The Choice Facing the Republican Party

Episode 0128 January 28, 2022 00:33:08
The Choice Facing the Republican Party
Moving Kentucky Forward
The Choice Facing the Republican Party
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Show Notes

Lawyer and political analyst Teri Kanefield says that Republicans have a choice: democracy or anti-democracy. Listen as she lays out the history of the Republican party that got us here, and if they choose against democracy, what we can do.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:32 Hello and welcome to moving Kentucky forward. I'm Bruce Maples, publisher Ford, Kentucky, a few weeks ago, Terry cane field posed a really interesting question on her column. And that is what are the choices facing the Republican party today? She laid out basically two choices and she also pointed out that this choice is not recent. It even goes before Trump was elected. I wanted to have her on to talk about that choice about the history of those choices and where she thinks it's going and what we can do about it. So here then is one of our favorite guests and authors, Terry Canfield. I'm talking today with Terry cane field, who is a lawyer and author, a political analyst. Uh, Terry, welcome back to moving Kentucky forward. Thank you. I wanted to have you on the show again, because I just continued to think you do such a wonderful job of really cutting to the bottom line of a lot of the political things going on, especially what's going on with the Republican party these days. And that's what I really wanted to talk to you about. So if you were going to say in 30 seconds to a minute, what is going on with the Republican party right now? How would you answer that? Speaker 2 00:02:00 I would say that they're radicalizing and, um, in some ways it, what they're doing comes out of many decades of what they've done. It's, um, just sort of speeding things up. So there are two ways to look at at the Republican party. And one way is that what they're doing is new and different and never been done before. And I think that's inaccurate and it tends to scare people because you don't know how to deal with a brand new situation, but another way to see the Republican party, as they're just becoming a more extreme version of what they've been and trying to take us backwards to a place where the United States was at one point. Speaker 1 00:02:42 So what were they, you say they're a more extreme version of what they were. So in the past, what were they that they've moved more extreme, Speaker 2 00:02:52 Take a Reagan. We can take a year, we can take Reagan. We can take, um, you know, Nixon, but take Reagan. So Reagan was very charming, very likable guy who trained people to dislike and distrust the government, what they wanted to do. If you see an extreme form of what the Republicans want is they want no regulations. They want to get rid of, we could call it an administrative state, but they call it deep state, or we can call it the regulatory agencies that we have. So prior to the new deal, prior to the early, early thirties, there were not laws regulating businesses. And there was no, there were no laws against insider trading. You could manipulate markets. The sort of going idea was caveat info, which is the buyer beware. So if I sell you something and it's rotten, that's your problem because you should have inspected it. Speaker 2 00:03:44 And this is what things were like earlier in our history. And, um, what the new deal sought to do is create regulations for fairness. And basically what, what FDR said was that he wanted to save capitalism from it's worse from a where's access excesses so that it could survive. So by regulating, by having a regulated capitalism, it creates a sort of a fairness, but, you know, and I know that ever since the new deal, the Republicans have been trying to roll it back. Um, and there's another, so there's a, like an economic strand, which goes from the sort of gilded age and the, you know, the businesses and the business tycoons at the turn of the century, through this regulatory, um, economics, where we're trying to create fairness and have a progressive tax code and all of these things too. Um, so that people can't cheat so that people can't cheat and get rich cheating, but you could get rich cheating, um, before regulatory agencies. Speaker 2 00:04:47 And then you have another strand, which is the racial strand, which also, obviously in the thirties voter suppression, wasn't even a word because there was no idea that blacks would be able to vote. I mean, they could try, but they might get killed. Women couldn't vote before 1920. So, so what happened in the civil rights movement was similar to what happened in the new deal, but in a, in the racial arena. So what the civil rights movement said is we're going to create, we're going to regulate, and we're going to outlaw racial segregation. And we're going to create laws that even the playing field racially as sort of, as well as economically. So we have two sets of laws that in re enlarge the federal government, because it's the federal government that did both of these things, right? The federal government got rid of racial segregation, gave us the voting rights act in the early sixties. Speaker 2 00:05:38 People say, oh, that there was no voting rights act before the sixties. And so, um, what both of these things did was enlarge the federal government enormously and create a lot of regulations. And so what, uh, what the Republicans have been trying to do initially tried to roll back the new deal. And then after the civil rights movement, when we had the shift in the parties, they also tried to roll back the civil rights legislation. So one way to see the Republican party is that they've always wanted to roll back the new deal and you could do it slowly. You can try to take away this regulation or take away