People were extremely afraid of communism. But some people took it too far. For example, Joseph R. McCarthy. He went on a rampage of accusing people being communists. McCarthy never had any real facts that any of these people were communists.
The word “McCarthyism” is still used today. It has a definition and everything. The definition comes from what McCarthy was like. It is used for character assasination, guilt by association, and abuse of power in the name of anticommunism. I think that presidents today won’t abuse their power to this extent because of what happened with McCarthy. I’m pretty sure this is not how they want to be remembered.