This “externalisation” of the far right was at its height during the 2016 presidential campaign, in which Trump was portrayed as a political anomaly who had hijacked the Republican party. Conservatives and mainstream Republicans argued that he didn’t really represent what was at heart a moderate conservative party. They found much support among liberals, most notably Hillary Clinton, who focused much of her campaign on “moderate Republicans”.
However, for years surveys have shown that strong authoritarian, nativist and populist positions command pluralities, if not majorities, among Republican supporters. Positions on crime, immigration and Islam have hardened rather than weakened, while conspiracy theories that were at the fringes of the militia movement in the 1990s are now widespread.
Baby steps now, baby steps. But we do at least seem to have an admission that some large portion (a plurality of those who vote perhaps, this time at least) aren’t signed on to the Progressive ideal of America. At which point an interesting thought. Will that commitment* to democracy mean the vision changes? Or will the proles be told to shut up and get on with it?
*to ask this is to answer it really, isn’t it?