The GOP — It Ain’t What It Used To Be

One of the columnists I most respect is Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post.  I bookmarked his column from Thursday to further peruse and upon doing so, I thought it well worth sharing with you.  We the People can still salvage the democratic foundations from under the ashes of conservative cultism, but … we don’t have many chances left, which is why it is so imperative that we make sure everyone votes this November and in November 2024 … it may be the last best hope for the survival of the United States.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, gestures to the crowd during his primary night election party in Chambersburg, Pa., on May 17. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Cult or a conspiracy? The GOP sure isn’t a normal political party.

By Eugene Robinson

May 19, 2022

Is today’s Republican Party primarily a cult of personality or a seditious conspiracy? I can argue either side of that question. But it is clear that the GOP is no longer a political organization or movement in the traditional sense. And if Republican cultists and conspirators win power in November, voters have only ourselves to blame.

It’s not as if we can’t see the dangers that lie ahead. As Bob Dylan once sang, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

The object of the GOP’s cultish devotion is, of course, former president Donald Trump. I have my doubts whether Trump will actually run for the White House again in 2024 (and risk losing twice, whether he acknowledges either loss publicly), but for now he is the unchallenged egomaniacal leader of the party he seized in 2016.

Tuesday’s primary results in Pennsylvania prove Trump’s primacy. As the party’s nominee for governor, GOP voters chose Trump’s preferred pick, a state senator named Doug Mastriano who trumpets the “big lie” about the 2020 election being stolen; was present at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 (though he says he left before the insurrectionary portion of the events); and appeared at an event associated with the hallucinatory QAnon conspiracy theory about the nation somehow being run by a cabal of pedophiles.

His Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, should be able to win that race handily by simply keeping his rhetoric and positions within the bounds of reality as we know it — if, and only if, enough Democrats, independents and still-sane Republicans bother to vote in November.

The race for the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania’s contested U.S. Senate seat is, as of this writing, a virtual tie between Trump’s choice, television celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, and hedge fund titan David McCormick. Far-right political commentator Kathy Barnette faded to third after Trump declared her too extreme even for his liking.

But look again at that lineup of candidates. None has any of the experience in elective office that used to be expected of a candidate for the Senate. And the campaign consisted mostly of all three professing their undying fealty to Trump and their faith in his infallibility.

The Democratic candidate in that November contest — Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who won his primary easily, despite suffering a stroke Friday, and is on the mend — has a good chance of winning, which could increase the Democrats’ tenuous Senate majority if they can hold other seats.

In North Carolina, GOP Rep. Ted Budd, another Trump endorsee, won the primary for that state’s open Senate seat; Budd is another “big lie” espouser who voted against certifying the 2020 electoral vote, even after the Jan. 6 rioters had sacked the Capitol. One Trump-endorsed N.C. Republican, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, did lose his primary. But Cawthorn’s antics and transgressions were such that not even Trump’s lukewarm pitch for “a second chance” for the troubled young politician could save him.

The dominant pattern of the Republican primaries thus far is clear: It is very, very hard to win a statewide nomination without Trump’s support, or at least his amity; and it is impossible to win Trump’s backing if you reject his lie about the supposedly “stolen” election. How is that anything but cultlike?

This is the most dangerous aspect of the GOP’s devolution from party to personality cult: Devotion to Trump requires a willingness to betray democracy. Much of Trump’s attention is focused on states, such as Pennsylvania, where he falsely claims he was victimized by voter fraud. If Mastriano were to win the governor’s race, his handpicked secretary of state could refuse to certify 2024 election results that Trump did not like.

Vote-counting in the Pennsylvania Senate primary is not yet finished, but Trump has already called on Oz — who has a tiny, tentative lead over McCormick — to preemptively “declare victory.”

This is where the question of seditious conspiracy comes in. The Republican Party is shaping itself in Trump’s image, and Trump has shown nothing but contempt for the traditions of fair play and good will that allow our democracy to function. Refusing to accept the will of the voters is authoritarianism. Today’s GOP, increasingly, is just fine with that.

