My friends, in the interest of the working man himself, we need to set our faces like flint against mob violence just as against corporate greedTheodore Roosevelt, The New Nationalism, August 31, 1910
The historic fissures in the Republican Party were laid bare this weekend after the resolution adopted by the Republican National Committee calling the January 6 insurrection “legitimate political discourse” and it’s rejection by former Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Minority leader McConnell. The resolution is a shameful betrayal of the party’s nationalist tradition dating back not only to Theodore Roosevelt. but also Abraham Lincoln. As TR said so plainly, our loyalty as Americans is to the Constitution and the country, not to any one person and no grievance by any group justifies the use of violence in a democracy.
As I’ve written before here and here, this division between the Trump’s populist right and the remaining wings of the Republican Party is part of a realignment in American politics that began in earnest with the 2016 election. Similar fissures exist in the Democratic Party between the Democratic socialists and the various wings of the party establishment, as shown in this recent poll. The frightening part of the current realignment process is that the two extremes embrace or tolerate violence to achieve their objectives and seem to be driving both parties at the local party level. Indeed, a recent poll showed a third of Americans believe violence to achieve political goals is acceptable.
It has been my experience that the internal party elite like the RNC are generally more extreme than their respective primary electorates. Whether this is now true of the two major parties will be determined in the upcoming primary elections. Will Trump loyalists succeed in ousting Georgia Governor Brian Kemp? Will firebrands like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green survive their primaries? What happens to Michigan Congressmen Peter Meijer and Fred Upton, who voted for the impeachment resolution after the January attack? And how successful will democratic socialist movements be in taking over local party organizations as happened in Nevada? If the authoritarian extreme prevails in those contests, true American nationalists will have to conclude, as TR did in 1912, that the parties are now … “empty husks…incapable of approaching the great problems of today” and form a third party to pick up and carry the American nationalist banner.