News & Politics

'They Cannot Get Votes on Their Actual Policies': Noam Chomsky Explains How the Republican Party Is Rotten to the Core

"It’s an intriguing spectacle, and not a little worrisome."

Photo Credit: bsteve98

In a recent interview with Truthout, renowned MIT professor Noam Chomsky gave an incisive explanation of the current state of American politics, touching on the failures of President Barack Obama and the rise of President Donald Trump.

Chomsky argued that contrary to many narratives, Trump was a natural outgrowth of a rightward shift in political currents.

The GOP's "dedication to wealth and corporate power is so extreme that they cannot get votes on their actual policies — which are now being revealed to us daily — and so have had to mobilize a voting base on issues unrelated to their service to their actual constituency," he explained. "These include religious fundamentalism — a major phenomenon in the US unlike other developed societies — white supremacy, xenophobia and other latent anti-social attitudes that tend to break through to the surface during periods of disillusionment and distress. This is partly a matter of 'search for scapegoats,' the actual sources concealed in the usual manner of propaganda; thus, the public vastly exaggerates the number of immigrants, even more than in Europe."

Disaffection began with Obama's insufficient response to the 2008 financial crisis, he said, and racial animus to his presidency also boosted the Republican Party. 

And while many are surprised that Trump maintains strong approval within his own party, Chomsky argued that this is just par for the course.

"Trump’s roughly 90 percent support among Republicans is actually not unusual for an incumbent party at this stage in office — about the same as Obama among Democrats, though the fervor and passion are different, presumably reflecting the general atmosphere of anger, hatred and fear. And frightening," he said.

He even noted that the fervent support for Trump brings back "childhood memories of hearing Hitler’s Nuremberg rallies on the radio" — though he acknowledged that there were "great differences" between the two time periods.

Yet even as the GOP base gets swept up in the tides of extremism of all sorts, the business class is relishing the political moment, he argued.

"For the actual Republican constituency of wealth and corporate power, these are glory days, so why object, even if his antics sometimes cause some grimaces?" he asked.

Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.