The Sorry State of the Republican Party

It’s painful to watch the behavior of elected Republicans in Washington, but that won’t stop the party from coming back strong in November.

Donald Trump is no longer in office, but his toxic style, his disregard for democratic norms and his rejection of some of the fundamental principles of American politics are still popular with his party.

To the casual observer, this may seem like a temporary aberration, but for many Republicans it is a winning formula that is here to stay.

Some Recent Trends

In the last few weeks, the hearings on the nomination of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court were nauseating, as the questioning of some Republican senators seemed to come straight out of the gutter.

Republicans were perversely insistent that the judge was accommodating to pedophiles, which is not true, while implying that she also sympathizes with them, which is tendentious.

For days, we’ve been seeing the deplorable spectacle which is the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court — a high-caliber jurist with an impeccable reputation — being dragged through the mud in an effort to score points with the extreme fringe of the party, including the QAnon crackpot conspiracy theorists, who are obsessed with entirely fictitious allegations of pedophilia among Democrats.

Not a word, however, about the serious accusations of sexual abuse of girls against Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Not to mention the bizarre or downright insane statements by Republican stars such as Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert, who don’t hesitate to rub elbows with white supremacists, notorious fascists or Vladimir Putin apologists, with the blessing of the Republican leadership.

Speaking of Putin, Trump’s admiration for the Russian dictator continues to be a problem, as does his opposition to America’s strong commitment to its allies, which rubs off on his party. For example, a third of Republican representatives recently opposed a symbolic resolution in support of NATO at a crucial time for the alliance.

A Winning Formula?

In the Republican Party, principled conservatism and respect for democratic norms has given way to ideological nihilism and partisan tribalism. Meanwhile, the mainstream media’s sacrosanct standard of balance has made this wacky party seem like a reasonable alternative to the Democratic Party.

In the prevailing cynicism about politics, all compromises of democratic principles and violations of political norms by Republicans are trivialized.

This same cynicism leads the electorate to shrug off the increasingly damning revelations about the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Even criminal charges against Trump, if they eventually come, are unlikely to have much effect on voting intentions.

What will matter most to the electorate this November will be inflation, which makes everything look bad while the U.S. economy and employment are on the upswing.

The current state of the Republican Party in opposition is distressing. However, it is nothing compared to what awaits us when they have a majority in Congress next year and possibly win back the presidency in 2024.

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