Gregory Graf: Candid Conversation on the Maze of Extremism and Republican Politics

Gregory Graf, you’re talking to me about the extremism of Republican politics? It’s like opening up a can full of worms and then discovering that the can actually is a portal into another dimension, which contains even more worms. Let’s go ahead and dive right in.

Gregory Graf is not your typical political analyst. He eats and sleeps politics, but in an interesting way. This guy has opinions that are sharper than an ax and is not afraid to express them.

What’s going on with the GOP? Graf says that the GOP has been riding a rollercoaster and somehow ended up in uncharted terrain. He says that “back in the old days, it was Reaganomics and tradition values.” It’s like a new game.

Why is this game different from the rest? Extremism. Extremism. Graf says, “It is one thing to hold strong convictions.” Graf says, “It is another thing to deny the reality.”

It’s tricky to define extremism. You can think of it as trying to nail Jell-O on a wall. Some people in the party want to stick it to their leader (or lady) by fighting what they perceive as an overreaching state. Others outside the party may see it as a rejection of anything that does not fit a narrow view.

Enter Donald Trump stage right (or stage far-right?). Graf is convinced that Trump did not start the fire, but he certainly poured gasoline on it. He shakes his head and says, “This man was a master at playing up grievances and fears like no one’s business.”

What are the implications? Has the GOP sailed to extremist shores and never returned? Graf offers us some hope here: “Parties change; that’s just what they do.” He thinks there are plenty of Republicans that value dialogue above division.

It remains the million-dollar issue: can those voices bring their party back to sanity and regain its sanity in the process? Are we doomed just to sit back and watch politics become less about governing, more about grandstanding.

After our conversation ended (without signs of world peace erupting), I could not help but think we had barely touched the surface. Debating the extremism of Republican politics is like discussing if pineapple should be on pizza with an Italian family reunion. You’ll get lots and lots of opinions, but not definitive answers.

It’s obvious that American politics are at a fork in the road (or perhaps a roundabout?) Every turn seems to lead further from a common ground.

Conversations like this are important, regardless of whether you’re on the left or the right. These conversations remind us of the importance of debates and diverse opinions in a democracy, even when it feels as if we are arguing about which side to hang toilet paper.

Let’s continue talking. (And maybe add some pizza to the mix, without pineapple) Who knows? We may yet find our way through this maze.

Who knew politics could be so…spicy? What a surprise! Who would have thought that politics could be this… spicy?

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