Read: Clare Conner’s Blog 1/27/17



“The moment Donald Trump descended from his gilded tower and anointed himself as the savior of the United States, I worried. While the press, the Democrats, and most Republicans had a good laugh, I read right-wing websites. I knew Trump had a rabid following. While the left laughed, Trump took over the radical right and the Republican Party.

I knew we were in serious trouble when the “alt-right,” the old racist right, Breitbart, the Tea Party, the Koch network, and the John Birch Society jumped on the Trump Train. I recognized the paranoia, hate, and fear that fueled the John Birch Society and my parents.

The longer the campaign dragged on, the more uneasy I became.

I shared my fears. Friends told me I was over-reacting. They insisted that right-wing radicals could never take power. And that Trump was too stupid, too silly, too ridiculous to win. Plus, of course, millions of Republicans would never vote for the man.

As election results rolled in, my phone started ringing. “What the f— is happening?”  “How did you know this was coming?” Several people were angry that I hadn’t done enough to sound the alarm.

I wanted to scream.

I’ve spent years telling my story of growing up in America’s radical right. I outlined how today’s GOP had adopted the ideas the John Birch Society preached in the early 1960s. I wrote a book about my life—Wrapped in the Flag (Beacon 2013) and spent thousands of my own dollars traveling across the country sharing my personal experiences. I did hundreds of radio interviews. I posted blogs, wrote Tweets, made videos, contacted every person I could think of. No matter, I never landed an interview with Thom Hartmann. Rachel never called. The PR person at Beacon could never get a response from anyone.

I was told that the John Birch Society was a footnote in history. People laughed at the idea that they’d ever have any real impact on our government. As you can imagine, my book was never a big seller.

After Trump’s election, I was sure people would be more interested. After all, most liberals have no idea how the radical right thinks and what they want. I had a unique position: I was a witness to the thoughts and plans of the most extreme right-wingers.

I contacted my publisher about writing another book digging into the conspiracy theories, anarchist ideas, and religious extremism that drives the radical right and the Republican Party. I was told (I kid you not) that there was no interest in such a book. The reason, in their own words, “the thing you warned about has come to pass and the extreme right nature of the Republican Party –and especially this administration– is now on full display.”

Really? So liberals don’t need to understand how we got here and what to do now?

Even today, Americans and the “liberal establishment” keep telling themselves that Trump won’t do what he said he’ll d do. Somehow, the mantle of power will force him to be more presidential. The Republican Party will temper his tantrums and his bullying. He’ll learn to respect our friends (like Mexico) and stand up to our enemies (like Putin). Trump will respect the rule of law and defend the civil rights of all Americans.

Read the rest on Clare Conner’s blog here: