Quantcast
Connect with us

Historian of Nazism explains why GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell is the ‘gravedigger of American Democracy’

The majority leader is playing the same role as pre-war Germany’s Paul von Hindenburg.

Published

on

- Commentary

In a new piece for the New York Review of Books, historian Christopher Browning warns that there are troubling parallels between the present-day United States and the days of fascism’s rise in Europe.

Browning, a specialist in the areas of the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and world war-era Europe, isn’t arguing that President Donald Trump is a modern Adolf Hitler or that Trumpism is akin to Nazism. But he does argue that certain stress fractures in the society and the international order appear to be re-emerging and that these patterns portend troubling trends for the United States and the rest of the world.

And there is one figure in American politics that Browning does see as a relatively direct — and troubling — analog to a crucial world war-era figure. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, is becoming “the gravedigger of American democracy,” Browning wrote, a role played for Germany beginning in the 1930s by President Paul von Hindenburg.

Hindenburg didn’t defend democracy in Germany. Instead, he unleashed emergency powers in 1930 to appoint chancellors to skirt over political divisions in parliament. Eventually, Hitler became chancellor, when Hindenburg erroneously thought he could be controlled.

Now, McConnell shows a similar disregard for democracy and likewise opens up the country to serious risk, Browning explained:

ADVERTISEMENT

He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could. As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the US has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more. Nowhere is this vicious circle clearer than in the obliteration of traditional precedents concerning judicial appointments. Systematic obstruction of nominations in Obama’s first term provoked Democrats to scrap the filibuster for all but Supreme Court nominations. Then McConnell’s unprecedented blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination required him in turn to scrap the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations in order to complete the “steal” of Antonin Scalia’s seat and confirm Neil Gorsuch. The extreme politicization of the judicial nomination process is once again on display in the current Kavanaugh hearings.

As a result of McConnell’s strong-arm tactics, Browning argued, it will now be impossible for a president to make significant judicial appointments — including to the Supreme Court — unless the Senate is led by the same party. This dynamic will push the country toward greater dysfunction.

He continued:

ADVERTISEMENT

Whatever secret reservations McConnell and other traditional Republican leaders have about Trump’s character, governing style, and possible criminality, they openly rejoice in the payoff they have received from their alliance with him and his base: huge tax cuts for the wealthy, financial and environmental deregulation, the nominations of two conservative Supreme Court justices (so far) and a host of other conservative judicial appointments, and a significant reduction in government-sponsored health care (though not yet the total abolition of Obamacare they hope for). Like Hitler’s conservative allies, McConnell and the Republicans have prided themselves on the early returns on their investment in Trump. The combination of Trump’s abasement before Putin in Helsinki, the shameful separation of families at the border in complete disregard of US asylum law (to say nothing of basic humanitarian principles and the GOP’s relentless claim to be the defender of “family values”), and most recently Michael Cohen’s implication of Trump in criminal violations of campaign finance laws has not shaken the fealty of the Republican old guard, so there is little indication that even an explosive and incriminating report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller will rupture the alliance.

Most ominously, Browning warns that the detrimental effects of figures like McConnell and Trump will last for a long time. However long they stay in power, they will eventually leave — but the damage done to democracy and American institutions may persist for generations.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

FLASHBACK: Jeffrey Epstein accuser revealed there are tapes of famous men with underage girls

Published

on

A 2015 report is resurfacing on Raw Story as the Jeffrey Epstein trial begins and Washington and New York men fear being outed.

It appears that a series of QAnon Facebook groups and pro-Trump groups were the ones responsible for posting the story.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Fox News is so obsessed with Ocasio-Cortez they said her name three times as much as CNN or MSNBC

Published

on

It's clear that Fox News and other right-wing reporters are trying to create boogymen in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A new analysis by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter, revealed that the conservative network has said Ocasio-Cortez's name more than CNN and MSNBC combined.

"First, Ocasio-Cortez and her "Squad" mate Ilhan Omar have been talked about a lot more on Fox than on other cable news channels this year," Stelter wrote. "Second, the freshmen have been getting more attention on cable than seasoned leaders of the Democratic Party."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Congress should ask Mueller these specific questions about Trump’s involvement with Russia: Conservative columnist

Published

on

Conservative Never-Trump columnist Jennifer Rubin outlined the essential questions that Democrats should ask special counsel Robert Mueller in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

"Rather than engage in the normal scattershot questioning punctuated by speechifying, the House Judiciary Committee should assign its able attorney Norman Eisen to conduct the questioning," proposed Rubin. "Members could then follow up with additional questions.'

One question she proposed asking: "Mr. Mueller, the attorney general said you did not find 'collusion.' However, you did not look for collusion. Please explain what you looked for and how that differs from [Attorney General William] Barr’s assertion that you essentially cleared President Trump of collusion?"

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image