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The Serialization (4) of The 15% Solution: Author's (SJ) Preface: Part 2

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Being the continuation of Preface to the book in my, Steven Jonas', voice, Part 1 of which was published on OpEdNews on March 8, 2018. This Preface, was written for the current, third version of the book published in 2013. (The first version was published in 1996, by the Thomas Jefferson Press [an imprint of mine] under the fictional author's name [unfortunately mis-spelled "Johnathan"].) The Preface is quite long and is in this series be published in three parts. Indeed, it should have been published before the second installment, which was the book's Chapter One, written in the voice of the fictional author, Jonathan Westminster. Please forgive the mistake. For continuity, following the publication of the Preface (in its three parts), I will be beginning the body of the book again, with Chapter One.

III. The Modern U.S. Republican Party

As it happened, I was one of those political observers who, after the election of 1980, said "oh well, we'll have to live through four years of Reagan. The electorate will see through him immediately and surely the Democratic Party will be able to mount an effective opposition to him and his policies. Let's hope he won't do too much damage. Then we can get the Democrats back in in 1984." Little did I know how effective Reagan and the Right-wing Republican machine would be at mobilizing various social prejudices for political purposes. So doing in turn enabled them to fairly easily pull the "economic wool" over the eyes of too many white working-class Americans, who became aptly known as "Reagan Democrats." This assured his easy re-election in 1984, although the ineffectiveness of Walter Mondale as the Democratic candidate and of the Democratic Party as a party certainly helped.

So what did Reagan do? First, he clearly indicated that he was going to follow Richard Nixon's "Southern [let's use racism to our advantage] Strategy." For example, he began his primary campaign in 1980 by giving a speech at Philadelphia, Mississippi, which had been the site of the famous murder of the three young civil rights workers, James Cheney, Andrew Goodman (who happened to be a son of a close friend of my mother's), and Michael Schwerner, in the "Freedom Summer" of 1964. Already in his primary campaign of 1976 Reagan had taken to describing welfare recipients as "Welfare Queens" from Chicago's South Side (an African-American neighborhood). This despite the fact that majority of persons receiving Aid to Mothers with Dependent Children (the formal name of the law) were white. Further, in 1979 his campaign was already at work to mobilize the right-wing Christian vote for him (6).

Reagan Airport.  Lots of glitter, just like the man himself.
Reagan Airport. Lots of glitter, just like the man himself.
(Image by michaeljosh)
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Although the Christian Temperance Movement was one of the early supporters of the nascent Republican Party in the 1850s, and the Republicans had led the battle for Prohibition partly because of that alliance, the Reagan campaign's move marked the first time in the modern U.S. that religion and religious prejudice against all so-called "non-believers" was mobilized for political purposes. "Non-believers" for the Christian Right means persons of whatever religious or non-religious belief who do not happen to agree with their stance on a variety of social and political matters. That stance is usually based on their interpretation of selected passages of Biblical text as found in one particular English translation of the Bible, the "King James Version." (It should be noted that that translation was actually the product of the work of 52 selected academics, scholars and theologians in early 17th century England.) By the mid-80s, turning the emerging AIDS crisis to political use, the Reaganite Republicans had added homophobia to their own rapidly developing arsenal of hate politics.

Over the time from Reagan, through G.H.W. Bush to Bill Clinton, I observed what the Republican Party was doing and becoming. European history has provided a useful background for understanding the implications of those developments. Religious anti-Semitism had been developed in the Roman Catholic Church starting as early as the Fourth Century, C.E. Political anti-Semitism, that is the use of anti-Semitism specifically both for party/electoral political purposes and for political mass mobilization, was developed in Europe in the late 19th century. We know well what political anti-Semitism eventually led to on that continent.

On the North American continent racism, the White Supremacy Hypothesis, and anti-Native American prejudice had been used politically on the territory of what became the United States since well before there was a United States, beginning with the institution of slavery in 1619. But here was a political party that was attempting to mobilize additional prejudices and hatreds, such as homophobia, for political purposes. And they were doing it in a political context where no one and certainly no political party (namely the Democrats) of any influence was challenging them on that fact. And so, I considered a variety of possible scenarios of what might happen if they kept going, unchallenged by any opposition that focused on what they were really doing and what they were really after. Of course, the true Reaganite political/economic agenda had not changed much since the time right-wing capitalists had begun challenging the New Deal, from the time of its inception in 1930s (7). But just as at the time of this present writing that was hardly an agenda that they could run and expect to win with.

The Right-Wing Republican economic agenda, then as now, included such items as: increasing the share of both national income and national wealth going to the super-rich (the distance, in dollars and political power between the "merely rich" --usually millionaires--and the super-rich --multibillionaire class--is enormous, as to almost constitute a social divide between the two wings of the privileged); increasing the burden of state and local taxation, especially regressive taxation; priming the economic pump (if any priming were to be done) with increased military but not needed national domestic spending; cutting government aid to education at all levels; destroying the middle class's safety net, including programs such as social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and so on; punishing the poor for being poor by eliminating programs aimed at overcoming or compensating for poverty; ravaging the environment for the benefit of both extractive industries and property developers; breaking what was left of the American trade union movement for the benefit of corporate profits; encouraging the concentration of industrial ownership and the decline of competition, leading to the contraction of the so-called "free market" for goods and services; encouraging the export of capital; reducing to the greatest extent possible the regulation of the extractive industries, the financial markets, and the workplace. And so, the Republican Party turned to a focus on what are politely called the "Social Issues" but which are correctly called the "Issues of Personal Prejudice;" those of racism, religious discrimination, homophobia, and more recently, Islamophobia (8). The preceding should not be read as exculpating the Democrats, who, on far too many occasions, simply did nothing to stop the Republicans or actively collaborated, albeit more surreptitiously and behind a curtain of demagogic populism, in pushing for exactly the same economic and military goals.

