Going back a half-century to McCarthyism, the John Birch Society, the Minutemen and the White Citizens’ Councils, anywhere from a tenth to a quarter of Americans have supported radical-right views. Only under Trump did the heirs to such movements win support from the Oval Office.
Trump’s defeat alone might not have defused the threat. But the horrors in the halls of Congress — along with the GOP’s decisive setback in Georgia’s Senate runoffs — finally induced a mass conversion experience among Republicans who long shored up a corrupt and dangerous regime. Except in the fever swamps, Trump will come to represent not a noble lost cause but a catastrophic turn from reason.
At too-long last the fever has broken, the magical thinking is at an end. No, you can’t indulge lunacy — fantastic conspiracies, alternative facts, bogus science — at no cost, you can’t build a safe and decent world on vaporous notions from the fever swamp. I don’t mind admitting a thrill of schadenfreude as I watch the growing list of companies and organizations that are cutting ties with Trump and everything Trump-related; maybe, just maybe, it signifies that the grown-ups mean to reassert themselves.