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The shame of the GOP: A blind loyalty to Tyranny

The past four years have been the darkest in the history of the Republican Party. Now in the last days of Donald Trump, many in the party have laid waste to any vestiges of respect for the nation they claim to represent.

In a last ditch effort to delegitimize the 2020 election, the party has supported baseless claims of a stolen election simply because they fear a backlash from the 74 million who voted for Trump and personal attacks by the President. It is political cowardice at a level unseen since 1876. Right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh said the nation is “trending towards secession.” “Donald Trump is still the 800 pound gorilla in the Republican room — he’s the biggest gravitational force that’s probably ever existed in the party,” said Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of the conservative network Newsmax, according to reporting by the New York Times.

In a ridiculous lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, his state asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the electors from Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania which would lead to Joe Biden not having the requisite 270 electors to be ruled President. In essence, Texas was attempting to invalidate 20 million votes in these four states with no legal basis in fact of voter fraud.

What is most shameful about this, is that Trump and 18 Republican led states Attorney Generals as well as 126 Republicans in the House of Representatives – over 60% of House Republican members – signed a brief supporting the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was roundly condemned as having no basis in fact from those on the left and right. Despite this, the GOP soiled itself by refusing to accept the reality of Trump’s loss. Because of the nonstop promotion of the idea that the election was stolen from Trump, an assertion that few in the GOP are willing to criticize publicly, a recent Quinnipiac University poll showed that 77 percent of Republicans believe there was widespread fraud in the election.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro wrote a rebuke to the lawsuit saying, “Texas’s effort to get this Court to pick the next President has no basis in law or fact. The Court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wrote, “the election in Michigan is over. Texas comes as a stranger to this matter and should not be heard here…The challenge here is an unprecedented one, without factual foundation or a valid legal basis.” Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul called the lawsuit an “extraordinary intrusion into Wisconsin’s and the other defendant States’ elections.” Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court had the courage to stand up to this blatant attempt to overturn the American people who clearly wanted to see the end of Trump’s reign as President.

Some Republicans issued a rebuke to this latest attempt. Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee said:

“The act itself by the 126 members of the United States House of Representatives, is an affront to the country. It’s an offense to the Constitution and it leaves an indelible stain that will be hard for these 126 members to wipe off their political skin for a long time to come.”

This possibly last major effort to overturn the election comes at a time when many in the Democratic Party are smarting from down-ballot losses on November 3. They had hoped to ride the Biden support to big wins in the House, Senate and statehouses around the country but failed to do so. Many of the 81 million who voted for Biden, selected Republicans on the rest of their ballot. The power of the 74 million Trump voters and the many Biden voters that selected Republicans down ballot should be alarming to the Democratic Party.

Currently 26 of the 50 governors in the country are Republicans, and the party controls the U.S. Senate – pending two elections in Georgia. The party also controls 29 legislatures around the country. As of August of this year Republicans represented 3,820 (52%) of all state legislators versus 3,426 for Democrats (47%). Republicans also controlled 59 of the 98 legislative chambers, and in 21 states they controlled the legislature and the governors office.

With this strong base of support, the GOP has stuck to a mindset of party over people. Many of these legislators have stood by and allowed the President to downplay a pandemic that has killed nearly, 300,000 Americans and 1.6 million people worldwide. They have spoken out against mask mandates in the face of public health officials nearly begging for them to be put in place.

The party has supported the President blindly which has led their supporters to be just as blind. Many in the party have pushed idiotic conspiracy theories, and openly lied about so-called voter fraud. It is shameful that the Party of Lincoln has sunk to such lows that people are afraid to speak about racial justice issues because they fear it being called “politicized.” It is only political because the GOP wants to call it that. They have no such unease when people talk about issues like immigration, abortion and guns. People can easily talk about these issues without the conversation being chastised as “too political.”

In 1876 Both the Republican the Democratic Party contributed to the most shameful act of political officeholders in the history of the country when it came to the welfare of Black people. The 1876 election between Samuel Tilden and Rutherford B. Hayes was disputed. A special Electoral Commission of Senators, House members, and Supreme Court justices voted 8-7 to give disputed electors in four states to Hayes, making him the 19th President of the country. In the end, the Compromise of 1877, brokered by the Democratic Party, allowed the traitorous South to regain standing in Washington while leaving the door wide open to abuses of newly freed Blacks by the same people that had enslaved them and fought a bloody battle to keep them in shackles. Hayes became President by promising to remove the last federal troops protecting Blacks in the South leading to a reign of terror that would last for the next 90 years.

What we are seeing now is a reemergence of this blind loyalty to maintain a leadership that is anathema to racial justice. Under the Trump administration, those supporting the Movement for Black Lives have been called terrorists by the FBI while white supremacists and their armed supporters can walk freely among us shouting about their so-called rights. The President on numerous occasions has refused to strongly rebuke white supremacists because he realizes many of them are part of not just his base, but the base of the GOP as well.

I know some are reading this and shouting that I am being racist by writing these words. I could care less. These people who are trying to “make America great again” really want to reverse the progress that came about through the efforts of the millions that worked to overturn the old openly racial caste system known as Jim Crow.

As I have said before, Jim Crow was a legal system that not just marginalized Black people, it made it mandatory to discriminate against us. It was actually illegal to not discriminate against Black people under that system. Between 75 and 80 million White people in this country were born when Jim Crow was the law of the land. The vestiges of that ugly system have been maintained in the hearts and minds of many of them.

The Republican Party, with strong support from right leaning think tanks and media outlets, have poisoned the well in America over the last sixty years. A discernible dislike of losing a sense of power by many Whites in this country are evident in the electoral system. Since Lyndon Johnson’s election in 1964, Republicans have won six elections and the Democrats have now won the same amount. Despite this, most people appointed to federal judgeships including the Supreme Court have been appointed by Republicans.

The Democratic Party has struggled to win support of a majority of White voters only coming close in 1976 (48%) when Jimmy Carter won. In 1992 and 1996 Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party used rhetoric like “welfare reform” and “tough on crime” to woo White voters with some measure of success. This so-called “colorblind” language was clearly dog-whistle rhetoric. Under Obama, similar messaging was used to assuage the White electorate. He spoke about “personal responsibility” while chastising the Black community without asking the same of Whites. More recently, both President Obama and President-elect Biden have both criticized the movement calling for defunding of police because it enrages White voters. They too are part of the problem. Biden had the audacity to say during a Zoom meeting with Black leaders that the Defund the Police campaign is hurting the party. “That’s how they beat the living hell out of us across the country,” referring to the losses in down ballot campaigns. How dare he chastise a movement which is designed to make light of the fact that police are routinely, literally beating the hell out of Black people.

Here we are now at the precipice of the collapse of democracy under a leader who has no respect for the voices of Americans who disagree with him and refuses to admit he loss the election. He is backed up by an army of 74 million and elected officials who’ve been at his beck and call for four years. There is no fear of reprisals against this blind following because an army of supporters of the GOP tells these elected officials “we have your back.” What a shame to see this play out on such a public stage for the world to see what America really is.

In the end, Americans will come to realize the damage done to the nation by the millions of Trump groupies. The GOP has supported a man that spurred his fans to act violently time and time again without any conscience. They have emblazoned a large number of Whites to push back against democratic norms by refusing to believe the sycophant they love actually lost an election. They will forever be remembered as standing on the wrong side of history by some yet others will see them as their heroes.

“It’s very unfortunate that some people tried to live off that chaos, perpetuate it and make it even more difficult for the average citizen to trust what government’s doing.” – Tom Rath former Republican attorney general of New Hampshire

About The Author

Reggie Jackson

As an award-winning Senior Columnist for the Milwaukee Independent, Reggie Jackson covers a range of African American issues. He is also a Consultant with Nurturing Diversity Partners, and volunteers as Head Griot for America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) in Bronzeville.