A supporter of US President Donald Trump carries a Confederate flag as he protests in the US Capitol Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.

A supporter of then-U.S. President Donald Trump carries a Confederate flag as he protests in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Beware the Republican Plot to Replace US Democracy With a New Confederacy

Democrats—and Americans more generally—must finally realize that Trump’s MAGA GOP is no longer interested in policy or politics but solely wants to seize absolute political and economic power.

Have you noticed how rarely Republicans talk about actual issues?

  • They rant about brown people pouring over the southern border but refuse to even discuss what could be done about it. In fact, when the Senate came up with a workable solution, Republicans in the House killed it at the insistence of former U.S. President Donald Trump. No policies, no solutions other than a Nazi-like roundup of 11 million people and a series of concentration camps.
  • They complain about the state of the economy, but have no arguments about what can be done to enhance the economy other than more tax cuts for billionaires, who are already paying a pathetic average 3.4% income tax.
  • They whine that our students aren’t doing well but refuse to engage in any serious discussion about how to take us back to the era when America had the newest and most successful public education system in the world.
  • They’ll yell about prescription drug prices and the high cost of insurance, but their only policy suggestion is to end Obamacare and Medicaid.
  • They love to slander BLM and big cities with large Black populations but refuse to even entertain a conversation about healing the racial divide in this country; instead, their efforts are directed toward outlawing or decertifying Black History classes, as just happened in South Carolina.

All of this is because the GOP is now a post-politics party.

The reason why is simple and straightforward: The people who’ve captured the Republican Party envision a day when they won’t have to even pretend that they’re engaging in good-faith political discussions or negotiations because they will have outlawed, sidelined, or intimidated their opposition into impotence and silence.

They’re using our political system this election year, in other words, so they can seize enough power to destroy our political system.

And they have a model they’re using for what they want to replace it with: the Confederacy.

The new GOP motto might as well be, “We don’t need no stinkin’ issues; we just want power and revenge for the heroes of the Old South and the New Insurrection.”

In the first decade of the 19th century, the invention of the cotton gin transformed the South, as I detail in The Hidden History of American Oligarchy. The machine could do the work of 50 enslaved people, so the wealthiest plantation owners could wipe out thousands of small farmers and other competitors.

Now that one machine could clean as much cotton as 50 people, every cotton plantation faced the possibility that it could produce 50 times as much cotton (and profit), if only it had 50 times as much land to grow the cotton on and 50 times as many people to pick it.

The wealthiest among the Southern oligarchs colluded on price-fixing to bankrupt and then buy out small farms and plantations for pennies on the dollar. Within a few decades, by the early 1840s, a handful of fabulously wealthy families had seized complete control of the economic and political systems of each state in the Old South.

And they brooked no opposition: White men who dared run or vote against them in elections were often assassinated or lynched; newspapers were seized and handed over to oligarchs friendly to the plantation owners; elections became a mere charade. They even monitored the mail: If you wrote a letter to a friend complaining about the end of democracy, you’d find yourself in prison or hanged from a tree.

Democracy in the South, by the 1850s, was completely dead. The Confederacy had become a police state. And then they reached out to try to end that pesky remnant of democracy in the North, as well.

It’s nearly exactly what the MAGA GOP is trying to do today.

As historian Dr. Forrest A. Nabors wrote in his brilliant book From Oligarchy to Republicanism: The Great Task of Reconstruction, the richest families in the South had replaced democracy with a violent oligarchy, what today I’d call fascism:

A new generation of rulers reshaped the South around their new ruling principle… The development of Southern oligarchy portended the rupture of the union, regardless of the ties that bound them together, because no ties, physical, legal, or otherwise, can overcome the difference between fundamentally opposed types of political regimes.

Illinois’ Representative John Farnsworth noted that history in his 1864 speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives:

[With t]he invention of the cotton-gin,… the greed for power took possession of the slaveholders, and the avarice of these men overleaped itself…

Then it was, Mr. Speaker, that the slave power got the control of the government, of the executive, legislative, and judicial departments.

Then it was that they got possession of the high places of society. They took possession of the churches. They took possession of the lands. Then it became criminal for a man to open his lips in denunciation of [them].

Then followed… the throttling of the right to petition; suppressing the freedom of the press; the suppression of the freedom of the mails; all these things followed the taking possession of the government and lands by the slave power, until we were the slaves of slaves, being chained to the car of this slave juggernaut…

This is the model that today’s GOP, the reinvented Confederacy, is using to replace modern American democracy.

And they’re not even bashful about it: It’s why 10 Republican-controlled states officially commemorate the Confederacy with state holidays every year and six refuse to recognize Juneteenth: Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Former President Ronald Reagan’s massive tax cuts (and Bush’s and Trump’s) had the same oligarch-producing impact as the cotton gin; before Reagan, billionaires were virtually unknown and few wealthy people were politically active. Today, they own Congress, our social and news media, and the Supreme Court.

The billionaire-funded Project 2025 is this generation’s version of John C. Calhoun’s nullification speech and South Carolina’s secession proclamation.

In this brave new world run by Citizen Trump and the MAGA GOP:

  • Slave labor is replaced by the perpetual poverty and servitude of a $7.25 minimum wage and Red state laws hostile to unions. Children are encouraged to leave school and enter the workplace in dangerous jobs like slaughterhouses.
  • Quality education becomes exclusively the province of the rich and white as public schools are gutted by voucher programs while college tuition explodes.
  • Healthcare is a luxury only available to the wealthy as insurance becomes unaffordable, Republican governors refuse to expand Medicaid, and medical practices are acquired by hedge funds and converted to concierge practices with $3,000/year annual fees.
  • Media that speaks truth to power are bankrupted by new libel laws, taken over, and turned into Republican propaganda machines.
  • Women, people of color, and religious minorities are made culturally and legally subordinate to white “Christian” men.
  • In any Republican-controlled part of the country where there’s a chance a Democrat could win an election, the voter rolls are purged of Democrats and those voters who survive the purges find increasingly complex barriers to casting a ballot.
  • And, of course, they want to preserve the Confederate names and monuments still extant and bring back the monuments that have been removed. As we saw on January 6, the Confederate battle flag is one of their favorite totems.

The new GOP motto might as well be, “We don’t need no stinkin’ issues; we just want power and revenge for the heroes of the Old South and the New Insurrection.”

It’s why they lie so easily on the Sunday talk shows and in political campaigns: They don’t give a damn about issues. All they care about is power.

And their base is with them. As Oliver Markus Malloy wrote in the headline for his Bad ChoicesSubstack newsletter yesterday, “MAGA dumbfucks are so fucking dumb, they have no idea that the pro-slavery Confederates were the bad guys!”

In fact, they know what the sides were in the Civil War, and they are intentionally choosing—embracing—the Confederacy.

Democrats—and Americans more generally—must finally realize that Trump’s MAGA GOP is no longer interested in policy or politics but solely wants to seize absolute political and economic power to end our democracy and reinvent the Confederacy.

Only then we can begin a discussion about how to deal with this Second Great Insurrection that they hope will reboot the Civil War only—now outfitted with deadly bump-stocks—this time with a different outcome.

Until then, as we try to debate “issues,” we’re merely engaging in meaningless political theater. Instead, we must identify, ostracize, and politically and legally crush this growing and violent insurrection against America and her traditional ideals.

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