Republican Party ‘engulfed in lies and fear’ per another former Republican legislator

I’ve often wondered what will become of the Republican Party, aka the GOP. The party has linked itself to the former guy, a ‘man’ without conscience, without intellect, that it seems they have nowhere to go but down. Keith’s post this morning tells us of a few members of the party with the courage to speak out and say, “This is not who we should be!” Thanks, Keith, for giving us hope that perhaps some in the GOP are as disgusted as we are!

musingsofanoldfart

In an article this weekend called “Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party ‘engulfed in lies and fear'” by Jonathan Easley of The Hill, yet another former lawmaker is sharing his concerns about how far his party has fallen. Here are a few paragraphs from the article, plus a link below.

“Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) argued in a pre-taped interview that ran Friday that the Republican Party has lost its way and become ‘engulfed in lies in fear.

Curbelo and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) teamed up as part of the nonpartisan debate seriesIntelligenceSquared U.S.to argue that many within the GOP are knowingly pushing a lie that the election was stolen out of fear of retaliation from former President Trump.

In his opening remarks, Curbelo said that by embracing former President Trump’s election claims, which preceded the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the GOP had lost its…

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A disgusting lack of leadership

Keith has expressed my own views, only so much better than I typically do. Thank you, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

The following are the views of a former Republican and now Independent voter. I did not vote for the former president either time and remain puzzled why people would vote for such a well-documented untruthful, egomaniacal bully.

On Friday, I read that Senator Mitch McConnell would support the seditious former president if he were the 2024 presidential nominee. Note, this is after McConnell denounced the former president for his role in the insurrection against a branch of government, which of course, put McConnell and his colleagues in danger. And, unsurprisingly, Mr. McConnell chose not to vote to convict the former president before he admitted said person was guilty.

This is a disgusting lack of leadership in a country that needs this party to help offer some form leadership. But, as of this writing, people who voted as leaders to impeach or convict the seditious former president, have been vilified, censured…

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How To Mend A Broken Nation

There are two distinct socio-political ideologies in the United States:  liberals & conservatives.  Now, most of us are not completely one or the other but lean toward one more strongly than the other.  Of late, however, it seems sometimes as if the two sides are so divided that they live in two separate universes.  There simply is no connection, no common ground, no set of values that binds us together.

Robert Reich’s weekly column/newsletter this morning rather supports this notion … I’m glad I’m not the only one who wonders what alternate universe we’ve been dropped into!  Reich also has some common-sense ideas for how to help the two sides come closer together before we destroy ourselves and how to break the Trump-trance.


Trump left behind a monstrous predicament. Here’s how to tackle it

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

One of the nation’s two major political parties has abandoned democracy and reality. We must now move a vast swath of America back into a fact-based pro-democracy society

Next week’s Senate trial is unlikely to convict Donald Trump of inciting sedition against the United States. At least 17 Republican Senators are needed for conviction, but only five have signaled they’ll go along.

Why won’t Republican Senators convict him? After all, it’s an open and shut case. As summarized in the brief submitted by House impeachment managers, Trump spent months before the election telling his followers that the only way he could lose was through “a dangerous, wide-ranging conspiracy against them that threatened America itself.”

Immediately after the election, he lied that he had won by a “landslide”, and later urged his followers to stop the counting of electoral ballots by making plans to “fight like hell” and “fight to the death” against this “act of war” perpetrated by “Radical Left Democrats” and the “weak and ineffective RINO section of the Republican Party”.

If this isn’t an impeachable offense, it’s hard to imagine what is. But Republican Senators won’t convict him because they’re answerable to Republican voters, and Republican voters continue to believe Trump’s Big Lie.

A shocking three out of four Republican voters don’t think Joe Biden won legitimately. About 45% even support the storming of the Capitol.

The crux of the problem is Americans now occupy two separate worlds – a fact-based pro-democracy world and a Trump-based authoritarian one.

Trump spent the last four years seducing voters into his world, turning the GOP from a political party into a grotesque projection of his pathological narcissism.

Regardless of whether he is convicted, America must now deal with the monstrous predicament he left behind: one of the nation’s two major political parties has abandoned reality and democracy.

What to do? Four things.

First, prevent Trump from running for President in 2024. The mere possibility energizes his followers.

An impeachment conviction is not the only way to prevent him. Under Section Three of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, anyone who has taken an oath to protect the Constitution is barred from holding public office if they “have engaged in insurrection” against the United States. As Constitutional expert and former Yale Law professor Bruce Ackerman has noted, a majority vote that Trump engaged in insurrection against the United States is sufficient to trigger this clause.

Second, give Republicans and independents every incentive to abandon the Trump cult.

White working-class voters without college degrees who now comprise a large portion of its base need good jobs and better futures. Many are understandably angry after being left behind in vast enclaves of unemployment and despair. They should not have to depend on Trump’s fact-free fanaticism in order to feel visible and respected.

A jobs program on the scale necessary to bring many of them around will be expensive but worth the cost, especially when democracy hangs in the balance.

Big business, which used to have a home in the GOP, will need a third party. Democrats should not try to court them; the Democratic Party should aim to represent the interests of the bottom 90%.

Third, disempower the giant media empires that amplified Trump’s lies for four years – Facebook, Twitter and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and its imitators.

The goal is not to “cancel” the political right, but to refocus public deliberation on facts, truth, and logic. Democracy cannot thrive where big lies are systematically and repeatedly exploited for commercial gain.

The solution is antitrust enforcement and stricter regulation of social media, accompanied by countervailing financial pressure. Consumers should boycott products advertised on these lie factories and advertisers should shun them. Large tech platforms should lose legal immunity for violence-inciting content. Broadcasters such as Fox News and Newsmax should be liable for knowingly spreading lies (they are now being sued by producers of voting machinery and software which they accused of having been rigged for Biden).

Fourth, safeguard the democratic form of government.

This requires barring corporations and the very wealthy from buying off politicians, ending so-called “dark money” political groups that don’t disclose their donors, defending the right to vote, and ensuring more citizens are heard, not fewer.

Let’s be clear about the challenge ahead. The major goal is not to convict Trump for inciting insurrection. It is to move a vast swath of America back into a fact-based pro-democracy society and away from the Trump-based authoritarian one.

Regardless of whether he is convicted, the end of Trump’s presidency has given the nation a reprieve. But unless America uses it to end Trumpism’s hold over tens of millions of Americans, that reprieve may be temporary.

Thankfully, Joe Biden appears to understand this.

Roots Cause Analysis

Blogging friend Brosephus … well, he has written a post that will make you stop and think. Truer words were never spoken than … “Our society has never acknowledged that America was built upon stolen land and became what it is today from stolen labor.” And yet, our society is one of arrogance, of racism, of entitlement. Please read his post, think about what he says. Is there common ground we can find to heal the ‘great divide’? Perhaps, but we are going to have to take a long, hard look at ourselves first. Thank you, Brosephus, for this very thoughtful and thought-provoking post!

The Mind of Brosephus

Root cause analysis, as the website Tableau defines it, “is the process of discovering the root causes of problems in order to identify appropriate solutions”. RCA is used to solve all types of problems, and I thought about this process while digesting the news of the week.

In this one week in 2021, we’ve seen the GOP become the GQP by refusing to reject Marge and her illogical logic. We saw more arrests and indictments come down from the Trump Insurrection of 2021. A country music singer got his music yanked from the radio when a video surfaced of him using a racial slur. In not so mainstream news, there was also the suicide of Lafayette Parish Sheriff Deputy Clyde Kerr III. This particular story hit close to the heart for me because I can empathize with his struggle.

I honestly believe that a majority of America’s problems could…

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Wise Words From A Wise Man

Last night, I read Nicholas Kristof’s column from yesterday, an open letter to his conservative friends.  While he is kinder and more forgiving than I am, I do agree with most of what he says, so I’ve decided to share his letter here with you.  Mr. Kristof has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, as well as numerous other honours far too numerous to list here.


