First, Chomsky explained that both parties have become more right-wing, with the GOP embracing radical extremism and mainstream Democrats occupying territory once held by moderate Republicans.
“The Republican party, about twenty years ago, basically abandoned any pretense of being a normal political party,” Chomsky noted. “Their only policies are don’t do anything or bomb. That’s not a political party.”
Chomsky described how Republicans gravitated toward an increasingly radical base in the 1980s and ’90s.
“[Republicans] became so dedicated to the interests of the extreme wealthy and powerful that they couldn’t get votes. So they had to turn to other constituencies, which were always there but were never politically mobilized. So they turned to Christian evangelicals, the nativists who are afraid they’re taking our country away from us. People who are so terrified they have to carry a gun in a coffee shop.”
The Democratic party has also undergone a profound transformation.
“Today’s mainstream Democrats are pretty much what used to be called Republicans. Somebody like Eisenhower would be considered way out on the left,” he noted, explaining that Eisenhower supported New Deal programs, while modern-day Republicans are eternally trying to gut the safety net.