How the GOP has become ‘cauldron of End-Times paranoia posing as populism’

The shift in the direction of the Republican Party that intensified during the Trump administration has alarmed Mother Jones magazine DC bureau chief David Corn — and he's not the only one.

"New York Times columnist David Brooks recently got scared," Corn wrote. "Last month, he attended the National Conservatism Conference, held in an Orlando hotel, and reported in the Atlantic that this confab demonstrated that the right—of which he used to be a high official in good standing—has become a cauldron of End-Times paranoia posing as populism. The animating theme of this shindig did not arise from policy prescriptions or principles for contending with the nation's economic or social welfare challenges or for pursuing a foreign policy in this confusing century. It was the notion that conservatives face eradication at the hands of diabolical leftists."

Corn named three GOP senators who illustrated the dynamic.

"And the politicians there helped turn the event into a demagogic orgy. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) barked, 'The left's ambition is to create a world beyond belonging. Their grand ambition is to deconstruct the United States of America.' Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) hissed, 'The left's attack is on America. The left hates America. It is the left that is trying to use culture as a tool to destroy America.' Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) growled, 'We are confronted now by a systematic effort to dismantle our society, our traditions, our economy, and our way of life.' This is what the right used to say about the Reds under our beds," Corn noted.

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Brooks explained how the politicians are one of three strains of "the intellectual wing of the emerging right."

"First, the people over 50 who have been hanging around conservative circles for decades but who have recently been radicalized by the current left," he wrote. "The second strain is made up of mid-career politicians and operatives who are learning to adapt to the age of populist rage: people like Ted Cruz (Princeton, Harvard), J. D. Vance (Yale Law), and Josh Hawley (Stanford and Yale). The third and largest strain is the young."

Brooks warned this is the future of the GOP.

"Over the past few decades there have been various efforts to replace the Reagan Paradigm: the national-greatness conservatism of John McCain; the compassionate conservatism of George W. Bush; the Reformicon conservatism of the D.C. think tanks in the 21st century. But the Trumpian onslaught succeeded where these movements have so far fizzled because Trump understood better than they did the coalescence of the new American cultural/corporate elite and the potency of populist anger against it. Thus the display of Ivy League populism I witnessed in Orlando might well represent the alarming future of the American right: the fusing of the culture war and the class war into one epic Marxist Götterdämmerung," he wrote.