that regulation, but it's the federal government. You have to see the federal government are the ones that it was a federal government that said you have a right to abortion in all states. So one way to see them, as they're trying to speed things up, they were always trying to dismantle the federal government to pick Reagan Reagan set up the government to the problem I'm in the government, and I'm here to help or the scariest words. Speaker 2 00:06:41 And they trained people to think that the government was bad and that less government is good. And the deep state is another way of saying that these regulatory agencies and the rules for fairness. And so they want to get rid of all of the, and in fact, the libertarians, I think, ran for awhile on a platform that they wanted to get rid of the IRS. Yeah. All of agency. They just want to get rid of them. So one way to see the insurrection as speeding this up, right? That you can either dismantle this administrative state slowly, which is never going to happen because you can, they can pick things out, get rid of regulations, but then the Democrats come in and put them back. Right? So in some ways what Trump did was he stepped out of the nice talk and instead of breaking it up slowly, let's just bring in a wrecking ball. And Trump was a wrecking ball. And one way to see the, like the insurrection, it's just a continuation. The re the federal government is bad. Leave it up to the states. Um, you know, let rogue, you know, electors have just as much authority as the, uh, you know, whatever the governor says, one way to see it as it's coming out of, uh, of a long tradition and what they want to take us back to as a place we've been Speaker 1 00:08:10 Okay. So get rid of federal power, get rid of federal regulations. I get that. But it seems to me that if you do enough of that, what you run into is anarchy, but they're not headed towards anarchy. I don't think they're headed toward authoritarianism. So what is, what is the choice then that is facing them today? Speaker 2 00:08:38 That's actually the next thing I was going to try to say is that if you don't really go back, because it looks different like history, doesn't actually repeat, they say it rhymes, right? So it's not going to look the same. So, right. Authoritarian. Now, another way to, to see this is, um, D rule of law democracy or liberal liberal democracy. He is the word from the 18th century. What liberal democracy wants to do is expand and include more people. So when we started out only white men educated basically, well, educated, landed, white men were part of we, the people sort of understood that the people who know the educated man are going to make the decisions for everybody. And what happened with liberal democracy is it wants to expand and include more people. And, um, it got to the point now where people are rejecting liberal democracy because it's expanded so much that they don't recognize it anymore. Speaker 2 00:09:38 So let me actually say it a different way. So there's rule of law or autocracy. Okay. So, so government has to have an authority behind it. What's the authority and rule of law is the form of authority that underlies democracy. And all that means is that the people in power get their authority from the constitution and from the law that the law is it's first and the government derives its authority from the law. And there, the Republican party is rejecting rule of law because where rule of law has taken them is where they don't want to be. So back when rule of law meant black people know their place and women know their place and why a few white men have all the power back when rule of law meant that they were okay with rule of law. But, but there's a force in liberal democracy that wants to expand because people get women got kind of tired of the role they were given in the 19th century, right? And black, obviously, you know, people don't like, people don't want to be lower in that hierarchy. So when you reject rule of law and that's what they're doing, because they don't like where it's going. So that's when, in some ways rejecting rule of law is also rejecting all of this, the administrative state, which is actually empowered by the constitution. Speaker 1 00:11:12 So the alternative then is instead of government getting its authority from rule of law constitution, and ultimately from the people, it's the government having its own authority in particularly in a single person or a set of single P or a single set of persons who do not have to obey the law. Speaker 2 00:11:36 So while they make the love, they make truth. Um, another very helpful paradigm is a max favor and way back sort of actually before Nazi-ism, before, um, the rise of Nazi-ism in, in the 20th century, he said that there were three, four, there were three sources of authority for government, only three, one source of authority. He said, was rule of law, which is what gives us liberal democracy, which has a tendency to expand the other, the second authority, or actually the first one he gave was monarchy, which he called traditional that the authority comes from tradition that the King's son becomes the king and the authority is that that's traditional. And so everybody accepts that authority. And then the only other alternative, if you reject monarchy and he reject rule of law, the other alternative, which he gives, he uses the term charismatic character charismatic leader. Speaker 2 00:12:34 And you might say, oh, God charismatic. But the way he was using the term, we'd probably say, strong man, or Dem demagogue or somebody who by the power of his personality, just the, the force of authority of his personality, he becomes the authority. And what goes along with that? So rule of law democracy requires truth and a shared reality. So courts won't work. If, if six members of the jury are in an alternate reality, all