As Americans vote this Tuesday in midterm elections that many say will be decisive for the future of the country’s democracy, I can’t help teleporting back to a classroom at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on a beautiful Wednesday in October 2013.
Posted at 8:00 am
A few hundred stupid, I was a member, crammed into a windowless auditorium for a rare presentation by renowned linguistics professor Noam Chomsky.
That evening, an icon of the American left was talking about Turkey — its poor human rights record and the United States’ complicity in the oppression of its Kurdish minority — when the conversation turned to American politics.
“The Republican Party is no longer a political party,” said the 83-year-old pundit. It is a serious coup”.
A rebellion? A rebellion aimed at overthrowing established authority? There is something to identify with the spirit of the formula. Especially at that time, Donald Trump was just a distant satellite shining in the sky to the American right. The reality TV star, without any evidence, questioned the birthplace of President Barack Obama. The producer of Miss Universe advocated holding the beauty pageant in Russia. Ronald Reagan was not a central figure in the party.
Since this speech at MIT nine years ago, Noam Chomsky has repeated this shocking phrase many times, but never fails to give the source. This critical analysis of the Republican Party is not the work of this militant anti-imperialist left, but of two American political scientists. The first, Norman J. Ornstein, was a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute associated with the conservative movement. The second, Thomas E. Mann, works at the Brookings Institution, a well-known arbiter. We are far from the Marxist-Leninist left.
“The Grand Old Party has become an insurgent force in American politics. He is ideologically extreme, despises compromise, and is sensitive to facts, evidence, and science. And he is dismissing the legitimacy of his political opposition,” reads an open letter published by the two experts. The Washington Post In 2012
Team Trump’s ‘alternative facts’ are long overdue. The “big lie” surrounding Joe Biden’s election in 2020. Not long before the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
What do political scientists base their analysis on? Over a filibuster by Republicans in Congress, led by Mitch McConnell, President Obama promised to make the country ungovernable. “The most important thing we want to accomplish is to make President Obama a one-term president,” the Senate Republican minority leader said before the 2010 midterm elections.
And the impact of this election held in the background of 2008 economic recession is still visible even after 12 years. Because of the emergence of the Tea Party, a very conservative right-wing fringe, Republicans were not content to control the House of Representatives in Washington.
In what became known as the Red Wave, they also swept state legislatures, a system of government that Democrats had long neglected, even though their powers were few and far between. Election rules and district maps have been drawn up in the 50 state capitals.
Republicans from state legislatures launched a general sling against abortion rights, leading to a reversal of the ruling. Roe v. used in June 2022 by a predominantly conservative Supreme Court. Since then, abortion has been banned in 13 states and heavily regulated in 27 others. And this, despite the fact that over 60% of the American population supported the Supreme Court decision in 1973.
So it’s no exaggeration that the outcome of today’s ballot at the state level, from Arizona to Pennsylvania, will have a major impact on the country’s political future, especially with hundreds of Republican candidates who are arguing that Joe Biden’s camp cheated. 2020 was elected there in large numbers.
In 2024, the latter will have greater control over the verification of presidential election results. Donald Trump is on the ballot or not.
Sure, the businessman-turned-politician and liar has had a huge impact on American politics, but it would be a mistake to think he was a chicken. Donald Trump is an egg laid by a political establishment that started long ago to thwart the rules of democracy. And who looks set to widen his grip on the levers of power thanks to today’s election.
When Noam Chomsky talked about the Rebel Party in 2013, I laughed thinking he was buttering it up. Today I bow reluctantly.