Republicans Have a Long Row to Hoe If They Want Revenge

In a thought-provoking commentary about what the Republican majority in Congress might do to respond to past dishonest Democratic investigations, Victor Davis Hanson compares the Democrats’ attempt to bring down Trump and dehumanize his following to the Greek understanding of destructive madness. Hanson invokes the Greek goddess of retribution, Nemesis, who vents her wrath on those who commit wicked or defiling acts. It is hoped this stern goddess may visit vengeance on crazed Trump-haters, thereby confirming the ancient teaching that “what goes around comes around, of Karma, of Nemesis, of payback.”

Under the new Republican congressional majority, Hanson points out, probes can be launched into the misdeeds perpetrated by Democratic politicians and operatives. Those who lied by insisting that Trump “colluded” with the Russians, those who twice impeached the former president on less than credible evidence, and those who used the January 6 Capitol riot to badger and imprison their political critics while hiding the FBI’s role in these events, could conceivably suffer for their misconduct. The fact that the Left’s mendacious, demented standard bearer has been involved in multiple scandals, most recently for snatching unlawfully classified documents as vice president, will give congressional Republicans an exceedingly big target.

I’m not sure, however, that current events will work out like a Greek tragedy in which Nemesis, or the Erinyes (the Furies) wreak vengeance on the crazed evildoer.

For one thing, the evildoers in this case, unlike the subjects in Greek tragedies, are not driven by madness. Nor are they acting out an ancestral curse like Oedipus. They are nasty, clever politicians and leftist ideologues taking advantage of the hand they have dealt themselves.

What the organized Left has done by demonizing Trump and the rest of their political opposition and projecting onto their foes their own subversive actions has benefited the perpetrators. The Left in this country and elsewhere in the West has captured, among other prizes, public administration, the media, educational institutions, surveillance operations, and the military command. It can furthermore claim majority or near majority electorates, thanks to massive Third World immigration and the feminist and LGBT movements, while popular culture is almost entirely in the hands of its allies.

Arguably the Democrats and the American Left have acted quite rationally by fanning racial and gender division. Electorally they have not suffered for their actions. They have also successfully incited their own riots, which they conveniently blamed on their adversaries, and spent years slandering a president whom they happily scapegoated. They also, not insignificantly, did generally quite well in the November midterm elections; and whether or not those contests were fairly conducted is irrelevant to this argument. My point is that even if Democrats rig elections with their cronies in the electronic media and engage in such clownish antics as mail-in ballots being sent to non-secure addresses months ahead of Election Day, they can get away with these games. 

As a colleague of mine who grew up in a “People’s Republic” pointed out, even the Communist authorities would have blushed if confronted by our “democratic elections.” The Commies might have turned red at the thought of treating our strangely marked ballots as valid votes. And they might have broken out into laughter when they were told about how voting machines broke down in Arizona at optimal hours for the Democrats. 

Anyhow, the Democrats get away with this stuff, and anyone who questions their machinations will be vilified on NPR (a.k.a. state radio) as an “election denier.” Deborah Lipstadt, the Holocaust historian, has even compared such miscreants to those who deny Nazi mass murder, but of course, Professor Lipstadt was only referring to Republican election deniers. She never meant to imply that Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, or Hakeem Jeffries were comparable to Nazi sympathizers because progressive spirits undoubtedly have a moral right to challenge Republican victories.

I have no idea how the thin Republican majority in Congress, however well-intentioned, can successfully expose Democratic outrages unless they can break through the bogus reality invented by their enemies. (Please note, Mitch and Mitt, that I am using the term “enemy,” not friendly opposition!) The non-Left must create for themselves a large enough megaphone to counter the other side’s widely diffused fabrications; and they’ll have to win more governorships, congressional seats, and, if possible, the presidency in 2024 if a real shift of power can take place. This is not a small order, but it is the minimum that the nonestablishment needs to make headway against their adversaries.

A small Republican majority in Congress may not generate the effective response to Democratic skullduggery that Hanson is hoping to see. It will take lots more to achieve that desired effect, starting with stricter election laws, better-financed campaigns, and a Republican Party that can match the other side in ruthless determination. Least of all, should the Right set for itself a higher moral bar than it requires of the Left. However comforting it may be to believe that Nemesis is about to pounce on our enemies, the goddess of retribution may still be tarrying elsewhere.

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About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.

Photo: Vintage engraving by Albrech Durer, showing Nemesis , c.1502. Getty Images