With the exception of blips like the Bull Moose (1912) and Reform Party (1992) insurgencies, American democracy has enjoyed stable two-party competition for most of its history. For the past 164 years, that meant Democrats and Republicans, both of which respected timeless norms such as democracy, the rule of law, and the Constitution.
No more. This two-party constancy has now been shattered, upended by the divide in the former Republican Party, now split into what little remains of traditional conservative Republicanism and the much larger Trump cult that has veered off into unrepentant autocratic Fascism.
With Trump at least partially losing his dominance of the news cycle and some diminution of his relevance to the public discourse, it is possible that a handful of his cowardly congressional disciples will rediscover their spines and once again walk and talk like the pre-Trump GOP, concerned about deficits and debt, the size of government, limits on executive power and the nefarious activities of traditional enemies like Russia. The bolder among them may even experience an epiphany and resume working across the aisle with their Democratic colleagues to actually get things done.
I don’t expect that a return to democratic norms will be embraced by a majority of what we used to label “Republicans.” I suspect that the bulk of its congressional membership will continue to adhere to and spout the Trump lines and lies, fearful of being “primaried” in future years by even more committed Trump toadies, or of being tweeted against by Trump. American soldiers risk their lives to defend us in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria while crypto-Republicans are terrified of a tweet!
We can expect this Fascist Party faithful to continue to obstruct everything President Biden tries to do. They will do everything in their power to make life difficult for him and thus for American progress. As evidence of that, we can point to the large majority of purportedly House Republicans (126 out of 196) who signed onto the disgraceful amicus brief submitted in support of the outrageous Texas attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election. Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court swatted away that seditious assault on our democracy and sacred rule of law with appropriate dripping contempt.
The Trump Fascist Party (“TFP”) in Congress will disrupt, disinform, deny and deflect as vigorously as their champion did during his destructive four years at their helm. You can also expect that their state legislative colleagues will do all they can to suppress the vote so that, although a dwindling minority, they can continue to hold power and usurp the will of the majority. They are already busily at work doing that in many states where they control the legislative branches—making it more difficult to vote by mail; restricting early voting; and adapting other Jim Crow era tactics to the present circumstances.
While they will dishonestly cling to the Republican label as long as they can in order to camouflage their Fascist inclinations, make no mistake. They are Fascist to the bone.
The media owes it to the public to daily remind its readers, viewers and listeners that these are dangerous Fascists out to destroy the America that has served us so well for two-and-a-half centuries. Then, in 2022, we must begin the process of returning them to civilian life.
December 18, 2020