A Letter to My Conservative Friends

Hold us accountable, but please do the same for the charlatans who deceive you, use you and cheat you.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

  • Jan. 27, 2021

AMHILL, Ore. — This is an open letter to some of my old friends and neighbors who believe that Donald Trump won re-election, who think that face masks are for wimps and who fear that Democrats are plotting to seize their freedom.

Dear friends and neighbors,

Relax! We liberals aren’t plotting to round you up in “re-education camps.”

I was horrified when a couple of old friends here asked if they were in danger for having supported Donald Trump. I gently told them that they were in no peril — and I was stung that they felt greatly relieved to hear it.

Yes, I know that Fox News is peddling nonsense about Democrats setting up re-education camps, and that a Wall Street Journal column asked, “If you were an enthusiastic Donald Trump supporter, are you ready to enter a re-education program?”

Folks, you’re being played. Again.

These are some of the same charlatans who argued last year that, as Fox News put it, the coronavirus is “just like the flu” and that mask mandates are a step toward “tyranny.” More than 400,000 coronavirus deaths later, some people are dead because they believed that drivel.

Then there’s the rubbish about the election. This month, just days before Joe Biden’s inauguration, a childhood friend told me confidently that Trump would swoop in to serve a second term. When I told him he was wrong, he was astonished that I could be so poorly informed, and he helpfully advised, “Don’t pay attention to those liars in the mainstream media.”

You’ve been hoodwinked, exploited and manipulated by con artists waving flags, casting lies and monetizing bigotry. Steve Bannon, who suggested beheading Dr. Anthony Fauci, defrauded Trump supporters into donating to build a border wall and then used some of the money for himself, according to a federal indictment.

Here on our family farm, we received a direct mail appeal warning about “Islam in Yamhill Schools” and pleading for donations to protect Christianity. No, that isn’t about conservative values, but about spreading hate and hysteria while grabbing at your wallet.

So let’s give America a chance to heal. And, as I told my worried friends, don’t hesitate to stand up for your conservative values. We need Republicans! America benefits from a loyal opposition.

For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week called for trying harder to keep schools open. On that issue, Republicans have been more right than many Democrats.

But half a century ago we didn’t need the racist George Wallace wing of the Democratic Party, and today we don’t need the wing of the Republican Party that embraces conspiracy theories and winks at violence.

The grand question: Without that wing of today’s G.O.P., what’s left?

One glimpse of the conundrum: The G.O.P. representation in Congress is losing Rob Portman, a widely respected senator who announced he will step down, and just gained Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, an extremist who in 2019 endorsed the idea of shooting Nancy Pelosi in the head. When a party loses a statesman and gains a kook, that’s a bad omen.

Meanwhile, the Hawaii G.O.P. this week recommended the “high quality” commentary … of a Holocaust denier. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich warned on Fox News that Democrats are trying to “exterminate the Republicans.” Sure, Democrats sometimes say and do dumb things, too, but there’s no symmetry.

As I see it, the last, best hope is twofold. First, Republican leaders must learn that extremism is a losing strategy. Only one G.O.P. candidate for president has won the popular vote in the last three decades, and the loony Arizona Republican Party has lost about 10,000 members since the riot in the U.S. Capitol and its censure of party elders like Cindy McCain. If Trump is further discredited through prosecutions or scandals, it is possible (though far from certain) that his malign influence on the party will diminish.

Second, to dampen that extremism, advertisers should stop supporting networks that spread lies and hatred, and cable companies should drop channels that persist in doing so. As a start, don’t force people to subsidize Fox News by including it in basic packages.

Is this a slippery slope? Yes, and it makes me queasy. But we all recognize that there are red lines: Neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan grand wizards have First Amendment rights, but we shouldn’t pay to give them microphones, nor should commentators on the left or the right get megaphones to promote violence. Extremists enjoy free speech but shouldn’t be buttressed by advertisers or our cable fees.

So, conservative friends, fear not: We’re not plotting to lock you up in detention camps. We need you to keep us honest. But you’ve been scammed in ways that have hurt the country we all love. Hold us accountable, but please do the same for the charlatans who deceive you, use you and cheat you.

Accountability and unity

Our friend Keith has perfectly echoed my own thoughts, and likely many of yours as well. His words are so very apt … certain members of Congress would do well to listen to Keith … hmmm … perhaps he should run for office! Thanks, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

Republican Senator Mitt Romney said yesterday, we cannot have unity without accountability. Yet, some Republican Senators are still echoing the planned fraud by the former president on the American people claiming unproven voter fraud. Others are saying the former president should not stand trial in the Senate.

As for those who do not want to hold the former president accountable, here is metaphor who uses a crying toddler example with intent.

-The toddler cried to anyone who would listen he was cheated.

-He took all measures he could to say he was cheated, unable to prove such.

-He bullied other toddlers to go along with him or he would be mean to them.

-He invited the tin soldiers to his room having wound them up for two months.

-He revved them up some more. Then he pointed them at the perceived enemy and sicced them to go do harm.

-Then…

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Still Plenty Of Material For Snarky Snippets

After the 2020 election, when Joe Biden won the presidency, I wondered if I would have to retire my ‘snarky snippets’ posts, for surely there wouldn’t be much to snark about.  I was delusional … it seems that there will always be something to set off the snarkometer!

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Say WHAT???

I was incensed yesterday when I heard that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, asked about who was to blame for the terrorist attacks on the Capitol on January 6th, said …

“I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility.”

Say WHAT???

Oh no, sir, you are dead wrong in that!  The fools who participated are to blame, and the bigger fool who incited them is to blame.  You Republican members of Congress who stood silently by for the last four years, allowing Donald Trump to believe that he could get by with literally anything, including inciting a riot must share the blame.  But, the majority of people in this country have not one iota of blame in this fiasco!

Beau of the Fifth Column, always the voice of reason, gives us his take on Mr. McCarthy’s words and I fully agree with him.


A man without a conscience

Another one of the Republican Party’s bigger fools (so many to choose from) is Rand Paul.  Earlier this week, I told you about Paul’s insidious remark that President Biden, in his inauguration speech, had said that all Republicans were white supremacists. Biden neither said nor implied any such thing, but apparently Paul and some of his cohorts are determined to twist and manipulate Biden’s words so that they have something to bitch about.

Well, that apparently wasn’t enough for Mr. Paul, for now he is criticizing the long-overdue and much-needed plan to raise the federal minimum wage rate incrementally to $15 per hour by 2025.  Criticizing is one thing, but in order to support his critique, Mr. Paul found it necessary to tell a few big lies.

“But also raising the minimum wage to $15, I think, will also — the government estimates are close to 4 million people will lose their jobs. Particularly hurt among this are minorities and black teenagers, particularly with high unemployment.”

“So raising our taxes will cause corporations to flee, but if you mandate what the wages are, if you mandate a minimum wage of $15, it’s not like everybody gets $15. The people who still have a job get $15, but many people will become unemployed. In fact, government statistics say almost 4 million people will lose their jobs if you mandate a $15 an hour job minimum wage.”

Well, Mr. Paul, the truth is that according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate, the 4 million jobs was the highest possible, but at the low end of the analysis was that zero jobs would be lost.  Frankly, I don’t see a company making money hand-over-fist shutting down just because they have to spend a bit more to pay their employees.  Mr. Paul’s own base salary of $174,000 per year breaks down to $85.29 per hour! 

H.R. 582, also known as the Raise the Wage Act, was passed by the House in July 2019, with only three republicans voting for it, and then it died in the Senate without even being considered. It would incrementally raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 — where it has been set since 2009 — to $15 by 2025.

Let’s be very clear here … the objections by Mr. Paul and other republicans are lodged only because their big-money corporate donors are against anything that would cut into their profits.  Rand Paul is owned, lock stock & barrel, by corporations such as Koch Industries and others.  He doesn’t speak for We the People, he speaks only on behalf of wealthy corporations and CEOs.  Anything that would reduce their profit by so much as a lousy dollar is going to be fought by the republicans who are slaves to the wealthiest 1% of the people in this nation.

toon-minimum-wageThink about this … the person who is paid minimum wage earns a full-time annual salary of $14,790.  Could you live on that?  Hell, my rent alone comes to $14,640 per year, and I live in a lower-income area!  If I earned minimum wage, it would leave me $150 to pay utilities, car payment, fuel, insurance, and buy food for a full year.  C’mon, Mr. Paul – get real!  Think about the rest of the people in this country, not just your wealthy donors.  Better yet, how ‘bout you just step down from Congress … go home to Kentucky and live happily ever after on your $2.58 million net worth and let those who have both a brain and a conscience govern the nation.

If companies who are making millions of dollars in profit, yet paying almost no taxes, cannot even pay a living wage to their employees, then they do not deserve to be in business.  It is my hope that President Biden and the members of both chambers of Congress will take their hands out of the till long enough to do the right thing for the people of this nation and pass the $15 an hour minimum wage bill.  If they don’t, then perhaps it’s time for a nationwide strike.

Republican Senator warns against being the party of conspiracy theory and talk show hosts

With no less than two newly-elected Republican members of Congress being followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory group, one wonders what the Republican Party is becoming. Turns out, at least one Republican Senator has an answer and it doesn’t bode well for the future of the GOP. Our friend Keith tells us the story …

musingsofanoldfart

One of the three key reasons I left the Republican Party over twelve years ago is its tendency to make things up. Aided and abetted by radio talk show hosts and the Fox prime time line-up, whose primary mission was misinformation not news, the party became more distasteful to me. I have noted before that the outgoing president did not create this untruthful bent, but he has certainly shown how to use to leverage it more.

Now, with social media allowing less fettered information to proliferate, conspiracy theories have found an accepting home. This is not just my opinion. In an article in Business Insider by T. Porter called “GOP Senator Ben Sasse warned that the QAnon conspiracy theory movement is destroying the Republican Party,” he rakes the now-Trump Party over the coals. Here are a few paragraphs, with a link below.

“Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska has warned in…

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Two Men Sans Conscience

I fully intended to do a Saturday Surprise post for this morning, knowing that we could all use a break from the news of the moment, but try as I might, I was not able to do one.  Sure, there were some funny cat pics, a few humorous stories, but … sorry, my friends, maybe next Saturday.  For today, I am just not able to switch gears.  I hope you’ll forgive me.


Guess what?  Yet another lie … a BIG one

Alex AzarSecretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, has handed in his resignation, claiming that, “The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power.”  However, lest you think Alex has suddenly found a conscience, he hasn’t … it’s a symbolic move only, for his resignation is effective at noon on January 20th, the moment of Joe Biden’s inauguration, at which time he would be out of a job anyway.  But there’s more here than just Alex Azar’s resignation, for he dropped a bombshell yesterday when, in an interview with NBC News, he said that the ‘stockpile’ of the coronavirus vaccine that Trump has promised exists, actually does not exist at all.

Funny that just three days prior, on Tuesday, Azar himself said that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses that had been held in reserve for second shots.  There was no reserve.  Alex Azar knew there was no such reserve when he said that barefaced lie.  Is there any single member of the Trump administration who isn’t a consummate liar?  Was that one of the job requirements, that candidates must be able to tell whopper lies while keeping a straight face?  Or was there a ‘Trump School of Lying’ where they learned to emulate the Oaf in the Oval?

So, what does this revelation mean?  It means that states, believing the lie of the reserve, expanded the groups eligible to receive the first dose of the vaccine, and now … there is no second dose.  If it weren’t so damn tragic, you’d almost have to laugh at the name of the group responsible for distribution of the vaccine to the states:  Operation Warp Speed.  Warp speed, I thought, meant fast, but like everything else Trump and his cronies have touched, this has been a disaster from day #1, and far fewer people have received the vaccine than should have.  And now, we find they bungled the procurement and there are no second doses to be had.

