My only quarrel with Rick Perlstein is that he’s 3% high in his estimate:
The reactionary percentage of the electorate in these United States has been relatively constant since McCarthy’s day; I’d estimate it as hovering around 30 percent. A minority, but one never all that enamored of the niceties of democracy—they see themselves as fighting for the survival of civilization, after all. So, generation after generation, they’ve ruthlessly exploited the many points of structural vulnerability in the not-very-democratic American political system to get their way.
The whole thing is worth a read, because Perlstein does his usual good job reviewing wingnut history.
That said, now that we have the diagnosis, doctor, what’s the treatment? This is where we’re all struggling.