Back in the 1960s, when the New Deal failed in the sex, drugs, and rebellion of the 1960s, people simply voted in the right. Some 57% supported conservative candidates in the 1968 election. Only the 15% won by the ultra-right George Wallace made that election seem close.
In the 1930s, the Herbert Hoover progressives simply withered away. Both its liberals and many of its business leaders defected to the Democrats, who won by a landslide. The 1890s saw a genuine third-party movement, with the Populists taking over several western states.
Then there were the 1850s. This was the era of pro-slavery violence. It was the era of the Filibusters, pro-slavery men who sought to export their "lifestyle" throughout Latin America. Texas was just a start. There were also invasions of Cuba and Nicaragua, and Honduras, even Canada (seeking the escaped "property" of slaves). (The crew above tried to take over Cuba in 1850.) They were, in a word, terrorists, terrorists bent on enslavng nations. Most Americans have forgotten this era, but Latins never have and never will.
We’re entering something like that era in today’s America. As Glenn Greenwald writes, networks of ultra-rightist cells are beginning to spread their hatred and violence into the conservative mainstream, much as the Filibusters infiltrated Southern politics 150 years ago. Why? Back then the mainstream agreed with the cause of the Filibusters, if not the tactics. A slave-state Cuba could balance out a free-state Oregon. They would countenance the tactics in the name of the greater good. Same with today’s conservatives:
One of the favorite tactics used by such groups is to find the home address and telephone number of the latest enemy and then publish it on the Internet,
accompanied by impassioned condemnations of that person as a Grave
Enemy, a race traitor, someone who threatens all that is good in the
world. A handful of the most extremist pro-life groups have used
the same tactic. It has happened in the past that those who were the
target of these sorts of demonization campaigns that included
publication of their home address were attacked and even killed.
But violence ultimately results in a reaction. This can be a
political reaction, a judicial reaction, even an armed reaction. Very,
very few northerners turned to violence in the 1850s — John Brown being
a notable exception. Only in 1860 did the north turn to Republicanism,
and even then it chose the most moderate man it could, a man who only
wanted to keep slavery from spreading, not ban it outright — Abraham
I don’t mean to minimize any of this. The mainstreaming of hate
means the mainstreaming of violence and anyone — including Greenwald,
including me, including you — could be the next to be targeted.
But these days shall pass. Americans will put up with a lot, but
when they say no more they mean it. And the snapback, when it comes
this time, will be terrible in its righteousness. Let the
neo-Stalinists turned neo-Nazis like David Horowitz remember that. Their statues will be pulled down, their names will become anathema, and their homes will in time become brothels.