the jurors have to accept the same factual reality. So rule of law requires a shared reality where we might have different opinions about the best way to move forward or what this reality means. But we all agree on the facts, the reality that's rule of law. Now charismatic leader rests on myth because it rests on the idea that one person or one set of people has the authority that they speak the truth. Speaker 1 00:13:44 I love listening to you, and I love reading you because you do such a good job of, of giving these, this underlying background. But for the sake of our listeners, I also want to really boil it down to some bullets. So what I hear you saying is that the choice facing the Republicans, which you have written about now recently is between shared truth or truth and myth and propaganda and rule of law versus authoritarianism or strongman rule or whatever you want to say. And that's the choice facing the Republican party on a national level and the people who are Republicans who aren't necessarily in Washington. I'm thinking about our state legislators here in Kentucky have the same choice, depending on what they, not necessarily what they say, but what they support and how they approach their work. Is that fair? Speaker 2 00:14:50 Yes. So take the insurrection. I take it, take the kind of lies right now that Trump is putting forward. If you accept, if you embrace the lies, then you embrace authoritarianism because you're destroying a shared truth, which is what democracy relies on now. Okay. So pick a choice right now facing the Republican party because what's going to happen in the next six months is we're going to get more and more evidence, uh, Trump's involvement with the insurrection and more. And when we have it already, now I wrote about, um, uh, New York, uh, the AIG in New York gave us a motion where she laid out the evidence. She has that the Trump family participated in bank fraud, tax fraud, repeated fraud through their business. So what's going to happen in the next six months is more and more evidence is going to come out because it's going to show Trump was responsible. Speaker 2 00:15:53 So the Republican party has two options. One is they reject truth, reject facts. They keep lying. And it looks like they're going to that instead of because a hearing and a trial doesn't have any meaning, if most of the people don't believe the result. So there's this like sort of some fantasies I think on left-leaning in left left-leaning America. And one of the fantasies is that once we have a trial, it wasn't an indictment in a trial. And it's clear that, you know, the prompts are guilty. That's something going to happen. Nothing's going to happen. I shouldn't say nothing now, but, but th what they think is going to happen, isn't going to happen. If the Republican party is rejecting a shared factuality and truth. So, so right now, the latest lie that Trump has putting forward is that the January 6th, uh, select committee, the congressional committee investigating him is illegitimate, right? Speaker 2 00:16:53 And it's illegal. And that that's being repeated by other Republican leaders right now, we see it in the legal documents. Okay. Um, the next lie is going to be that the, you know, that whoever's investigating him and also the ag, he says, it's politically motivated. So this terrible evidence coming out about the Trump's their reaction to it is just to say, it's all a lie. It's all politically motivated. So, so if the Republicans say, no, it's not alive, there is true. There is evidence. Look at the evidence. We see it with our own eyes. Look at the evidence. The evidence is that Trump helped incite this insurrection. If they do that, they have to reject prom and embrace rule of law. And if they do that, then they're going to find themselves in the racial minority. Because when liberal democracy continues to expand, these white men are going to be in the, in the racial minority. Speaker 2 00:17:49 And they don't want to be, they don't want an Ericka ruled by let's say, black women. They just, don't where the rule of law is going to take them is maybe a president, Kamala Harris, but everybody voting by mail, the inner cities of Detroit, everybody gets their ballot and they all send it in. They either go there or they accept the lie that Trump is really the president and the Inn and the January 6th insurrection, or the January 6th committee is legitimate. And the people who start in the Capitol or Patriots, and they were cross crossing the Potomac and they were freeing us from tyranny. So that's their option right now. Is are they going to dig in and support the insurrectionists and buy all of the lies that Trump is given? Or are they going to back out? And, you know, two years ago, I would've said, they're going to back out. They're not going to go. They're not going to dig in. And really we don't know. And you hold out some hope that, um, that, that at some point, they're going to say enough, but what I'm afraid they may do is say, well, Trump is too tainted. So we need another Trump like person, right? Where they're, they're not gonna really denounce the insurrection. They'll just do the minimum they have to do, Speaker 1 00:19:13 Which is what it looks to me like Mitch McConnell is doing. He's hoping that somebody else can take care of this problem for him and get Trump out of the picture, but he's not rejecting out loud, the entire paradigm. I want to hit. One other thing that I, that you wrote the other day that I think is critical. You were answering some people who said, well, you know, Lindsey Graham, and some of these people who are supporting Trump are doing it because somebody has got compromising information on them. And you answered that by saying, no, they're doing this because they want to, this is the choice. This is a choice they have made to go down this path. Can you