The Plotters

Three-quarters of a century ago, home-grown demagogues, most notably Senator Joe McCarthy, raised a hue and cry that Soviet agents and American communists were plotting to turn the United States into a communist nation. The danger of that happening was between negligible and nonexistent. Today, as described by the investigative reporter Jane Mayer, in The New Yorker, some extremely rich people are plotting to convert American democracy into a Putin-style, oligarch-friendly, authoritarian form of government. This time, given the movement’s support by the majority of members of the Republican party, insidiously powerful and effective elements in the right-wing media, and widespread susceptibility to contemporary techniques of disseminating and replicating destructive propaganda, the danger is between substantial and critical.