Robert Crohan/Staff Writer
This week, President Biden took a trip down to the bayous: he arrived in Louisiana to promote the merits of his infrastructure plan to a state he lost by nearly 19 points.
Louisiana, which is racially diverse, less wealthy than most states and behind others on public services, could benefit greatly from the White House plan, especially if state voters back it.
However, I was quite surprised that the Louisiana GOP did not go ballistic on Uncle Joe. I was anticipating a hefty movement to rally party members against the President in protest, and vow to oppose him at every turn. Quite frankly, such attitudes have been plaguing America’s major conservative party and have even become commonplace.
The examples of the widening chasm between the parties continue. Florida has just joined the pack of states that are restricting access to voting. 25 states have introduced anti-transgender legislation in 2021 alone. Florida, rather terrifyingly, has cracked down hard on protesting, even easing the scarily common tactic of running over protesters with vehicles. Anti-Trump GOP Senator Mitt Romney (UT) was booed at a state GOP convention.
It does not end there.
Unfortunately, it seems that the Republican party of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan are long gone. The days when Congressional Republicans happily shook hands with their Democratic counterparts to advance the common goal of improving American democracy are confined to the textbooks.
In the age of Donald Trump, Republicans not only rallied around the man, but they in the process enabled a cult of personality. The idea is inherently un-American, but that seems beside the point.
What, exactly, am I referring to? Consider the lie of election fraud. While it is good to ensure that elections are held fairly, and question official claims of election fraud not being present, Republicans took it too far. President Trump knew that the 2020 elections were fair, but insisted on pushing lies at the expense of our democracy.
The result was violence and death at our Capitol. The President could have prevented it with his almighty power over much of his voter base.
Even with Trump out of office, one must dare not double-cross our righteous supreme leader of the people. Liz Cheney, Wyoming’s at-large US Rep., has been voted out of a top House position because she put country over party and spoke the truth about the November election.
The GOP in Arizona, which is turning blue, has censured their only officials who know how to win statewide. Governor Doug Ducey, who was formerly very popular and engaged Democrats, was silenced merely for certifying Joe Biden’s win in Arizona. The same treatment was awarded to Cindy McCain, because her husband’s accomplishments hurt the king’s feelings. The Georgia GOP is following the same playbook, as Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffesnsperger have been censured even with 2022 fast approaching.
Some Americans have an unhealthy devotion to Trump, trusting his every word and automatically hating formerly beloved people, like Robert DeNiro and Arnold Schwarzenegger, for disliking him. Even as a big fan of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, I can acknowledge when they are wrong or blatantly lie.
This comes as Trump, when in office, took measures to defy checks and balances. This included a seeming revolving door of appointments and dismissals, and centralized power that has violated the constitution.
On Capitol Hill, things remain bleak. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says that “100 percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.” Such words make sense for rallying the opposition, but we are talking about Mitch McConnell here.
Mitch McConnell, who mercilessly blocked close to every bill that did not favor the GOP during his tenure as Majority Leader, and refused to even consider Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court. Mitch McConnell, who laments any and all federal spending even when Americans are struggling to fend off COVID-19, debt and looming evictions. Mitch McConnell, who threatened to leave blue states, that essentially pay for red states, out of federal assistance. Just because they vote differently.
So, we know based on this history that, should the GOP capture Senate control in 2022, President Biden will get nothing accomplished. Not even Biden’s charisma and personal relationship with McConnell could provoke a change of heart. Such would frustrate our dearest beloved emperor Trump.
Should this happen, the GOP leadership will continue their favorite pastime of total inaction in response to America’s racial and financial crises, and lying to their supporters about it.
In the House, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has pushed rabid conspiracies that put a target on our lawmakers’ backs. Not long ago, she even proposed a House caucus that would “promote Anglo-Saxon political values.” In 2021 America, this reeks of racial sentiment. Pushing this grossly familiar language on government after the year people of color just had is unacceptable.
The GOP has branded itself as the party of keeping America safe from big government, but it apparently loves big government violating the privacy of transgender people with random genital checks, right now, just when Democrats are promoting LGBTQA+ rights.
Big government strangling democracy is okay, too. The party that whines about disproven voter fraud in 2020 is resorting to racist cheating to keep swing states red. Georgia, Texas, Ohio and North Carolina have all enacted poll tax-like measures to restrict mail-in and drop-off voting. They tell Republican voters that this ensures free elections, but many people are seeing through the lies.
The GOP that tells Americans with no means of financial help to stop complaining, that refuses to acknowledge the out-of-control costs of housing and education, is also refusing to try harder to fairly win in swing states.
Florida just enacted restrictions, too, making my respect for Governor DeSantis harder and harder to maintain. The state’s restriction on protesting has been labeled “draconian” and only reasonably serves to uphold GOP hegemony in the Sunshine State. Florida, which is very pro-police and where support for Black Lives Matter is scarce, would easily pass this bill off as defending law enforcement, when it doesn’t.
The GOP loves to talk of defending the First Amendment, but seems to always make a stink over black people standing up for themselves, even if they just kneel a certain way without speaking a word.
Here in Florida, all of this has drastic implications. A diversifying state full of young people of various racial, ethnic, sexual and religious backgrounds will have voices suppressed. Republicans may expand their hold on Florida, earning insurmountable majorities in the State House and Senate and making the state less livable. Holding law enforcement accountable will become much more difficult, endangering the lives of black and Hispanic residents.
Taylor Greene rallying with Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL), who was under investigation, shows that the GOP will go full-in on converting Florida to Trumpism.
I don’t need to remind people that these warning signs were present in Italy and Germany before World War II. The GOP of 2021 is much like many authoritarian parties around the world, ones that our country sacrificed men to defeat.
Plus, this piece should not be taken as a complete defense of the left. Democrats need to stop dismissing all Trump voters as irredeemable bigots, and, in my opinion, President Biden needs to take the executive orders down a notch. Non-black progressives that shamed Senator Tim Scott (SC) with racist tropes for his rebuttal to Biden need to think long and hard about their true values.
And while I would love to see Texas turn blue, I will immediately work to ensure that the US does not become a one-party state if that happens.
With the House somewhat guaranteed to be won by the GOP in 2022, and the fate of the Senate uncertain, I am not looking forward to the sorts of shenanigans up the Trump GOP’s sleeve, or the responses of Democrats. It makes one ask: where is Captain America when you need him?
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