Vichy Republicans and Neville Chamberlain’s Democrats

American politics is being dominated by two malevolent forces right now – The Democrats who take after Neville Chamberlain and the Republicans who take after the Vichy Government of World War II France.

First off, I’d like to articulate my view on France’s “defeat” in World War II to explain my premise. In my opinion, France’s for capitulating were largely down to political factors. Right-wing Anglophobes who were also antisemitic dominating the political and military establishment.

I do not think France’s capitulates as quickly or easily if another government were in power at the time. The formation of the Vichy Government with many of the same ministers shows how sympathetic to fascism and anti-Republican many of the decision makers were. This is very instructive when discussing today’s Republican Party leadership.

Leading Republicans have doubled down on the “big lie” of the November 2020 election being stolen and have evolved from an initial cautious outrage about the January 6 insurrection to effectively embracing its intent and perpetrators. This evolution is largely due to the extreme fear Republican elected officials like Senator Josh Hawley have of GOP primary voters and the contempt they have for the possibility of losing office and having to live among those very voters. In fact, recently many GOP elected officials have turned to defending domestic terror and justifying its conception.

At the same time, Republicans are actively embracing anti-Vaxxers and encouraging people to reject science in the midst of the deadliest pandemic any of us have ever experienced. Probably 90% of high-ranking GOP officials nationally know better than this, including Former President Trump who was a self-proclaimed germophobe before COVID-19 presented a political opportunity to attack science and medicine. But these leading GOP officials have made a determination that echoing the views of those whom they depend on for votes but really disdain as people is the way to remain competitive electorally.

The Vichy analogy works for them because they are in fact sympathetic to broadly illiberal ideas and to maintenance of power in the most anti-democratic way. Much like the French right of the 1930’s who hated Britain because it was a liberal democracy (albeit one with a figurehead monarch), the current GOP is committed to undermining democratic values in order to maintain power and electoral viability.

Therefore this prompts the GOP establishment into making an accommodation with anyone who is similarly illiberal, which manifests itself at events like CPAC and the constant drone of Republican officials on Fox News shows. We even see broader alliances forming as we speak between illiberal forces on both the right and left that undermine the idea of democracy or liberal western values.

However despite this reality, leading Democrats see no real urge to defend democracy in this day and age. The Democrats push buttons rhetorically to fire up the party’s base most recently President Biden on Tuesday, but have taken no real or tangible steps to ensure American democracy persists. Overcome by identity politics and extreme wokeness, the neo-liberal-driven Democratic Party is too busy making every issue about race or victimization to actually effectively use its power to govern properly while safeguarding democratic principles.

Voter suppression is an issue of importance but needs to be articulated as “defending Democracy,” or “defending our Republic,” rather than some sort race-based appeal designed to fire up the party’s base voters. This is about defending liberal democracy, western values and the Republic and should be couched as such.

Why aren’t the Democrats using the power they have to expand the courts and fundamentally change the structures of government that have rewarded bad actors and those who have zero interest in building either consensus or a popular majority? Why are Democrats so unwilling to push the envelope to protect Democracy and democratic norms. Sure whining about it on MSNBC and CNN may score points with the base, but where is the tangible action?

Democrats are too willing to make an accommodation with those who aren’t good faith actors – much like Chamberlain while Republicans are very much like those eventually led the Vichy government in France. The Democrats have chosen to play ball and the playing pitch developed by the GOP and other illiberal forces without any real effort to change the rules to ensure fundamental fairness and that American values are properly protected for generations to come.

So why exactly are Democrats playing a game of appeasement with the Vichy-styled Republicans?

One comment

  1. I want to push back on your sentiment about Neoliberalism in the Democratic Party. I know you and Robert Buccellato frequently discuss the golden age of Florida of politics and while this age of Florida politics might be golden compared to today’s crew in Tallahassee I don’t think there should be any doubt that Bob Graham, Lawton Chiles, and Buddy Mckay would all be called neoliberals by today’s Democrat party activists.

    Just to pick an example look at Bob Graham vs Elizabeth Warren. Warren is well known as a harsh critic of banks especially large internationally complex ones in particular. Warren is also well known to be a harsh critic of financial related crime. Bob Graham however as both Governor of Florida and as a US Senator during the repeal of Glass Steagall for frequently advocated for “light touch” regulation that he though would benefit and buildup Miami as a financial center. Graham generally wanted a policy during the Glass Steagall repeal that too the extent that banks in Florida were doing business with customers not resident in the US that they be exempt from many US banking regulations.

    This despite the fact that the failure of Sunshine State Bank for drug trafficking and the failure of BCCI aka the Bank of Crooks and Criminals International largely occurred due to activity in BCCI’s Miami branch regulated by Graham’s state banking regulators that missed that BCCI’s Miami Branch was laundering drug money and laundering the proceeds of arms sales to Iran to the Nicaraguan Contra’s on behalf of NSC staffer Oliver North.

    So my conclusion is being a Bob Graham Democrat and Elizabeth Warren Democrat is impossible despite the fact there is some guy on Twitter who used to work for Graham and now supports Warren(but lives in North Carolina argues with me about this. My second conclusion is that Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders ideology is probably non-viable in Florida state politics which means first Florida Democrats shouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole and second people like former Bob Graham staffer that now supports Elizabeth Warren should seriously consider leaving to state of Florida and moving to someplace like Vermont where there political views are closer to the state’s mainstream consensus. This might also apply to someone like Alan Grayson who I suspect would get very little traction in South Florida for example.


%d bloggers like this: