This article by Christopher Browning published in The New York Review of Books puts the unprecedented polarization of American political life in an eery historical context. As he puts it, “Trump is no Hitler and Trumpism is not Nazism” but certain parallels are inescapable. The article surfaces an old question that I’ve harboured for almost a decade - Is the chaotic concentration of all power the intentional end-game of the Republican party or did they simply provoke the worst darkest tendencies of voters, only later finding they couldn’t control what they started? Whatever the answer to that question, the piece is worth reading if only to observe how beautiful sentences are crafted. The essay is that well-written.
“If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could. As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the US has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more.”1
As much as Trump’s base is to blame for the chaotic abdication of American leadership, the moderate Republican voter standing in the penumbra of Trump’s vile idiocy must share some of the blame. Almost never, in a political movement, does the base have enough mass to effect change. It requires consenting moderates. As Christopher Browning puts it:
“There seems to be nothing for which the demonization of Hillary Clinton does not serve as sufficient justification…” 2
Collins to announce Kavanaugh position on Friday afternoon. (source) - seriously, how hard can this be?
Grassley: ‘We won’t know how it’s going to go until everybody casts their vote’ (source) - such erudition from a U.S. Senator. Wow.