Words and phrases, continuously repeated, achieve two opposite ends – establishing a desired perception and stripping them of original meaning. As long as I can remember the political right has called the political left socialists, communists, and everything red in between. The labels themselves have no real meaning to the average person. Most would be hard pressed to come up with a plausible definition. The labels are a way to make the left an other. A group that stands outside of our shared values, whatever that is. Whenever the political right talks about shared values and founding principles it’s almost always a way to limit who belongs within the American power structure. The language the right uses makes the left appear radical, like their ideas are outside of the bounds of acceptable discourse. While the right has been building this narrative of radicalism they themselves have become radical as a result. Their ideas, to the extent that they have any new ones, have failed miserably in practice and public debate. They’re incapable of winning the popular vote of a national election and have resorted to scaremongering rhetoric to survive, while at the same time masking a radicalism that wants power without winning a debate of ideas.
So it seems calling your opponent radical for 50 years is a good way to radicalize yourself. Anyone who talks about the constitution as much as people on the right surely have a skewed perception of what it contains and have invented their own meaning. It’s basically whatever they say it is. Let’s not sugar coat things. There are people who live in reality and others who create their own every day. They’re fucking scary.