Craven Republicans marvel at Liz Cheney’s lonely stand for American democracy as we know it

The GOP colleagues of embattled Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming just don't get it. Why would anyone decide to stand for something bigger than themselves at risk of their own career? Why not just look at yourself in the mirror every morning knowing that you are bargaining away democracy for your children and grandchildren in exchange for your own short-term personal gain?

The Washington Post writes:

Cheney’s Republican colleagues have struggled to understand her motives, especially given the political price she is paying in Wyoming, where Trump celebrated his largest margins of victory. Some wonder whether she is angling to run for a higher office.

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enate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky—who has repeatedly underestimated Donald Trump's staying power—is mystified that taking down Trump is "the only thing she cares about,” a McConnell confidant told the Post. “That doesn’t help anyone," McConnell added.

Likewise, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has privately called Cheney "obsessed" with decimating Trump and his political hold on the Republican Party. In fact, McCarthy reportedly told Cheney he would try to shield her from backlash over her impeachment vote if she would just play nice with Trump going forward. She declined the invitation to morph into a spineless slug.

These accounts are the most recent in a long line of reports relaying how perplexed Cheney's colleagues are by her crusade to dismember Trump limb by limb, even if it ultimately crushes her political future.

But Cheney described her motivations at a campaign event earlier this month, pondering the notion that the nation's peaceful transfer of power (i.e., democracy) could come to an end.

“I looked at my boys in the weeks after January 6; it became very clear that we might suddenly have to question that,” Cheney said of the peaceful transition between presidents. “And I am absolutely committed to do everything I can do, everything that I am required and obligated to do to make sure that we aren’t the last generation in America that can count on a peaceful transition of power. It is hugely important.”

What Cheney’s GOP counterparts are really marveling at is the concept of principled leadership—of placing the good of the whole above the immediate concerns of oneself. They either suffer from a total lack of imagination about what turning the country into a fascist hellhole would be like or they are indeed excited by the prospect. Surely “very fine” Republicans fall on both sides of that divide.

But somewhere in between that craven naïveté and that authoritarian bloodthirst, Liz Cheney has stepped into the void.

Her political views are 99.9% abhorrent to us as liberals.

Her cunning is sometimes frightening.

But we cannot deny Cheney this moment in history. She should rightfully be celebrated for her vision, her courage, and her relentless perseverance.

This week on The Brief: The ‘existential fight’ for freedom and democracy at home and abroad

This week on The Brief, hosts Kerry Eleveld and Markos Moulitsas analyzed how a month of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has played out, discussed the continued slide of the Republican Party into authoritarianism, and talked about Biden’s approval rating and how the electoral landscape is looking for Democrats heading into this fall.

As the attack on Ukraine continues, Eleveld and Moulitsas considered what the news coverage has gotten right—and wrong—so far, and how Daily Kos is offering important perspective, especially to help readers understand that the situation on the ground may not be as dire as it was initially portrayed.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, or Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskyy—this battle between Soviet-style authoritarian regime and Western democracy, Eleveld notes, has crystalized for a lot of Americans the fact that this type of battle is still going on in the world. And what’s more, it is ongoing and poses a huge, continuing threat not just externally, but also internally here in the United States. While progressives and Democrats had sounded the alarm throughout Trump’s tenure about where the Republican Party has been headed, few are hearing this message of, “Look, this is an authoritarian party. They want fewer people to vote, they want to control the outcomes of the vote, they’re fine being beholden to one person as long as that person manages to secure power. They really don’t seem that interested in a peaceful transfer of power,” Eleveld added.

Eleveld also thinks that the fact that Republicans haven’t wanted to explore the events of January 6, 2021, examine it, learn from it, make sure it doesn’t happen again—and have instead become denialist— is alarming in and of itself: “And it seems like independents [and those feeling on the fence about both parties] … they haven’t really grasped what this fight, what this existential fight for democracy is about.”

This conflict has really resonated and showed us exactly what’s at stake, both at home and abroad, linking war on the international stage to democracy in the U.S., she explained:

I feel like this horrific and gut-wrenching war that we have seen play out in Ukraine has crystalized for Americans, in a way, that threat that we haven’t felt in a very real way in some way since the end of World War II. I’m not saying there haven’t been instances of attacks and people feeling vulnerable, but the existential threat ... that the whole country feels hasn’t been brought home since WWII in the way that it has been brought home here. We’ve got to win this battle in Ukraine and we’ve got to do what we can to help them and hopefully at the same time deescalate tensions there. But we’ve got to win this battle at home too, and … I don’t want to dismiss what’s happening abroad at all, but this is a fight here at home in the United States. It’s an existential threat. One of our [political] parties is no longer invested in democracy, and you can see what that yields with someone like Vladimir Putin.

Moulitsas offered additional context, tying Trump and the Republican Party’s interests to Russia and Putin: “I don’t want it lost ... that the first impeachment of Donald Trump was because he was extorting Zelenskyy over javelin missiles — the same javelin missiles that have basically stopped the Russian hordes. Those were the missiles that Donald Trump was holding hostage unless Zelenskyy literally made up an investigation against Hunter Biden.”

Highlighting the urgency and interconnectedness of all these issues, Eleveld urged, “If there were ever a time to unmask the Republican Party for how profoundly unserious it is in this serious moment in history, it is now there for the Democrats, and there for their taking.”

Moulitsas agreed, highlighting gas prices—which he noted was “a plank of the Republican 2022 playbook”—as an example of how Democrats could show leadership in this moment:

Right now, the gas companies all have record profits. It’s not like it’s just a percentage or two. We’re talking like massive windfall records. The price of crude oil has been going down; the price of gasoline at the pump has not been going down. They’re pocketing that difference. It’s really easy for Democrats—I don’t understand why this isn’t happening—where you say, ‘We’re going to cut down, we’re going to eliminate the gas taxes and then we’re going to make it up with a windfall tax on energy companies.’ Boom. You’ve just shaved 30-40 cents off of a gallon of gas right off the bat, and you have the gas companies pay for it, and make it indefinite. And go above and beyond that, but there’s a way to shift this narrative [of] ‘this is Joe Biden’s gas prices’—shift that to the gas companies and make that relentless. Gas companies and Putin and war profiteers, there is plenty of that going around. Punish those people. Dare Joe Manchin to vote against it. I don’t even think Joe Manchin would dare vote against a windfall tax on gas companies.

Where does this leave Democrats today? How are things looking as the midterms approach? Moulitsas and Eleveld shifted the conversation to focus on what trends in polling from Civiqs are telling us about this fall. Eleveld signaled that Biden seems to be coming back from a very difficult few months, as polling has shown:

I don’t think we should be super worried about exact numbers right now as much as we should be worried about trends. When I [left for medical leave a few weeks ago], Joe Biden had been on a steady downward trajectory on Civiqs for months on months on end with a few minor breaks, and it might plateau for a second, but then it was going back down. Since then, what we have seen is that it’s started to rebound, right? After the State of the Union address, it started to rebound, and I’m inclined to think that because that rebound on Civiqs has continued, that Joe Biden is getting credit for competent handling of this global response to Putin and his aggression and this completely unprovoked war. It has been, objectively, a great response.

I think that this has been a reminder for both Democrats … and independents; [among them] he’s gotten a net plus gain of about six point or seven points since Russia invaded Ukraine … I think for Democrats, some of them, it’s really reminded them, ‘Oh my God, this is why we elected Joe Biden,’ for competent handling of the pandemic. Some people have different opinions on how competent that’s been. No doubt that the rollout of the vaccine program was incredibly competent and swift—we just couldn’t get everybody to buy into it because the Republican Party was by and large telling people, ‘Don’t do it.’ … I think it reminded independents why they voted for Joe Biden.

The sentiment seems to be common even among Trump-Biden voters, the cohosts noted, citing recent focus groups. As Eleveld summarized, “Over and over, they [are] kind of saying, ‘Look at the situation in Ukraine. Like, can you imagine if Donald Trump was [in office]? We might have World War III right now, because Donald Trump is just that [unpredictable.] I mean, maybe not, but you just don’t know what he would have done. And then [they] were talking about Trump saying Putin is ‘genius’ and just saying how ‘disgraceful’ that was. It’s just disgraceful that he built Putin up for four years and now he feels this need to weigh in.”

The big picture crystallization of authoritarianism versus democracy has been brought home to the American people as they watch the conflict in Ukraine unfold, and polling is showing a slow but sure uptick in Biden’s approval ratings as this situation in Ukraine continues to play out. Eleveld thinks that ultimately, this has put Biden and Democrats on better footing:

I can’t tell you whether or not they’re going to be able to totally capitalize on this moment here, but I can tell you, as we always say, I’m not just trying to play politics here. This upcoming election is as important to the global fight for democracy and freedom as anything else that is going on, including what is happening in Ukraine. We have to win here at home, we have to win there, we have to win everywhere.

You can watch the full episode here:

The Brief is also available on the following platforms:

Assassination, secession, insurrection: The crimes of John Wilkes Booth, Jefferson Davis, and Trump

Donald Trump broke new ground as the first president—the first American, period—to be impeached twice. However, thinking of him solely in those terms fails by a long shot to capture how truly historic his crimes were. Forget the number of impeachments—and certainly don’t be distracted by pathetic, partisan scoundrels voting to acquit—The Man Who Lost The Popular Vote (Twice) is the only president to incite a violent insurrection aimed at overthrowing our democracy—and get away with it.

But reading those words doesn’t fully and accurately describe the vile nature of what Trump wrought on Jan. 6. In this case, to paraphrase the woman who should’ve been the 45th president, it takes a video.

Senate Republicans acquitted Donald Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors twice. So make them pay: Donate $1 right now to each of the Democratic nominee funds targeting vulnerable Senate Republicans in 2022.

Although it’s difficult, I encourage anyone who hasn’t yet done so to watch the compilation of footage the House managers presented on the first day of the impeachment trial. It left me shaking with rage. Those thugs wanted not just to defile a building, but to defile our Constitution. They sought to overturn an election in which many hadn’t even bothered themselves to vote.

What was their purpose? In their own words, as they screamed while storming the Capitol: “Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!” Those were the exact same words they had chanted shortly beforehand during the speech their leader gave at the Ellipse. He told them to fight for him, and they told him they would. And then they did.

“These defendants themselves told you exactly why they were here” pic.twitter.com/6HVsD8Kl0M

— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) February 10, 2021

Many of those fighting for Trump were motivated by a white Christian nationalist ideology of hate—hatred of liberals, Jews, African Americans, and other people of color. Most of that Trumpist mob stands diametrically opposed to the ideals that really do make America great—particularly the simple notion laid down in the Declaration of Independence that, after nearly 250 years, we’ve still yet to fully realize: All of us are created equal. The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was but another battle in our country’s long-running race war.

As Rev. William Barber explained just a few days ago: “White supremacy, though it may be targeted at Black people, is ultimately against democracy itself.” He added: “This kind of mob violence, in reaction to Black, brown and white people coming together and voting to move the nation forward in progressive ways, has always been the backlash.”

Barber is right on all counts. White supremacy’s centuries-long opposition to true democracy in America is also the through-line that connects what Trump has done since Election Day and on Jan. 6 to his true historical forebears in our history. Not the other impeached presidents, whose crimes—some more serious than others—differed from those of Trump not merely by a matter of degree, but in their very nature. Even Richard Nixon, as dangerous to the rule of law as his actions were, didn’t encourage a violent coup. That’s how execrable Trump is; Tricky Dick comes out ahead by comparison.

Instead, Trump’s true forebears are the violent white supremacists who rejected our democracy to preserve their perverted racial hierarchy: the Southern Confederates. It’s no coincidence that on Jan. 6 we saw a good number of Confederate flags unfurled at the Capitol on behalf of the Insurrectionist-in-Chief. As many, including Penn State history professor emeritus William Blair, have noted: “The Confederate flag made it deeper into Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, than it did during the Civil War.“

As for that blood-soaked, intra-American conflict—after Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, 11 Southern states refused to accept the results because they feared it would lead to the end of slavery. They seceded from the Union and backed that action with violence. Led by their president, Jefferson Davis, they aimed to achieve through the shedding of blood what they could not at the ballot box: to protect their vision of a white-dominated society in which African Americans were nothing more than property.

Some, of course, will insist the Civil War began for other reasons, like “states’ rights,” choosing to skip right past the words uttered, just after President Lincoln’s inauguration, by Alexander Stephens, who would soon be elected vice president of the Confederacy. Stephens described the government created by secessionists thusly: “Its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

In the speech he gave at his 1861 inauguration, Lincoln accurately diagnosed secession as standing in direct opposition to democracy.

Plainly the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy. A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible. The rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.

Davis, Stephens, and the rest of the Confederates spent four long years in rebellion against democracy and racial equality. In 1865, Lincoln was sworn in for a second term. On the ballot the previous year had been his vision, laid out at Gettysburg, of a war fought so that our country might become what it had long claimed to be, namely a nation built on the promise of liberty and equality for every American. Lincoln’s vision won the election. He planned to lead the Union to final victory and, hopefully, bring that vision to life. Instead, John Wilkes Booth shot the 16th president to death.

Why did Booth commit that violent act, one that sought to remove a democratically elected president? Look at his own written words: “This country was formed for the white, not for the black man. And looking upon African Slavery from the same stand-point held by the noble framers of our constitution. I for one, have ever considered (it) one of the greatest blessings (both for themselves and us,) that God has ever bestowed upon a favored nation.”

As author and Washington College historian Adam Goodheart explains, Booth was “motivated by politics and he was especially motivated by racism, by Lincoln’s actions to emancipate the slaves and, more immediately, by some of Lincoln’s statements that he took as meaning African Americans would get full citizenship.” When Booth opened fire, his gun was aimed at not just one man, but at the notion of a multiracial, egalitarian democracy itself.

Trump may not have pulled a trigger, bashed a window, or attacked any police officers while wearing a flag cape, but he shares the same ideology, motive, and mindset as his anti-democratic, white supremacist forebears. They didn’t like the result of an election, and were ready and willing to use violence to undo it. Secession, assassination, insurrection. These are three sides of a single triangle.

I hope, for the sake of our country and the world, we never have another president like Donald Trump. I hope we as a people—or at least enough of us—have learned that we cannot elect an unprincipled demagogue as our leader.

A person without principle will never respect, let alone cherish, the Constitution or the democratic process. A person without principle can only see those things as a means to gain or maintain a hold on power. A person without principle believes the end always justifies the means.

That’s who Trump is: a person without principle. That’s why he lied for two months after Election Day, why he called for his MAGA minions to come to Washington on the day Joe Biden’s victory was to be formally certified in Congress, and why he incited an insurrection on that day to prevent that certification from taking place. His forces sought nothing less than the destruction of American democracy.

For those crimes, Trump was impeached, yes. But those crimes are far worse than those committed by any other president. Regardless of the verdict, those crimes will appear in the first sentence of his obituary. They are what he will be remembered for, despite the cowardice of his GOP enablers. Forever.

Ian Reifowitz is the author of  The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh's Race-Baiting Rhetoric on the Obama Presidency Paved the Way for Trump (Foreword by Markos Moulitsas)

Impervious to truth, GOP is set to smash impeachment as a remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors

So the point I’m trying to make is you don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. [...] Because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”

No, that’s not Reps. Jamie Raskin or Stacey Plaskett this week laying out the case against Donald Trump. It’s then-Rep. Lindsey Graham in January 1999 speaking as an impeachment manager in the Senate trial of Bill Clinton for lying about sex. On Thursday, Sens. Graham and Ted Cruz and Mike Lee met for an extended period strategizing behind closed doors with the Trump defense team not on how to cleanse and restore the office of the presidency, but how to twist the record to defend Trump against behavior that tens of millions of Americans with a television saw him do repeatedly over the past several months. 

Okay, pointing out Lindsey Graham’s hypocrisy long ago reached the level of cliché. Even quoting him being scathing about what he thought of Trump before the election and the utter servility we see now doesn’t matter to him. And it obviously doesn’t matter to the South Carolina voters who in November stuck him back in the Senate for another insufferable six years. Neither does hypocrisy matter to most other Republican senators. After all, 13 who were representatives who voted to impeach Clinton or senators who voted to convict him 22 years ago are now in the Senate, every one of them primed to acquit Trump. Only a few Republican senators haven’t told us directly or indirectly how they expect to vote when the time comes. 

Yet even now, when newscasters, media analysts, and veteran political junkies repeat that no way will 17 Republican senators be persuaded to join Democrats in convicting Donald Trump of inciting insurrection, you can still sometimes catch a whiff of hope in their tone that perhaps they’ll be proved wrong. That perhaps those Republicans actually paying attention to the proceedings will not remain impervious to the truth. That they will abandon the view that an impeachment trial after the defendant has left office is a waste of time as well as the debunked assertion that it is unconstitutional. That they won’t align themselves with the eight senators who cozied up to Trump’s lies about fraud and voted to overturn the election results. That their vote on impeachment won’t cause gagging across the land every time in the future they label themselves “patriots.” That maybe, just maybe, enough Republicans will stop cowering at the feet of the departed Trump and quit worrying about what his cultists may do in two years at the polls.

Unfortunately, no maybes about it.

The worst part of this is that these men and women aren’t blind and they aren’t stupid. Whatever they say for the cameras, they know the truth of the situation. They know that Trump has been ramping up the incitement since his campaign began in 2015. They know that injecting a “be peaceful” into one incendiary speech out of the dozens he’s made isn’t acquittal territory. They know that he’s overturned practically every presidential norm in existence, ultimately topping it with the cherry of incitement dedicated to undermining the foundations of democracy. They know that if he had been reelected, he would right this minute be enhancing the autocratic practices with which he already had damaged the presidency and the republic in his four terrible years in the White House. They know he’s a liar, they know he’s a thief, they know he’s a relentless conniver, and they know—with nearly half a million Americans dead of COVID-19—that his ineptitude knows no bounds. Most of all, they know that Trump’s behavior may well have irrevocably split the Republican Party. 

But still these senators will vote to acquit. They will ignore the criminality the videos at the Capitol show. They will deny the assertions of the insurrectionists who said coming to Washington was in answer to Trump’s call. They will prove that they just don’t give a good goddamn for the democratic values they tell audiences on the campaign trail and patriotic holidays that they hold sacred. 

After Clinton’s acquittal, Lindsey Graham said, "People have made up their mind in a political fashion that will hurt this country long term." You can be sure he won’t be repeating that line again today. Nor will he be talking about cleansing the office of the presidency or restoring its dignity and integrity. He’s shown himself way beyond being able to restore his own. 

Just a fraction of Americans think U.S. democracy is working well

Americans are broadly worried about the state of our democracy, according to a new poll released from the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

A plurality of 45% of respondents say it's either not working "too well" or not working "well at all," according to the poll, while just 16% of Americans believe democracy is working "well" or "extremely well." Another 38% are somewhere in between, saying it's working "somewhat well."

On a slightly brighter side, a majority of Americans (54%) are optimistic that the country has a bright future and its best days are yet to come, while 45% say the country's best days are behind it. Those numbers have remained roughly stable since last fall, when the outlet asked the same question in October 2020.

Two-thirds of respondents also said Joe Biden was legitimately elected while 33% said he wasn't; 61% also approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president.

Meanwhile, respondents widely shared the belief that the following principles are essential to the identity of the U.S.:

  • 88%, a fair judicial system and the rule of law
  • 85%, individual liberties and freedoms as defined by the Constitution
  • 83%, the ability of people living here to get good jobs and achieve the American dream
  • 80%, a democratically elected government

A separate poll from the ABC News/Ipsos found that 56% of Americans say Trump should be convicted and barred from holding office again, and 43% say he should not be. The finding comes on the eve of Trump’s impeachment trial and figures worse for him than polling from just before his last impeachment trial, when an ABC/Washington Post poll found 47% of Americans said the Senate should vote to convict Trump and remove him from office while 49% said he should not be removed from office.

Mitt Romney Suggests Trump Impeachment Necessary For ‘Unity In Our Country’

Republican Senator Mitt Romney suggested Sunday that impeaching former President Donald Trump could bring national unity.

The “Never Trump” Senator made his comments on “Fox News Sunday” with host Chris Wallace.

Watch the interview below.

RELATED: Pelosi Sending Impeachment Article to Senate Monday, GOP Senators Warn McConnell Against Vote To Convict

Romney Argues Senate Trial Necessary For Unity

Wallace asked Romney, “Senator, do you support holding this impeachment trial, and what do you think the rules should be on the length of the trial and whether or not to call witnesses?”

Romney replied, “Well, we’re certainly going to have a trial. I wish that weren’t necessary, with the president’s conduct with regard to the call to the secretary of state in Georgia as well as the incitation towards the insurrection that led to the attack on the Capital calls for a trial.”

Then the anti-Trump Republican suggested that the impeachment could bring more unity for the U.S.

“If we are going to have unity in our country, I think it’s important to recognize the need for accountability, for truth, and justice,” Romney said.

Romney: ‘Pretty Clear’ Trump Spent A Year Trying To ‘Corrupt The Election’

He added, “So I think there will be a trial, and I hope it goes as quickly as possible, but that’s up to the council on both sides.”

Romney said it has been “pretty clear” over the last year and Trump had been trying to corrupt the election.

“I think it’s pretty clear that over the last year or so there has been an effort to corrupt the election of the United States and it was not by President Biden, it was by President Trump and that corruption we saw with regards to the conduct in Ukraine as well as the call to Secretary of state Raffensperger as well as the in citation to insurrection.”

Romney has a long history of anti-Trump sentiment.

Romney was the only Republican Senator to vote to convict President Trump during the first impeachment trial. 

In 2016, Romney famously gave a “Never Trump” speech when it became clear that Trump was likely to win the Republican nomination for President.

RELATED: Joy Behar Comes Unglued – Says Trump ‘Made It His Business For Four Years To Rape This Country’

The Utah senator finished his interview with Wallace by saying Trump provoked an attack on American democracy.

“I mean, this is obviously very serious and an attack on the very foundation of our democracy, and it is something that has to be considered and resolved,” Romney added.

Watch:

The post Mitt Romney Suggests Trump Impeachment Necessary For ‘Unity In Our Country’ appeared first on The Political Insider.

We can’t fix our democracy without understanding the roots of its problems

The House has just impeached Donald Trump for the second time following a violent insurrection by his supporters that endangered the lives of Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress. Trump got into the White House to begin with despite losing the popular vote in 2016, but went on to pack the federal courts with lifetime judges, including appointing one in three Supreme Court justices. The recent Republican Senate majority, which refused to rein in Trump’s abuses after his first impeachment, was elected with 20 million fewer votes than the Democratic minority.

You don’t have to look far or hard for evidence of the flaws in U.S. democracy. But in thinking about how to fix it, it’s helpful to have a framework for understanding what’s going on here—the roots of the problems and how deep they go. Political scientist Douglas Amy offers a start on that with Second Rate Democracy, a website laying out 17 ways the U.S. lags behind other major western countries on democracy.

In the introduction, Amy notes that:

  • Besides Denmark, no other advanced democracy follows the U.S. example and appoints Supreme Court justices for life – all now have mandatory term limits or age limits for justices.
  • None use an Electoral College that allows a minority of voters to choose its chief executive.
  • Most use different voting systems that make gerrymandering impossible and create more representative multi-party legislatures.
  • None have anything like our misrepresentative Senate that gives the 40 million voters in the 22 smallest states forty-four seats, while giving 40 million Californians two seats.
  • Nearly all have rejected our conflict-prone separation-of-powers model of government and have chosen instead a more cooperative parliamentary system that avoids the legislative gridlock that plagues our government.
  • And all rely much more on public money, not private money from rich organizations and individuals, to fund their election campaigns.

Amy offers a framework for assessing the health of democracies, from majority rule and fair representation to the rule of law, political equality, and public participation. To fix the problem, we need to understand the problem. This is one resource for doing so.

Siege of the Capitol the culmination of the GOP’s long embrace of anti-democratic authoritarianism

Republicans scurried to distance themselves Wednesday from the horrifying takeover of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., by a riotous mob of fanatical Donald Trump supporters. “Those who made this attack on our government need to be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” tweeted Sen. Lindsey Graham. Those storming the Capitol need to stop NOW,” chimed in Sen. Ted Cruz. The Senate Republicans’ Twitter account posted: “This is not who we are.”

This is, however, exactly who they are. What happened Wednesday was the apotheosis of the GOP’s two-decades-and-longer descent into right-wing authoritarianism, fueled by eliminationist hate talk, reality-bereft conspiracist sedition, anti-democratic rhetoric and politics, and the full-throated embrace under Trump of the politics of intimidation and thuggery. It came home to roost not just for Republicans, but for us all.

This radical authoritarianism was evident not just in the intent of the Capitol siege—an insurrectionist attempt to force Congress to overturn the known results of the November presidential election—but in the faces and voices of the men and women who comprised Wednesday’s mob.

  • In the crowd of rioters invading the Capitol building while chanting “treason” and “our house.”
  • In the grinning young white man who offered a Nazi salute to the invading rioters.
  • In the mobs harassing journalists and destroying their equipment, telling them: “Every corner you set up now, we’ll be there.”
  • In the voice of the man chanting inside the Capitol: “Traitors get the rope!”
  • In the zip ties and handgun carried by one of the Capitol invaders, suggesting that these insurrectionists intended to take hostages, and perhaps to execute them.
  • In the voice of the woman from Knoxville, Tennessee, who explained why, despite being maced, she had attempted to enter the building: “We’re storming the Capitol! It’s the revolution!”

There is little question that one man is primarily responsible for the unleashing of this kind of proto-fascist politics: Donald Trump. As I explained a few months ago:

Predicated by his mutual embrace of the far right in the 2015-2016 campaign, Trump’s election to the presidency unleashed a Pandora’s box of white-nationalist demons, beginning with a remarkable surge in hate crimes during his first month, and then his first two years, in office. Its apotheosis has come in the form of a rising tide of far-right mass domestic terrorism and mass killings, as well the spread of armed right-wing “Boogaloo” radicals and militiamen creating mayhem amid civil unrest around the nation.

Trump’s response all along has been to dance a tango in which, after sending out a signal of encouragement (such as his “very fine people on both sides” comments after the white-nationalist violence in Charlottesville in August 2017), he follows up with an anodyne disavowal of far-right extremists that is believed by no one, least of all white nationalists. Whenever queried about whether white nationalists pose a threat—as he was after a right-wing terrorist’s lethal attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, when he answered: “I don’t really, I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems”—Trump has consistently downplayed the threat of the radical right.

More recently, the appearance at the very least that Trump is deliberately encouraging a violent response to his political opposition has been growing. When far-right militiamen have gathered in places like Richmond, Virginia, and Lansing, Michigan, to shake their weapons in an attempt to intimidate lawmakers and other elected government officials, Trump has tweeted out his encouragement. When a teenage militiaman in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot three Black Lives Matter protesters, two fatally, Trump defended him while mischaracterizing the shootings. When far-right conspiracy theorists created a hoax rumor that antifascists and leftists were responsible for the wildfires sweeping the rural West Coast—resulting in armed vigilantes setting up “citizens patrols” and highway checkpoints, sometimes with the encouragement of local police—Trump retweeted a meme promoting the hoax.

The reality currently confronting Americans is that the extremist right has been organizing around a strategy of intimidation and threats by armed “Patriots”—embodied by street-brawling proto-fascist groups like the Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, American Guard, and the “III Percent” militias, along with their “Boogaloo” cohort, all of them eager to use their prodigious weaponry against their fellow Americans in a “civil war.” And what we have seen occurring as the 2020 campaign has progressed is that the line of demarcation between these right-wing extremists and ordinary Trump-loving Republicans has all but vanished.

However, Trump never could have accomplished this kind of empowerment of the radical right, not to mention his ceaseless underhanded attacks on our democratic institutions, without having been enabled at every step by an enthusiastic Republican Party, both its establishment wing and its far-right “populist” bloc, as well as an army of authoritarian devotees in right-wing media and social media.

People like Cruz and Graham, as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and William Barr, all have played major roles in enabling Trump’s multiple depredations. At every step, Republicans have avidly empowered Trump as he has ravaged our international alliances, our national security apparatus, our courts, our Justice and Education and State departments (not to mention Interior, Energy, Treasury, and multiple other departments, notably the Environmental Protection Agency).

The problems with the Republican Party and the conservative movement generally extend well beyond the past four years, and well beyond Trump himself. Indeed, the man the party empowered and enabled to undermine our democratic institutions is the embodiment of conditions created within the GOP for the previous four decades and longer, all of them profoundly anti-democratic and authoritarian.

The strands of authoritarianism that conservatives wove together for many years to create the noose that is Donald Trump are all clear and on the record:

  • Ronald Reagan’s abiding anti-government sentiments (“Government is not the solution to our problem, it is the problem”) became deeply embedded as a fundamental approach to governance within the conservative movement—guaranteeing not just its incoherence and cognitive dissonance, but inevitably its antagonism to democratic institutions, particularly voting rights.
  • Bill Clinton’s presidency—or rather, the conservative reaction against it—begat the far-right “Patriot” movement that Trump now essentially leads, borne of “New World Order” conspiracy theories, Bircherite nationalism, and hysterical fearmongering. It also established what became a permanent right-wing ethos in which any kind of Democratic presidency is characterized as illegitimate, and the Republican Party became the vehicle for pushing this claim (as in the Javier-esque impeachment effort the GOP then undertook).
  • During the Bush years, any questioning of the Republican administration’s conduct of the Afghanistan and Iraq post-9/11 invasions (thanks in no small part to a relentless drumbeat of fearmongering after those terrorist attacks) was summarily attacked by its defenders as “on the side of the terrorists” and “helping the terrorists win”—that is, disloyal and treasonous. Not just war critics but anyone who dared question Bush policies would find themselves summarily subjected to a barrage of smears and eliminationist rhetoric. “We don't want to get rid of all liberals,” Rush Limbaugh was fond of saying. “I want to keep a couple, for example, on every major U.S. college campus so that we never forget who these people are."
  • John McCain’s presidential nomination in 2008 gave us Sarah Palin, who more than any Republican politician previously normalized the know-nothing “populist” politics that now completely dominate the party. It also unleashed the tide of nativist bigotry—manifested especially in the expressed world views of her adoring fans, who had no hesitation in pronouncing Barack Obama a Muslim, a terrorist, and a man who “hates white people”—on which Trump would later surf into the White House.

This tide soon swelled to mass proportions during Obama’s presidency under the aegis of the Tea Party phenomenon, which was portrayed in the press as a populist uprising for conservative values but which in reality was a major conduit for the revival and ultimate mainstreaming of the far-right “Patriot”/militia movement of the 1990s, and all of its attendant conspiracist fearmongering and bigotry (manifested especially in the “Birther” conspiracy theories). Trump, who built his political power by promoting that theory, declared himself the personification of the Tea Party in 2011, and by the time he announced his campaign in 2015, he was broadly perceived as just that.

By winning first the GOP nomination and then the presidency, Trump culminated all these long-developing trends into a genuinely authoritarian politics fueled by ignorance and bigotry and resentment, filtered through the prism of paranoid conspiracism. All of which has led us to the pass we reached this week.

The conspiracist authoritarianism has long ceased to be merely a fringe element. Over 80 percent of Trump voters believe that Joe Biden won the election fraudulently. In one poll taken yesterday, 45 percent of Republicans approved of the Capitol siege, and 68 percent said it posed no threat to democracy. This is who they are.

The Republican Party’s hostility to democracy—embodied by conservatives’ running refrain that “America is not a democracy, it’s a republic”—has become its official policy over the past decade, manifested most apparently in its egregious voter suppression policies and court rulings that reached a fever pitch in recent years. It’s now a commonplace for Republican politicians (notably Trump himself) to fret that a high voter turnout is nearly certain to translate into Democratic wins as a reason to even further suppress the vote.

As David Frum (a never-Trump conservative) noted in his book Trumpocracy: “If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. The will reject democracy.” On Wednesday, that rejection became undeniably, irrevocably manifest.

Rather than taking a hard look at what they have become after the mob their president ginned up stormed the Capitol, today’s lame attempts by conservatives to gaslight the public about what happened Wednesday (with figures like Matt Gaetz and Mo Brooks trying to gaslight the public by claiming the invaders were actually “antifa”) make all too clear that the Republican Party, now consumed by right-wing authoritarianism, has ceased to be a viable partner in a working democracy. The problem the rest of us now face is how to proceed from here.

A breakdown of all 126 seditious Republicans who signed on for a coup d’état

When Texas sued to overturn four other states’ election results in the hopes of installing illegitimate, two-time popular vote loser, and white supremacist mediocrity Donald Trump into a second presidential term, they exposed how many elected officials are straight-up wannabe oligarchs. The fact that even in the upside-down world we are living in, with the hijacked ultra conservative Supreme Court in place, most everybody knew there was little chance of the Supreme Court stepping in and hearing the case, which should tip one off to how far afield this maneuver is. It’s the kind of thing that most people would rather not put their name on since it is the sort of thing people should go to jail for—if laws concerning sedition and treason are real laws.

Many of the people on this list came into office during the tea party wave of 2010. If you don’t remember what the tea party is, it’s sort of like if you looked at the American Revolution for independence and democracy and your takeaway was … being a racist asshole. Another way to look at it is if you looked at the Civil War in the United States and boiled it down to … being a racist asshole. Let’s make sure we remember the 126 fascists who signed on for this attack on American democracy, and maybe even learn a smidgen more about them and their histories of being terrible people. A tip of the hat goes to community members republicinsanity and Carmeninvermont—republicinsanity for the Crazy/Stupid Republican of the Day series that is frequently sourced here, and Carmeninvermont for the easy-to-read and understand list of GOP anti-democracy Republicans who want to overthrow our elections process in order to hoist up the most mediocre man in American history.

Here is a nice list of the 126 Republican officials who whether charged with sedition and treason or not, are guilty of trying to, at the very least, thwart the will of the American people and overturn our democratically elected president:

Mike Johnson of Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District made small headlines this past summer when his attempts to “gotcha” assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland Aaron Zelinsky for not appearing in person during a pandemic blew up in his face. Zelinsky, who had a newborn at home, explained that he had spoken with his family’s doctor and they thought potentially exposing the newborn to a pandemic wasn’t a good move.

Gary Palmer of Alabama’s 6th Congressional District is one of those conservative think tankers whose big ideas include: attacking same sex marriage and nonbinary public restrooms. Big thinker.

Steve Scalise of Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District is a storied hypocrite and swamp creature of epic proportions.

Jim Jordan of Ohio’s 4th Congressional District is a person, so cowardly and so craven, he has built a career on his ability to ignore some of the most heinous crimes happening under his watch. Jordan’s act of sedition comes down lower on his list of sins than most others on this list.

Ralph Abraham of Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District is a shoot from the hip bigot with ideas that were last considered fresh in 1770.

Rick W. Allen of Georgia’s 12th Congressional District has one truly great claim to fame, he “disgusted” some Republicans once upon a time by reading anti-LGBTQ passages from the Bible. Different times. Different times.

James R. Baird of Indiana’s 4th Congressional District was attacked with an insensitive and offensive mailer, by an out of state conservative super PAC in 2018, during his Republican primary. He seemed pretty offended at the time, but I guess he’s decided to let all of that go in order to overthrow the government.

Jim Banks of Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District spent the early weeks of the global pandemic to help pen a nonbonding resolution blaming China for COVID-19. That’s what he did to help Americans.

Jack Bergman of Michigan’s 1st Congressional District blamed the press for the domestic terrorist shooting that injured Rep. Steve Scalise.

Andy Biggs of Arizona’s 5th Congressional District didn't go so far as to call Democrats who didn’t applaud during Donald Trump’s State of the Union “treasonous” but did believe they were “disrespectful” and that they might have to answer to God. He’s also had to leave public events after being booed offstage for saying that climate change wasn’t settled science.

Gus Bilirakis of Florida’s 12th Congressional District came into the office he sort of inherited from his father. He’s been a good anti-women’s rights Republican since 2006 and pretty much does what he’s told to do. And he’s in Florida where Republicans tell you to do the real bottom of the barrel stuff.

Dan Bishop of North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District came into office after actual election fraudster Republican Mark Harris had to step away due to controversy over … election fraud. Bishop is best known for writing North Carolina’s anti-trans “bathroom bill.”

Mike Bost of Illinois’s 12th Congressional District is famously prone to outrageous outbursts. He’s also known for cowering away from constituents when asked about his attempts to rip away millions of people’s health insurance. 

Kevin Brady of Texas’s 8th Congressional District was that diminutive bald white guy that got a nice grin going in the Rose garden for when the Republican Party gave away billions to the rich in their tax scam. That’s his great achievement.

Mo Brooks of Alabama’s 5th Congressional District read Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf on the floor of the House in a twisted attempt to skewer the Democratic officials over their pursuit of an investigation into Trump’s campaign ties to Russia. He did this on the heels of calling for the National Guard to “be allowed to use whatever force is necessary to secure that border.”

Ken Buck of Colorado’s 4th Congressional District has faced questions over whether he pressured another party official to submit incorrect election results and then blew through some RNC money to make that fraud work. To call Buck a scumbag is offensive to bags filled with scum.

Ted Budd of North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District is one of the Republicans who signed on to this bit of treason while in quarantine, after announcing he had tested positive for COVID-19.

Tim Burchett of Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional District believes in Bigfoot and eating roadkill instead of providing better social services.

Michael C. Burgess of Texas’s 26th Congressional District is the kind of guy that called for President Barack Obama to be impeached over Benghazi and then became suspiciously silent when Donald Trump was impeached for his law breaking and corruption-filled campaign.

Bradley Byrne of Alabama’s 1st Congressional District took time away from releasing racist attack ads to sign on for fascism!

Ken Calvert of California’s 42nd Congressional District is a famous “family values” hypocrite (see busted with pants around his ankles, with a sex worker who was not his wife).

Earl L. “Buddy” Carter of Georgia’s 1st Congressional District. I couldn’t find much on Buddy, but I do know that he doesn’t believe in democracy.

Ben Cline of Virginia’s 6th Congressional District was one of the dozen security threats with feet that breached national security for a hack partisan performance piece, led by Florida man Matt Gaetz.

Michael Cloud of Texas’s 27th Congressional District owes his seat to the fact that repeatedly disgraceful Blake Farenthold had to leave office, and Republicans have successfully repressed the vote in his district.

Mike Conaway of Texas’s 11th Congressional District knows a ton about stealing elections as he famously said, in 2017, that Democratic Sen. Harry Reid and other Democrats had enlisted “Mexican soap opera stars, singers and entertainers who had immense influence in those communities into Las Vegas, to entertain, get out the vote and so forth. Those are foreign actors, foreign people, influencing the vote in Nevada.”

Rick Crawford of Arkansas’s 1st Congressional District is maybe best known for his opposition to taking down Confederate monuments saying it was akin to Holocaust denialism and would lead to the closure of Holocaust museums. There’s not much else to say about that.

Dan Crenshaw of Texas’s 2nd Congressional District is a dirtbag who lies and pretends he isn’t just a groveling McConnell follower.

Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida’s 25th Congressional District has the distinction of being the first member of Congress to test positive for COVID-19. He will also be remembered as one of those Republicans who refused to speak to Donald Trump’s describing countries as “shitholes.” Courage is something these men do not have.

Jeff Duncan of South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District has enjoyed trying, and failing, to do away with important census data, by attempting to have it legislated out of being collected. Too much thinking for Mr. Duncan, I guess.

Neal P. Dunn of Florida’s 2nd Congressional District has made sure to tell news outlets how worried he was and is for children separated from their loved ones due to Trump and the Republican Party’s zero tolerance immigration policies. Not surprisingly, he’s done absolutely nothing to fix this inhumane practice.

Tom Emmer of Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District has complained about constituents wanting stuff like healthcare protections and he’s tried in vain to weaken the Endangered Species Act. He’s never been particularly interested in a Democracy and doesn’t plan on starting now.

Ron Estes of Kansas’s 4th Congressional District literally walked in a swamp in the hopes of riding his way through a tight election. Sadly, Estes never left that swamp, he seems to have just grown gills.

Drew Ferguson of Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District has a social media team that can’t tell the difference between World War II American soldiers and Nazis. True story!

Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District is the kind of guy that takes a question about the many outrageous attacks made publicly by Donald Trump and answers it by blaming Nancy Pelosi for being mean. But in Fleischmann’s defense, he’s been peddling the election fraud fantasy publicly, with zero evidence, since his lord and liege Trump told him to.

Bill Flores of Texas’s 17th Congressional District has made sure to point out that he would ignore the calls from his constituents in regards to Trump’s problematic relationship with Russia and instead make claims that same sex marriage led to civil unrest in Baltimore. The civil unrest in Baltimore connected to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody and the lack of justice he ultimately received.

Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District got off his high horse to finally openly expose himself as the right-wing, batshit bananas hack that he’s always been and pretended not to be.

Virginia Foxx of North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District took time away from analogizing the regulation of for-profit colleges with the Holocaust to practice some good old Nazi fascism and overthrow our Democracy. She also once tried to argue that the murder of Matthew Shepard was not a hate crime. In fact, she said the premise was a “hoax.”

Russ Fulcher of Idaho’s 1st Congressional District is a climate denier … as of 2018. He also claims that God wants Idahoians to mine the ground and log away the trees in the state.

Matt Gaetz of Florida’s 1st Congressional District is this guy. What can be said about Matt Gaetz that hasn’t been written in excrement on the soles of Donald Trump and Sean Hannity’s tiny shoes

Greg Gianforte, governor-elect of Montana, assaulted a reporter for asking tough questions and then lied about it to police.

Bob Gibbs of Ohio’s 7th Congressional District is the classic overly emotional conservative white male politician that uses hyperbole but demands that people take that incongruous hyperbole as fact.

Louie Gohmert of Texas’s 1st Congressional District is an unintelligent person but he is also a relatively powerful and disturbingly racist and unintelligent person.

Lance Gooden of Texas’s 5th Congressional District has been in the pocket of a Texas hotelier for years and owes most of his financial support to him. In fact, Gooden is in business with millionaire Monty Bennett and it seems that Bennett is the only person in the state of Texas that Gooden feels he needs to answer to. Gooden’s one claim to fame over the past couple of years was coming up with a plan to DNA test all new immigrants at the border, something that is problematic for about 1 million reasons.

Sam Graves of Missouri’s 6th Congressional District is the kind of guy that runs on homophobia.

Mark Green of Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District is also a homophobe with a history of trying to create laws that would allow for the wholesale discrimination of LGBTQ folks in businesses throughout the Volunteer State.

Michael Guest of Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District is on the House Committee on Ethics. Drink that in: a guy that signed on for a coup d’etat represents Republican ethics in the House. Guest is also a supporter of Confederate fashion-lover and general old-timey racist Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Andy Harris of Maryland’s 1st Congressional District is a person who ran on a campaign against the Affordable Healthcare Act and then demanded to know why his government-sponsored healthcare didn’t take effect until after one month in office. And his dad was a Nazi-supporter—not like a neo-Nazi supporter, but an actual Germany during World War II Nazi supporter. Hubris is too nice a word for what Andy Harris is about.

Vicky Hartzler of Missouri’s 4th Congressional District is really most famous for being an anti-gay activist. Imagine if that was your claim to fame?

Kevin Hern of Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District is directly connected to arguably the single most corrupt official in recent Oklahoma history, Scott Pruitt. He’s also been a big promoter of superspreader COVID-19 events.

Clay Higgins of Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District is a former Louisiana police officer who lost his job for what would be considered criminal behavior if he hadn’t been on the unjust side of the thin blue line. He’s also a scary racist fascist who believes in authoritarian rule.

Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana’s 9th Congressional District believes that the hundreds of thousands of Americans dead from COVID-19 are the “lesser of these two evils.” The other evil in that sentence is “our way of life as Americans.”

Richard Hudson of North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District is your run-of-the-mill, anti-women’s rights, Obama birther conspiracy theorist, demands drug testing in exchange for food assistance Republican. 

Bill Huizenga of Michigans 2nd Congressional District has been investigated for corruption and has gone so far as to try and get rid of corruption laws that might conflict with his … corruption.

Bill Johnson of Ohio’s 6th Congressional District is a big Islamophobe GOP official. That seems to be his main strength. Like many of the people on this list, Johnson came into office on the ultra-conservative tea party wave of 2010. 

John Joyce of Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District is new to the scene, but we now know one thing about his political ideology.

Fred Keller of Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District barely understands his own elections, let alone national ones.

Mike Kelly of Pennsylvanias 16th Congressional District has been on board this election fraud train since suing to have Black people’s votes in Pennsylvania nullified.

Trent Kelly of Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District gave his in-person seal of approval on the Trump administration’s family separation practices.

Steve King of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District is a lame duck racist who would sign anything so long as the devil told him to.

David Kustoff of Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District’s biggest claim to fame is being a sort of poor man’s Tom Cotton.

Darin LaHood of Illinois’s 18th Congressional District took time away from trying to govern women’s bodies with his Bible to sign off on treason!

Doug LaMalfa of California’s 1st Congressional District has been promoting doubt about the Democratic process, with zero evidence, since the beginning of November. LaMalfa is a mixture of painfully pathetic xenophobia along with quoting the bible to deny climate science.

Doug Lamborn of Colorado’s 5th Congressional District is the guy that continued to force his staff to work in the close proximity of his office during the current pandemic, and then reportedly told his staff not to tell their roommates about COVID-19 symptoms they were having after coming into contact with someone with COVID-19. Think about that.

Robert E. Latta of Ohio’s 5th Congressional District has magically increased his wealth while in Washington by a reported 238%, and while he isn’t the wealthiest Ohio Republican, he’s made the biggest jump in wealth since entering office. Strange!

Debbie Lesko of Arizona’s 8th Congressional District once said that the dozens of sexual assaults alleged against Donald Trump should be investigated and then promptly forgot all about that as she co-sponsored a bill that would require women to prove to their employers that they took birth control for reasons other than … birth control. 

Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District’s main function in the Republican Party is to figure out ways to allow payday lenders to launder their money. 

Kenny Marchant of Texas’s 24th Congressional District is retiring and throwing democracy under the bus as he walks out the door.

Roger Marshall of Kansas’s 1st Congressional District is the kind of guy that runs away from answering questions and participating in debates while also plagiarizing other people’s campaigns, because he has no ethical standards.

Tom McClintock of California’s 4th Congressional District is the kind of guy that was still hanging out with right-wing criminal and strange lying machine Dinesh D’Souza. D’Souza is one of those guys that almost makes you feel bad for being a human being.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington’s 5th Congressional District is a person that literally said she had made "protecting those with pre-existing conditions” a “priority” during her time in office. She voted to repeal those very protections nine times—as in one less than 10 times.

Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District has called the Postal Service’s dismantling by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy a “fabricated problem being pushed by Democrats.”

Carol D. Miller of West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District has the distinction of being the only new woman Republican congressional member in the 2018 blue wave election cycle. Miller wants to make sure the other fascists in her party know that she, too, can be a fascist!

John Moolenaar of Michigan’s 4th Congressional District’s only claim to fame has been to vote against calling Donald Trump’s racist statement against “the Squad” racist. This makes John Moolenaar a racist.

Alex X. Mooney of West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District was one of the dunderheaded crew of Matt Gaetz-led legislators breaking the law and threatening the country’s national security in the hopes of being on camera

Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District doesn’t know how many branches of government there are, nor does he understand how government works. He’s clearly not alone in this.

Gregory Murphy of North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District told the public that the only reason Sen. Kamala Harris was chosen to be Joe Biden’s running mate was because of “her color and her race.” He finished that thought by wondering aloud if this was “how we pick our leaders now in America??” I guess Murphy is hoping that we just pick a white pseudo-billionaire to make important decisions for a majority of people that do not want him to?

Dan Newhouse of Washington’s 4th Congressional District is one of the many Republican officials that recently contracted COVID-19.

Ralph Norman of South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District brandished a loaded weapon during a constituent breakfast and placed it on the table in front of people discussing gun safety.

Scott Perry of Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District once argued that God, as in the Judeo-Christian deity of the Bible, was an environmental polluter like, say, Duke Energy.

Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District believes that the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police means that taxpayers should invest more money into police departments. He’s also a guy that wrote a forward for an incredibly hate-filled book, and then said he hadn’t read the book, even though his forward was about reading the writer’s hate-filled work. U-S-A!

Tom Rice of South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District spent weeks in the state legislature refusing to wear a mask indoors and then announced that he and his wife and his son had all tested positive for COVID-19.  

John Rose of Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District’s big claim to fame was being one of the many Republicans, at different times, to block disaster relief help for Puerto Rico.

David Rouzer of North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District is a Trump defender with all of the general Republican bonafides we have come to expect: tax breaks for the rich, voting against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, and being a part of the Gaetz impeachment crash party.

John Rutherford of Florida’s 4th Congressional District has frequently been dragged on Twitter for the most racist and idiotic attacks on Democratic women of color.

Austin Scott of Georgia’s 8th Congressional District recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Mike Simpson of Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District took his head from out of his own ass long enough to sign on for fascism.

Adrian Smith of Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District sort of disappeared on his constituents, just  like the rest of the Republican Party during this year’s pandemic.

Jason Smith of Missouri’s 8th Congressional District’s great moment of cleverness was when he attacked the ACA for taxing tanning salons, saying Democrats might as well “tax the sun.” He also spun it as a tax on women. Of course, Smith had a long history of attacking women in the legislature by trying to defund Planned Parenthood, as well as attacking children by voting against Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program funds.

Ross Spano of Florida’s 15th Congressional District took time away from his campaign finance scandal, and losing his primary, to support another one-term corrupt politician.

Elise Stefanik of New York’s 21st Congressional District is something of an easily verifiable liar. Let’s all look forward to the day, likely a few weeks from now, when Stefanik tells a local news reporter that she never supported the wholesale destruction of the democratic process.

Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District is a big Second Amendment fella who has said things in the past like “You know, the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It’s about safety. If someone is coming into my house in the middle of the night to hurt my family, I want as many bullets as possible.” I guess he needs all the bullets to shoot holes in Democratically casted votes?

Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District knows lots about election fraud and election law violations as he has been tied to all kinds of under-the-table, dirty, and likely illegal tricks to win his position in Wisconsin’s legislature.

William Timmons of South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District is most recently remembered for defending Trump’s racism by saying everybody is being called racist and so nobody is racist. Trying to get rid of Black Americans’ votes wholesale is a great example of an attempt at systemizing racism. Just a thought.

Ann Wagner of Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District is one of the legislators in Congress with the least amount of votes on actual legislation. I guess she’s lazy? She was one of the first Republican officials to stand in front of microphones and tell Americans that based on her high level of knowledge, from “multiple, multiple briefings at the federal level,” she knew—as of March 7—that the United States was at a very “low risk” of having a COVID-19 pandemic. Ann Wagner should be disqualified from doing anything but eating oatmeal.

Tim Walberg of Michigan’s 7th Congressional District is one of those “family values” Republicans who wants to take away everyone else’s rights using the federal government. 

Michael Waltz of Florida’s 6th Congressional District is already having newspapers who endorsed him apologize for supporting sedition. This is one of those “never Trumpers” who very quickly began licking the boots of Donald Trump the moment Trump came into power.

Randy Weber of Texas’s 14th Congressional District replaced Ron Paul in Congress. There’s not much more that needs to be said. A second-rate version of Ron Paul, while better than the fifth-rate version of Paul that is Rand, is still worse than having an old can of Tab sitting in a seat and being your representative.

Daniel Webster of Florida’s 11th Congressional District is … so much Florida!

Brad Wenstrup of Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District just followed in the footsteps of Jim “I-turn-the-other-way-when-being-told-about-the-wholesale-molestation-of-young-people-I’m-supposed-to-be-in-charge-of” Jordan.

Bruce Westerman of Arkansas’s 4th Congressional District has sat on top of a pile of logging industry money for years and shockingly (read: “not shockingly”) has been a lead sponsor on some super anti-climate, pro-logging bits of legislation that attempt to hand our trees over to private industry for profit.

Roger Williams of Texas’ 25th Congressional District is the guy that tried to pressure a bank to help out his flailing oil investor donor. Swamp stuff.

Joe Wilson of South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District loves to vote for American wars but not for healthcare funding for American veterans of said wars. He’s almost a perfect Republican! He’s also in a district that’s drawn deeply red and acts like the petty little emperor he wants to be.

Rob Wittman of Virginia’s 1st Congressional District was able to fly mostly under the radar for his attempts at profiteering off of the COVID-19 pandemic when he bought into a pharmaceutical company which was producing an antiviral drug that hoped to help with COVID-19 treatments, and at the exact same time emailing his constituents that there was no coronavirus pandemic in the United States, and you didn’t need to worry about it. You know, like a real piece of shit.

Ron Wright of Texas’s 6th Congressional District is a relatively new congressman, whose views on school mass shootings include calling for public hangings as a solution. Not working on the gun thing, just hanging people.

Ted S. Yoho of Florida’s 3rd Congressional District is the soon-to-be retiring congressman from Florida who famously “didn’t attend one single deposition” as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee when Congress was investigating Trump’s Ukrainian bribery. He’s also the sweetie pie who, in a confrontation with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez resorted to calling her a “fucking bitch,” because his ability to debate matches the size of his courage.

Lee Zeldin of New York’s 1st Congressional District is best known for his intense Islamophobia and his unerring and idiotic support of the Trump administration from Day One.

Remember these (mostly white) men (and a couple of white women). They are the people who hope to be a middle-management fascistic vanguard in an oligarchy for the rich. Share your own stories about any of the people listed above down below in the comments.

Happy New Year!

Trump must be impeached and removed for commuting Roger Stone’s sentence. Rule of law demands it

It’s very simple: By commuting Roger Stone’s sentence, The Man Who Lost The Popular Vote has sent a clear signal that anyone who does something illegal on his behalf, or who has knowledge of something illegal he has done and lies about it under oath, and/or to investigators, will never be punished. This an act that fatally weakens the constitutionally mandated checks and balances through which our democracy prevents a president from achieving dictatorial power.

Investigations cannot proceed toward any sort of justice if no one is required to tell the truth. That much should be apparent to any reasonable, objective observer, no matter their party. This president has now created a shield around himself so that he can—so long as he simply maintains the loyalty of his minions—do literally anything he wants and remain free of accountability or punishment. That cannot be allowed to stand. Our system offers but one remedy.

Thus far, only a single Republican office-holder of note has spoken out about Trump’s attack on the rule of law. All other Republicans must take a stand—either for the would-be Tyrant from Trump Tower, or for American constitutional democracy. There is no in-between.

Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.

— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 11, 2020

We know the reasons we will hear from those who counsel against impeachment and removal: “but the election…..” You know what? Fuck that. This is about standing up for our Constitution. And not just the Second Amendment.

For far too long, Trump and Republican leaders in Congress, and in the states, have acted in ways that are technically within their rights (does Merrick Garland ring a bell?), but which violate fundamental constitutional norms. Commuting Roger Stone, however, goes far beyond violating norms. Even Richard Nixon didn’t pull anything like this. Trump’s corrupt actions represent a blatant attempt to destroy our democracy, and the only way to stop him is for Congress to take the one power the Constitution provides to rein in such a president.

Congress must impeach and remove Donald Trump. Now.