As soon as Donald Trump injected himself into the bloodstream of American politics, the Republican party had a problem. And after four years of the Trump presidency, the fascist tendencies he invoked and promoted torpedoed traditional conservatism. As a result, the pre-Trump Republican party lays at the bottom of America’s political ocean, its wrecked hollowed hull a visage of hopelessness.
Although Trump lost resoundingly in 2020, Trumpism remains rampant in the Republican party. Trumpian principles of might-is-right and that lying is perfectly acceptable as long the lies achieve the desired result continues to threaten our democracy.
Republicans in the Senate had multiple opportunities to expunge Donald Trump from the Republican party, with the second impeachment the last best chance. But instead of being proactive, Mitch McConnel and other republicans hedged their bets and sat on their hands. Privately, Republican leadership hoped their voters would have been sickened enough by the events of January 6th to wash their hands of Trump and Trumpism.
Republicans not pushing for Trump’s removal was a strategic decision. The thinking was that if voters said, “enough is enough”, Republican politicians could absolve themselves of the “Trump problem” and avoid getting on the wrong side of Trump. But unfortunately, McConnel and others in the Senate didn’t account for how deeply entrenched republican voters had become in the big lie. They also failed to recognize the degree to which hot-button cultural issues had buttressed the Republican voter’s willingness to turn away from truth and facts.
The Republican leadership’s miscalculation on Trump has led to a “rat-in-the-shower” state of affairs for American Democracy.
Our Democracy is more vulnerable than it’s ever been. And with the midterms in November and the 2024 Presidential election looming, America’s democracy problem has taken on a sense of urgency that we’ve never seen before.
Democrats and independents need to be single-issue voters in 2022 and 2024, and that single issue is Democracy.