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Profs and Pints DC presents: “The Rise of the GOP’s Extremists,” a historical look at how the Republican Party’s fringe became its mainstream, with Matthew Dallek, political historian, professor of political management at George Washington University’s College of Professional Studies, and author of the forthcoming Birchers: How the John Birch Society Radicalized the American Right.
How did the political party of Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush become the party of “Build the Wall,” QAnon, election denialism, and January 6th?
Come to DC’s Little Penn Coffeehouse to hear Matthew Dallek offer a historical perspective on the factors that enabled the far right to radicalize and eventually engulf the Republican Party.
Professor Dallek will examine the individuals, movements, ideas, and structural forces that aided the rise of the GOP’s fringe and led to the recent ascendance of far-right conservatives over the mainstream Republicans that they have long been pitted against. He’ll discuss how the far right receded for several decades after the defeat of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign but was kept alive by groups such as the John Birch Society and the Moral Majority and by individuals such as George Wallace, John Schmitz, and Sarah Palin. And he’ll describe how Republican leaders such as Bob Dole and John McCain both accommodated and antagonized the fringe, forging an uneasy alliance that was also riven with mutual recriminations.
His talk will trace some of the external shocks that upended American politics in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, popularizing the far-right’s anti-interventionism, nativism, explicit racism, conspiracism, and politics of the street in ways that few anticipated. You’ll learn about the political, cultural, economic, and global developments that set the stage for the rise of the Tea Party and MAGA, and emerge with a much more sophisticated understanding of how a movement once seen as beyond the bounds of respectability entered the mainstream of American politics. (Advance tickets: $12. Door: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)
Image: Kari Lake hails supporters at an October 2021 rally in her bid to become Arizona’s governor. Photo by Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons.