“If we nominate Trump we will get destroyed and we will deserve it.”
That was Lindsay Graham’s prediction in 2016. He foretold the end of the Republican Party before he turned into a Trump toady. He should have listened to himself. We all should have listened. Trump is not only breaking the GOP, he is testing our country. The “we” that could be destroyed is also our democracy.
Trump was elected to be a disrupter. He did that but he went far beyond that. Trump was and still is a would-be dictator and autocrat. He encouraged his supporters, who loved him from the Apprentice, to turn into a cult that revered him; then built it up more with the help of conservative media, many lawmakers, even some Republican Attorneys General in red states, and right wing supporters. He and his allies have used social media and cable news to brainwash his Republican base with lies (“stop the steal” is just the tip of the iceberg), getting them to think conspiracies and disinformation were real when they are not. Trump got a lot of help from Fox News, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. He has become a clear and present danger to our country. This danger will not be over when he leaves office.
What happened on January 6th was a planned insurrection, a coup, right out of the would-be autocrat’s playbook. The attack on the Capitol should have been anticipated because the plan was all over social media and fringe groups that support Trump are mobilized and weaponized thugs who want to burn it all down which is what Trump wants to do now too. The movement was built by Trump and so-called conservatives over time. (These people are not conservatives. They are radicals.) Trump’s rally the morning of January 6th was the match that was intentionally lit and thrown into the pumped up mob that assaulted Capitol Hill. The mob was a mixture of Trump supporters and domestic terrorists including the Proud Boys, Boogaloo Bois and about 7 other white supremacist groups who are known to be violent. Trump, Guiliani and Don Jr. told them it was time to “fight” and that our country would be lost if they didn’t.
At that morning rally Trump and the other speakers knew what they were setting in motion. They incited the mob with the clear intention of attacking legislators Trump was mad at including Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence. Republicans who defy Trump are targets too. The mob was yelling, “Where’s Nancy?” and “Hang Mike Pence!”. As the rioters were carrying out their actions, they were being ginned up by Trump over social media who was still raging at Pence. The mob intended to capture Pence and possibly kill him. There was a noose and gallows set up outside. While this attack on the Capitol is going on, Trump, Don Jr., Mark Meadows, and others can be seen in a video taken in a tented command center partying to the song, “Gloria”. They are delighted as they watch the goon squad rioters they set in motion attack Capitol Hill.
Did the mob have support from inside actors including some of the Capitol Hill police officers themselves? At least one Capitol police officer was seen taking a selfie with one of the people who had breached the Capitol barriers. Others told members of the mob where to find Pelosi’s office. You have to wonder if there was coordination with Trump’s newly installed team at the Pentagon. They are all Trump loyalists. Kash Patel, for example, is a known conspiracy monger.
There has been a terrible failure to recognize the danger to our country from domestic white supremacist terrorists and to monitor their social media feeds to take them down, as was done effectively with Islamic terrorists. This must change. A domestic terrorist law must be passed to allow investigators to monitor the social media feeds of known militia groups, white supremacists and other domestic terrorists and go after them the way we did with Islamic terrorists. As FBI director, Chris Wray has testified in Congress, the greatest threat to our country today are not terrorists from outside the country, but those inside our country.
I am sure I am not the only person worried about the inauguration. Much of it will be done virtually but I wish the whole thing could be done virtually given the clear and present danger of Trump and his heavily armed terrorist mob who are determined not to allow Joe Biden to become president.
There will be an investigation and I would not be surprised if the failure to have DHS and FBI tactical units on Capitol Hill as well as national guard to help the Capitol Hill police was a calculated move to give the terrorists more time to find their targets inside the Capitol buildings. They were searching for laptops, Electoral Ballots and people to harm on their hit list: Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Mike Pence and others. Some of these people carried plastic ties used by law enforcement to restrain people. That’s evidence of intent.
Where Do Republicans Stand?
