In a stunning decision last week, the Supreme Court ripped the mask off the Republican Party. According to the nation’s highest court, the party no longer has anything to offer the American people.
Of course, the Supreme Court didn’t say that directly, but that’s the indisputable meaning of their ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act. Seven justices — including two appointed by Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMcCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Biden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Bennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump MORE — rejected, for the third time, a Republican Party attempt to overturn the public health plan passed by Congress in October 2009.
Read between the lines of their decision. In effect, the Supreme Court told Republicans: Look, get serious. ObamaCare’s been around for almost 12 years now. You promised to “repeal and replace” it with something better, yet never came up with a plan of your own. You voted to repeal it 54 times in the House, but never got enough votes in the Senate. This is the third time you begged the Supreme Court to kill it for you, but couldn’t even convince your fellow conservatives to do so. In the meantime, the Affordable Care Act's more popular than ever — and 31 million Americans have now signed up for health care coverage. You lost this battle. It’s time to move on.
The problem is, Republicans have nothing to move on to. They’re against everything, but for nothing. What was once correctly known as “the party of ideas” has completely run out of ideas. Even when they were in control of the House and Senate, Republicans did not come up with one single plan to deal with any of the major challenges facing this country: not on health care, climate change, economic injustice, cybersecurity or anything else.
So what’s left? Playing the race card! What used to be the Republican Party — now the “Trump Party” — has morphed from enlightening Americans with big ideas to scaring them with two big lies, both of them inherently racist: that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump and that acknowledging America’s history of racism is fundamentally anti-American.
Embracing Donald Trump’s big lie that he, not Joe BidenJoe BidenMcAuliffe holds slim lead over Youngkin in Fox News poll Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE, won the election, Republican governors and state legislators have embarked on the worst voter suppression spree since the Jim Crow era. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, over 350 bills have been introduced in 48 states to make it harder for people to vote — by limiting early voting, closing many polling places, and banning or restricting vote-by-mail: measures aimed especially at people of color, who are likely Democratic votes.
At the same time, fanning white Americans’ fears of losing their hold on power, Republican legislators have introduced bills in 22 states banning the teaching of so-called critical race theory, or CRT, in public schools. While nobody, it seems, can define CRT, it generally means teachers can never discuss the history of racism in this country. Which means never telling children the truth: about slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, lynches, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Juneteenth or John LewisJohn LewisWhat's at stake if Trump wins in 2024? Single-party authoritarian rule A holistic approach to climate equity Senate Judiciary squares off over John Lewis voting rights bill MORE. And certainly not about George Floyd.
How pathetic, and how perverse. Teaching children about America’s history of racism doesn’t show how bad we are, it shows how much better we are, how much progress we’ve made — and how far we still have to go.
Denying the truth about the 2020 election and denying the reality of racism in America. If that’s the best the Republican Party has to offer today, it might as well turn out the lights, lock the door and close up shop.
Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”