All is not lost, however. Turnout in midterm elections is traditionally much lower than in presidential years. Voters who are appalled at what the GOP has become can send a powerful and definitive message by abandoning their traditional nonchalance and voting in huge numbers. We can reject Trumpism, both for its cultishness and for its proto-fascism. We can take a stand.

It’s up to us what kind of country we want to live in. We had better speak our minds with our votes — while we still can.

32 thoughts on “The GOP — It Ain’t What It Used To Be

  1. Pingback: Christian nationalism is shaping a Pennsylvania primary — and a GOP shift – Some View on the World

  2. Jill, seeing the Australian election results where conservatives were swept out after being in power for nine years, it was a pleasant surprise for several reasons. Women voted in a large bloc about issues of import, two of which are dealing with climate change and integrity in elected officials, but also child care and Medicare strengthening. The fact that issues were the focus as contrasted to fear-based bumper sticker slogans that we discuss here in the states around contrived topics like critical race theory, replacement theory and book banning, is brutally refreshing. And, it was center-left that won out.

    Here in the states, the conservatives are kowtowing too much to strident rhetoric and those who espouse it and have taken their party down a dark path. We need a viable conservative party here, but right now the party is adrift, untethered to truth and lawfulness. The test of loyalty cannot remain telling a Big Lie while condemning the truth tellers in the party if the GOP wants some measure of veracity. This last sentence would indicate it is more of a cult than a party and drinking the Kool-aid is telling folks the lie is true.

    I use the word “adrift,” but conservative pundit Michael Gerson uses the term “decay” to define the state of the GOP. I cannot fault him for his opinion. Yet, let me climb to the top of the Rockies and shout a truth that needs to be heard – our country is more at odds with itself than before because a person with a fragile ego is not man enough to admit he lost an election. He has lost all but one of 65 court cases and every recount, review and audit. His funders of the court cases even want their money back as they felt misled – they were. With the exception of that one court case, Donald Trump cannot lose any more than he already has. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed, the results in Australia pleased me for the same reasons, but they also highlight just how far many have strayed from true values here in the U.S. I was watching one of the videos on Scottie’s website and the presenter said that it is, to Republicans, more important to hurt Joe Biden than to help people here. That seems to be true … the only goal I see coming out of the GOP is to destroy the current administration, to destroy Democrats in every branch of government. You’re right … we need two viable parties, but today the GOP looks more like a very dark circus act, something perhaps out of the mind of Stephen King. The question, then, is how do we fix this? Millions of people have been brainwashed, have drunk the Kool Aid … we MUST open their eyes to reality before November, but how??? Sigh.


  3. The Republican party sounds exactly like the party that’s in power where I live, and, people from the opposing party, are also calling to those who don’t follow the ideals of the party ruling over the country currently to come out and vote, but, what’s the use, I mean, there’s already the precedence of the last issue-voting that I voted in, and the results, it still don’t show a lot of the voters’ wished, and so, voting now became, a sort of a passive rebellion against the dictatorship of the DDP here. Besides, those who follow the party in power are all going to the polls, while, not all of us, who aren’t onboard with them will vote, due to the reasons I described here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The insanity seems to be spreading around the globe, my friend. But, I would argue when you say “what’s the use?” for if we give up, if we stop fighting, then we’ve lost the battle already. Keep on voting, my friend, keep on protesting, writing letters to your newspapers if you can, making your voice heard! We simply cannot give up!!! Life as we know it is at stake.


      • In the United States of America the Republican Party has gone far away from the original GOP and has become primarily a cult of personality, having Trump as their halfgod. But that insanity is luckily not spreading around the globe, though we also see some other lunatics doing the same as Trump and also holding fast to their authoritarian dictatorial leadership. But in the majority of countries “Republican” is standing really for the diversity and for not being royalists nor loyalists, not turning around one person and not givng all the person to one person, in a community where there is place for Concervatives, Liberals, Socialists, Trotskyites, Stalinists,Marxists, Greenies and even anarchists,

        Lots of countries prove that one does not have to fight to have a country under control. Better still, in no other country one can find so many unnecessary deaths by weapons as in the U.S.A..

        Having all people in a nation the possibility to go to the ballot and to bring out a vote for whoever they want, is the most democratic system, and is what we should aim for in our society.

