Mad Dog McCarthy TAUGHT Mad Dog Trump
How McCarthyism Became Common Republican Tactics
After President Harry Truman, who was famous for working with black people at the start of the Civil Rights Movement, Americans elected Republican Dwight Eisenhower as president. Eisenhower, surprisingly, continued the fight for civil rights by passing the Civil Rights Act. This angered many members of his own party and Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy’s popularity soared.
A Mad Dog to Stir Passion and Create Party Loyalty
McCarthy was already popular when Eisenhower ran. He was known for making crazy unfounded accusations against anyone he wanted to. He asserted that Truman was a communist. He really angered Eisenhower when he called Truman’s Secretary of State a communist. Eisenhower kept his opinions quiet while he campaigned, something he admitted that he regretted dearly.
As Eisenhower worked diligently on civil rights issues, McCarthy was a mad dog who said that 54 members of Congress were communists. This was at a time where relationships with Russia were breaking down and the US was locked in a cold war where each country emphasized its ability to blow the other one up with nuclear weapons.
This McCarthyism really appealed to Republican voters who were scared, especially those in the South. In fact, over half the country had a favorable opinion of McCarthy after Eisenhower was elected. McCarthy had no proof for any of his accusations. But that didn’t seem to matter to Republican voters. He made outlandish boasts about cleaning up Washington and he appeared strong and decisive. Sound familiar? McCarthyism is now defined as reckless and unfounded attacks on individuals by questioning their patriotism and character.
McCarthyism worked for Republicans! So McCarthy just kept on making false accusations throughout the fifties. He didn’t just stop at communism. At a time when homosexuality was illegal, he also accused prominent individuals in government, film, and other industries of being gay. His accusations had a devastating effect on the careers of those individuals. That’s why he did it!
This era became known as the Red Scare. And while most Americans were focused on Russia, McCarthy’s attacks on communists were very calculated for a very different purpose. Many prominent black leaders were members of the communist party. By associating communists with Russia and the possibility of being blown up by a nuclear bomb, McCarthy turned many Americans away from supporting the Civil Rights Movement.
The McCarthy Model of False Accusation is Followed Today
McCarthyism is still alive and well today. Many people think Donald Trump is a sociopath but I guarantee he knows McCarthy. Many of the tactics that Trump uses come straight out of McCarthy’s playbook – make false accusations (crooked Hillary), scare Americans (Democrats are destroying this country), make false promises (I will drain the swamps!), win political points (elected President).
Of course, Trump isn’t the first Republican to follow McCarthy. Conservative media hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, and Tucker Carlson make their careers on McCarthyism. Their entire shows consist of making false accusations, spinning and lying about current events. When they attack Democrats, they even use the same vernacular, often accusing Democrats of being socialists and communists. Those labels still carry enough negative connations to do damage and win the Republicans votes.
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