Way to go, Trump, Kushner, Pence, Azar, and all the rest.  Obviously, our lives are naught more than pieces on a chessboard to you.


And speaking of idiots and the coronavirus …

Tommy Tuberville is a newly elected Senator from the state of Alabama.  Tommy is 66 years of age … most people would be using Tom or Thomas by now, but Tommy is a good ol’ boy and he likes to be called Tommy.

tommy-tuberville-2Now, ol’ Tommy took his seat in the United States Senate on January 3rd, and within days, he joined a group of Republican senators attempting to overturn Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election based on Trump’s outright lies of voter fraud.  Wouldn’t you think he’d try to learn his job before trying to overthrow the government???  And while most of the Republicans who planned to contest the election results in various states on January 6th backed off after the horrific attacks on the Capitol that evening by Trump supporting terrorists, not ol’ Tommy!  He stuck to his guns and contested the election results in both Arizona and Pennsylvania.  He showed us what he is made of – sawdust.

And yesterday, Tommy got himself in the news again.  I should think it would be a requirement that every single member of Congress should have read the U.S. Constitution at least once, for Pete’s sake!  On Friday, Tommy had been touring hospitals in Alabama … supposedly to get updates about the coronavirus, which he could have done from his office, but whatever.  After one of the tours, he gave an interview to an Alabama television station where he said that he thought the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris should be postponed until “a little later on after we got this virus behind us a little bit.”

Say WHAT???  First of all, MR. TUBERVILLE … the United States Constitution, a document that you obviously have NOT read, directs the exact time and date of the inauguration:  noon on the 20th day of January.  Second, MR. TUBERVILLE … Donald Trump has bungled the federal response to the virus so badly that half of our population may be dead by the time the virus is “behind us”!  For the past year, Trump and his cohorts have not done a single damn thing to stem the surge of this virus, and as a result the U.S. has the highest number of cases and the highest death rate on the planet, despite the fact that we have only about 4% of the world’s population!  Donald Trump has no plan, has never had a plan to either control the virus or to distribute the vaccine.  Furthermore … he has begged people to risk their lives by not wearing masks … he has called the pandemic a hoax, has lied so much that nobody even listens to him anymore!  Joe Biden has a plan to help stem the surge and to distribute the vaccine.  He HAS A PLAN, which is far more than Donald Trump has ever had!  Why in hell would you want to delay inaugurating Joe Biden … are you really so stupid?

I honestly believe we need to amend the U.S. Constitution to say that every person elected to or appointed to a federal office MUST pass a test on the U.S. Constitution.  The entire document, including amendments, is just over 8,000 words.  I have read it more times than I can count, and I still have to consult it on occasion to answer a question.  Consider this … an immigrant applying for citizenship to this country knows more about the document that is the foundation of our government than half of our elected representatives, and that includes the ‘man’ who has been calling himself ‘president’ for the last four years!


Since I wasn’t able to give you a nice humorous Saturday Surprise post, I do have a few ‘toons for you that I nabbed from our friend Scottie’s post yesterday

Scottie-1Scottie-3Scottie-4

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Alternative Facts — 1984 or 2021?

The events of the past four years have often brought to mind George Orwell’s 1984, starting in the first week with Kellyanne Conway’s assertion that there can be ‘alternative facts’.  But even more so are recent events, such as Trump’s uncanny ability to convince some 70% of republicans that he actually won the election, contrary to what the numbers say.  Charles Lane is on the editorial board of The Washington Post, and today has written a very thought-provoking editorial that I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read and to ponder, comparing Orwell’s dystopian novel to our dystopian reality in the U.S. today.


