"We're gonna walk down to the Capitol," said the President of the United States. Why? It was in an effort to overturn the free and fair election results that Trump didn't like.
Trump wanted a Georgia official to "find" him some more votes. When that didn't come through for him, he rallied and instructed his supporters to meet at the Capitol to force the hand of those performing the largely ceremonial task of confirming those results. What else did he implore his following to do? "If you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore." Many have rightly interpreted these statements as inciting the mob action that followed the remarks. For the first time in our nation's history, the Capitol was ransacked by American citizens. People died. It was perhaps one of the very darkest of hours for this nation, ranking right up there (down there) with the Trail of Tears and slavery. It was something right out of a novel, or out of some banana republic that the United States used to tower above. Now we are right down there in the dirt alongside those countries.
Who has given us this new and different status? Who has reduced this country to the level of a banana republic, where mobs violently act to overthrow authority? Who are they? I call them Banana Republicans. There are basically two classes of these people. They are a mixture of die-hard Trumpers and Machiavellian politicians who are devoted solely to staying in power instead of being dedicated to the Constitution and the governing principles it gives us. For these folks it is just fine to degenerate our nation to the level of a banana republic, so long as it doesn't interfere with their own personal careers. The first class, the Trumpers, are radicalized, foaming-at-the-mouth, right-wing hate group promoters. They carry the obligatory signs of their preferred hate groups, including the Nazi and Civil War battle flags.
When the Republican Party higher-ups realized that Trump could dupe this large a segment of right-wingers, they abandoned all pretense of governing and got on board the Trump train. But now it has become time to pay the piper. Their party is in disarray. Trump is verbally bashing his former lackeys in a rapid-fire exhibition of torrential abuse. They are no longer important to him. He has an army of duped citizens perfectly willing to accept his lies and do his bidding, even to the extent of assaulting the Capitol and seeking victims there. And that second group in my so-called Banana Republicans, the ones he is now targeting for abuse at the first sign of faltering out of line in Trump-land, are a divided group, themselves. A faction has split from Trump-train ideology. And they are led by the most powerful Republican in Congress. Mitch McConnell has reportedly said he "hates Trump." That comment certainly wasn't supposed to get out there, but it has. What to do. What to do.
It is not hard to understand splitting from the Trump train. Trump has given his party plenty to be disgruntled about. He cost them the House of Representatives in 2018. Then in 2020, he cost them both the Senate and the White House. Now in 2021, he is dragging the party's credibility in the dirt by fomenting deadly insurgence at the Capitol building. And while he has read someone else's words in a speech to soften the blow, his underlings continue to hate at the very same levels. And there is now a vast military presence in Washington D.C. in the lead up to the Biden Administration taking power. Violence is actually anticipated, expected. Are we still the United States of America? Weigh this legacy against what Trump has done for the party in ways that the GOP views as favorable, and the scales appear to tilt noticeably in a negative direction for the future of the party.
Banana Republicans have reduced our proud nation to levels completely unheard of before Trumpism became the way of the GOP. Trumpism is a denunciation of all things democratic. It is the way of dictators and authoritarians. Former Republican United States Senator Jeff Flake has said the GOP is essentially unable to continue under Trumpism. "There is no future in Trumpism," he said. "It's a demographic cul de sac. There is no there there. There is no coherent philosophy [with which] to move forward. So I do hope we have saner voices in the future, talking about where the party has to go."
Jeff Flake is right, of course, but that doesn't make a transition back to saner, less radical principles an easy road to follow. Not with thousands of dupes out there willing to put their safety in jeopardy with violent protests extending all the way to traitorous insurrection. The soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader has said that when the Senate trial eventually takes place, his caucus can vote their conscience on the issue of conviction and removal from office. Republicans are freed to convict if they think it would be good for the party. He knows that Jeff Flake is right. He knows what Trumpism has done to his party. And while conviction won't end in removal, with Trump already out the door, it could end with a vote to keep Trump out of politics permanently. That might be good for the GOP, not to mention the nation.
It is yet to be seen whether the GOP can make that transition back to sanity. It is also yet to be seen whether the party can even survive its now disastrous flirtation with Trumpism. But one thing more. It is also not too hard to envision the GOP joining the Whig Party in dissolution.
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