September 29, 2022

Despite Trump’s legal troubles, GOP political candidates jump to his defense

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney’s crushing primary loss On Tuesday at Trump-endorsed Harriet Hageman, it’s clear (in case there’s still any doubt) just how bigoted the modern Republican Party is.

Last week, Donald Trump’s home was raided by FBI agents armed with a warrant indicating there was probable cause the Espionage Act had been violated. Last month, the networks aired the latest House hearings from January 6, which showed how Trump and his cronies rallied the crowd in an attempt to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power. Yet after all that, Trump remains hugely popular among GOP voters, and Trump’s most vocal GOP critic received less than a third of the votes cast in Wyoming’s Republican primary. She was ousted by a candidate whose career highs as a lawyer involved attacking all environmental regulations, and who, on the stump, urged voters to dump Cheney because by joining the House committee assigned to investigate on January 6, she “betrayed Wyoming, betrayed the country and she betrayed me.”

Trump responded gleefully to Cheney’s primary loss, explicitly presenting it as a reward for his role on the Jan. 6 committee. On his Social truth site, he declared Cheney a “fool” and felt she “should be ashamed of herself”. Trump’s message attacked the “Deselection Committee” as being made up of “political hacks and thugs” and hailed Cheney’s descent into “political oblivion”.
In addition to the childish nature of the post, it is the venom that stands out. Race after race across the country this election season, Trump has attempted — and with some notable exceptions, such as in Georgia — to largely succeed in purging the GOP of any independent voices capable of resisting his authoritarian grip on party rank. and folder. Eight of the ten Republican congressmen who voted for his impeachment will now be removed from office come january. Rusty Bowers, outgoing Speaker of the Arizona Housewho was running for a state Senate seat and angered Trump World by testifying before the Jan. 6 committee, lost his primary. “Stop Theft” Candidates are now positioned as GOP candidates to run for Secretary of State in four of the five 2020 swing states — Georgia, again, being an outlier here. Senate candidates backed by Trump have won primaries in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arizona and many other states. Etc.

Despite Trump growing legal problems and the growing risk he now faces of felony charges and conviction, a slew of GOP political candidates continue to come to his defense and attack his opponents within the GOP as RINOs – Republicans in name only . In their embrace of increasingly extreme language, they buy popularity by espousing a particularly dangerous and undemocratic stew of lies, rumors and conspiracy theories.

This week, for example, the New York Congress hope Carl Paladin, who not so long ago got into hot water for saying that the United States needed a political leader who could move the crowd like Adolf Hitler did, has said on Breitbart Radio that Attorney General Merrick Garland “should probably be executed” for authorizing the FBI search for Mar-à-Lago. Florida Senator Rick Scott compared the FBI raid to the actions of the Gestapo. representing Marjorie Taylor Greene called for defunding the entire Ministry of Justice.

As he struggles in the legal realm, Trump, the GOP puppeteer, is becoming increasingly dangerous in the political realm. Cheney seems to recognize it, and said, after her defeat, that she would do everything in her power – including possibly running for president – to thwart the twice-deposed ex-president’s ambitions to return to the White House. If she does, however, she will no doubt run into a buzz of organized opposition from the GOP, from state GOPs blocking her name from appearing on primary ballots, to decisions of the Republican National Committee of prevent him from appearing on the same debate stage as Trump. . She also established a political action committee, called The Great Task, aimed at educating Americans about the dangers to the democratic system posed by Trump and by his efforts to rewrite history surrounding the events of 2020 and the 6 January 2021.

Now, I’m not a fan — to say the least — of Cheney’s political career before his January 6 committee star turn. She has always been fiercely anti-abortionopposes gun control, supported Trump’s most restrictive anti-immigration policies and, when he was president, voted on their priorities 93% of the time. Her too strongly supported the waterboarding of terrorism suspectsan appalling practice endorsed by his father, Vice President Dick Cheney, and by President George W. Bush, who put a US government stamp of approval on torture.

But right now, when much of the GOP has openly embraced paramilitarism, when political candidates run attack ads showing them wielding assault rifles and stalking their less ideologically pure party brethrenand when the GOP congressional leadership has spoken out in favor of tactics designed to secure electoral victory even in the face of massive opposition from a majority of the electorate, Cheney’s voice matters.

Last June, she spoke of the “personality cult“, grabs the Republican Party. After his defeat in the primary election this week, she expressed her opinion on Trump representing a “very serious threat and risk to our Republic“and came as close as any high-ranking politician has come in recent years to calling for the creation of something akin to a popular front, bringing together Republicans of good conscience, Democrats and independents to stop the drift towards authoritarian governance represented by the MAGA movement and its power-hungry leader.

Cheney is absolutely right about the dangers posed by Trump and by Trumpism, even though it took him many long years to come to these conclusions. But I fear his continued faith in the GOP’s ability to recover is entirely misplaced. This is not the story of a good barrel with a few bad apples. At this point, the whole barrel is corrupted, only a few good apples are left in storage. It’s a bad barrel full of contamination. Or, to abandon the metaphor, it is a political party which, from top to bottom, has, in recent years, almost completely remade itself as an extremist tool intended to inflate a man’s vanity and allow him all the attacks on democratic institutions, on the culture and norms of the Republic. Given that, the idea that his Trumpian mantle can be thrown away seems little more than wishful thinking. And even if it could be, the anti-abortion, anti-immigrant, anti-democratic and pro-torture policies of the pre-Trump GOP should not be romanticized either.