expand on that just a little bit? Speaker 2 00:20:02 Yeah. There's so I've been fighting against that particular, you know, um, this idea that they're compromised, like there's so many things wrong with that theory. Um, one is what crime could they have committed that is so bad that this is a part of that rejects facts. That the way that they're compromised is that they're willing to lie. So, right. So Lindsay Graham made a choice. And when Lindsay Graham initially said, if the Republican party embraces Trump, we're gonna, we'll be destroyed and we'll deserve it. They didn't know they could sort of come out of the shell and just call it what it is and just embrace white supremacy in the open. They really didn't know. And I think one of the things you probably where you're located geographically, you probably can tell me if this is true. But I think Trump reached these rural areas and turned a lot of people into voters who weren't voters. Speaker 2 00:20:51 And he, he brought in this new, these new voters into the Republican party, which then Lindsey Graham says, oh, well, maybe Trump can lead us. Maybe Trump, maybe I was wrong. And what Trump has on them is these voters. So not like he's got a secret, he's got control over, not a majority, maybe not even a majority of the Republican party, but if he's got a lock on 40 or 50% of Republican voters, then they can't win without Trump and without Trump's voters. So if they're afraid of Trump, it's not because he's got some secret about them. It's because if he crosses them there, he's going to try to primary them and he's going to try to destroy them. I think they're also physically afraid. I think some of the Republican Congress people and that when the insurrectionists were attacking and the, some, what I, what I read was some of the Republicans who then voted like with Trump, um, we're afraid, like they're going to come after my family. They're going to come after me. So, so they're afraid of Trump. He's got a hold on them, but it's not, it's not that he's blackmailing them. Speaker 2 00:22:11 Yeah. He's going to turn on them. And he's, so he's got a grip on them and some of them are moral cowards. Some of them are just, you know, they're afraid of, of the mob. And some of them are so afraid of losing power that they'll do anything to keep the Republican idea of smaller government. You know, all the things that they have always said that they, um, that with without, because Trump's got ahold of these voters. So Ryan there's always people like, well, it could be both, right? And this is like theory that will rush a hack that the RNC and got all these secrets. What secrets like these guys commit crimes in the open, Speaker 1 00:22:54 Right? Let's, let's leave the analysis and dig into the future a little bit. There are of course, many, many, many people, both academics and political analyst. And just everyday folks who are scared to death of what could be coming. I have read numerous articles about what an American autocracy would look like, how you, how you would live day to day with it. And the fact that it would not be with guns in the military, it would be done through the courts and through the legislatures and they would roll back freedom. Basically. The other thing that, uh, I am fascinated with is that you have the, and a few other people have said, you can't convince these people differently. You can't the ones who are the true believers. You can't bring them over to your side with facts because they don't believe in facts. The only way you prevent this happening is to outvote them is to overcome them at the ballot box. Can you say a word about Speaker 2 00:24:00 Right, because it's still not too late. And, um, actually I was trying to get some information. Um, I'm actually familiar with Georgia voting laws because a couple of years ago, I electric law. I, as a volunteer lawyer with, uh, with the Georgia Democrats, I revised their legal manual for them. Um, and I have people telling me that, well, you know, the laws that they're passing, make it possible for them to overturn results. Well, this is not, I have to find out exactly why people think this, but this isn't true. Um, so this is a false hood that very dangerous, because if you think that your vote can be overturned, there's no point in voting. So let me give an example with the Senate. The 17th amendment of the constitution says that the Senate is elected by popular vote statewide. There is no law. You can pass in the state too. Speaker 2 00:24:49 I mean, okay, so down the road, we could have autocracy, but right now, right now, there's we can still vote. The courts are not going along with these lies and there's no law a state can pass, which says that these people can decide if they start throwing out ballot, you go to the courts. Um, so the danger right now, and this is what I'm trying to get people to do it. You have to get into these jobs. We need people as poll workers. We need people in election boards. We need people in there because they know to do that. They're trying to take over these elections. And I have it right here. I live in California. I'm a spot of blue in a sea of pink. And in my liberal town, we have a problem with this that we have to keep trying to get good people on the election boards. Speaker 2 00:25:37 So you cannot pass a state law that says, we're going to overturn the votes and decide who's the Senator, because we have that in the constitution and you can't gerrymander the Senate. So the way things stand right now, they can still be out voted. The danger is that we have to keep winning elections. And if they win one major election and they're going to start it. So Trump got a late start in, in 20 and 2016, because when he first came into the job, he didn't really know what he was doing. And, um, and he had caught me to worry about, he had Mueller to worry about, then