Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties. The state of the GOP is not good.
This year's CPAC was illuminating.
Trump: "In 2016, I declared, 'I am your voice.' Today I add: I am your warrior, I am your justice, and for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution!" Eerily an echo of rhetoric from Europe in 1920s-30s.— Gary J. Schmitt (@GaryJSchmitt1) March 6, 2023
The speech felt like yet another milestone for the Republican Party, not just as the conference embraced Trumpism, but as the American right embraced a more continental conservatism. Trump spoke only hours after former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s speech, and Brazilian flags could be spotted throughout the crowd, alternating in patches with the Stars and Stripes and, above all, red MAGA hats. CPAC has increasingly embraced the global right—holding a pro-Viktor Orban event in Hungary last year, and partnering with those who minimized and denied war crimes in World War II in Japan. Not all of this is foreign to American politics—after all, the America First slogan was first used by the isolationists who railed against the United States supporting the Allies in World War II before Pearl Harbor. But this strain of politics had remained submerged on the right, popping up in Pat Buchanan’s speeches and Ron Paul’s newsletters. That’s not the case anymore. The question is just how dominant it will be in 2024 and moving forward.