By Michael E. Berumen
I have never been especially partisan, and, I eschew all overarching, systematic ideologies. But I have become increasingly antagonistic towards the modern Republican Party. To my mind, it has become a force for great evil, and especially since 1969. It is a shame, for it was once the more liberal-minded of the two major parties, in several respects prior to the New Deal in the 1930s, and most particularly after the Civil Rights Acts of the mid-1960s. President Nixon subverted the constitution for his own paranoiac and grandiose ends, and he prolonged an unjust war, costing many thousands of American and Vietnamese lives. President Ford pardoned him for his high crimes, perfectly legal, and also perfectly immoral on Ford’s part, placing, in effect, a president above the law. President Reagan is guilty of treason, if not in a direct sense, then from having looked the other way while people in his administration consorted and traded arms with our enemy, Iran, and, to this day, his failed “voodoo economic” policies (as once described by his future Vice President) of fiscal mismanagement, spending with abandon and buying on credit and saddling future generations with debt, continues to haunt us. President George H.W. Bush was most likely a co-conspirator in President Reagan’s treachery with Iran, though he was the more responsible of the two as a fiscal manager. His son, George W. Bush, took us into an ill-conceived and unjust war based on false pretenses, and it cost many thousands of lives, this quite aside from the incredible harm that both his wars and irresponsible economic policies did to our economy. And today we have nothing less than a fascist in Donald Trump leading the party, and its functionaries with a majority in Congress enable him out of sycophancy, craven self-dealing, tribalism, and from simple cowardice.
The Republican Party, today, is anti-science, anti-women, anti-LGBTQ, racist, anti-financial prudence, and very simply a perfidious political force; an unholy alliance among gun fetishists, religious fanatics, media bullies, racists, jingoists, and corporate welfarests, and one that perpetuates ignorance, intolerance, fear, and corruption, and one that despite being a minority party nationally, clings to power through shrewd gerrymandering and an anachronistic electoral system. The small number of remaining responsible people with leadership positions in the party, those who have not fled to become unaligned or to another party, hope to contain the rabble and feed them just enough long enough with red meat to bring them out to vote against their interests in favor of theirs every election cycle. Then the establishment assumes they can insert their rational man in the end, a McCain or Romney or the like, and retain some semblance of control. Trouble is, as the saying goes, one can hold the tail of the alligator and feed it only for so long before it eats you. And it has already begun to eat away––-indeed, the prisoners have taken over the prison. Lyndon Johnson presciently predicted he (the Democratic Party) would lose the south upon passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts in the sixties. And so it was, and the Republican Party in a few decades was transformed into a party dominated by erstwhile Southern Democrats, and it has thereby become a modern Confederate Party that goes well beyond antebellum geographical boundaries. To compound matters, with the advent of
Trumpism, the party is beginning to embody many of the essential characteristics of historical fascism, including the synonymy between the interests of the leader and the state; magical thinking about its destiny; racism and scapegoating of the other; jingoism and nationalism; and crony capitalism and kleptocracy.
Given all this, I would like to see the Republican Party implode, and from the debris one would hope that a responsible, center-right party might eventually rise, the kind of party that it once was, and one we surely need as a responsible and loyal opposition party, a countervailing force to unitary thinking. I have profound issues of disagreement with aspects of the Democratic Party, but it is not a vessel for evil that is intent on destroying liberal democracy and erecting fascist, anti-American institutions and mores in its place, things that recent generations of Americans fought against and gave their lives. To my mind, the national Republican Party must be marginalized and, ultimately, it must be destroyed and consigned to history. Although there is a tiny minority of rational and attractive Republicans on the national scene, regrettably, they, too, must be defeated at the ballot box, and at every turn, for even otherwise reasonable candidates are ultimately beholden to the cynical party apparatus and leadership for their political sustenance, or they will be tossed aside and rendered ineffective. It is almost impossible for reasonable men and women to succeed in the Republican Party, and until a new conservative party is built to allow such people, I believe the party must be brought to its knees. This strikes me as a national security issue, for fascism took over one of the most civilized nation’s on earth in but a very few years, and with only a plurality in the Reichstag, not a majority. Already we are seeing the destruction or impairment of vital American institutions and the rule of law, and we cannot allow this cancer to continue to spread. It is not simply a matter of controlling it, either–––for it cannot be controlled so easily once it is embedded in our intuitions. It must be dealt a death blow. It is hubris to say, “Well, it can’t happen here.” It most certainly can––and it will happen if we do not do something now. That begins with defeating the Republicans at every turn and at every level, local, state, and national, and rejecting the idea that moderation is even possible in the current Republican Party. It isn’t. Senator Barry Goldwater, who must be spinning in his grave over what has become of his party, said this: “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.” His timing may have been wrong, but he had a point that seems to me to be pertinent today.
Michael Berumen is a retired business executive and published author on diverse topics including economics, mathematics, and philosophy. He resides with his wife in Colorado. He is the author of the book Do No Evil: Ethics with Applications to Economic Theory and Business. He has been writing about and warning against Fascism in America and Trump for several years.