Another Terrifying Analysis

An article I read in the New Republic last July--July of 2022 (not this year, when evidence of Congressional inability to even pretend to govern is unavoidable)–was sufficiently upsetting that I kept it in my “think about this” file. It was titled “It’s Going to Take Several Miracles to Keep America from Turning Into Hungary,” and it began as follows:

When Nancy Pelosi told reporters back in May that “this country needs a strong Republican Party, not a cult,” she was expressing the desire among those on the center-left and moderates for the United States to return to a bygone age of political normalcy. They remember when the GOP still had a moderate wing and kept the “wacko birds” (as Senator John McCain called them) at arm’s length; when President Reagan cut deals with House Speaker Tip O’Neill, and when Republicans believed that it was more important for democracy in general to prevail than the Republican Party. It’s a noble idea, but I can’t help but be reminded of what famed pilot Chuck Yeager once told me when I asked him a “what if” question: “And if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his ass when he hopped.”

The truth is that American democracy is essentially broken beyond fixing and is unable to withstand a right-wing populist movement determined to destroy it. The Eisenhower wing of the GOP was rooted out long ago. It will take multiple miracles to avoid getting one or more of the “bad” endings in this Choose Your Own Adventure of dystopias. The best realistic case resembles a Jim Crow America from the 1920s, complete with a Gilded Age, mass migration, violent militias running amok, and no-go zones for minorities. The possibilities only go downhill from there into secession, fascism, and civil war.

When I first read this very gloomy analysis, I discounted much of it. (Okay, maybe not a lot, but at least some…) In the wake of the current wild dysfunction in the U.S. House of Representatives –dismissal has become a great deal more difficult.

The article quite correctly points out that–over a period of some 40 years– the Democratic party shifted incrementally to the left, while the GOP took “a giant leap to the right.” The focus of the Republican base since the Carter administration has been to increase its appeal to white evangelicals, who have very little in common with the American public at large. It is a White Christian Nationalist constituency that holds “outlier positions and priorities on almost every issue.”

And thanks to gerrymandering, that constituency has elected a collection of theocrats and posturing buffoons totally uninterested in the actual process of governance. As the article noted,

Since (roughly) the second term of the Bush administration, there has been a tacit understanding between the GOP and its base that they cannot win hearts and minds: The demographics of the U.S. are inexorably shifting toward nonwhites and secularism. Despite the postmortem on the 2012 election that called for a bigger-tent party, the GOP has settled on a strategy that it must take the wheel away from voters and steer the country with or without the consent of the governed…

The increasingly right-wing Supreme Court has stepped aside and allowed the de-democratization of large swathes of the U.S., by negating the enforcement mechanisms of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby v. Holder and permitting hyperpartisan gerrymanders in Gill v. Whitford.

The January 6, 2021, insurrection was a direct attempt to invalidate a legitimate election result, yet Republicans largely went along with it: Roughly two-thirds of House Republicans voted to give the insurrectionists what they wanted mere hours after they stormed the Capitol.

The GOP isn’t even bothering to hide its ultimate goal: to turn the U.S. into an authoritarian White Christian theocracy. “The 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference was held in Hungary to celebrate and learn what can be gained by killing democracy as Viktor Orbán has.”

The article was written before the 2022 midterms, and did not foresee one “miracle,” the failure of that year’s widely anticipated Red wave. But its essential message remains: absent a massive defeat of the cult that has replaced what was once the Republican Party, the nation will continue on its path toward governmental impotence and chaos–a path that will inevitably invite a “strongman” ala Orban.

What we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks is just a taste of what we’ll see if American voters do not decisively eject the Republicans who are intent upon rejecting constitutional, adult governance in favor of White Christian Nationalism.


  1. While a handful of the R’s in the House are indeed flame-throwing performing monkeys, more unsettling to me are the “moderates” without the backbone or principles to stand up and do the right thing out of the fear of facing a primary challenge.
    One course of action I have taken over the last two days is to call the 20 or so Republican members of the House to offer thanks and support for voting “no” on Jordan’s bid to become Speaker. I recommend that action to the readers of this blog. You can easily find a list of names and phone numbers, or check out the blog “Chop Wood, Carry Water” for some really good suggestions of direct actions to take.
    By denying Jordan the gavel, this could be the crack in the iceberg that signals an end to the mind-control that MAGA has over the House. Find a way to take some sort of action and let your voices be heard!

