After Joe Biden’s speech in Philadelphia last week, Republicans screamed, probably a bit too loudly. They were outraged, calling Biden “divisive” and accusing him of “pitting his fellow Americans against each other.” They had never heard a President of the United States say such mean things about them. And they acted as if Biden’s rhetoric was unprecedented.
Just days before the speech, Biden called the GOP a “semi-fascist” party, which made Republicans howl almost as loudly as they did about his speech. And much of the criticism came from the media. In pointed interviews with Democrats, journalists accused Biden of being divisive. Elected Republicans said Biden owed all Republicans an apology.
It’s almost like they forgot what it was like to have Donald Trump as president. Trump routinely called Democrats “socialists” and “communists” and Republicans in Congress still do. Trump even referred to “fascist Democrats.” Nobody ever asked him to apologize. I don’t remember reporters asking GOP elected officials if Trump’s statements were too divisive.
No, that was just Donald Trump, they said, as if nobody took him seriously. Of course, his uneducated base not only believed him, they cheered him on while once responsible Republicans stayed silent. That’s the double standard in the media today and that’s the hypocrisy of the GOP.
But there is a difference between what Donald Trump said and what Joe Biden said. While Trump’s rants were hyperbolic and rooted in apocalyptic fantasy, Joe Biden’s criticism of Republicans are rooted in truth. Republicans really did storm the Capitol hoping to overturn a presidential election. The Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and other militias really are an armed wing of the GOP. Republican candidates really are running for office pledging to rig elections in favor of Republicans. Neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan really do consider themselves part of the Trump movement. And prominent Republicans really are rejecting the concept of democracy.
Yesterday, the website FiveThirtyEight released an analysis that says more than half of the GOP candidates for Congress deny the legitimacy of the 2020 elections. Of those, 195 fully denied the results by taking action such as voting against certification of the results. Another 61 didn’t outright deny the results but questioned whether the election was legitimate without explicitly accepting the outcome. Another 115 refused to answer questions about whether or not they accepted the results. Only 158, or 30%, of GOP candidates accepted the results and more than half of those had reservations.
In North Carolina, only one Republican, Patrick McHenry, fully accepted the results. Ted Budd accepted them with reservations. The rest denied the legitimacy of the election or refused to answer questions about it. In other words, Republican candidates in North Carolina are more loyal to Donald Trump than the constitution. They are, as Joe Biden said, a threat to our democracy and our country.
Not only have these candidates refused to accept the election results, most have refused to condemn Donald Trump for hording classified and secret information in an unsecure location. They’ve refused to condemn Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and other groups that have used or promoted political violence. They’ve refused to call the attack on the Capitol what it was, an attempted insurrection and failed coup.
In fact, the current GOP supports, or at least tolerates, a whole lot of ideas that look a lot like fascism, or at the very least, authoritarianism. The presence of armed militias, the cult of personality that dominates the party, the threat of political violence, the rejection of democratic outcomes, and the emphasis on racial superiority, though, lean toward fascism. I think Biden was being generous. He just told the truth on the GOP.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >
In response to TC, the middle has shifted way to the right. Centrist used to be where the right wing were, so I don’t agree with Centrist at all. The average Democrat is where the center used to be and I could accept that. For example, Manchin is not a Centrist. He is way to the right.
I certainly don’t disagree with you about what you’re saying. Indeed, there has been a shift. But the shift has been with people. The center is still there. Centrists are still there. In my purview they now identify themselves as “independent.” Why? Any number of reasons I suppose. Most of what I hear has been that partisan politics (red/blue; D/R) have moved out to the fringes of ideology. Out there is where the politics of all or none reside. No compromise, no meeting half-way. Those extremist views feed the apathy most people have with politics now.
The center is where compromise lies. It is there we find the means and ways of getting things that do the most good for the most people. The philosophy of ‘All or None’ isn’t productive nor is it conducive to good governance.
The argument I always put forth with people and family about that partisanship is that we can take the party and the majority of its’ members back to the center. My political acumen is a composite of tradition, philosophy, and a helping of levity for seeing the world as it is…and to visualize what it could be. I’ll leave out the classical education part.
