Before Rush Limbaugh, there was the notorious “radio priest” of the 1930s and 1940s, Father Charles E. Coughlin.
The article is well worth a read. The source of course is an official publication of the Jesuits in the United States. Same are a Roman Catholic organization (the current Pope is a Jesuit), but not all Roman Catholics are particularly fond of the Jesuits and conspiracy theory bullshit is lobbed on.
What makes the article very good is how self-reflective it is.
But to the discussion point which I am hoping will find ground: (I'll fix it into a quote in a second)
It all sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it? But that familiarity comes not just from Rush Limbaugh’s use of similar tropes and tactics. Rather, it is because Father Coughlin represented just one of many demagogues in U.S. politics and culture who have been able to successfully pinpoint our greatest fears, our hidden prejudices and our deepest resentments and thus to sway huge numbers of the populace into embracing seemingly contradictory or openly un-American positions. Like Father Coughlin, they are aware that the easiest path to power is to wrap oneself up in an American flag...or hold up a Bible.
Now or course the references to the US find less application in South Africa and the current flag in SA has no history of such demagogue wrapping but the nationalist threat has other vehicles and symbols. Moreover I'd argue in the absense of a flag or bible option for a symbol the most frequent symbol to invoke is a deadly weapon (it is no coincidence the shield and wapen have heraldic uses). It is also poignant how the resentment towards differences how LGBTQI+ individuals are an early target, how whataboutism and strong-man apologism kicks in.
I've noted an upswing in grievance feeding talking head YouTube channels and the like have arisen in SA, is it a passing trend?