  2. James, you give very good advice. We must take action.

    For those who may subscribe or have access to the NYTimes, there’s an article about Mitt Romney’s book which will be released next week. In it he talks about the direction of the Republican Party and its leadership—-Trump, Pence, Gingrich, Cruz, Hawley, McConnell, and others. I disagree with Romney on political issues, but he’s one of the very few who opposed Trump from the beginning. Btw he describes Pence as Trump’s lapdog. It’s an apt description.

  3. We are not seeking full agreement on all vital issues before Congress at all times; but especially today with a totally unworking Congress leaving us unprotected internally and externally we are seeking to agree to consideration. We need open, truthful, intelligent dialogue with elected lawmakers who have each given their Oath of Office to protect and serve the nation. There have always be the few irrational ones who slipped through the cracks and make their voices heard and ignored for what they are; we are now faced with a handful of members of one party whose minority foundation is in terrorism and dictatorship who have somehow taken the reins of Congress from lawmakers who refuse to fight the inevitable outcome of another Civil War. That result will leave us in the cross hairs of nations around the globe who have waited for us to fail and leave our allies weakened and open for takeover. Is Donald Trump really worth allowing this to happen? All roads here lead to “The Donald” and the United States is losing trust and respect of much of the American public along with our allies around the world.

    “But its essential message remains: absent a massive defeat of the cult that has replaced what was once the Republican Party, the nation will continue on its path toward governmental impotence and chaos–a path that will inevitably invite a “strongman” ala Orban.” AKA Trump or his delegate.

  4. James, nowadays Republicans who speak up and out about the mess their party is in have more to fear than primary challenges: their very lives and the lives of their families are being threatened. The “good old days” of mere primary challenges are gone. Mob mentality and violence are now the order of the day, and the great orange glob stokes that each time he opens his mouth.
    I’m encouraged by Jordan’s so-far lack of success in securing sufficient votes for the speakership, but only slightly. We still have MTG, Gaetz, and Boebert lurking in the background.
    I said it a few days ago, I’ll say it again: I don’t recognize my country anymore.

  5. looking at the Polish vote, seems they are tired of the misworded law and order party. polexit stopped. the right of abortion again may prevail. looking at orban, seems he wants little to do with Ukraine,and was pushed into its corner. the fact of your assesment Shiela is spot on. ive watched this trickle become the flood of authortarianism. NoDak is prime warfare state. many a minority is coming here now and its changes. its diversity is not being taken well. as i spoke with a
    Mexican buisness man who resides in Crookston,mn, on border with Grand Forks NoDak, as he sees it, if you argue or raise your minority voice, the cops just arrest you and haul you away. its
    well on its way to a backwoods police state here. mainly, they, the cops have no intention to be in community continuity but rather be tanked up in a black and white and out for heads. seems the law enforcement segments have no clue,or are being trained to bust heads over community awareness. they to are coming from other right wing states and settling here,bring their style of law enforcement with them,spreading its regime. the talk of trumps court issues dont faze the locals, they now just avoid conversation about it. if ya look around the dish you use, theres been a explosion of evangels stations, like where there were 3, now its more like 20. the flock must be pooring money down more of the mouthpieces that spew the word. time to review their book$ eh? leonard leos book$ eh?

  6. Do I dare write a dystopian outlook without being criticized by Sharon? LOL

    Is it possible to see a positive spin to what’s happening in Congress with the Courts ruling for the Federal Society goons?

    One miracle would be young people and non-registered voters appearing en masse at the polls of gerrymandered districts. Somehow, the MAGA Republicans would cry foul and nullify the election results.

    Will Americans rise to the occasion before dystopia sets in? Personally, it’s going to have to get much worse. I’m unsure why anybody would run for Congress under the current and projected state of affairs. How futile to dial for dollars but inept to affect any positive changes.

  7. A little-discussed issue. I have noted within the last week 4 new candidates for ’24 – one for governor, 1 for Senate and 2 for the House. Each and every one of them is starting their campaign by “donating” 300K or more of their money, one has kicked in $1M. Any “main street” folks in DC?
    Last time I looked, the average net worth of folks in the House was near $2M and close to $7M in the Senate.

  8. Todd, people will run for congress, but, sadly, maybe only those sorts of people who love where Orban has gone!
    If we do not see a massive repudiation off the crazies in’24 we will be going down thew tubes.
    Jordan, and his bullying are un-American…where is HUAC when it could actually do some good, for a change?

