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Thomas Zimmer Explains: “Republicans are engaged in a deliberate, systematic, and highly successful project to entrench minority rule”

Another day, another great – albeit VERY disturbing – thread by Georgetown University historian Thomas Zimmer. Check it out:

  • “The American Right is fully committed to a fundamentally anti-democratic project, and the Republican Party has a comprehensive strategy to put it into practice. Some thoughts on the radicalizing threat of authoritarian minority rule…”
  • “The overriding concern for the Republican Party, which is almost solely focused on the sensibilities, anxieties, and interests of (wealthy) white conservatives, is to maintain hierarchies of race, gender, wealth, and religion.”
  • “Republicans don’t call it “maintaining hierarchies” – they call it preserving “real” America, by which they mean a predominantly white, Christian, patriarchal nation. They also call it defending the “natural” and/or divinely ordained order – deviation must be punished”
  • “No one understands better than Republicans themselves that due to political, cultural, and most importantly demographic changes, they no longer have majority support for this project – not on the federal level, and even in “red” states, their position is becoming tenuous.”
  • “Republicans understand clearly that in a functioning democratic system, they would have to either widen their focus beyond the interests and sensibilities of white conservatives, which they are not willing to do; or relinquish power, which they categorically reject.”
  • “Republicans see Democrats not as a political opponent, but as an Un-American enemy that must not be allowed to govern and destroy “real” America. Everything else follows from that understanding of the political conflict. (Small-d) democrats they are not.”
  • “Republicans are not simply throwing stuff against the wall, desperately hoping that anything might stick. They are systematically pursuing an anti-democratic project to entrench reactionary hierarchies, and they have a comprehensive strategy to put it into practice.”
  • “It all starts with keeping the “wrong” people from voting. Republicans constantly introduce bills intended to make voting harder – and have enacted such laws almost everywhere they are in charge. The effect of these laws is unclear – the intention behind them certainly is not.”
  • “If too many of the “wrong” people are still voting, you make their electoral choices count less: through gerrymandering. Wisconsin has long been the poster child for these gerrymandering efforts – but they are happening everywhere, and they are accelerating and radicalizing.”
  • “If that is still not enough to keep the “wrong” side from winning, you have to be in a position to nullify their win: We have seen election subversion efforts up and down the country – an all-out assault on state election systems.”
  • “What if such blatant undermining of the political system leads to protests? Well, you criminalize those protests, by defining them as “riots,” and you declare “rioters” outlaws who do not deserve the protection of the law, not even when they’re physically attacked and killed.”
  • “Finally, Republicans are conducting a broad-scale offensive against everything and everyone criticizing the legitimacy of white nationalist rule – past, present, and future. They clearly understand the importance of being in control of the national story.”
  • “Republicans are not “delusional,” they haven’t temporarily “lost their mind.” Such pathologizing language obscures rather than illuminates the fact that Republicans are engaged in a deliberate, systematic, and highly successful project to entrench minority rule.”
  • “The notion that Right won’t be able to get away with this assumes there’s a line they won’t cross, that there are certain anti-majoritarian measures – violence and coercion, specifically – they won’t seriously consider. But I see little evidence that’s the case.”
  • “Yes, the demographics are likely getting worse for the Right every year. But whether or not minority rule can be upheld largely depends on how far the ruling minority is willing to go to uphold it, how far into authoritarianism they are willing to venture.”
  • “If the ruling minority is willing to keep curtailing the rights of opposing groups, to further restrict their ability to take part in the political process, to mobilize state power and enable paramilitary/vigilante forms of violence, minority rule can absolutely be sustained.”
  • “Reactionaries won’t stop because of an epiphany they shouldn’t go *that* far. They will either *be stopped* – or install a system in which only they and those who reflect their image back at them are entitled to rule and recognized as equal.”




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