COLOMBO, November 13 (IPS) – What happened to the Republican Party? Choosing Donald Trump in 2016 as the Republican candidate, giving him victory in the primary after the primary, and later tolerating his idiosyncrasies and unpredictably dangerous political behaviors and decisions were bad enough, even if one tries to digest them as whims of the democratic tradition.
But some Republican leaders going so far as to endorse Trump’s refusal to concede defeat are shocking, if not outright blatant, and the ultimate insult to the Grand Old Party. Among laudable exceptions are former President George W. Bush and Senator and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney who called on President-elect Joe Biden to congratulate him and urged President Trump to concede defeat.
Former Republican presidents, if they are alive, will bang their heads against the wall of democracy in disbelief and, if they are dead, will turn in their graves if they hear that Republican Senate Leader Mitchel McConnell and other senior Republican, tacitly or not, are returning Trump’s claim without evidence that the Nov. 3 election was a fraud.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined this cabal, which told reporters there would be a smooth transition to Trump’s second administration. Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr, meanwhile, ordered the Justice Department’s electoral crime unit to investigate Trump’s election fraud allegations, prompting the head of the unit to resign with disgust.
According to a poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos on Nov. 5, as many as 30 percent of Republicans believed Trump had won the election – an indication of the extent to which Trumpism had penetrated the Republican base.
The party is today stripped of its sacred ideology which was the standard bearer during the Civil War under the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, a martyr hero who sacrificed his life to abolish slavery and defend democracy, such as the highlighted his immortal speech from Gettysburg.
Trump hijacked the Republican Party and made it a party of and for cronies and extremists, illiberal and irrational conservatives and racists.
Ahead of the 2016 presidential election, some concerned Republicans foresaw the danger to the party and the country if Trump were to be elected President of the United States. Then-Speaker Paul Ryan, a stalwart Republican and 2012 running mate, crafted a framework to protect the party from any harm an opportunistic, wild-card candidate like Trump might cause. At a meeting of party elders, Ryan presented a set of proposals, describing them as “This is Trump’s inoculation plan.”
In the kind of politics Trump gets involved in, principle has little place. As president, he became unruly, rejecting democratic traditions and not doing what right-wingers thought was right. As a result, the Republican Party has lost its identity and its soul. One by one, Republican politicians began to defect to Trump’s camp.
All 51 Republican senators have sided with Trump in rejecting the impeachment resolution passed by majority vote in the House of Representatives, although there is evidence to support impeachment charges that he obstructed justice , violated the emolument clauses and undermined the independence of the judiciary.
If only two senators had given up voting, the Trump era could have ended in December of last year, but Republican politicians backed him, even though he was the biggest presidential misfit in state history -United.
The fact that Trump officials continued to resign in frustration or were fired for failing to complete his irrational offer only confirms the chaos associated with the billionaire-turned-president. An inside White House source described the chaos as a 12-year-old in the air traffic control tower of a busy airport.
The Republican Party is known for its honorary Grand Old Party (GOP) in recognition of historic achievements such as the abolition of slavery and the rescue of the Union. The party was founded on classical liberalism which believes in liberty, liberty and equality. Free trade and free market activism, as advocated by Reaganism, were party policy.
Although the country is politically divided according to the affiliations of the Republican and Democratic parties, until Trump arrived at the scene, the two parties were united by the common belief that republicanism is democratic while democracy is rooted in republicanism. . The two parties have their roots in a single Democratic-Republican party that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison founded in 1792.
Republicanism has its origin in the ancient Greco-Roman democratic tradition. The word Republic is derived from the Latin word Res Public – meaning the thing of the people. Rome was once a republic and had been since the 5th century BC for over 500 years.
The apologies offered by those involved in Julius Caesar’s assassination plot were that he had destroyed the constitutional republic and established himself as Rome’s first dictator for life.
In ancient Greece, Plato insisted that the ruler of the republic become a philosopher, or that a philosopher become a ruler to promote the welfare of the people through knowledge. But Trump rejects science and knowledge-based governance and is widely known to be an impulse-acting demagogue, as seen in his costly mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While failing to respect the will of the people and failing to cooperate with President-elect Biden’s team to facilitate a smooth transition, the Republican renegade is raising multiple legal challenges to his rival’s victory.
Meanwhile, his die-hard supporters, his Proud Boys, whom he has been told to step aside and stand by during an election debate, are flocking to Washington DC to stage a show of force tomorrow dubbed the Million March. MAGA. It could even be a mini coup if the president’s actions to sack Defense Secretary Mark Esper and appoint loyalists to key positions in the National Security Agency and the Pentagon were any indication. Similar upheavals are also expected within the CIA and the FBI.
The march for Trump and the president’s intransigence raise fears of further chaos or even civil war, similar to what is often seen in weak democracies where leaders care little to no democratic governance. The way Trump behaves connects him with dictators in “ shitty ” countries, to use his own words.
As the United States grapples with uncertainty and the darkest days of its democracy, hope for Americans perhaps lies in the unlikely possibility that its stubborn behavior was just an exercise in safeguarding the face or a narrative to claim he won the election but was stripped of his second term by the establishment or what he and his supporters derisively call the Deep State.
It is high time that the Republican Party found its uniqueness to practice once again principled politics and save itself from the ignominy of being regrouped with right-wing political parties which have destroyed the democratic fabric of the countries in which they operate.
© Inter Press Service (2020) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service