        Far too much is involved in whether or not to vote, or in being careless. People need to be aware or made aware of what is really happening in the world. That is why it is so important that people make their voices heard and expose all injustice. The fight must be waged not with weapons but with words.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are quite right that the Republican Party has become a populist cult sans values of any sort, with Trump as their non-ordained leader. To me, that tells me all I need to know about their level of intelligence. No, the insanity isn’t yet spreading around the globe, but I’m concerned by the support for Marine LePen in France, though she lost both elections, but she had tremendous populist support. She and Trump are of the same mindset, and if either of them were to actually win an election, that nation would no longer qualify as a democracy at all.

          You are right about the gun crisis in the U.S. We top the next 5 or so nations in gun violence, we have more guns than people, and instead of instituting stronger gun laws, we continue to weaken what few laws we do have. It is not safe for children to go to school, nor for any to go grocery shopping, to church, to a mall, a concert, or virtually anyplace anymore. We are the laughingstock of the globe.

          There is a saying that is used about many things … “Use it or lose it”. That is the case with our voting rights that are being sorely tested this year. We took the right to vote for granted, have a high level of voter apathy, and now we may well be on our way to losing our only voice … our vote.


          • Marine LePen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Tom Van Grieken in Belgium are people from the far right gaining popularity. They may not yet have got the majority of the votes, though they have already managed to work their way into certain organisations in order to spread their ideas further across our lands. so we should be very careful on the lookout.

            In the USA the right to vote may be taken for granted, but at the moment they are still holding to an incredible unjust system for the allowance for votes bringing up seats. It should be brought, like in Belgium, to a much fairer system giving the amounts of seats according to the percentage of votes.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ah yes, and let’s not forget good ol’ Nigel Farage in the UK! Yes, they have managed to do some damage, even without winning elections. Sigh.

              In the U.S., people are shallow and as long as they are not directly and personally affected, they don’t worry their silly little heads. Now, never mind shootings, corruption in Congress, the pandemic, but … when the price of gasoline and groceries increased, THEN they woke up and decided to use their voice. Sigh. I agree that our system needs change … the Electoral College is the biggest obstacle to majority voters winning. For example, in 2016, Hillary Clinton won by 2.8 million votes, but yet Trump went to the White House because of gerrymandered districts and the Electoral College.


              • How can it be that such an unfair system can still exist in the 21st century. That the common people do not object against it?

                Politicians should take responsibility and review the electoral system.

                Liked by 1 person

                • That is a good question. Our Constitution was written as a living, breathing document. The intent of the Founders was that the Constitution would be flexible, adjust as times changed. However, there are some who are happy with the precise language of the document, claim it is to be adhered to by the standards of the 18th century rather than moving into the 21st century. For example, we women fought for nearly two centuries before we even managed to be given the right to vote! Black people fought for centuries, and now are having to go back and fight the same battles for equality all over again. Sigh.

                  Liked by 1 person

  4. People will have to decide if they want to be part of the biggest (unfunny) joke in the world or be part of a power for good in the world again. Trump could win this but he could never Govern. He couldn’t manage that after 2016 when he supposedly won .His trickle down Economy showed he had never won any trickle down brains from his family and he will just bankrupt the Country in everything including morals.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think the majority of people in this country do NOT wish to be a part of that joke, but what is concerning is that in nearly every state in this nation, laws are being passed to keep the majority away from the polls in November. In a saner time, the Courts would be busily striking down these nefarious laws, but … this is still, whether we like it or not, the era of Trump and sadly a large number of the judges in the country were appointed by that fool. His influence is as strong with the Republican Party today as it was when he was sitting in the Oval Office … perhaps more so. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ten years ago, when internet was really difficult to access and painfully slow – and when glimpses of television were at noisy restaurants that usually showed the daytime soaps, I walked into my attorney’s home one evening for dinner, and he said, ‘Leeeee-sah. You might want to watch this…’ and invited me to the area with the large television. The 2011 Rep. Presidential Candidates were having a debate, and for a few minutes I tried to absorb what I was seeing and then stated, ‘This is a joke. Right? It’s a parody.’
    “No, Leeee-sah,” he replied, “I don’t think so….” and we watched a little more.
    I said, ‘No. These are actors. This cannot be the best people in the entire USA that could represent our country…’

