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Women’s Suffrage and Other Visions of Right-Wing Apocalypse

Conservatives have lined up in near-unanimous opposition to any progressive legislation introduced during President Obama’s first year in office. Whether they’ve been railing against health care reform, a climate bill, or financial regulation, their ire has stemmed less from legislative specifics than from a generalized prophecy of doom: Obama’s proposals will move the country toward socialism, bankrupt entire industries and small businesses, and deny Americans their basic freedoms. These arguments, however, aren’t new. Conservatives—not just Republicans, but various politicians and groups who’ve resisted major social changes—recycled them throughout the twentieth century. They used them to oppose numerous progressive measures that Americans now take for granted, from women’s suffrage to child-labor laws to Medicare. Click here to see our collection of choice predictions about disaster that never came. Conservatives today might prefer they be forgotten.

Click here to read Jonathan Chait's feature story on the history of Republic nihilism and what happened to all those great GOP ideas.