  9. The Republicans – are a coalition of: 1.) “Fiscal Conservatives” – a combination of wealthy (usually white) people + those who think that they will become wealthy through “hard work”, 2.) Clearly Racist People – from subtly to extremely – in significant ways – those who don’t accept – that our world is changing, 3. ) “Social Conservatives” – where Abortion and Homo/Lesbian/Trans phobias – and other such issues predominate.

    Fear – and Failing to deal with our Traumas – personal and societal/systemic – fuel the support by part of “the masses” of the Super Wealthy and Wealthy.

    Meanwhile: “The Rest of Us” – the Majority have key constitutiencies:
    1. The largely apathetic – who marvel at College and Professional Sports, the Movies, clothese and more,
    2. Those – who “would like to do something, but there is Nothing “I” can do” and/or – “It’s horrible and hopeless – so I shouldn’t even try” and
    3. Those – who have THE ANSWER – whether it is – “The Democratic Party” or “Socialism” (and MY group who knows everything)

    Meanwhile – some of us are trying to actually work – to build coalitions – between people with varying ideologies – between those of us who are “radical” and those who are “liberal”.
    We don’t need 30% or 50% – of us – “doing the work” – but we do need more than 1-3% – or so – which is what we generally have. It takes more than writing a check and going to a march – twice a year.

    We need to directly confront the lies and the distortions – example: Abortion – don’t compromise with people – who if they continue to build and “compromise” – will have birth control bans soon – we need to speak out – and not let the Right – control much of the dialogue through Distortion.

    There are plenty of Issues: Racism, Abortion, Climate Change, Taxation, Wars – and how The Wealthy Profit from Wars and Division +++++

    I don’t have “The Answer” – there isn’t a single – obvious answer – beyond – let’s do what we can as individuals – building allyship and connection – and not living a life of Hatred – against “Them” – whether it is: immigrants, Muslims, Black People, Trans/Gender Non Binary People – Selective Hatred – isn’t helpful.

    We don’t need to be “woke” to wake up! This is an excellent blog. I blog at: www(dot)GeorgeMarx(dot)org + Chris Hedges + Jessica Valenti + many others share a lot that is helpful!

  10. I have been writing for months that we are not dealing with the Republican Party, that it has gone the way of the Whigs, and that its structure has been captured by fascists. It exists in form only. I am not pleased to note that I seem to be correct with such dreary analysis.

    Fortunately, however, there are millions of “Old Republicans” who remember the days of Eisenhower’s 91% corporate tax, CEOs who made “good money” but not millions, unions that bargained industry-wide, no right to work atrocities, etc., all resulting from the post-WW II sense that “We are all in this together.” It is these “Old Republicans” who must, if they can, rid themselves of fascist control and perchance regain control of their party. We Democrats will not be asked to help reinstate such control to the sane elements of that effort since part of their return to power, if they return, will be the usual propaganda line that Democrats are socialists, baby-killers, big spenders etc.

    I think the current inability of the “Republican Party” to chose a Speaker is both a good and bad sign; bad because our government is in a state of paralysis amidst several pressing issues both internally and internationally, and good because it may signal resistance to total fascist control of such party by “Old Republicans.” I wish that faction well since, though I disagree with most of their initiatives, they are at least fellow believers in democracy, our most precious asset held in common, and one of the last few things left worth dying for.

  11. The oligarchs that have funded the elections of the radical right have also funded the elections of many of the moderate right. Their well-planned plot to gain the control of red state legislatures and Congress has taken almost forty years. During this time they’ve managed to annually increase their wealth and power by using ALEC and other ‘nonprofits’ to create legislation that enables them to hide their profits in tax havens and to also obtain subsidies for their businesses.

    Collectively, we all suffer from the harm they’ve caused to our democracy with their illegal seizure of the Supreme Court and the increased wealth gap they’ve created has stripped millions of citizens of even a small bit of power over their own lives. They continue to decimate what is left of the unions that have protected workers’ rights and wages. Over the past 10-15 years they managed to push millions of middle-class families into the working-poor class with poverty wages and no benefits.

    They continue to successfully fight the creation of a universal government health insurance plan that would cover everyone under the age of 65 because they know it would strip them of a massive part of the power they hold over employees. People would no longer need to worry about quitting their current job in order to accept another one with better pay and benefits. Universal health insurance would also give many people the ability to start their own business without having to worry about excessively high premiums or being completely rejected due to a ‘prior’ health condition.

