Like the McCarthy era, but with no communist threat to support it

How many divisions does the Deep State have?

During the so-called McCarthy era, a single question cut across all partisan and philosophical lines: Were you on Senator Joe McCarthy’s side or not? McCarthy’s conspiratorial, bullying, blunderbuss anti-Communism and “red-baiting” was either defensible or it wasn’t.

Remarkably, for many on the right, the question of whether you were “with” McCarthy almost completely crowded out the question of whether or not you were right-wing or left-wing, Democrat or Republican, or even where you stood on the question of Communism itself. The pressing issue was whether McCarthy went too far in his accusations of vast Communist conspiracies within the government and in other insinuations of treason on a mass scale.

The Trump era is very different from the McCarthy era in many important ways. Chief among them: In the 1950s, Communism was on the march — across borders in Europe and through the institutions of government and academia here at home. Say what you will about Communism (starting with its murderous barbarity), it was a large cause, worthy of the passion it invited.