Everything old is new again. That sounds like a nice thing until you get to the Republican Party and its desire to resurrect McCarthyism. Sen. Joe McCarthy was not the one who started the witch hunts now bear his name, but he was the one that took it to such lengths that the whole edifice came crashing down and his name become associated with one of the most shameful times in American history.
The idea of looking into communist activities in the United States actually started with the Dies committee, which eventually morphed in the House Un-American Activities Committee, or HUAC. Originally, HUAC looked into the activities of American Nazi’s during the run up to World War II. After the war, this committee quickly switched to trying to find communists under every bush.