    If this country manages to avoid a violent uprising against the abusive red state legislatures and Congress within the next ten years, it can only be saved by the more inclusive and less self-centered younger generations taking control by getting elected and replacing the pro-corporate/pro-wealthy. With the gerrymandered protection of so many republicans currently in office I am not sure we can be saved before they ultimately destroy what is left of our democracy.

  12. When will the politicians do the right thing?

    Well, judging by the course of history, the citizenry of failing Democratic governments are not Canon fighter per se, but the middle class is absolutely a commodity which can be milked dry like a dairy farmer milking a Holstein.

    Commodities don’t have rights, commodities really don’t need health care, because that’s a drain on the bottom line. All they need to do is continue to produce tax dollars for the Ticks that set in the halls of Congress. Did you ever see the videos of the rows and rows of horseshoe crabs they have in certain research facilities? They’re all lined up and restrained in racks with tubes draining the life’s blood right out of them. Now look in the mirror, are you a horseshoe crab? You might as well be.

    I saw Jim Jordan talking about the Wright Brothers this morning, now that was hilarious! It was just a bunch of gibberish that had no bearing on anything whatsoever.

    That bald pink eyed pedo buffoon, should be purp walked right into a holding cell. And yet, here he is vying for the speaker of the house which is the third person from the presidency.

    There is no logic to any of this, but there are, a bunch of paralytic emoji face expressions in Congress because that’s all they know how to do! This absolutely represents the feet of iron and clay. Clay is soft, it really doesn’t adhere to the iron. The iron is strong, but without cohesion, the iron cannot be successful on his own. The clay is the human element. The clay fights against cohesion against the strong parts of government. Therefore making it useless. So what appears to be strong, is actually very fragile.

    Lester always says he’s glad he’s old, and I suppose there is some veracity in that. Unfortunately it leaves very little hope to the youth who are really faithless in everything but their own ideas. And those ideas run the gamut like the stern voice used to say in an old show I watched when I was a kid, the outer limits, they reach from the inner mind to the outer limits, lol! No cohesion, nothing but self-absorbed and needy never prepared to lay the groundwork or do the hard work to promote change.

    So everyone keeps plodding along with their head down, figuring that all will blow over, until they plod right off the precipice. Misplaced anger and misplaced faith, is absolutely a recipe for extreme disaster, loss and misery! At least look up once in a while to see exactly what’s ahead.

  13. One answer is the show up at the polls for this election on November 7th; yes, they are Municipal level elections but Jim Jordan did not begin his evil reign at the federal level. Those of us who can only send small donations, they do add up to meaningful totals. You are seriously mistaken if you believe these elections do not matter and that they will make no difference in the long term. That is what the local voters believed when they elected Graham, Jordan, Gaetz, Taylor-Greene, et al, and even those like Laughable Louie from Texas who is mistakenly discounted as being of any importance. He is still there; as are McConnell and Manchin and too many others.

  14. I don’t agree that the democratic party has “shifted incrementally to the left” since Carter. After Reagan, Clinton and the democrats embraced neoliberalism and leaped pretty far to the right, probably landing at least in line with the Eisenhower Republicans, maybe right of them. Despite the promise of Obama’s campaign, he clearly believed in some fundamental neoliberalism principles, and didn’t move much to the left at all, even allowing for the ACA. (Actually, a real democrat of the Carter’s time or earlier or earlier would almost certainly have delivered a much better health care plan.) Ultimately, I’d say the democrats are still well to the right of where they were in Carter’s time.

    Otherwise, I am onboard with the article that is the basis of this post. To my mind, you optimistic Americans are way to confident in the protection afforded by your “norms” and “institutions.” (Too many ostriches, I often think fearfully.) The other side doesn’t care about those things at all; they are psychotically pragmatic about getting what they want by any means. I honestly fear for your country. And given the unfortunate power of your country, what happens to you affects the rest of us.

  15. George Marx – SO RIGHT ON – look me up on LinkedIn and let’s connect. I am doing exactly what you think more folks should do…join up!

