Noam Chomsky: The GOP is a radical insurgency; it’s not a political party

The renowned linguist says Trump isn't an anomaly in today's extremist Republican Party

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published September 23, 2015 9:05PM (EDT)

  (AP/Adel Hana)
(AP/Adel Hana)

MIT Professor Noam Chomsky recently gave his assessment of the Republican race for the White House with former reality-TV star Donald Trump leading the pack after a speech at New York's The New School this weekend and the renowned political thinker surmised that the Grand Ole Party has become too extreme to still be considered a legitimate American political party.

"Republicans have just drifted off the spectrum," Chomsky declared in response to a question about what the "antics" of Trump say about American exceptionalism.

Noting the remarkably similar hawkish bluster against the Iran nuclear deal from supposedly "serious" candidate Jeb Bush and recently departed (from the campaign trail, not life) hopeful Scott Walker, Chomsky said the Republican 2016 field is "off the spectrum of not only international opinion, but even relative sanity."

"I think we should recognize that the other candidates are not that different," from Trump, Chomsky offered. "If you take a look at—just take a look at their views. You know, they tell you their views, and they’re astonishing."

Chomsky went on to cite a 2013 essay by conservative Norm Ornstein and Brooking's fellow Thomas Mann decrying the devolution of the Republican Party to a "radical insurgency":

You can tell that even by the votes. I mean, any issue of any complexity is going to have some diversity of opinion. But when you get a unanimous vote to kill the Iranian deal or the Affordable Care Act or whatever the next thing may be, you know you’re not dealing with a political party.

In a recent interview with Indian magazine, Frontline, Chomsky identified the GOP's race-baiting and bigoted pandering to capture an ever shrinking nativist electorate as the cause for why the Republican presidential primaries have become "spectacles remote from the mainstream of modern society":

It is important to bear in mind that the Republicans have long abandoned the pretense of functioning as a normal parliamentary party. Rather, they have become a “radical insurgency” that scarcely seeks to participate in normal parliamentary politics, as observed by the respected conservative political commentator Norman Ornstein of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute. Since Ronald Reagan, the leadership has plunged so far into the pockets of the very rich and the corporate sector that they can attract votes only by mobilizing sectors of the population that have not previously been an organized political force, among them extremist evangelical Christians, now probably the majority of Republican voters; remnants of the former slave-holding States; nativists who are terrified that “they” are taking our white Christian Anglo-Saxon country away from us; and others who turn the Republican primaries into spectacles remote from the mainstream of modern society—though not the mainstream of the most powerful country in world history.

Watch Chomsky address the 2016 Republican extremism, via Democracy Now:

Chomsky: What Right Does The US Have To Impose Sanctions On Iran?

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Republican Primary Aol_on Donald Trump Noam Chomsky Right-wing Extremism Video