Trump is playing an Orwellian numbers game

Opinion by

Charles-LaneCharles Lane

Editorial writer and columnist

Jan. 4, 2021 at 5:58 p.m. EST

“Mathematics,” Galileo said, “is the language in which God has written the universe.” Though an atheist, George Orwell very much agreed with the Italian astronomer that quantification is an essential attribute of objective reality.

Orwell understood, however, that politics is not a scientific endeavor, but rather “a sort of sub-atomic or non-Euclidean world” where perception could prevail over substance, sometimes dangerously, and sometimes lastingly. He hoped for a decent politics that would enable people to discern objective truth, and to act on it — consistent with their principles.

And so, in his greatest novel, he framed an individual’s protest against tyranny as an insistence on arithmetic. “Freedom,” the protagonist of “1984,” Winston Smith, confided to his diary, “is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.”

In the Ministry of Love’s dungeons, a different credo prevails: “Whatever the party holds to be truth is truth.” The party’s interrogator knew it had broken Smith’s resistance when, under horrific torture, Smith first lost the ability to count four fingers held in front of him, then came sincerely to believe that the four might be five.

President Trump did not torture Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, on Saturday — life does not imitate art to that degree. Yet his attempt to pressure this astonished official and his lawyer into “recalculating” the state’s certified presidential vote totals otherwise deserved the admittedly overused adjective “Orwellian.”

As Orwell illustrated in “1984,” the power to make another person believe something that literally cannot be true — not just to mouth the false words but to believe them — is the ultimate form of domination.

In a sense this is what Trump is doing with Republicans now: He is making acceptance of his phony numbers — figures that are not just false, but impossible — into a test of personal and party loyalty.

In reality, the result of Georgia’s election was: Joe Biden got 2,473,633 votes and Donald Trump got 2,461,854; the former figure is 11,779 votes greater than the latter. These figures have been checked, rechecked and verified repeatedly. They denote real votes cast by actual citizens.

In Trump’s reality, however, such things never happened, but all sorts of fraud — “they went to the table with the black robe and the black shield, and they pulled out the votes” — did occur, and he really “won that state by hundreds of thousands of votes,” as he told Raffensperger.

Raffensperger replied, sounding almost like Orwell’s beleaguered Smith: “We don’t agree that you have won.” He was so incredulous at the president’s words, perhaps, or so desperate to placate him without capitulating, that he used a verb — “agree” — implicitly making Trump’s contentions worthy of debate.

This counts as a courageous performance, however, especially given the threat of legal action Trump made against Raffensperger (albeit probably empty), and the hostility the president is whipping up against both the secretary of state and Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp (R), on social media.

Meanwhile, no beatings or electric shocks have proved necessary to bring others in the GOP into line, starting with the 77 percent of Trump voters who believe he was cheated out of victory, according to a Fox News poll.

The president’s own irresponsible statements were enough to convince them that he had been the victim of massive fraud, just as his concession to Biden would have convinced them of the opposite, had he chosen to behave like almost every other losing candidate in the history of U.S. presidential politics.

For numerous elected officials in the GOP’s upper echelons, however, the threat of a pro-Trump primary challenge, or fear of being rendered nonviable in a 2024 Republican presidential primary, induces obedience, or what they hope will be a sufficiently sincere-seeming display of it.

On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers, including 13 senators, plan to confront electoral votes for Biden with a challenge, the premise of which, essentially, is that two plus two might make five.

Leading the charge in the Senate is Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), joined by fellow 2024 hopeful Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). When he was running against Trump in the May 2016 Indiana primary and feeling offended by Trump’s insinuation that Cruz’s father might have been involved in the JFK assassination, Cruz said: “This man is a pathological liar, he doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. . . . Whatever lie he’s telling, at that minute he believes it.” Now, though, Ted Cruz loves Big Brother.

Fortunately, this maneuver will fail, rejected by the rest of the Senate. When you add the Democrats in that chamber to reality-based Republicans — such as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Mitt Romney (Utah), John Thune (S.D.) and Ben Sasse (Neb.) — the number of votes to accept Biden’s electors could reach 86.

And 86 is, still, a majority of 100.