MIT professor Noam Chomsky told Truthout that, even if someone like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is elected president, the Republican Party will retain the ability to stifle any attempts to move the US in a more progressive direction for years to come.
"It's important to recognize that they are no longer a normal political party," Chomsky said in an interview published on Thursday, adding that "the former [Republican] Party is now a 'radical insurgency' that has pretty much abandoned parliamentary politics, for interesting reasons that we can't go into here."
Chomsky expanded on those reasons in a separate interview with Frontline earlier this year, citing findings from the conservative American Enterprise Institute:
Since Ronald Reagan, the leadership has plunged so far into the pockets of the very rich and the corporate sector that they can attract votes only by mobilising sectors of the population that have not previously been an organised political force, among them extremist evangelical Christians, now probably the majority of Republican voters; remnants of the former slave-holding States; nativists who are terrified that “they” are taking our white Christian Anglo-Saxon country away from us; and others who turn the Republican primaries into spectacles remote from the mainstream of modern society -- though not the mainstream of the most powerful country in world history.
Sanders would also face opposition from many Democrats, Chomsky argued, since their policy shifts would not make them more like moderate Republicans. The senator's best chance of affecting change if elected, the philosopher argued on Thursday, would come from the rise of popular movements which could push him further in his own policies.
"That brings us, I think, to the most important part of the Sanders candidacy," Chomsky said. "It has mobilized a huge number of people. If those forces can be sustained beyond the election, instead of fading away once the extravaganza is over, they could become the kind of popular force that the country badly needs if it is to deal in a constructive way with the enormous challenges that lie ahead."