The neoliberal party
Nancy Pelosi has been catching a lot of flak for saying this:
One of my prayers is that the Republicans will take back their party. The country needs a strong Republican Party. It’s done so much for our country, and to have it be hijacked as a cult at this time is really a sad thing for America.
I would have to argue that the criticism is misdirected. Yes, certainly it appears that Pelosi is seeking a party she might putatively oppose but be able to work with, or more precisely, to be complicit with (as, in fact, the Democrats really already are). But the claim that the Republican Party has been ‘hijacked’ is what truly deserves criticism.
Thomas Frank has repeatedly argued that the Democrats spurned the working class and converted them into the toxic authoritarian populists we see today. And while that isn’t the whole story, it’s certainly the case that Republican ranks have been swelled by disaffected workers. That authoritarian populists, conflated with social conservatives and paleoconservatives, make up a majority of Republican voters and now control the party does not make that party a ‘cult.’ It reflects what Frank argues: That the Democrats betrayed workers and will never again get their vote.
Jason Lemon, “Nancy Pelosi Says America ‘Needs a Strong Republican Party,’ Not a Hijacked ‘Cult,’” Newsweek, September 30, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/nancy-pelosi-says-america-needs-strong-republican-party-not-hijacked-cult-1535343
- Nancy Pelosi, quoted in Jason Lemon, “Nancy Pelosi Says America ‘Needs a Strong Republican Party,’ Not a Hijacked ‘Cult,’” Newsweek, September 30, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/nancy-pelosi-says-america-needs-strong-republican-party-not-hijacked-cult-1535343↩
- David Benfell, “Voting for complicity,” Not Housebroken, September 26, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/20/voting-for-complicity/↩
- Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter With Kansas? (New York: Henry Holt, 2004); Thomas Frank, Pity the Billionaire (New York: Metropolitan, 2012); see also Neil Barofsky, Bailout (New York: Free Press, 2012); Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Winner-Take-All Politics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010); Jason Togyer, “Fear and Loathing in the Time of Coronavirus,” Columbia Journalism Review, March 25, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/mckeesport-year-of-fear-covid-19-pandemic.php.↩
- David Benfell, “Barack Obama asks, ‘Why is it that the folks that won the last election are so mad all the time?’” Not Housebroken, November 4, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/11/04/barack-obama-asks-why-is-it-that-the-folks-that-won-the-last-election-are-so-mad-all-the-time/↩