he headed the first impeachment, but he knows what he's doing now. And so if Trump got into the white house right now on day one, he would start setting things up so that he would control the next election. Speaker 2 00:26:24 Would he be able to do it? I still think he would need the military, but he'd have four years to try to line that up. So if we lose elections and yes, the way we become an autocracy is that you lose enough elections. They start, you can imagine what would have happened with another four years of Trump right now, between now and 2022, the most important thing. And I keep posting these links cause different state. Now baito in Texas, has something going Stacey Abrams in Georgia. Michelle Obama has a voter drive. It's get people to the polls right for the next year. Um, and if you can get two more senators, a majority of two more senators, then you can make the kind of changes that make it harder and harder for them to roll back. It's sort of a cliche to say that why did Trump fail? Trump failed really? Because he couldn't get the military behind him. And also this is a big country. It would be very hard to subdue this country. Trump failed because there such that the circumstances are not right in the United States. So right now it's still elections matter. Speaker 1 00:27:37 So my, uh, regular readers are sitting here saying, wait a minute. I thought Bruce said that the, uh, control of election boards is the most, uh, scary thing going on right now. And I, I did say that Speaker 2 00:27:51 It is, that's why people, if okay, dear listeners, um, I don't, I don't know if your listeners are all in, in your state, but if there are listeners everywhere, a lot of the filing deadlines for these jobs are in March. A lot of times you used to be able to run unopposed, be a poll worker, if you can't do anything else, because, um, because, and now volunteer now. So I did voter protection work. And what that meant was sitting in a boiler room with other lawyers on election day and getting, getting the issues and deciding when to file lawsuits about a lot of the problems that arise could be solved with that poll workers, um, get yourself in charge of a polling place because good poll workers make it easier to vote bad poll workers, make it harder to vote. My husband's in charge of a polling place here in California. Speaker 2 00:28:42 And in the, in the, um, our recall election, I went and worked at the polling place. And, um, and you could just see, even the people volunteering it's attitude, it makes it a big difference. And then, uh, and then the people who went over to actually count the votes in places like Minnesota, you can apply to be what's called election judge. You can be the people counting votes. Now, if you've got enough people in there counting the votes and observing the counting, it's harder. But if you, if you relinquish, but you're right, because if the Democrats relinquish control of the local power, it's all local Democrats tend to focus on the big elections, right. And the Republicans know better than that. So I'll say Bruce, you're right. The best thing people can do right now is figure out how to get involved. So I always had on my to-do list, get involved with your local elections, figure out how to get on your local election board. And then Steve Bannon came out and said, we're trying to get everybody to go on on. We're trying to put our people on election boards and everybody had it nailed down. It's like, well, yeah, I've been telling her to do the same thing, but nobody had a melt down like saying, oh, Terry is telling Terry, I guess I'm not, I don't have the kind of megaphone that he has, but everybody had a meltdown when he said it. And it's like, but, but the antidote to that is you owe apply. Speaker 1 00:30:10 Yes. Speaker 2 00:30:12 You don't just sit back and say, oh, they're putting all their people on. They're putting, they're putting their people on because the people are in there trying to get on. Speaker 1 00:30:21 Right. So I appreciate, uh, the analysis. I want to remind everybody that they can sign up for your newsletter and read your stuff at Terry cane field. Let me spell that for people. T E R I K a N E F I E L d.com. And so if you go there, you can sign up to get notified. When there are new articles, you can read Terry stuff on her site. I would also highly encourage everybody to follow her on Twitter. Her Twitter feed is wonderful. And finally, we don't talk about this whenever we have Terry on, but she is an author of multiple books, including books for young people. Uh, so you can go check all of that out by her books, but mostly, uh, we appreciate the great work she does analyzing the current situation and keeping us from having unneeded meltdowns, which we sometimes those of us on the left, certainly do Terry Canfield. Thank you so much for your time and, uh, keep, keep telling us the truth. Speaker 2 00:31:36 Thank you. Thanks for having me. Speaker 1 00:31:39 So there you have it. The Republican party has a choice. Will they choose the rule of law and truth and a shared reality, or will they reject the rule of law? Thus rejecting democracy, believe in myth and look toward a strong man or strong woman to lead our country. That is the choice facing national Republicans today. And it will become apparent over the next so many months. If it isn't apparent already, we need to call this out. We need to name it. And we need to say that if you reject a shared reality, if you reject truth, and if you reject the rule of law, then you are rejecting democracy. Our thanks to Terry cane field for taking time to be with us. And my thanks to you for listening. If you found this valuable, please share it with others and go to any podcast platform and subscribe until next time. This is Bruce Naples from moving

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