  16. People shy away from mentioning who is behind the Federalist Society, which is the key to understanding the inexplicable rise of the right wing minority to power. It’s a Catholic thing, folks. They believe in a Roman version of the Dominionist dream of societal domination, and they are working their plan step by step. Leonard Leo may by remembered as the man most responsible for the end of the American experiment. Not that the fundamentalist Protestants are any better, but they couldn’t unite if their lives depended on it, while the Catholic Church as an authoritarian structure is far better organized to assert itself. And, of course, as we see in Muslim countries and Israel, the far right wing of any Abrahamic religion can be equally dangerous.

    We all know that the politicians and various slithering scum of the political establishment believe in nothing but their own fortune and glory, but the masses of Republican voters are dangerous because of their “belief over reason” mindset and their willingness to follow their perceived spiritual authorities. The right wing of the Catholic Church, because of its superior organization, is the greatest threat.

    People simply can not accept death, and they will gladly give power to anyone who sells them immortality, even if they aren’t sure that the bargain will pay off. Ignorance, ego, and Pascal’s wager will be the end of our democracy unless we can defeat them.

  17. Todd. I try to provide some balance to your unrelieved pessimism. I acknowledge that American democracy and even the whole of civilization may go the way of the dodo bird, but I don’t think it is inevitable. Based on your posts, that seems to be where we disagree. But if you do see a glimmer of hope on the horizon, I’d be happy to hear about it. 😊

  18. My glimmer of hope is young people and the unregistered. The other glimmer of hope is death to all the aged representatives. Hopefully, this will happen sooner rather than later. How is it that Mitch the Strokeman can continue to serve America?

    China and Russia are pleased to see the decline and don’t have to take any action. Our demise is internal — not external—nobody to blame but US residents.

  19. “In all the Eastern European countries where people power has forced political reform, the demand has been for free elections with a plurality of political parties participating. In their present form, political parties originated in Europe and North America during the 19th century. Since the middle of the 20th century, they have spread throughout the world. Today, they are larger, stronger, and better organized than ever before. By means of them, as well as by means of labor unions, lobbies, environmental groups, and untold other citizen and special-interest groups, people power is now speaking more often and more loudly than ever before.

    As the number of people involved in the political process increases, however, so also does the difficulty in achieving a political consensus. Amid a multitude of contending opinions and interests, minority governments often result, stalemated governments long on talk but short on action.

    Men in Western civilization have thus been thrown back wholly on themselves, and they find themselves wanting,” “The Columbia History of the World.”

  20. Over It sounds a lot like the same anti-Catholic rhetoric that was used in the Kennedy-Nixon campaigns.
    The great Catholic cathedrals of Europe are nearly empty on most Sunday mornings for good reason. Even Ireland has moved to reject the patriarchy and rigidity of Catholicism with enlightened policy regarding women’s healthcare.
    There are lots of CINOs (Catholic in name only) who may attend Mass regularly but do what their own conscience tells them in practice. They find comfort in the ritual and community but consider realities of life in how they live.
    The oligarchs who control the money are also present in the Church as they are in most powerful, private organizations. They may think they run everything but history has shown time and again that they too are mortal and fatally flawed.
    Unfortunately, the human species has managed to evolve to the point of our own self-destruction, able to wipe out enemies with a single blow, not concerned that the fallout will be lethal to all. Who will rule in a wasteland? Why would they even want it?
    Those of us in the real world have one weapon. Our united voices have to be raised. Voting when and where we can, even facing all the obstacles put in place to prevent participation, is our single tool.
    Weapons of war do not discriminate as we have seen over and over again in the last few years of conflict. When I hear leaders talking about the “rules of war”, I know that most of them never were actually faced with the reality of combat.
    When I hear so many of the flamethrowers talking about their “plan” for change, my response is always to ask for details. From local to state to federal, there are seldom any offered, much like the Republican national platform, just a lot of gibberish.

  21. When I hear anyone speak about the glory of the Eisenhower years I am reminded in the same breath that many lament today’s white Christian nationalist movement. Does not anyone take into account that when our money and our pledge of allegiance was amended to become a religious symbol does setting the foundation to cement the thinking that we are a religious nation therefore we need to be careful who we not only exonerate but elevate to status. Countries that are theocracies are usually lead by dictator ship yes we have become a breeding ground for dictators who rely on just a simple insertion of a deity into an the document, The pledge of allegiance that children are required to say every single morning in the classrooms.
    Talk about indoctrination at the core.

  22. Todd. Thanks! The Repugnicans will try to keep McConnell in place even if the have to stuff him and strap him to a chair.

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