    I continue to watch my country/your country/our country through ‘Foreign Eyes,’ which I think it what any arrogant US citizen should experience — to distance themselves and just watch/listen — and then maybe some might realize they have veered way way away from strong core values and morals.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I can certainly understand why you first thought it was a parody!!! Sigh. If only. Today’s GOP is the party of racism, of hatred and violence, of … quite frankly, they are the party of fascism. We must fight them, must get the word and the vote out, must not let them win, for if they do, this nation will not, for the foreseeable future, be a free nation again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rally the women voters all across America. Their rights are being threatened. Make them understand if they lose RvW it is ONLY THE FIRST STEP TO LOSING THE VOTE, AND LOSING THEIR PERSONHOOD!

        Liked by 1 person

          • The Dems need to realize this is iultimately the main battle of Election 2022. Other things are important, but this is the battleground that can win the Senate by more than 60 seats, and that will keep Biden from being “just another lame duck.”

            Liked by 1 person

            • I dunno, rg … it will certainly be one of the main battles, but after today’s school shooting, gun legislation may take the top spot. And then again, with the election more than 5 months away, who knows what else might take the top spot? Sigh.


              • You want the Dems to win the mid-terms? Not just win, but win more that 60 Senstevseats? MAKE RvW THE MAIN BATTLE! Get the women to the polls! Other issues can come and go. Yeah, they are sll important. But don’t let up on the Right to Choose. If you make that THE BATTLE, you win the war on other things too. As I said somewhere else, AIM FOR 100 SENATE SEATS, SETTLE FOR 75, BUT MAKE SURE YOU GET AT LEAST 60. Withut 60 Senate seats, you can kiss your nation goodbye. That is the way I see this going down. If I am wrong, at least I tried!

                Liked by 1 person

  6. The Democrat Party owns the presidency and entire federal government, the Congress, Hollywood, Big Tech, corporate America, the mass media and public education.

    As of this moment all policies now running the United States of America are Democrat Party policies. Even if Roe v Wade is overturned by SCOTUS that will turn out to be a nothing burger because the Democrat Party, the blue states and corporate America have pledged big bucks to ensure that women can still choose without fear.

    Why fear the GOP? They’ve got nothing.

    Clearly, Donald Trump is taking over the GOP and reshaping it in his image.

    Why not just watch all that with a sigh of relief?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, first off, the Democratic Party may have a majority, for the moment, in both chambers of Congress as well as the Executive office, but they do not “own” any of it. Given the Senate filibuster, very little can be passed without the consent of at least 10 Republicans, and they are united behind the idea of being the party of “NO” … no matter what the issue or how much it benefits their own people, the answer is always “NO”.

      I don’t fear the GOP, I loathe them. They take money from corporate giants to use against the people who voted them into office and who pay their salaries. They are seeking to turn the nation into an autocracy where We the People have no voice. And sadly, they have more power than they ought to have.

      So no, I cannot simply sit back and watch this circus, for I am too cognizant of where it could lead.


      • Republicans joined Democrats just last week passing $40 billion for Ukraine. Only 12 senators voted no. And last year Republicans helped pass the trillion dollar infrastructure legislation. Also, enough Republicans voted for Ketanji Brown Jackson so that she could assume her historic place on the Supreme Court.

        I think you are right to advocate continued political activism. Otherwise, the other team moves the ball up the field unopposed.

        Liked by 1 person

        • For the three you mentioned, I could name 100 that have been obstructed by the GOP … the one that always remains in the forefront of my mind being the two voting rights bills that failed in the Senate last year. And Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’. And how many different attempts to legislate gun regulations have been shot down? Sigh. It seems to me that nothing much is getting done. And KBJ would have been confirmed even without the three — yes only three Republicans voted to confirm her — Republican votes because confirmation of Justices does not fall under a filibuster and requires only a simple majority.

          Yes, we DO need two viable parties, but today we don’t have two. The GOP is simply the party of racism, of obstruction, and of anti-Democrats … there is no working across the aisle as there once was.

          Liked by 1 person

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