By Matt Ferner. This article was first published on Huffington Post.
The MIT professor and noted author said “strategic voting” can keep Republican candidates away from the levers of power.
Noam Chomsky, the noted radical and MIT professor emeritus, said the Republican Party has become so extreme in its rhetoric and policies that it poses a “serious danger to human survival.”
“Today, the Republican Party has drifted off the rails,” Chomsky, a frequent critic of both parties, said in an interview Monday with The Huffington Post. “It’s become what the respected conservative political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein call ‘a radical insurgency’ that has pretty much abandoned parliamentary politics.”
Chomsky cited a 2013 article by Mann and Ornstein published in Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, analyzing the polarization of the parties. The authors write that the GOP has become “ideologically extreme, scornful of facts and compromise, and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
Chomsky said the GOP and its presidential candidates are “literally a serious danger to decent human survival” and cited Republicans’ rejection of measures to deal with climate change, which he called a “looming environmental catastrophe.” All of the top Republican presidential candidates are either outright deniers, doubt its seriousness or insist no action should be taken — “dooming our grandchildren,” Chomsky said.
“I am not a believer,” Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, said recently. “Unless somebody can prove something to me, I believe there’s weather.”
Trump isn’t alone. Although 97 percent of climate scientists insist climate change is real and caused by human actions, more than half of Republicans in Congress deny mankind has anything to do with global warming.
“What they are saying is, let’s destroy the world. Is that worth voting against? Yeah,” Chomsky said in a recent interview with Mehdi Hasan on Al Jazeera English’s “UpFront.”
The policies that the GOP presidential candidates and its representatives in Congress support, Chomsky argued, are in “abject service to private wealth and power,” despite “rhetorical posturing” of some, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). GOP proposals would effectively raise taxes on lower-income Americans and reduce them for the wealthy.
Chomsky advised 2016 voters to cast their ballots strategically. He said the U.S. is essentially “one-party” system — a business party with factions called Republicans and Democrats. But, he said, there are small differences between the factions that can make a “huge difference in systems of enormous power” — like that afforded to the president.
“I’ve always counseled strategic voting, Chomsky said. “Meaning, in a swing state, or swing congressional district, or swing school board, if there is a significant enough difference to matter, vote for the better candidate — or sometimes the least bad.”
Chomsky said if he lived in a swing state, he’d vote for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
By no means should this be viewed as an endorsement of Clinton. Chomsky has been a vocal Clinton critic, saying her presidency would resemble that of President Barack Obama, who Chomsky has condemned for using drone strikes to kill individuals the president deems worthy of execution.
In an ideal world, Chomsky might vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who Chomsky has called an “honest and committed New Dealer” who has “the best policies,” despite some criticisms.
Regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, Chomsky told Al Jazeera he’d cast his general election vote “against the Republican candidate” because there may be dire consequences to a GOP victory.
“The likely candidates are, in my opinion, extremely dangerous, at least if they mean anything like what they are saying,” Chomsky said. “I think it makes good sense to keep them far away from levers of power.”