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?