The U.S. Republican Party has been riding what I have called the “Rightwing Imperative” for several decades. I most recently described it at some length in this space last month. As I said, the Republican Party could not possible openly run on its real platform, that is, for example, enabling the rich to become richer while driving the working class further towards poverty, enabling global warming at an increasing rate to further increase the profits of the fossil fuel industry, and creating a state of Permanent War and/or Permanent Preparation for Permanent War. And so, as I said:
“[f]or years to bring voters to their side they have cloaked their real policy positions under the camouflage of: the standard, generally meaningless “lower taxes, smaller government” mantra [smaller government, that is, except in matters such as freedom of choice in the outcome pregnancy and freedom of choice in what recreational mood-altering (‘RMADs’) to use], and the promotion of prejudice: racism, homophobia, religious bigotry, creationism, sexual repression, etc. If possible this was done in a supposedly veiled way, by using the so- called ‘dog whistles.’ They allow the GOP for the most part not to talk too much about what they are really about. And when they do, with the abundance of dog whistles about, their noise means that GOP voters hardly notice what their policies really mean.”
But something new has happened in the current campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination (which we have also been discussing over the past several weeks): the Rightward Imperative has become ever more open and its elements have been used to propose actual policies. Trump of course started very early on the anti-“Mexican” rampage demanding that the border be made impenetrable and that all undocumented immigrants (at least the Latino ones) should be deported forthwith.
Trump never did deal with the fact that the Obama Administration until recently has deported more undocumented folks than had ever been done previously (something that the Administration did not want to publicize for obvious reasons) and that currently “immigration” from South of the border is negative. (It should be noted that in the past year that policy has undergone a profound shift). Nor has Trump discussed the enormous costs and practicality both of completing the current walls and finding and deporting approximately 11,000,000 people and how the funds would be raised.
And I’m not just speaking of Donald Trump in terms of taking the Rightward Imperative into the policy realm. Several GOP candidates, such as Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, are either open Dominionists or will not state that they are not. Marco Rubio has taken the position that abortion should be criminalized with no exceptions say, for rape or incest (or rape and incest). Ted Cruz has said that to prevent more mass slayings is that everyone should be armed. (Can you imagine by how much gun deaths, already over 33,000 annually, would increase if that were to be the case.)
Then Donald Trump, not to be outdone, and following the Rightward Imperative ever further, as we know, after proposing the Muslims residing in the U.S., citizens or not, should be registered and carded. (How long would it take for wearing the Yellow Crescent to be required of Muslims?) Then he proposed banning immigrants from among the Syrian refugees (fleeing a conflict which was in major part caused by Republican policy in Iraq). This despite the fact that that U.S. imposes a “vetting process” for immigrants that generally takes about 1.5 years. (If you are interested in this one, take a look at that vetting process. On the one hand, the Republicans are saying that there is none, which makes one wonder how they define the word “none.” On the other hand, one wonders how the process could be conceivably made any more rigorous unless, of course, the aim is to prevent all or most immigrant entries.)
This was a little much for some of the Republican candidates (but not too much too much for most). JEB Bush said that at least Christian Syrian refugees should be let in (but, agreeing with Trump, I suppose because he, Bush, is so far behind, on the matter of Muslims). JEB did not share with us just who would qualify as a “Christian,” nor did he note that among the most ferocious religious wars in human history have been those between Christians (over such issues as to whether the Eucharist is symbolic or real). Gov. Kasich, who in September had supported President Obama’s munificent plan to admit a relative few Syrian refugees by November had turned around on that one.
And then came Trump’s “ban the Muslims” proposal. It has nothing to do with any of our nation’s real problems, not even the one recent terrorist attack that was carried out by Muslims — the San Bernardino horror. Syed Farook was a native U.S. and his wife Tashfeen Malik entered on an entirely legitimate fiancée visa. (Virtually all of terror/mass-killings in the United States have been carried out by white Christians, but somehow those connections a) never get investigated much if at all, and b) are never — well, hardly ever — discussed on the mass media. But that is another story.) For now, all of the Republican candidates, with the exception of Ted Cruz, have criticized both the proposal and Trump for making it. But that’s for now. One wonders who will be the first on this one to follow the example of Kasich, who within two months had reversed himself on the matter of Syrian refugees.
The Republican Party has become the open captive of the Rightward Imperative. It is moving in a direction that is increasingly dangerous for the future of the country: one in which fascism could be imposed through Constitutional means. (See also my column on that subject.) Whether or not it will be hoist by its own petard depends upon two factors: the “liberal” sector of the mainstream media such as The New York Times and CNN/MSNBC and the Democratic Party. They are going to have to deal with a) the content, b) the money, c) the true interests of the Republican Party, and d) where the implementation of such policies will necessarily take us.
The Democratic Wing of the Duopoly has facilitated these developments by not a long time ago taking on the Repub. Party on a) the Rightward Imperative and b) its true policies. There is not too much time left.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Senior Editor, Politics, Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books. In addition to being Senior Editor, Politics, for The Greanville Post, he is: a Contributor for American Politics to The Planetary Movement; a “Trusted Author” for Op-Ed News.com; a contributor to the “Writing for Godot” section of Reader Supported News; and a contributor to From The G-Man. He is the Editorial Director and a Contributing Author for TPJmagazine.us. Further, he is an occasional Contributor to TheHarderStuff newsletter, BuzzFlash Commentary, and Dandelion Salad.
Dr. Jonas’ latest book is The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022: A Futuristic Novel, Brewster, NY, Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, and available on Amazon.