It is well past time to confront the truth of the Republican Party’s threat to democracy

Watching the depressing and alarming spectacle of 17 Republican state attorneys general joining Texas’s bad faith, frivolous Supreme Court application to overturn the election in favor of Donald Trump, I am reminded that in September 2015, I wrote a post titled “The Dark Truth of John Boehner’s Resignation.”

What was that “dark truth”?

What is important here is not that Republicans object to the limits of their power, but that Republicans apparently cannot accept that such limits even exist. 

It sounds crazy, I know, but this represents the true "dark side" of Boehner's resignation: It is another significant step in the Republican Party's shocking withdrawal from our system of democratic governance.  

Five years ago, the notion that Republicans were abandoning democracy was considered to be a somewhat important observation, something to be widely shared and discussed. Today? Well, let’s consider a few of the developments since 2015.

Folks, this is insane. It’s an open, ongoing assault on the fundamental tenets of this country, unseen since the run up to the Civil War. 

Admittedly, defeating this Republican problem is hard and complex, and viable solutions will take discussions longer than this one post. But allow me to propose we rediscover an essential concept: scandal.

The first and necessary step back requires that our country, our politics, and our media rediscover how to label, report, and resist scandalous behavior. Remember Watergate? Whitewater? Benghazi? None of them compares to this threat to democracy (yes, not even Watergate).  

That means reporting this for what it is, and not inviting any co-conspirators on for polite interviews. It means having a panel of historians and civic leaders on, regularly, to discuss the scandal, not a D-list of political hacks. It means consistent front page reporting on this crisis. It means not reporting this as “horse race” politics. And it means that Democratic leadership has to be fighting against this, openly and all the time.

Shutting this down requires that, as a basic first step, we all begin to treat this as the five-alarm fire scandal that it is. 

I once called the Republicans’ hunger for power a “dark truth.” Five years later, sadly, it is an open, proud and largely unchallenged truth.

We can’t let this continue.