THE "START, STOP, START"
DYNAMIC OF RADICAL POPULISM
by: S.R. Shearer
"Radicalization" is a "start and stop" process. It does not run continually
in a straight line or at the same speed. It's a tug of war between "moderate"
and "extremist" elements, with the "extremists" in control of the dynamic.
Take what's happening to Robert Dornan in California's 46th Congressional
Dornan is a fire-breathing, hard-right ideologue whose rival is Loretta
Sanchez, a left-leaning Democrat with strong roots in the Hispanic community.
Sanchez beat Dornan in a hotly contested campaign two Evangelicals who
think they can turn the clock back to the way "things used to be" by
simply prevailing at the ballot box are either very, very naive or just
plain nonsensical. There is simply no way militant blacks (especially
groups like the Nation of Islam), militant Latinos, hard-core feminists,
homosexuals, militant secularists, liberal Jews, etc. are going to let
that happen - elections or no elections!
They are going to fight! - and there will be blood shed in the streets!
What then will evangelicals do? - pick up guns and fight back? Many
probably will - and that will only cause the minorities to fight that
much harder - and off we go, and where we stop, nobody knows!years ago
- a race filled with charges of voter fraud. Dornan accused Sanchez
of using the votes of Mexican illegals to win. Most commentators say
he's probably right. Dornan has entered the 1998 Congressional race
Republican Party "moderates" want Dornan to bow out. The Lincoln Club,
one of Southern California's most exclusive "moneyed interest" clubs
has asked Dornan to do so - as have virtually all the other "moderates"
in Orange County where the 46th Congressional District is located. They
believe that Dornan will win the primary - because primaries are dominated
by party ideologues - but lose the election to Sanches in November.
"We feel Bob Dornan is our best weapon," says Lee Godown, Sanchez's
campaign spokesperson. "All we have to do is allow him to be heard,
and he is self-explanatory."
Dornan, who once referred to feminists as "lesbian spear chuckers"
and revealed a fellow Republican's homosexuality on the House floor,
doesn't care! He uses equally inflammatory rhetoric against Sanchez
and almost got in a fistfight on the House floor over his heated rhetoric.
He calls Sanchez a "stalking horse" for Mexico's takeover of Southern
California - and in doing so forces issues into "play" that moderates
would like to see ignored. These kinds of issues lose elections - at
least in the "short run." But radicals like Dornan don't care about
the "short run." What they care about is the "long run," and they are
prepared to lose elections as a result if in losing the election, the
radicalization process is pushed forward.
What will happen now - as it does in any "radicalization process"
- is that Sanchez will probably win; and in doing so, she will be beholden
to radical Hispanic elements in her party - the kind that wave Mexican
flags in downtown San Diego and Los Angeles. These elements will probably
force her to take unpopular "Hispanic issue stands" in order to placate
her constituencies. This, in turn, will further radicalize heretofore
"moderate" (Anglo) elements in the Republican Party which had not been
previously disposed to Dornan's rhetoric.
And so the process goes, ultimately pushing the so-called "moderates"
in both parties out and radicalizing those who remain. It's the same
"action-reaction spiral" that took hold in the former Yugoslavia. It's
irresistible, and "moderates" are helpless to stop it once it gets started.
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