How Far-Right Movements Die

Source: The Atlantic
by Matthew Dallek

“[A]t the height of their influence, in the mid-1960s, the Birchers were hardly a marginalized force in American society. Across hundreds of chapters in almost every state, [John Birch Society] activists — mostly white, upwardly mobile, Christian, suburban men and women — won seats on local school boards, traded ideas in their neighborhood bookstores, and volunteered for like-minded political candidates. Birchers helped secure the 1964 GOP presidential nomination for Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. … The organization bequeathed a set of ideas to a host of successors who kept Bircher ideas alive through the decades: Phyllis Schlafly, Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, Michelle Bachmann, Marjorie Taylor Greene, among others. But little more than a decade after its founding, the society began to shrivel. Its membership declined, and its finances suffered. To many Americans, it soon came to resemble a historical artifact. How did it happen? And what does it mean for today’s far-right forces?” (03/16/23)