Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.
The survival instinct that this white-minority rage has triggered in craven Republican politicians is how the GOP mutated from a party championing individual liberty into a movement pushing monstrously statist authoritarianism. It is how the party of limited government began agitating for government truth ministries. It is how the party of exuberant free marketeers became a cabal of crony capitalists and knee-jerk protectionists. It is how the party that once fought Kremlin expansionism provided top cover for Russian intelligence attacks against U.S. institutions.
Republicans have tried to argue that if they are not in power, the Democrats and their ultraliberal allies will destroy our system of government and create a majoritarian nightmare. We must stay in power, they mewl, so that democracy itself will survive long enough to outlive the encroaching authoritarianism of the left.
These defenses are risible nonsense in the wake of Trump’s constitutional mayhem and the GOP’s descent into conspiratorial lunacy. But even on their own terms, Republican excuses are little more than lightly veiled defenses of minority rule. The GOP long ago abandoned any effort to convince women, people of color, immigrants, and others that the party had a place for them. Instead, Republicans in Congress have surrendered to the ignorance and racism of their most extreme voters in exchange for a continued life of privilege inside the comforting embrace of the Capital Beltway.
The Republicans, facing an investigation into an insurrection provoked by their own leader, have armored up and gone into armadillo mode. They will protect their own—rather than their nation and the Constitution they swore to defend. This behavior should serve as a warning: A party that doesn’t believe in anything ends up believing only in its right to rule. And a movement that believes only in its own power is a deadly enemy of constitutional democracy.