Slate had a chillingly accurate headline in May, 2017 “The Republicans Are the Party of Thugs and Nazis”. In that article, the author points out that although there are some individuals who are the exception, the Republican Party itself has welcomed, with open arms, racists and violent white-supremacists into their ranks (1).
As such, it should have come as no surprise that the party of war and the party of violence nominated a violent amoral sexual assaulter to be their guy in the White House. Trump’s long history of nepotism, violence, ignorance, and corruption are well known and well documented and I won’t dwell on it here.
This trend has been intensifying since the 1960’s. Former President George H. W. Bush fought against civil rights as a Republican candidate for the Texas Senate in 1964 (2). Bush played a key role in the development of today’s racist and violence oriented Republican Party. Under Bush, the Party worked to integrate the John Birch Society (JBS) into this “modern” Republican Party. The JBS was anti Civil Rights (3). In a flyer titled “What’s wrong with civil rights” published in 1965:
“For the civil rights movement in the United States, with all of its growing agitation and riots and bitterness, and insidious steps towards the appearance of a civil war, has not been infiltrated by the Communists, as you now frequently hear. It has been deliberately and almost wholly created by the Communists patiently building up to this present stage for more than forty years.” (4)
The focus of Republican hatred and violence has shifted from civil rights, to Antifa, but the message itself remains the same. Just days ago, the above sentiments were echoed (somewhat less eloquently) by one of the countries most notorious Alt-Right trolls, Tim Gionet:
“Tomorrow we go to Portland to defend free speech & say no to communist Antifa” (5).
But I digress.
In 1963, President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, became president. Johnson represents the peak of modern liberalism (6) and his reign corresponds to an entrenchment of ideologies that has left the Republicans bereft of a Liberal wing since about 1970 (7).
1969 saw the rise of another Republican to the Oval Office, Richard Nixon. Nixon was many things, not the least of which is the most famous crook in American history. He is also famous for creating the “Nixon Doctrine” which was to have the US engage in proxy wars across the world; while at the same time selling arms and munitions to Latin America and the Middle East. I don’t think this is the first time a political party overtly engaged in war profiteering, but it is definitely an egregious one.
Fast forward to Bush Jr., starting two unnecessary wars, one in Afghanistan, and one in Iraq. These wars led to Bush’s Vice President Dick Cheney getting rich through US Government “no-bid” contracts with his company, Halliburton. (8)
I have broadly outlined the above simply to give some background to the modern GOP. My contention is that since the 1960’s the Republican Party has become more and more radicalized. They have created a group whose unifying focus is hatred coupled with the wanton abuse of Capitalism to acquire extreme wealth and has neither the interest nor the ability to govern.
The ever increasing trend towards radicalism and racism was made clear in 1989 when David Duke (R-LA) became a Member of the House of Representatives in Louisiana. Duke, is an American white nationalist, anti-Semite conspiracy theorist, holocaust denier, convicted felon, and former Imperial Wizard of the KKK. Of interest, immediately prior to winning his House seat in 1989 as a Republican, he was unsuccessful at multiple political campaigns as a Democrat. He found a home with the GOP. (9)
Over the last few months, Republicans from across the board have increased their violence and threats of violence. I cite as proof six examples that have played out in the last year by members of the GOP:
- 10 Sep 2016 Gov. Matt Bevin (R-KY) said in a speech at the Values Voter Summit “a Hillary Clinton presidency may necessitate bloodshed” and “I want us to be able to fight ideologically, mentally, spiritually, economically, so that we don’t have to do it physically. But that may, in fact, be the case.” (10)
- 21 May 2017 Rep. Karl Oliver (R-MS) called for Louisiana State leadership “to be lynched” (11)
- 24 May 2017 Greg Gianforte (R-MT) – violent assault on a reporter who asked questions about the Republican Party’s stance on healthcare. (12)
- 25 May 2017 Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) – When asked about the incident between Gianforte and the reporter, Hunter said he didn’t think it was appropriate behavior “unless the reporter deserved it”. (13)
- 29 May 2017 Matt Rinaldi (R-TX) On the floor of the Texas House, debate turned to argument then nearly erupted into a violent confrontation. According to Rep. Justin Rodriguez, Rinaldi and Rep. Poncho Nevarez nearly came to blows; by Rodriguez’s account, Rinaldi said he would “put a bullet in” Nevarez’s head. (14)
- 5 June 2017 Clay Higgins (R-LA) I’ll just leave this one verbatim. “The free world…all of Christendom…is at war with Islamic horror. Not one penny of American treasure should be granted to any nation who harbors these heathen animals. Not a single radicalized Islamic suspect should be granted any measure of quarter. Their intended entry to the American homeland should be summarily denied. Every conceivable measure should be engaged to hunt them down. Hunt them, identity them, and kill them. Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.” (15)
My final thought. This article was really focused on elected GOP officials. With little effort, you can find the disturbing facts about right wing violence in general being on the rise, and perpetrated by violent Christian extremists. That will be an article for another day.
Daniel Cashman, EAMP, MS(AOM)