AuthorConniff, Ruth

Half of the people in the United States are now officially second-class citizens, after the highest court in the land rolled back our right to control our own bodies.

The powerful feeling of alienation from our country that many of us are experiencing right now has been in the works for a long time. Rightwing forces have been playing a long game to take over--and very nearly to overthrow--the institutions of our democracy. Those of us who do not fit into their vision of a white, Christian, patriarchal society have been left far behind.

"Face it, you got your butts out-organized," an exasperated activist told pro-choice Republican women back in 1996, when I was reporting on Pat Buchanan's break-away rally outside of the Republican National Convention in San Diego. Establishment Republican women were gathered on a yacht to express their dismay that a working-class, Christian-right rabble had managed to get an anti-abortion plank into the party platform.

The Christian Coalition, founded by Pat Robertson, had been hard at work taking over school boards and pushing its anti-LGBTQ+, anti-feminist agenda. The group, along with Buchanans angry, displaced workers, who were mad about global trade deals and ready to blame immigrants for stealing jobs, had created an energized, grassroots movement and accumulated new power, through Buchanan's "culture wars."

Now those same "peasants with pitchforks," as Buchanan called his followers, have taken over the entire party and changed society in ways they couldn't even have imagined back then, long before the rise of former President Donald Trump.

Who would have thought that, two and a half decades later, a mob of armed rebels would storm the U.S. Capitol and attempt to overturn the results of a democratic election, egged on by the President himself? Thanks to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack, we now know that Trump demanded that the mob be allowed to carry their weapons past the gun-detecting magnetometers, or "mags," at the Ellipse, near the White House. "They're not here to hurt me!" he fumed, according to testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. "Take the effing mags away!"

Some establishment Republicans have been upset by Trump's criminal behavior, just as the GOP establishment was wrong-footed by the rise of the Christian right in the 1990s. And some--even former Trump allies and members of his administration--stood up to...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT