The Republican Party is pretending that it’s 2005 or maybe 1995.
They’re pretending that their four-plus years of overt racism and hatred of immigrants, science and minorities had not been broadcasted each and every night. That their explicit efforts to curtail the US democratic system was just a bad dream. That Trump’s Covid-related racism did not help fuel 3,800 incidents against largely East and Southeast Asian Americans, including a massacre in Georgia where a white guy blamed Asian American masseuses for his own ‘evil’ sexual urges. That when the GOP rails against the recent Covid relief package and Biden’s infrastructure plan that they, as supposed fiscal conservatives, care only about fiscal responsibility and the prevention of waste – despite increasing military spending by $100 billion under Trump and enlarging the national debt to $7.8 trillion, the third largest increase in US presidential history. (Even before the pandemic, the federal debt had skyrocketed in Trump’s America; he had been on track to leave it 50% higher than when he came into office).
Through all this pretending, the GOP assumes, as they chastise Biden’s “far-left spending spree,” that the American people not remember their tango with the Proud Boys or their support for a failed coup.
But perhaps they are not wrong.
Perhaps under the GOP’s effective propaganda machine, centrists and independents across the nation will see the “both sides-ism” of the GOP’s arguments.
But even for the Fox News audience, it’ll be a tough sell. Because today’s Republican Party is akin to a neighbor who screams their lungs out every night and then shows up at your party with a rosy smile, asking if you want a drink. All the while, with that rosy smile, they oppose federal policy and new national laws, pretending that they are rational, once again. Meanwhile, at the state level Republicans have created 361 voter suppression bills in 47 states; 29 of these suppression bills have already passed one legislative chamber and five have become law.
Although voter suppression is the GOP’s tried and true method, this time Democrats are not shy about calling it out. Biden ineloquently said these suppression bills make “Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle,” Chuck Schumer traded barbs with Mitch McConnell over voter suppression and Delta and Coca-Cola belatedly opposed Georgia’s new voter suppression law.
The juxtaposition could not be starker. Republican lawmakers try to further subvert democracy and work against the people, while Democrats, heavily influenced by their progressive wing, have tried lift up the all the people during one of the country’s most trying times.
It’s simple: Republicans lost the federal 2020 elections and are focused on fixing elections to ensure their own successful outcome in the future – because in a democracy, coups have a stubborn way of not always succeeding.
On the other hand, the GOP opposes two Democratic packages, the recent Covid relief law and proposed infrastructure legislation, both of which are widely popular across the political spectrum. What makes them “far left,” to Republican legislators and GOP talking heads, is the bills’ aim to help America’s poorest and the middle class. They are “far-left,” too, for investing in regaining a scientific and economic edge over global competitors, rather than using military might to cower international rivals into submission.
The question for future elections is whether after revealing of their true face during the Trump era, the GOP will be able to successfully pretend that this was a mere illusion, a kind of forgotten nightmare in Americans’ collective unconscious. Or whether enough Americans will remember the unmasking of the GOP’s ugly, slavishly corporate, racist, anti-science and, frankly – stark, raving mad – countenance.