- QAnon Republicans take over the House of Representatives.
- US capitalist class losing control.
- Democratic Party, including its “progressive” wing, trying to board a train that’s long left the station, both regarding Republicans and regarding Israel.
- Only way forward: renewed and socialist Arab Spring, in the region and globally.
The QAnon Republican Party has momentarily dodged the bullet by selecting a House Speaker whose only two qualifications are that he’s endorsed by their cult leader (Trump) and that hardly anybody has ever heard of him before. The real popular champion – Jim Jordan – was unacceptable to a minority of Republican representatives because while he met one of those qualifications – endorsement by the cult leader – he failed the other. Jordan has been too front and center campaigning for the QAnon propaganda, and therefore the few Republican representatives who need some independent or Democratic votes to get reelected couldn’t go along. There is no political difference between Jordan and the alternative, Jordan Light and QAnon technocrat, Mike Johnson. (Correction: Newly revealed evidence shows that Johnson is even more extreme. See below.)
According to the NY Times Johnson was “the most important architect of the electoral college objections” to Trump’s having lost in 2020. He also repeated all the weird conspiracy theories regarding Hugo Chavez and the Dominion voting machines. He is a Republican standard bearer regarding abortion rights and LGBTQ rights – that such rights don’t exist. And he voted in favor of a government shutdown rather than increase debt limits.
This 17 second video clip shows Republican Representatives trying to silence questions about
and then showing full support for Johnson’s attempts to overturn 2020 election results:
There should be no more illusions in Johnson than there should be in the “moderate” wing of the Republican Party. The only Republican “moderates” in congress are those few who rely on some Democratic or independent voters to get reelected. They can be found in the bipartisan “Problem Solvers Caucus” and the Republican Governance Group. Republicans in the former voted 21-8 in favor of electing Jim Jordan as Speaker and the Republicans in the latter voted 32-10 in favor of Jordan. These representatives are balancing between pleasing their QAnon Republican voters in a primary and pleasing the larger electorate in the general election. By a two-to-one majority, they choose the former, and anyway, their main role is to assure an overall Republican majority.
The US capitalist class is aboard a runaway freight train. Even their most extreme right wing representatives are beside themselves. Norman Ornstein, senior fellow emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute recently was on the left liberal Ali Velshi show. “It hasn’t been this bad since before the Civil War days,” Ornstein said. And as for the Wall St. Journal editorial board – on the one hand they are trying to win unity in the Republican Party. When Jim Jordan was the candidate, the WSJ editors were campaigning for the moderates to drop their anger at the anti-McCarthy faction. What, they asked, do the “moderates” want the anti-Kevin McCarthy Republicans to do to get over their anger, “commit seppuku” (the ancient Japanese ritual of self-disemboweling)?
After Johnson’s election as Speaker, the WSJ editors have become clear as to what is expected: “Can Speaker Mike Johnson Govern?” they asked. They then laid out several key tasks for Johnson: The first priority, above all else, is to avert a government shutdown. Second is to rebuild “U.S. military deterrence”, especially in regard to funding for Ukraine and Israel. Third is to recruit viable Republican candidates. This last means candidates in districts which aren’t completely dominated by the QAnon voters.
They concluded, “A big part of Mr. Johnson’s job is to bring order to this Republican chaos,” and they warned that the hard core will have to give Johnson some “leeway”, especially as far as avoiding a new government shutdown. The WSJ editors concluded: “If they don’t, they deserve to lose [power in 2024], and they probably will.” The likelihood seems to be that they won’t succeed in avoiding a shutdown, but whether that means they lose control over the House or the Democrats retain control over the Senate and the presidency is very questionable.
In the thrall of QAnon hysteria, the Republicans will not turn back. As an article in The Atlantic put it: “The contrast between Jim Jordan potentially ascending to speaker and Liz Cheney, who is out of the Republican Party and excommunicated, could not be a starker statement of what the party stands for…. Each time the party has had an opportunity to distance itself from Trump, it has roared past the exit ramp and reaffirmed its commitment.” They quote Ian Bossin of the bipartisan “Protect Democracy” group that what is happening “would likely mean our 247-year-old republic won’t live to celebrate 250.”
Update: Very little was generally known about Johnson. One article that has now received slightly wider circulation is this one from Huffpost. It reveals that Johnson is an extreme Christian fundamentalist with possible ties to Christian nationalism. He is not just a mild mannered conservative; his views border on outright fascism American style, since any opposition is from the devil and must be crushed. Far from being a slightly moderated version of Jim Jordan, he is even more extreme than Jordan. This means that a government shutdown in three weeks seems all but certain. We urge readers to read the Huffpost article in full to get a full sense of who Johnson is.
To be clear: It is not that Trump and Co. are in control of the QAnon/MAGA base. Rather, that base is in control of them. This means chaos, and that is what the Republican leaders welcome. Out of this chaos a new order may emerge: a regimented and repressive dictatorship. That is the order that its leaders at all levels represent.
As for the Democrats and their leader, Joe Biden, they are still desperate to return to the days of “bipartisanship”, of the two parties collaborating while they simultaneously compete. That freight train left the station a long time ago and is roaring down the tracks out of control. It’s similar, on Biden’s part, to appealing to the Israeli’s to be reasonable and observe the laws of war. What he really means is that Israel should be less blatant in their moves towards ethnic cleansing. This while Mandoweiss reports that a proposal by the Israeli Intelligence Ministry headed by Gila Gamliel (and meant to be kept secret) is calling for the complete ethnic cleansing of Gaza of all Palestinians. According to Mandoweiss, a second similar plan is also circulating. Israel’s genocidal bombing of Gaza and its order that all residents of Gaza head south (i.e. towards Egypt) gives credibility to the fact that these plans are what is in progress. Meanwhile, the genocidal assault on Gaza is being accompanied by stepped up assaults by the fascistic settlers in the West Bank. In other words, ethnic cleansing of Gaza will be accompanied by the same in the West Bank, but maybe a little more slowly. And what can Palestinians inside Israel itself expect?
The “progressive” Democrats have introduced a “ceasefire” resolution. The guess from here is that Gazans will welcome anything that halts the assault for even one day. But what next? A “negotiated” settlement such as the Oslo Accords, which the Israelis violated before the ink was even dry? What’s to negotiate and who is to do the negotiations? Israel won’t negotiate with Hamas (which is a reactionary force anyway) and Abbas’s Palestinian Authority is hardly different from the Judenrat in the Jewish ghettos of the Nazis. (See this article on the Judenrat’s role in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.) The Palestine Authority has no power independent of Israel and the United States. So, who’s left to negotiate for the Palestinians? Egypt’s al Sisi? Saudi Arabia’s bin Salman? Syria’s Assad?
The only hope is for a new and even more radical and socialist-oriented Arab Spring… and the hope that such a movement will help spark a similar movement throughout the world, including in the United States.