Electoralism/Democratism

Chomsky: Midterms Could Determine Whether US Joins Ominous Global Fascist Wave

By Truthout

This week voters will be reshaping Congress in ways that will have profound effects for the future of the country and the world at large. Indeed, this year’s midterm elections are particularly momentous, as Noam Chomsky highlights with his typical brilliance in an exclusive interview below for Truthout.

Chomsky is institute professor emeritus in the department of linguistics and philosophy at MIT and laureate professor of linguistics and Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. One of the world’s most-cited scholars and a public intellectual regarded by millions of people as a national and international treasure, Chomsky has published more than 150 books in linguistics, political and social thought, political economy, media studies, U.S. foreign policy and world affairs. His latest books are The Secrets of Words (with Andrea Moro; MIT Press, 2022); The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. Power (with Vijay Prashad; The New Press, 2022); and The PrecipiceNeoliberalism, the Pandemic and the Urgent Need for Social Change (with C.J. Polychroniou; Haymarket Books, 2021).

C.J. Polychroniou: Midterm elections, in which, typically, about one-third of the seats in the Senate are up for grabs while all 435 seats in the House of Representatives are contested, are yet another peculiar feature of the U.S. political system. However, midterm elections are significant in various ways. First, they are regarded as something of a verdict on the performance of the current president but have lower voter turnout than presidential elections. Secondly, the midterms almost always spell trouble for the party in power. Be that as it may, the upcoming midterm elections, to be held on November 8, are the most critically important elections in recent times both for the country and the rest of the world. Do you agree with this assessment, and, if so, why?

Noam Chomsky: It’s become common in recent years to say that the coming election is the most important ever. There are good reasons. One was laid out starkly by the astute political analyst John Nichols: “The November 8 midterm elections could be the last in which the United States operates as a functional democracy.”

Nichols is not exaggerating. There is no need to review again GOP plans to establish permanent rule as a minority party dedicated to the welfare of the super-rich and corporate sector. While legitimate questions can be raised about the extent to which the U.S. is even now a functional democracy, the descent to the Viktor Orbán-style “illiberal democracy” that is openly the ideal of the Trump-owned GOP would institute a qualitative change. It would not only condemn the U.S. to an ugly fate but would be a major impetus to the ominous fascist wave that is threatening global society.

We should note that GOP dedication to the welfare of the ultra-rich — along with pretense to be the party of the little guy — pays off handsomely. Right now, in fact. As the New York Times reports: “Fueled by an expanding class of billionaires, political spending on the 2022 midterm elections will shatter records at the state and federal levels, with much of it from largely unregulated super PACs financed with enormous checks written mainly by Republican megadonors.”

Critical as are the concerns about the fate of democracy, the issues at stake in the election are still more serious.

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1 reply »

  1. I swear, every election they wheel out Chomsky to lend his supposed radical credentials to mouthing the establishment cliche that “This is the most important election of our lifetimes!!” Someone should really make a video compilation of all the times he’s made nearly identical pronouncements over the past thirty years. Pathetic.

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