coolidge was a milquetoast.

Many historians rate Harding as the worst president the country has ever had. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that the old ratings machine, Donald J. Trump, has finally managed to break a presidential record.

Herbert Hoover had risen to the occasion of large-scale relief work admirably in Europe, toward the end of 1918 when the Spanish Flu was killing men in the tens of millions. Unfortunately for everyone, he proved out of his depth when faced with similar challenges domestically. His short-sighted, laissez-faire policies did little to relieve the poverty and massive national debt that characterized the Great Depression.

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President Herbert Hoover

Before the 1920’s and 30’s, America was mostly comprised of a loosely-knit network of regional communities, who interacted little and communicated less. During this time, however, it began to consolidate and take on a nationwide flavor. Nothing encourages social cohesion like a terrible outside threat, such as a world war or a Great Depression. Both peace and the economy had been shattered, and things were not improving.

In the 1930’s, the Dust Bowl took place as a result of shortsighted agricultural practices, and rendered much of Middle America uninhabitable, leading to a large-scale migration from states we now think of as being solidly red, to California and other places still fertile.

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Traditional beliefs were also facing erosion, from the point of view of many Americans in the 1920’s. This led to a counter- movement known as fundamentalism, which partnered with mass media in the earliest prototypes of televangelism.

This partnership provided a localized and custom-made belief system, capable of justifying anything in the name of God and country. It also provided a way to disseminate these ideas to the rest of the country. Slowly, the American value system began taking shape.

However, this newfound social cohesion was not to work out well for everyone.

During these miserable times, the black community down South was continuously victimized by their white neighbors. America’s first terrorist organization, the hate society known as the Ku Klux Klan had experienced a major revival.

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This revival of the Klan generated an organization much stronger and more numerous than the original Confederate veterans who came up with the concept. Many black people living down South decided they had at last had enough. This led to a mass exodus to elsewhere, known as the Great Migration. Before 1915, 90% of African-Americans lived down South. After 1970, a full half of these were gone.

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They had always looked to the Party of Lincoln as their hope of legal protection, but times had changed.

In the critical election of 1932, many formerly Republican blacks switched their allegiance to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democrats.

FDR’s New Deal had largely eroded the Southern wing of Democratic coalition, because a large section of it had traditionally relied upon rural agrarian interests made possible by slavery. For those fine gentlemen, treating black people with human decency was viewed as a diminishing return, not politically or financially expedient. Many of them refused to adapt to the changing reality. Because of that, they were no longer wanted, and they knew it.

These began to find themselves more commonly in agreement with Republicans, in terms of economic issues such as the rejecting of deficit spending or the creation of a social safety net. Little by little, the reactionary elements of the party began defecting to the GOP. This tendency continued all the way through FDR’s four terms and was firmly established by the end of World War Two in 1945.

Meanwhile, the GOP had spent the 1930’s helping the Nazis all they could. This partnership was reciprocal and continued after the war. Perhaps the most famous example is that of Wernher von Braun, the rocket scientist and former SS officer who built America’s first ICBM missiles. Given a new image, that of anti-communist crusader, and the help of his ideological allies in the GOP, von Braun was able to successfully integrate into American civilization. In exactly this way, much of the rest of the fascist network that ranged across Europe back then was successfully was incorporated, imported, and used by us, both at home and abroad. We will take a closer look at this later.

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W. Prescott Bush shaking hands with Hitler

That network is alive and well today, and of the two parties, it has chosen the GOP as its home. This is an empirical fact of life that exists within the American political process. It is not the product of partisan bias. It was no accident, that they were waving Nazi flags in Charlottesville. It is not new, and it is not random. It is deeply entrenched, vicious, and deadly.

George W. Bush’s grandfather, W. Prescott Bush, has been tied to financial institutions used to help finance Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Most of the practitioners of eugenics were Republican, such as Lothrup Stoddard, whose works are of interest for the serious student of this time period, the repugnance of his views notwithstanding.

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The philosophy of eugenics

Charles Lindbergh, another Republican, actually flew to Berlin to meet with Hitler. Back home, he started an organization and gathered many powerful people together to vigorously pursue an isolationist position using a slogan that Donald Trump has repopularized- America First.

Had this policy become official, it would have given Adolf Hitler a completely free hand in Europe. The America First Committee was even against the Lend-Lease act during World War Two, which was our policy of lending material aid to our allies in Europe.

It is all but certain that the Nazis would have won the war in Europe, which would have placed the Axis Powers in control of two-thirds of the world’s resources. We had only a third. It would have been America last.

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Charles Lindbergh meets with Reichmarshall Hermann Goering

Fortunately for every living soul on the planet, that is not how it worked out. Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wise, temperate policy led us through that darkest of ages. He ended up being elected to four terms in the White House. People trusted him.

Franklin Roosevelt is unanimously placed near the top of the list of America’s chief executives. He guided the nation through World War Two, in which our participation was official after the cowardly sneak attack that was Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941. His domestic policy, known as the New Deal, ended the Great Depression and Prohibition. His policies secured tremendous protections for the people of the future.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Many of the rights and social programs that people take for granted now, were conceived and secured by him. His adaptation of his famous uncle Teddy’s Progressive policies to the Democratic Party platform stands as one of the most crucial realigning factors in the history of both parties, as the Republicans were to take a strong position against them. They have been entrenching that position ever since.