Members of the Republican Party face a decision. The current GOP has become an anti-democratic party that is silent or actively aiding disinformation instead of trying to tell their constituents the truth. These Republicans go along with the pretense that the vote was questionable when it was not. It is no longer a party of ideas and policies representing conservative values. The GOP is the party of Trump and that party is now comingled with and fully infiltrated by fringe radical right wing domestic terrorists. As long as Trump continues to be a powerful force in the GOP and Republican elected officials are silent and do not reject Trump, the GOP will be a force for evil–for damage and destruction of our democracy and further degradation of our country.
Trump has, once again, been chosen by the RNC to be the leader of the Republican Party even after he orchestrated the attack on the Capital on January 6th. Why should he lead that party? Trump not only lost the presidential election, the House and Senate will also be led by Democrats thanks to Trump. You’d think the GOP would look for another person to lead their party. These people are still in the thrall of Trump and Trumpism.
Too many Republicans are still silent about what happened on January 6th. Their silence is damning. The GOP is heading for a break up because it has been hijacked by the alt-right. Republicans must choose whether they believe in democracy or in Trump’s GOP. So far too many are flunking the loyalty test with their silence.
There are two groups of Republicans who are loyal to this radicalized GOP
The first group is trying to avoid being primaried by Trump’s crazed and highly mobilized base. They live in red states and red districts where their constituents have been brainwashed by Fox News, OAN, Sinclair, conservative media, Facebook groups as well as other social media. These people truly believe the election was stolen from Trump because they are listening to disinformation all day long. They actually believe that the attack on Capitol Hill was the way to preserve democracy. Trump has literally turned the world upside down by lying incessantly on social media with assistance from self-interested Republicans and others who know better but benefit from a deluded public.
The second group of Republican loyalists are clinging to Trump because they want to inherit his base for themselves. They want to become the next Trump. They want to out Trump Trump. These people expect Trump to lose power once he is out of office and defending himself against a lot of lawsuits. They intend to pick up where he left off. That includes two nauseating traitors to our country– Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. They need to be shunned and kicked out of office. Hawley was left alone in a corner when the legislators were in bunkers as the mob attacked the Capitol. He has lost a book deal, been excoriated by his donors who want their money refunded, and the two leading newspapers in his state called him out . Hawley became a pariah on January 6th. The same thing needs to happen to Ted Cruz and any others who support Trump and Trumpism. There is a petition to disbar Hawley and Cruz from the Missouri, Texas and DC Bars that has already been signed by 3,100 lawyers. I am sure there are many more lawyers who cannot wait to sign that petition.
Then there are the more mainstream, “saner” Republicans. Some of them are rejecting Trump’s anti-democratic, authoritarian efforts to stay in power. People like Lisa Murkowski are re-thinking their willingness to stay in this Republican Party as it mergers more and more with right wing domestic terror groups engaged in activities like trying to kidnap and kill Governor Gretchen Whitmer or bring their weapons to state legislative capitol protests as a show of force and intimidation.
However, too many Republicans are still cowering in the corner as usual. Even after they were themselves under attack from Trump’s mob. They should be jumping on the impeachment bandwagon, but they are not speaking up.
Republicans must choose either Team Trump= Traitor to Democracy or Team Democracy = break from Trump. This sorting process will break the GOP apart and also weaken it. Trump’s followers will continue to terrorize our country after he leaves office. Trump and Trumpism must be crushed and the platforms that support disinformation must be stopped. Americans who have been brainwashed need to be reprogrammed with the truth.
What Can Be Done to Counter Trump and Trumpism?
We have a lot of work to do. The answer to the problem of a radicalized Republican Party is a robust campaign to flush out and crush disinformation and lies. Twitter’s decision to permanently ban Trump is a good start, but it is just a start. Apple is banning Parler, the social media platform that white supremacists are migrating to, but they will try to find another outlet. This is going to be like Whack-a-mole, but we have to keep whacking.
More must be done so that Americans all get the same facts — real facts, not lies and disinformation. If we can forcefully crush disinformation in America we can help to save our democracy. This is the most important effort that could make a difference for our future and for our children and grandchildren.
Trump supporters cannot continue to live in an alternate universe believing the disinformation they have been programmed to think is true. There is no way to heal our country if we don’t start with the same facts. We can disagree about policy or procedure, but without the same basic facts there is no way to even start to have a productive conversation.