Yeah, Joe Manchin skews just a wee bit to the right of Bernie Sanders. Not quite Jessecrat right, but still to that side. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Given the state he represents and the political climate thereof, I can’t see him doing much of anything other than. Frankly I was really leery when he was being leaned on to pass legislation that he did not support. Why? What if he burned out on being pressured and switched parties? That really wouldn’t have hurt him in West Virginia but what would it have done to the Nation and the legislation Democrats have been able to pass in the months afterward? How well would we have fared from that point through to the mid-terms?
Why run on about this? Because things are never simple. And I happen to believe that we can move the party back to the center…maybe one standard deviation left and right from center on a bell curve. That’s average. I like average as opposed to extreme. Most of the people I know are average. I’m average.
So that’s why I live in and dream of the center. It’s urbane and boring. Unbridled passion and self-righteous activism live on the fringes; so does lunacy and fanaticism. After the last 7 years, there’s enough crazy to go around. There are more people in the center than there are on the fringes. We need to exploit that. Even if that means reaching across to middle of the road republicans…if there are any left. WE can get things done working together as opposed to working against each other and for our own selfish interest. If that means isolating and encapsulating our own fringe element of the party, so be it.
That’s my rabbit hole into wonderland.
here, here….well-said. We can only hope and pray for some sanity…and VOTE!
What to do about it is, of course, the question. Nobody has a good idea because we’ve centered people in our political world who are in it for the money. Consultants, pollsters, TV talking heads, opinion column writers, direct mailers, producers and managers of media, starting the 1980s there has been this whole class of people doing politics who didn’t care what the policy outcomes were as long as their side won and they got richer every cycle. Now we’re stuck hoping those people can do something about our current situation, but they’re not capable or willing to do anything. Our “leaders” are holding on tight hoping nothing goes wrong and we sneak through somehow. Only the people who got us here, politicians and their enablers, can get out out of here.
So then, what is to be done? You can’t talk with his supporters; they don’t want to hear it. You can’t call out or cajole these people; now you’re picking on them. You can’t offer irrefutable facts as such; they’re made up because you don’t like their messiah (little ‘m’ for a reason). So there is no way to reach, reason, rationalize, negotiate with, or awaken the masses that still see the persecution of their Fuhrer as anything but. So absent that ability or willingness to listen to any sort of reason, how, precisely, is one faction of the electorate going to reach the other and retain both sanity and peace while doing so? And no, I don’t have an answer, solution, or suggestion. I’m fresh out.
At some point that is rapidly approaching, this becomes an exercise in futility. Proverbially trying to teach a pig to sing; wastes your time and annoys the pig. I’ve heard it said and written that, you can’t blame those who support the insanity that is Donald Trump. True enough I suppose; in the beginning. After January 6 the gloves and the masks came off. After that day was over and done, that rationale disappeared like so many snowballs in Hell. If you still have a Trump sign in your yard, on your car, flag flying from your home, an article of clothing with his name or likeness, if you still deny the election was rigged, false, skewed, you are part of the problem.
Would I deny you your conservatism and conservative views? Never. Trumpism however has nothing to do with being a conservative. Now, today, there is no rational, logical, or sane reason to remain a supporter of this man unless, of course, you believe exactly as he does. You hold the same values, the same viewpoints and perspectives. Your outlook on life is tinted the same shade of orange. You have no respect for the rule of law, the Constitution, and the United States. For all its faults, for all of its imperfections, it has been proven a good and decent system of governance for well over two centuries. It wasn’t found to always be right nor was it used properly. That would be a fallacy of man. Men that thought themselves entitled, superior, better than everyone else. Despite that, I still find to be better than any other system of governance that I know of, studied, or read about.
We find ourselves at a crossroads. How and if our way of life, nation, and society perpetuates will be decided across the course of the coming months. I say this knowing full well that what we have now is not perfect. Unlike some others, I don’t expect it to be. I’m also willing to be patient and work toward solutions for the betterment of the country and also of mankind. That cannot nor will it ever be accomplished through a nihilistic perspective fomented in fascism or communism. A dominance of either will only produce totalitarianism of a right or left slant.
The answer, as it always has, lies in the middle. Centrist policy, affects the 5 to 95 percentile. When we had that and a majority of politicians from both parties subscribing to it, we were able to perpetuate ourselves best and grew the most.
It’s time we found our way back to that path before we completely lose our way for all time.