VOX POPULI: Party of rebirth or moans? GOP faces a big choice ahead of 2024

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American aviator Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974), famous for his historic non-stop transatlantic flight in 1927, attended a rally in Iowa in September 1941 as Nazi persecution of the Jews in Germany was escalating.

In his speech, the acclaimed national hero affirmed that American Jews “want to get us involved in the war” while influencing the US government through their sweeping power over the movies, press and radio.

The rally was sponsored by the America First Committee, an isolationist advocacy group characterized by the anti-Semitic and pro-fascist views of some of its influential members, which called on the public to defend the country’s white population from “foreigners” and ignore any criticism.

Does that remind you of someone?

Ex-US President Donald Trump, of course.

Still promoting the conspiracy theory that a secret “deep state” network rules the United States, Trump has announced his 2024 presidential candidacy.

Given the Republican Party’s unexpectedly poor performance in the midterm elections, I understand that some party members have begun to openly express anti-Trump views.

But he’s obviously not so thin-skinned that he flinches. On the contrary, he might well start spouting more profanity and insults against fan division. I can’t be optimistic.

The Plot Against America, a 2004 novel by Philip Roth (1933-2018), presents an alternate history in which Lindbergh is installed as the presidential candidate, wins the party’s nomination, and Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) defeated Election 1940.

The moment Lindbergh wins the presidential nomination at the 1940 Republican convention, people elsewhere groan in amazement and dismay.

Under the Lindbergh administration, the novel’s Jewish protagonist is caught in a storm of anti-Semitism.

In real life, the next presidential election is in two years. Will the Republican Party be reborn?

The last thing I want is to groan again in disgust and disbelief.

–The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 16

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column covering a wide range of topics including culture, art and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column offers useful perspectives and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.

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