Republicans urged to purge extremists after attack on House speaker’s husband – live | US politics


In a New York Times column, historian Matthew Dallek of George Washington University considers the attack on Paul Pelosi in the context of Republicans’ continued embrace of extreme ideologies.

The biggest change the party has made is that it is now tolerating and integrating conspiracy theories and extremism into its governing coalition, Dallek finds, reversing the stance of previous leaders who may have courted voters that held those views, but saw no space for them on their platform.

Here’s what Dallek believes are the consequences of that embrace:

“Until the acceptance of fringe ideas and extremist language and individuals becomes politically costly, and until a set of cultural democratic norms – including the peaceful transfer of power and a healthy tolerance for ideological differences – are restored, we can expect those inspiring political warfare to gain rhetorical strength,” Dallek warns.

“We may be entering an even uglier phase in which assaults on lawmakers and their families become routine, and the ‘apostles’ of violence and bigotry gain power.”

Key events

Pelosi attack may be sign of worse to come, historian warns

Good morning, US politics blog readers. The attack last Friday on Democratic speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband may have been shocking, but it wasn’t an aberration, a George Washington University historian warns. In a column published in the New York Times yesterday, Matthew Dallek traces the assault on Paul Pelosi to the wider erosion of democratic norms in the country, such as the acceptance of extremism by conservatives and the Republican party. He warns that until political leaders seek to purge these voices from their parties, such violence may repeat itself.

Here’s what is on the agenda for today:

  • Joe Biden is heading to Florida to prop up the flagging prospects of Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist and Senate candidate Val Demings.

  • This time next week polls will have opened in the midterm elections, and we will soon find out whether Americans want to give Democrats more time controlling Congress.

  • For all the hubbub, Americans are less fired up about these midterm elections than in 2018, a Gallup poll finds, though enthusiasm is about average for such races in general.

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