The Atlantic published an op-ed on Thursday comparing the GOP to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of the late 1970s, claiming that Republicans — like the last Soviet-era holdouts in the Kremlin — are “growing more aggressive and paranoid” as the “dying” Republican Party is described as “more of a danger to the United States than to the world.”
The essay, penned by Harvard professor and prominent anti-Trump voice Tom Nichols, is titled, “The Republican Party Is Now in Its End Stages” and begins by claiming that the GOP “has become, in form if not in content, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of the late 1970s.”
Clarifying his intent, Nichols writes that “the Republicans have entered their own kind of end-stage Bolshevism, as members of a party that is now exhausted by its failures, cynical about its own ideology, authoritarian by reflex, controlled as a personality cult by a failing old man, and looking for new adventures to rejuvenate its fortunes.”
After describing the Soviet Union’s Communist Party as “a vehicle for a cabal of elites, with a cult of personality at its center” whose members could be denounced or fired if they “questioned anything, or expressed any sign of unorthodoxy,” Nichols writes “This should all sound familiar.”
Nichols goes on to accuse the GOP of hypocrisy and idolization.
“The Republican Party has, for years, ignored the ideas and principles it once espoused, to the point where the 2020 GOP convention simply dispensed with the fiction of a platform and instead declared the party to be whatever Comrade—excuse me, President—Donald Trump said it was,” he writes.
“Like Brezhnev, Trump has grown in status to become a heroic figure among his supporters.”
"Like Brezhnev, Trump has grown in status to become a heroic figure among his supporters. If the GOP could create the rank of 'Marshal of the American Republic' and strike a medal for a 'Hero of American Culture,' Trump would have them both by now."https://t.co/q0S8NrLSMm pic.twitter.com/68zpV0DCBa
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) February 25, 2021
The Republican Party which “once prided itself on its intellectual debates” is accused of being “ruled by the turgid formulations of what the Soviets would have called their ‘leading cadres,’ including ideological watchdogs such as Tucker Carlson and Mark Levin.”
“Like their Soviet predecessors, a host of dull and dogmatic cable outlets, screechy radio talkers, and poorly written magazines crank out the same kind of fill-in-the-blanks screeds full of delusional accusations, replacing ‘NATO’ and ‘revanchism’ with ‘antifa’ and ‘radicalism,’” Nichols writes.
The Republican Party is then described as going even further than the Soviets, who murdered at least 20 million of their own civilians.
“Falling in line, just as in the old Communist Party, is rewarded, and independence is punished,” Nichols writes. “The anger directed at Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger makes the stilted ideological criticisms of last century’s Soviet propagandists seem almost genteel by comparison.”
Nichols then warns of the dangers posed by the GOP.
“A dying party can still be a dangerous party,” he writes.
After Communist leaders are described as having “arrayed a new generation of nuclear missiles against NATO, invaded Afghanistan, tightened the screws on Jews and other dissidents, lied about why they shot down a civilian 747 airliner, and, near the end, came close to starting World War III out of sheer paranoia,” the GOP parallel is then noted.
“The Republican Party is, for now, more of a danger to the United States than to the world,” Nichols writes.
The GOP’s “cadres” are then described as “growing more aggressive and paranoid,” just like the “last Soviet-era holdouts in the Kremlin.”
Accused of blaming “spies and provocateurs” for the early January Capitol riot, Republicans are then described as being “obsessed” with last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, as well as being “fixated on all criminals and rioters other than their own.”
“Another lesson from all this history is that the Republicans have no path to reform,” Nichols writes. “Like their Soviet counterparts, their party is too far gone.”
Comparing efforts by the “remaining handful of reasonable Republicans” to those who sought to “reform the Soviet Communist Party,” the essay claims that such individuals are destined to be reviled.
“Gorbachev tried to, and he remains reviled among the Soviet faithful to this day,” Nichols writes.
“The Republican Party, to take a phrase from the early Soviet leader Leon Trotsky, should now be deposited where it belongs: in the ‘dustbin of history,’” Nichols concludes.
Last year, he proclaimed that then-President Donald Trump — whose supporters are “trapped in perpetual adolescence” — lacks “masculinity” and is fearful of women.
In 2018, Nichols called on Republicans to rescue their party by voting against it, writing that the GOP has been “captured by the personality cult that has congealed around President Trump” and has become “utterly submissive to its erratic but powerful prime minister.”
That same year, Nichols described Fox News as an addictive drug for paranoid elders.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.