Numerous articles are being written about the better mood in the nation’s capital now that President Joe Biden is in the White House and Democrats control Congress, albeit narrowly. Competent handling of the coronavirus pandemic with millions of vaccinations in arms per day and a huge $1.9 trillion relief package signed into law have spirits on the rise across the country, as they should be. A lot has been accomplished and the president’s first 100 days aren’t quite fulfilled.
Still, I am reminded of the many times I have walked by the National Archives Building in Washington, DC and experienced patriotic feelings as I read the words carved in stone at its entrance, particularly one sentence: “Eternal Vigilance Is The Price Of Liberty.” I believe this admonition has never been more relevant than it is today and it should speak to those who might become less politically vigilant now that former president Trump has lost power.
Those so inclined, however, must keep in mind what happened on January 6. First, a mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s victory. Then, after they were repulsed, 147 Republican members of Congress – which included 60% of Republicans in the U.S. House – attempted to accomplish the same result by voting against certifying Biden’s election victories in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Among them are Republicans who – like the insurrectionists – are openly racist and/or radical conspiracy theorists. January 6 was not only shocking; I believe it was a dress rehearsal for the future.
The Capitol attack and congressional Republican votes against election certification were based on Trump’s “Big Lie” about election fraud, which has no supporting evidence and has been thoroughly debunked. Sadly though, six out of 10 Republican voters believe that the presidential election was stolen from Trump due to fraud, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Republican state legislators in 43 states are using Trump’s false voter fraud claims as justification for drafting over 250 bills that would limit mail-in voting, early in-person voting, hours for voting and absentee voting. Clearly, their target is Black and brown Democratic voters but this legislation also shows that Republicans fear competing in free and fair elections.
Why? Well, in my opinion, the GOP is no longer the party of ideas and sound policies; it’s the party of obstruction, fear mongering and fringe groups. Today’s Republicans cater to voters who oppose abortion, gun control, LGBTQ rights, government overreach, immigration and similar right-wing social or cultural issues. And although they don’t promote it overtly, they are obviously the party of whiteness.
My research indicates that bipartisanship became verboten in the GOP subsequent to President Bill Clinton’s two terms. Sen. Mitch McConnell concluded that working with a Democratic president wasn’t advantageous for congressional Republicans. Subsequently, he did everything he could to obstruct President Obama’s agenda and even proclaimed in 2010 that his number one objective was to make Obama a one term president.
Well, guess what? Republicans want to make Biden a one term president too. One of their current lines of attack focuses on the president’s mental acuity. They want voters to believe that he’s “not all there” and that he’s being “handled” by left-wing socialists. And they will tell any lies they think will be effective, spread any disinformation they can dream up and do anything they can to win back control of the House and/or Senate in 2022 and the White House in 2024.
Backing them will be tens of millions of Republican voters who believe that loyalty to Trump is loyalty to the United States. Remember, his supporters who stormed the Capitol called themselves “patriots.” Although nothing could be further from the truth, the fact that this many Americans support Trump and/or Trumpism is cause for alarm.
We must not forget that but for a few ethical Republicans, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, among others, Trump had a good chance to nullify the results of the presidential election and take control of the government in 2020. He clearly had the intent, but he bungled the coup attempt. Trump apparently lacks the killer instinct that most autocrats possess. If former secretary of State Mike Pompeo or Sens. Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley or Rick Scott become president, however, they might succeed where Trump failed.
I believe that if voters put Republicans back in control of either chamber in 2022, it will be a repeat of the gridlock during Obama’s second term, or worse. And if they put the GOP back in charge of the entire government in 2024, our democratic republic will again be in serious jeopardy. Don’t get me wrong; I believe this nation must have a viable two-party system to preserve democracy, preferably with establishment Republicans back in control of their party. It is clear to me, however, that the current Trumpian Republican Party doesn’t see the two-party system that way at all; they prefer to have only one party – theirs.
My October 30, 2019 blog about the GOP’s struggle to survive concluded, “[T]he GOP is fighting for its life, willing to do just about anything to survive. And in the process, they pose a real and present danger to our democratic republic.”
Make no mistake, that warning is even more cogent today.
Note: I have been publishing a blog about every two weeks. Some that have a picture heading, or for some other reason, may end up in your spam or junk mail. Just wanted to make you aware of this. Again, I really appreciate it when followers reference my blog on their Facebook page or send a copy of a blog to like-minded friends.