By Mohammad Mazhari

Republicans have largely become a party of extremists: scholar

February 23, 2022 - 21:30
‘Trump is a moron and has done great damage to America’

TEHRAN – An American academic says that the Republican Party under Donald Trump has lately become a party of extremists.

“The Republicans have largely become a party of extremists lately--and this is dangerous,” Michael Aaron Rockland tells the Tehran Times.

“I see the greatest danger facing the United States as internal not external. Why? Because Republicans, especially under Trump, have become a party of extremists,” Aaron notes.

While many political commentators are of the opinion that foreign policy failures have undermined the reputation of Washington, others see the greatest danger facing the United States is internal, not external. 

Politicizing every simple issue, showing partisan bias in decision making, and division among the people and politicians can push the country towards an abyss, analysts warn. 

“George Washington was opposed to the notion of political parties, felt that exact member of Congress and all those who vote should follow their consciences, not their party line,” Rockland notes.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: There is an argument about ruling system in the United States. Republicans claim that the country is a republic while Democrats say it should be a leading democracy in the world. What is your take?

A: Technically, the U.S. is a Republic as any nation of size must be-that is depending on representatives. On the other hand, since everyone is expected to vote, rather than our leaders chosen by a few we are a democracy. We tend to use the word "democracy" more than "republic. On the other hand, some Republicans to this day fight for the Republic idea not because they believe strongly in it but because they are trying to limit the voting, knowing that they are in the minority. They also prefer the electoral system, which put Trump and the younger Bush into the White House, both not getting the popular vote.

Q: U.S. foreign policy has not been stable for decades. Please explain?

A: I agree that our foreign policy has been unstable. Indeed, I see the greatest danger facing the United States as internal not external. Why? Because Republicans, especially under Trump, have become a party of extremists. For most of my life, there was little

difference between the two parties and they worked together and compromised.
The Republicans have largely become a party of extremists lately--and this is dangerous. George Washington was opposed to the notion of political parties, felt that exact member of Congress and all those who vote should follow their consciences, not their party line.

“If Trump is reelected it will be a disaster for the United States.”

Q: Given Trump's big social base, how do you see the future of U.S. democracy? Do you expect the division to get deeper?

A: If the division becomes even deeper, the United States will be in real trouble. Not to mention my personal view that Trump is a moron and has done great damage to this country, it is essential that he not be reelected in 2024.

Q: Is there a balance between ideology, interests and values in U.S. policy-making?

A: I'm not sure how to respond to this question. An irony is that evangelical Christians are passionate supporters of Israel-but for religious reasons not political so I don't see where ideology in the political sense fits in here.

Q: What are the implications of electing (or re-electing) characters like Trump, especially at a time that America is suffering from problems like racism and extreme neoliberal policies?

A: If Trump is reelected it will be a disaster for the United States. Everything Biden is doing to return the United States to world leadership (so undermined by Trump from 2016-2020) will be lost.

As for racism, yes it exists but it is so much weaker than it once was. More and more Black men and women are assuming high office. Our Vice President is a person "of color." So is the newly elected Mayor of New York. So I am very hopeful in this area. What Trump did was bring out the worse of America. But it was there, it didn't increase. What is increasing is respect for Blacks, Latinos, and Asians. Sure, we have problems but, in general, we are and will continue to move forward in this area. We have a good ways to go

but I am confident we will get there. This is the American dream, and for most Americans, this dream is still very much alive and growing. 

Most intelligent people consider Trump the worst president in American history. And we must remember that he did not win the popular vote in 2016 but became president through the electoral system which I, and many others, wish to reform.

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