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The political marriage between the GOP and militias

Members of the Proud Boys march in Manhattan against vaccine mandates on November 20, 2021 in New York City. A U.S. Circuit Court granted an emergency stay to temporarily stop the Biden administration's vaccine requirement for businesses with 100 or more workers. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
Members of the Proud Boys march in Manhattan against vaccine mandates on November 20, 2021 in New York City. A U.S. Circuit Court granted an emergency stay to temporarily stop the Biden administration's vaccine requirement for businesses with 100 or more workers. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Extremism experts are ringing alarm bells:

“America has long had political violence on the fringes of both the left and the right,” says Rachel Kleinfeld at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “What we’re seeing now is different because it’s moving into the mainstream. And one of the reasons it’s moving into the mainstream is because we have an anti-democratic faction on the right that’s supporting it and that’s using it. And it’s looking particularly bad now.”

Across this country, Republican politicians are embracing right wing militia groups. It’s a pattern seen around the world in failing democracies: a mainstream party co-opts extremists to assert power.

“But we’re not there yet,” Kleinfeld says. “It’s not a prediction. We can still change.”

Today, On Point: the GOP’s militia problem.

Guests

Rachel Kleinfeld, senior fellow in the Democracy, Conflict and Governance Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (@RachelKleinfeld)

Bill Kristol, editor-at-large of The Bulwark. Founder and director of the advocacy group Defending Democracy Together. (@BillKristol)

From the Reading List

Just Security: “The GOP’s Militia Problem: Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Lessons from Abroad” — “The January 6 Select Committee hearings have been framed as an effort aimed at accountability and posterity. But their findings are at least as important to the future. The Committee’s disclosures that Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson tried to hand-deliver a slate of fake electors to Vice President Pence, that Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs asked Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers to decertify their state’s electors the morning of January 6, and that some Republican Members of Congress sought pardons from then-President Trump for their roles are further signals that co-conspirators in the schemes to thwart the democratic choice for president remain in power.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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