It feels like we’re in the interim, a tense time when we’re waiting to see what happens next.
January 6, 2021 was one of those days when people needed to stand up and be counted. It was like December 7, 1941. Leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor there was a robust isolationist movement in the United States. The country was divided about entry into WW II. But after the attack, America came together. The leading isolationist organization, the America First Committee, shuttered itself and threw its support behind the war effort. Charles Lindbergh, an isolationist and Nazi sympathizer to that point, got himself assigned to the South Pacific as a civilian advisor but cajoled his way into the cockpit, eventually flying 50 combat missions over the South Pacific.
So, January 6, 2021 was that kind of inflection point. Who showed up to be modern day Lindberghs? Well, there were seven Republican senators and 10 GOP congressmen who voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the Insurrection. But most Republicans followed the lead of the likes of Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy. They started out saying the right things, then trimmed their sails after testing the political winds, and now they’re in full denial. The Insurrection? Just a handful of over-enthusiastic citizens on a Capitol tour. Nothing to see there.
It quickly became painfully clear that there would be no coming together. In my view, the months after the Insurrection marked the end of the Republican Party as an institution of liberal American democracy. It’s now essentially the Fascist Party of America. Despite my problems with the Democratic left, I cannot imagine ever not voting for a Democrat for any office simply to keep any Republican out of it.
So, now that we understand that nothing can bring the Republicans back from a brink they have plunged over, what happens next? Well, we’ll know by the next presidential election on November 5, 2024. What happens then, or in the weeks following, will determine how American democracy goes forward or if it does at all.
Republicans are gearing up to give the election to Trump, assuming he runs again, regardless of how the votes actually go down. Here’s a scenario that isn’t out of the question. Gov. Tony Evers is defeated this year by Republican Rebecca Kleefisch, a Trump sycophant if there ever was one. Republicans pass legislation, already talked about, to put election oversight directly into the hands of the Legislature they control. Without Evers there to block it, it becomes law. The Democrat again narrowly defeats Trump, but now the Legislature takes control and rules ballots in Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay invalid based on false claims of fraud. The conservative majority on the Supreme Court upholds them. The election once again comes down to three states, Wisconsin among them. Similar tactics take place in Michigan and Arizona.
Now, it’s Democrats who scream that the election has been stolen, only in this case they’re right. But Trump and acolytes like Robin Vos have spent four years muddying the waters and raising doubts about our electoral process. They’ve claimed that a fair and accurate system was broken, then they actually did break it with their own “fixes.” Now they claim that their rigged results are the true and correct ones. And what happens after that is anybody’s guess.
That scenario is far too possible, but it’s also far from certain. Evers may well win reelection as might Democratic governors in other crucial states. Trump may not run after all or he might die before then, and I have some hope that no other Republican can quite pull off what he did. Trump is as thoroughly an awful human being as has ever walked the planet. I like to think (maybe I delude myself) that other Republicans, in the absence of his malign presence, would do the right thing when faced with a stark choice like this.
I wish I didn’t have to write this, but unfortunately, we’ll see.
Welcome to the 322nd consecutive day of posts here at YSDA. Thanks for reading.