Friday, August 27, 2021


Yesterday, Greg Sargent wrote that we can see the future of American conservatism in the right's response to the pandemic and the situation in Afghanistan.
While some Republicans recognize an obligation to admit [Afghan refugees] here ... many are aligning with Trump and demagoguing them in the most despicable terms imaginable.

Meanwhile, with covid cases on the rise, GOP governors in states seeing the worst outbreaks are escalating efforts to blame this on migrants who, fleeing their own horrors, are attempting to cross our southern border....

These two developments together ... suggest that U.S. reactionary right-wing movements may be characterized by a very particular form of rising nativist and ethnonationalist cruelty....
Sargent cites a book by Alex Hochuli, George Hoare, and Philip Cunliffe called The End of the End of History, which sees the rise of
a zero-sum [right-wing nativist] ideology that emphasizes “limited resources” and a “need to reduce surplus populations” by “removing outsiders and other elements” that corrupt the “indigenous” population....
It's true that many right-wingers are now suggesting that 100% of the increase in COVID cases is caused by immigrant border crossers -- even though highly vaccinated New York City, where undocumented immigrants routinely settle, has a hospital system that isn't in crisis now, while hospitals in much of Red America are reeling.

But the right doesn't blame every problem on foreigners. Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick recently suggested that the rise in his state's COVID caseload was the fault of unvaccinated Black people who vote Democratic. This echoes what we learned about the White House response to the pandemic in early 2020 from Vanity Fair's Katherine Eban:
Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment [one public health] expert said a member of [Jared] Kushner's team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national [testing] plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. "The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy," said the expert.
The American right will always scapegoat foreigners, but that will never be its sole focus, because there are so many domestic enemies to scapegoat as well: Antifa. Black Lives Matter. Critical race theorists. "Urban thugs." Hollywood liberals. College professors. "Soy boy" college students. The mainstream media. Hunter Biden. Nancy Pelosi. AOC. Actually, the entire "Democrat Party."

Other right-wing parties around the world might focus the majority of their anger on foreigners, but Republicans won't -- they hate too many Americans.

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