Bob Corker - Won his seat in 2006 by running a last-minute racist ad against Harold Ford, Jr.
Bob Corker - Won his seat in 2006 by running a last-minute racist ad against Harold Ford, Jr.
(Image by DonkeyHotey)
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I also looked at where the political use, particularly of anti-Semitism (not in play [yet] in the United States, for obvious reasons), took the German Nazi Party (which represented the same economic interests that the Republican Party represents) and Germany. (One should note that there have been a wide variety of fascist governments appearing in countries around the world, most recently in Latin America in the 1970s [e.g., Chile, Argentina, and Brazil], since the first of them arose in Hungary in 1920, under Admiral Horthy. None of them ever ran on as virulent a form of anti-Semitism that Nazi Germany did.) Then, over time, I began to put the pieces together to project where the use of the several prejudices mobilized for political purposes, in defense of the same economic interest, might take the Republican Party in this country, in the absence of course of a real opposition to them. For example, see "The Second Final Solution," described in Chap. 18. If you think that that projection is far-fetched, in North Carolina in 2012 a man described as a "pastor," one Charles Worley, seriously proposed rounding up all "lesbians, queers and homosexuals," and depositing them in an open camp surrounded by an electrified fence, and except for air-dropping food, leaving them there to die (9, 10). When he delivered his proposal as part of a sermon in his church he received a standing ovation from his congregation.

In Germany, there was, on paper, a real opposition to the Nazis. But the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and the Socialist Party of Germany (SPD)--a variant of early social democracy--were at each other's throats almost as much as they were opposed to the Nazis. The former, under the thumb of Josef Stalin's Communist International, spent much of its time attacking the "social fascists" of the latter, believing that "after Hitler, our turn would come" (11). There were also centrist parties opposed to the Nazis. But given the Socialist/Communist split in Germany, no united front ever developed. In the United States, however, the task for the Right was even easier.

Any meaningful truly left-wing political presence was destroyed by a combination of McCarthyite "anti-Communism" and the continuing assault on the never-too-strong-anyway U.S. labor movement following the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947. Then in the 1980s, whatever had been left of the very modest New Dealist left-wing influence in the Democratic Party was destroyed by its takeover by the "Republican-lite" Democratic Leadership Council, otherwise known as "DINO's," Democrats In Name Only. One need only look at the record of President Bill Clinton. For example, he destroyed most of what was left of the welfare system at the time, opened the floodgates for the export of U.S. capital, provided for the concentration of ownership of the print and electronic media, in his first State of the Union Address announced that "the era of big government was over" (a very Reaganite sentiment), and went to war in the former Yugoslavia (the first major war fought under the pretext of "humane intervention") without asking for Congressional approval, as required under the Constitution.

Turning back to the German lessons-of-history, Hitler still would have faced real, substantive opposition from both the Communist Party of Germany and the Socialist Party of Germany, despite the fact that they were never able to form a United Front against him. That is, if they had they been given a chance to get organized. However, from the day (January 30, 1933) he was appointed Chancellor of the Germany by the then President of the Weimar Republic, former Field-Marshall Paul von Hindenburg (known as the "first Hindenburg Disaster," the second being the one that four years later overcame the hydrogen-filled airship of the same name at Lakehurst, NJ), he used force to secure his control of the German government. Within 24 hours of taking power, the Nazis began rounding up Communists and imprisoning them in the first concentration camps. Given that the DLC-Democrats offered no real opposition and in some cases a good deal of support for the real goals of the Republican Religious Right, I figured that nothing like what had happened in Germany would be necessary for the latter as they began to take power here.

Nevertheless, I knew that, given their true economic and political program, which would necessarily lead to increasing economic and social misery for an ever-increasing number of Americans, in order to remain in power, the Republican Religious Right would eventually have to impose some version of fascism here. And so, after pondering the problem off and on for a number of years, I came up with the scenario of this book. "The 15% Solution" was actually a real, named Christian Rightist/Republican electoral strategy designed in the early 1990s to take over the political system with a minority of eligible voters voting. It is explained in detail in chap. 2. I surmised that the Republican Religious Right, given the lack of any meaningful opposition, would triumph at the polls and thus take power electorally (just as its current incarnation, the carefully manufactured "Tea Party," is currently in the process of doing). They would not need to use oppressive force to stay in power until some years had passed. They would essentially use the U.S. Constitution and Constitutional processes to take over the system and eventually destroy the remnants of Constitutional democracy, already drastically diminished through bipartisan complicity.

IV. The Republican Party and the "Rightward Imperative"

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author," he is a Senior Editor, (more...)
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