Between Scylla & Charybdis
It has occurred to me that I have been very easy on Republicans recently. It is true that the Democrats and their progressive controllers have been giving me oodles of things to write about, each item more outrageous than its predecessor. But the Republicans, in their own way, have been doing more and more dopey things that also deserve exposure.
The most notable dopey thing that Republicans have done recently was to vote Liz Cheney out of the Republican caucus leadership in the House. This was done supposedly because she voted to impeach Trump and had been critical of his actions after leaving the White House. I may not agree with all of Liz Cheney’s conservative policy positions, but I believe that she is a sincere and principled person. Republicans do not need to like Liz Cheney, but they should, at least, respect her.
There are few Republicans that are willing to oppose Donald Trump’s leadership of the Republican Party. In Britain, when a party leader fails to win an election the leader resigns, and a new leader is selected. Instead, Mr. Trump is working to remake the Republican Party in his own (losing) image. After ten Republicans members of Congress voted to impeach him for the January 6th insurrection, he told attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to “get rid of them all.” And nine of them already face primary challengers for the 2022 election. As Donald Junior crowed on January 6th, “This isn’t their Republican party anymore. This is Donald Trump’s Republican Party.”
Trump surrogates and psycho-fants are hitting the road holding rallies in support of Trump and still asserting that the election was stolen. Infamous Trump devotees Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor-Greene have held numerous rallies. A “Patriot Roundup” held in Dallas on Memorial Day featured Michael Flynn (Trump’s DIA Director – briefly) and Sidney Powell (Trump’s lawyer) where Flynn helped auction off a QAnon quilt and other far-right paraphernalia.
At a North Carolina Republican Convention, Mr. Trump continued to denounce the 2020 election as a hoax and called it the crime of the century. A majority of Republicans still believe the election was fraudulent and that Joe Biden’s presidency is illegitimate. A recent CBS News poll discovered that 66% of Republicans believe that Republicans should be loyal to Trump.
Mr. Trump is hoping that an audit of the ballots from Maricopa County in Arizona will provide evidence of a fraudulent election and will overturn that state’s election results in his favor. And now there are even reports that Donald Trump believes he will be reinstated as President sometime in August as a result of these ballot audits combined with some action to be taken by a supposedly loyal Supreme Court.
Long-time Republican elected officials are retiring in droves. Five senators have already announced their retirement, a quarter of all Republican senate seats up for election in 2022. Trump will try to push his psycho-fants into those seats. Or perhaps some of his offspring.
A truly chilling editorial by Fox News Columnist David Marcus trumpets the rise of the New Right and asserts that the Trump presidency has irrevocably changed the American conservative movement. He denigrates Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Mitt Romney and Representative Liz Cheney as part of the “old guard” that wants to turn back the clock and restore the old Republican party of 25 years ago. He goes on to say, “there is no turning back” and that the American conservative movement is now a populist, nationalist party.
But this is really scary stuff. America was founded on principles, not populism or nationalism. And we owe loyalty to those principles and to the Constitution based on those principles. Not to a person. Especially a populist narcissist who has more in common with Juan Peron or Benito Mussolini than with George Washington. It was George Washington that established the peaceful transition of power by retiring in 1796 and it was Donald Trump that tried break that tradition.
Republicans have a good chance to take back the Senate and maybe even the House of Representatives in the 2022 election. There is only one thing that can stop them from making major gains in the off-year election. Donald Trump.
The American people are not very happy with the leftward lurch of the Biden administration. A recent Rasmussen pollshows his approval rate at only 50% against a disapproval of 49%. Other polls show him somewhat higher but not by that much. Tellingly, an Economist/YouGov poll gives Congress only an approval rate of 19% and many polls show that a majority of Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track.
The American people do not want a nationalist populist party running the country any more than they want a woke far-left progressive party running it. The American people are sailing between the Scylla of fascism and the Charybdis of Marxism (similar to the hazardous dilemmas that confronted Homer’s Ulysses), and they are getting scared. Joe Biden was not elected with a mandate to make America into a socialist paradise. He was elected because he is more likeable than Donald Trump and many believed him to be a centrist. Generational change should not be based on a seven vote majority in the House of Representatives and a 50/50 Senate.
The progressive changes at the beginning of the twentieth century (such as women’s suffrage and the popular election of senators) were backed by a broad consensus of the American people. Both Democrats and Republicans voted for those changes. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed by 73% in the Senate and 70% in the House, not by razor thin majorities (most of those opposed were Democrats). The 1968 Civil Rights Act also had large majorities.
Those generational changes were permanent because they were the will of the American people. The proposals being made by President Biden plus other laws such as H.R. 1 (the For the People Act) and a proposal to add two new states are being passed on straight party line votes. Such laws will be reversed if the Republicans ever get the majority in both houses (which many of the bills being proposed are designed to prevent).
Mainstream Republicans and Democrats need to take their parties back or they will find themselves on the outside looking in. In other countries new parties are formed all the time. In El Salvador a new party called New Ideas elected a president and has a super majority in the legislature. A new party in Mexico called Moreno elected Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as president 2018 and seeks to transform that country although it failed to get the necessary super majority in the June 2021 elections. There are new parties in Greece, Italy and Spain as well. The Greens candidate may become the next chancellor of Germany. Most of these parties are on the fringes while in America the fringes are being taken over by the traditional parties. But that still leaves a vast swath of people in the middle that is there for the taking.