Joe McCarthy (R-Wi) was a senator from Wisconsin, a state that was instrumental in Donald Trump’s Electoral College victory. His ascension to prominence began when he instilled fear in the hearts of Americans with the Red Scare of the 1950s, whereupon numerous Americans had their lives ruined as McCarthy led the charge to root out Communism in our government.
While it was eventually exposed as a hoax, it transfixed our attention on Congressional hearings as his committee, the House Un-American Activities Committee, paraded a seemingly endless host of alleged Communist sympathizers who had their lives destroyed by the mere fact they were even named by someone, with little or no evidence.
It was the origin of the term “Witch Hunt” when referring to any politically motivated investigation.
As the Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump continues, there are echoes of McCarthy in the halls of Congress as the “Witch Hunt” term has been resurrected by this administration, this time in reference to any investigation into the actions of the Trump White House.
The tactics of Trump and McCarthy are surprisingly similar; accuse without facts, keep repeating the false claims, and instill fear in anyone who dares to question your methods. And they have one common association; Roy Cohn. Cohn was chief advisor to Senator McCarthy and he later took a young entrepreneur, Donald Trump, under his wing.
Time will tell if Trump will meet the same ignominious fate as McCarthy. When the McCarthy scare was exposed, his career quickly imploded. Will impeachment lead to Trump’s downfall? Based upon his tremendous support among Republicans, this appears unlikely, although Richard Nixon’s popularity saw a dramatic shift from a landslide election victory to resigning in disgrace as his impeachment hearings began.
The cries of Fake News have replaced the accusations of being a Communist, but we are faced with the same divisiveness where a certain vocal minority is hijacking our political system.
Obviously, we have ignored the lessons of history.