Observer Alexei Naumov discusses the political future of the Republican Party and the United States.
“We say Lenin, we mean the Party, we say Party, we mean Lenin!” By writing these lines more than a century ago, Vladimir Vladimirovich (Mayakovsky, of course) assessed United States politics like no other Russian citizen. Surprisingly enough, his poem about Vladimir Ilyich Lenin reflects the current state of the U.S. Republican Party, which lined up behind its leader during the most controversial point in its history.
Russian society does not yet comprehend the significance of the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. For many Muscovites, it almost looked like a national holiday led by a Viking wearing an animal pelt. For Americans, it was a desecration of the most sacred symbol of the U.S. national religion – desecration of faith in the United States.
At this point, it’s not important that the rioters who yelled, “Hang Mike Pence!” didn’t really mean to go through with their threat to force the U.S. government to declare Donald Trump a new god, an emperor, or worse, a Reich chancellor. The mere fact that the rioters managed to break into the Capitol unmasked the trivial downside of popular sovereignty. According to the Pew Research Center, more than a quarter of those who identify as Republicans expressed “shock, horror and anguish” over the violent rampage in the U.S. Capitol.
The outburst of public wrath presented the Republican Party with the unique chance to rethink its prospects, which now seem vague. In the last four years, Trump, who started his political journey as a reckless attention-seeker, a passionate populist and a cheeky TV star, turned into the standard bearer and unifier of all Republicans. The Soviet government used to proclaim that “the people and the Party are indivisible.” The 2020 presidential election in the United States showed that Republicans seem to think along the same lines. More than 75 million people voted for Trump, who was once described as a con man with a Twitter account.
For the Republicans, Trump has become a sort of drug. They completely stepped away from the party’s traditional values such as deregulation, social conservatism, morality and religion-based principles. Trump’s personal ambitions have become the new Republican ideology. In return, Trump presented the party with a few boring advisers, immature bravado and populism, which he used to exploit people’s discontent for the party’s political purposes. Again, paraphrasing Mayakovsky, We’re no longer as timid as newborn lambs; [the Republicans’] wrath turns into clouds, slashed by the lightning of [Trump’s] speeches.
After two weeks of anguish caused by the storming of the Capitol, when the American media often quoted Sen. Mitch McConnell, who claimed he was going to vote to convict Trump, the Republican Party made its choice. Impeachment became the main point of contention between Trump supporters and revisionists. Ten House Republicans voted to impeach Trump, including Liz Cheney, the House Republican conference chair, who became a leader of the anti-Trump political movement.
Trump supporters responded immediately. Some 45 out of 50 Senate Republicans voted that Trump’s impeachment trial was unconstitutional, and thus refused to even look into the allegations against their leader. To convict the president, the Senate needed 17 Republican votes, which was hopeless from the very beginning. Furthermore, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has become Cheney’s loudest opponent. Greene is infamous for wearing a mask with the words “Trump won” on it (a statement Greene truly believes). She is also known for her particular views on certain events. Before her political career took off, Greene blamed California fires on space lasers funded by the Rothschild family on Facebook. Her post went viral turning the phrase “Jewish space laser” into a meme.
Greene has also backed the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims that the U.S. is governed by a ring of Satan-worshipping pedophiles. Greene asserts that Trump and a small group of true American patriots were the only ones who fought a secretive war against this force. The QAnon community has also claimed that Trump can be inaugurated on March 4, while President Joe Biden’s “phony inauguration” is a part of a treacherous plan to destroy America.
The final battle between “the left” and “the right” took place on Feb. 3, when House Republicans voted that Cheney should keep her post in a secret ballot. Thus, the Republicans kept their party structure intact. However, Cheney received a much larger number of contentious questions than Greene did about her Jewish space laser theories. Greene even retained her seats on congressional committees, despite the Democrats’ demands to remove her.
As a result, a person who argues that the 9/11 attacks and mass shootings were a hoax became a more fitting member of the Republican Party than Cheney, who dared to challenge Trump and will now have to face Trump supporters in her native state of Wyoming.
In modern America, where a social media platform can suspend the president’s account, internet providers can deny conservative companies service and one can get “canceled” (boycotted and ostracized) for making careless remarks, such political speech can make a politician successful. It is going to be a long time before Biden’s dream of uniting America will come true.
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