It is becoming more and more obvious that if the GOP takes back control, America’s political institutions will not defend our democracy.
People frequently point to Trump’s impeachment, the (eventual) change in administrations, and the ongoing House select committee proceedings as proof that our institutions can stand their ground and serve as a defense against right-wing fascism. However, the stewards who are chosen to look after such organizations determine how moral, effective, and strong they are.
Even though the Republican Party is a privately held organization, it counts as an institution in our two-party system because its members are elected to public office to represent their voters, protect the nation, and uphold the Constitution. But how can a democracy endure when the GOP has been consumed by a right-wing extremist movement whose members advance Christian nationalism, spread antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ conspiracies, and are prepared to purge and demolish these very institutions in order to achieve their objective of minority rule?
Not at all.
The hearings on January 6 have shown that the country was actually on the verge of a historic constitutional crisis, and it would have passed over the cliff had it not been for the intervention of a small group of Republicans who chose to put their nation above a fanatical cult of personality. Unfortunately, the GOP has become even more politicized since January 6 and has stopped holding Trump accountable.
The House Judiciary GOP, for instance, uploaded a clip of Trump exclaiming, “Bo-ring!” in reaction to these serious hearings and incriminating evidence. It’s a childish reaction to some of the most important. If the GOP is a “American institution,” as my Daily Beast editor Anthony Fisher called it, “institutions did not hold after Jan. 6.”
His perspective is supported by the information from this week’s proceedings.
Numerous devoted Republicans, including members of Trump’s inner circle, testified that Trump had a direct hand in the unlawful installation of phony electors in key states. The public heard the audio recording of Trump pressuring Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find him the 11,000 votes he needed to flip the state: “Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. I need a break.
We discovered that even though lawyer John Eastman, the mastermind of the “coup in quest of a legal theory,” knew his “constitutional mischief” would fail, he and his crew of assassins proceeded regardless. On January 6, Vice President Mike Pence, who was standing forty feet away from a hostile mob yelling “Hang Mike Pence,” was purportedly joined by Sen. Ron Johnson. Sen. Johnson’s aide attempted to hand a list of fictitious electors to Pence. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona also did his part by requesting that Rusty Bowers, the speaker of the state’s House, decertify the electors and annul the results.
Bowers, a lifelong Republican like Raffensperger, claimed in court that he declined to take part because he did not want to cheat on Trump’s behalf. These men and their families have endured months of harassment and threats from Trump backers for upholding the law.
And yet despite being exposed to violence, both men still say they will vote for Trump if he were to run again for president in 2024. This is consistent with a majority of Republican elected officials who, just hours after escaping a violent mob that was prepared to kill for their coup, voted against certifying the 2020 election.
Meet the 11 key players behind the January 6 congressional probe, whose conclusions are being released today in a gallery (Business Insider)
(Just before this article was published, federal officials conducted a raid at the residence of Jeffrey Clark, a former Trump DOJ employee who has been a vocal proponent of the Big Lie.)
Alexa, don’t just tell me you belong to a cult; prove it to me.
These Republicans are merely protecting their own interests, quite literally. If you don’t want to spread the Big Lie, MAGA will threaten you and punish you until you submit. You are purged if you don’t. Rep. Mo Brooks is discovering this the hard way because he was wearing a kevlar vest on the day of the uprising. Even though right-wing activist Ali Alexander claims that Rep. Brooks assisted him in organizing the Stop the Steal Rally on January 6, that evil deed still won’t appease the MAGA crowd. It appears that Brooks’ unforgiveable sin was accepting the outcomes of the 2020 election. After losing to Katie Britt, a candidate supported by Trump, in the Senate primary, Brooks recently announced his retirement.
The Texas GOP is aware of its task. They just unveiled a batshit platform in which they steadfastly support the Big Lie, consider Vice President Biden to be an unfit leader, maintain their right to separate from the United States in 2023, label homosexuals as “abnormal,” and disapprove of transgender individuals. Republicans who represent the nation’s second-most populous state are saying this, not some fringe group.
The institution has been taken over by the inmates. For instance, the Big Lie is held by at least 108 Republicans who have won their primaries since May. The Republican National Committee, not to be outdone, described the attempted coup as “legal political dialogue” carried out by “regular citizens.”
If Republicans retake power, not even the Justice Department, which is meant to be a non-partisan institution, can be relied upon to provide a fair application of the law. Trump put pressure on Bill Barr, his attorney general, and the Justice Department to support his coup. Barr thankfully scoffed with Trump’s assertions, calling them “bullshit.”
What will happen if Trump or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is elected president and installs a partisan who is willing to deploy the Justice Department as the GOP’s own Luca Brasi against all opponents and dissenters?
The Supreme Court is no longer a dependable body willing to defend our rights and democracy. A right-wing activist majority that appears to draw its cues from the Federalist Society is becoming more and more dedicated to promoting its religious zealotry at the expense of popular opinion or accepted precedent.
Ginni Thomas, a well-known right-wing activist who once advised Trump on how to “purge” his administration, is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The evidence demonstrating how Ginni Thomas aggressively texted and contacted Republicans to support Trump in his unlawful plot to rig an election is mounting. In an 8-1 judgment that decided Trump had to provide records to the Jan. 6 committee, Justice Thomas was the lone contrarian; he has yet to withdraw from any Jan. 6 case. One can only speculate as to the harm an extremist judge and their extremist spouse may cause to our democracy if a Republican is elected president in 2024.
Republican-controlled state legislatures now serve as the GOP’s mechanism for contesting unfavorable election outcomes. Tim Michaels, the Republican candidate for governor of Wisconsin who has received Trump’s endorsement, won’t say whether he will certify the outcome of the next election. Doug Mastriano, the GOP candidate for governor in Pennsylvania, also spreads the big lie and attended the uprising. Republican candidate for governor of Arizona Kari Lake tweeted that if elected, she would reject “unconstitutional gun laws.” She questioned, “What are the Feds going to do?” “Fly down here and detain a Governor who is in office? Make me bluff you. What further federal laws would she not uphold if she is elected?
Finally, the RNC is mobilizing a nationwide army of GOP activists who will interfere with election results if necessary through its “precinct strategy” on a local level. They are utilizing poll workers, Republican attorneys, district attorneys who support their party, and party-aligned Boards of Canvassers, who are in charge of certifying the results of the election.
When these radical forces get control, what will they do to our democracy and our fought-for rights?
Mo Brooks complained after his race, “The evil guys won.
The “bad guys” have taken control and are one step closer to removing the few remaining guardrails preventing us from fascism if the GOP is one of our key political institutions that serves as a bulwark to safeguard our democracy.
Where are the good men and what are they doing to stop them, is the query.