Roosevelt passed away during the final days of the war, and his Vice-President Harry Truman took the reins. Truman had his own style, resolute and unostentatious. He made some rational changes right away. This did not improve the increasingly strained relations between the Southern conservative wing of the Democratic Party and the new progressive wing exemplified by FDR.

The estrangement became more and more pronounced. Civil rights were to become a pressing priority for Democrats, which was to alienate its white conservative wing to the point of affecting their own great migration, one more commonly known as the “white flight”.

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The Geography of Segregation

Truman’s desegregation of the Armed Forces in particular was a decision that enraged them, and a series of others were to follow, such as when the Supreme Court ruled official prayer in school unconstitutional on June 25, 1962.

The developing value system of the Democratic Party was unified further following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Following this, the partisan realignment of the South was a fait accompli.

The crucial shift came when Barry Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He carried the South, but failed to win the Presidency. Lyndon Johnson continued to push through civil rights legislation, but warned that it would lose the South for Democrats for a generation, a prediction that proved more than accurate.

These continuing developments ensured that Johnson was the last Democratic president to win a majority of white votes.

At this time, the Republicans began targeting and nurturing these malcontent white voters, encouraging their basest instinct and assuaging their hurt feelings with assurances of racial superiority. This policy has now borne a strange orange fruit named Donald Trump. These people have not done each other any service. Their decline is inevitable, because they have lost the capacity for self-reflection. When people try and make themselves stupider than they already are, they almost always succeed.

The 1950’s, primarily spent under President Dwight Eisenhower, were the last we were to see of anything grand in the Grand Old Party. Eisenhower was a good man and a good president, but he left office with an uneasy feeling. The speech in which he warns America against “undue influence from the military-industrial complex” is more relevant than ever today.

The Pentagon has been the only thing holding order together during the Trump crisis, and we are grateful for it, but caution must be taken. There’s never been this much of a military presence in our civilian government, and the tendency needs careful observation. Great warriors are not always great diplomats, and vice versa. Both are necessary for the maintenance of a healthy America.

Eisenhower’s successor was John F. Kennedy, popularly known as JFK. He was lain low by assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s bullet on November 22, 1963. A conspiracy to take his life cannot be proven. What can be proven, is that the Republicans, who ever since have served as the henchmen of military-industrial interests, gained a great deal from the removal of JFK. The GOP intensified and made official the Vietnam War. Kennedy had planned to end it.

Vietnam proved to be one of the bloodiest and most heartbreaking conflicts of the twentieth century. Its ramifications have taken decades to sort out and we are still not finished. Of the 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam, less than 850,000 are estimated to be alive today.

The Vietnam War was used by the Republicans to divide and discredit Democrats. It splintered the liberal consensus. Opposition to the war didn’t unify or define the party, it divided it. Lyndon Johnson’s heart was broken by it, and he refused to seek reelection in 1968. The Democratic nomination was up in the air.

JFK’s brother Robert Kennedy, who had served as his Attorney General, was a strong favorite to win. It looked like a sure thing, until he too was assassinated, shot down by kitchen worker Sirhan Sirhan for reasons that remain a mystery. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated two months and one day earlier, on April 4, 1968. The country was being torn apart.

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The Vietnam War

Lyndon Johnson’s Vice-President, Hubert Humphrey, ended up running instead, but he was associated with the war and couldn’t split with LBJ. He received the nomination in spite of not receiving any delegates, because the party machinery chose him. After he lost, he became a scapegoat because of it. The old Tammany Hall method of leaving the Democratic nomination process under the control of the party elite was scrapped. A commission, called the McGovern-Fraser for the men who were heading it up, was assigned the task of creating a more open and democratic system.

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Tammany Hall prepares for the 1868 Democratic National Convention

Authorities have roundly criticized the reforms they made as having been a mess. It was a badly conceived and chaotic system. It left a tremendous amount of the nominations decision up to a disinterested and uninformed electorate. Rational actors influenced by well-formed policy positions are not what is filling our voting booths. The McGovern-Fraser Commission is one of the key factors behind the rise of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

One of the Commissioners, George McGovern, ended up being the Democratic Party’s next Presidential candidate. He was the democratically chosen, favorite of the people candidate. He was also the recipient of a terrible slaughter at the hands of Richard Nixon, largely because his system was weak and full of holes.

But it didn’t stop there. It was the days of the Fourth Party System, all over again. Tad Devine, former campaign manager to Bernie Sanders, took steps to fix this by inventing the process of the superdelegate system. Democrats were being taken advantage of. Giving 15% of the party’s power back to its most trusted members was the most sensible thing the Democratic Party ever did. This was evidenced clearly by the first and worst crime of the McGovern-Fraser Commission- that it let Nixon seize and keep power.

The Nixon era was the beginning of the end, for any kind of Republican morality, although they continue to cloak the nakedness of their greed with the fig leaf of the Moral Majority. During this time, the men who ran the Nixon administration made the world a worse place to live in, with all the zeal they could muster. The damage they did paved the way for Trump and the Russians.

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Moral Majority

A decade before, Harry Truman said succinctly that “Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.” This was the truth, and it had a tremendous amount to do with the setting of the stage for today. In our next chapter, we will be looking closer at the Nixon era, and its relationship with the enduring legacy of fascism.