No. What mystifies me is the perilous surrender of independent thought by people who should (and do) know better. The toddler is out of office now, thank goodness. But in his wake we have the detritus of a political party that has forgotten who it is, that remains as tied to the unhinged former guy as it was during the nightmare years, and that now has a singular goal: Contaminating the election process so completely that no matter what candidate receives the largest number of votes, the Republican will win.
“Republican,” of course, no longer means what it did in the past. It once referred to a political party. Now, it refers to something more accurately known as Trumpism and it’s not a political party at all nor does it pretend to be. In the 2020 election (you may not have noticed this in the sturm und drang of the process), the Republicans didn’t even bother to write a platform. I guess we were just to presume we’d get more of the chaos of the previous four years and let it go at that.
The more I think about all this, the more questions I have and the fewer answers.
First and foremost: Why did GOP senators not take control of their fate, band together and vote to convict Trump in either of his impeachment trials? If they had, we would be rid of him (U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 3) and presumably the GOP could have begun to reconstitute itself as a real political party.
That going unanswered, my next questions are these: What? and How?
- What are the perks of being a Congressperson or Senator that render persons willing to
- efface themselves
- spew falsehoods
- become willfully blind to what is happening around them, and
- in general, deny their own moral compass (assuming they had one before they embarked on a political career)
- Beyond the obvious threat to withhold political support and back a primary opponent, how does Trump evince such loyalty? If we were living in a rational world, we would probably guess either
- by threatening the safety of the politician and his or her family or
- by offering monetary reward
Although Trump and his gaggle of hangers-on sometimes behave as though a presidential election is just around the corner, we have three more years to go, and a lot can happen between now and then. It’s encouraging to see prominent conservatives joining others from varied political backgrounds to call for Congress to pass voting rights legislation, even if it’s necessary to change the filibuster to do so. “An Open Letter in Defense of Democracy” penned by three political thinkers and supported by many others can be read in The Bulwark.
And for a more extensive list of current and former Republican officials who have indicated they lean away from Trump, see a running list in The New York Times You’ll find many familiar names: Cindy McCain, John Kasich, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, John Bolton, just to name a few. Perhaps a real political party will emerge from the wreckage of the GOP. Perhaps that will save our democracy.