I am a Democrat. Yet I have voted for Republicans. In fact, one of my sons ran for office as a Republican. My other son worked for Republicans in Congress and the Republican National Committee.
But I can’t stomach what has happened to the GOP in the last year. And I can’t understand why every American isn’t screaming about it.
How can anyone dismiss a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol as just “one day in January,” to quote former Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePences' pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo, dies Pence says both Capitol riot and nixing filibuster are a 'power grab' McCarthy says he won't cooperate with 'illegitimate' Jan. 6 probe MORE?
Doesn’t it infuriate you to see so many Republicans make lying about the winner of the 2020 election a test of party loyalty?
This brings a story to mind.
Four years ago, I mentioned to the late Colin PowellColin PowellHow American progressives normalize anti-Semitism Juan Williams: The GOP is an anti-America party Defense & National Security — Biden marks Veterans Day MORE, the former secretary of State, that a well-known conservative media figure had cursed at the mention of his name. The power player said Republicans made Powell rich and famous, and that he showed no loyalty by endorsing President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBarack Obama wishes a happy 58th birthday to 'best friend' Michelle Voting rights is a constitutional right: Failure is not an option Florida looms large in Republican 2024 primary MORE in the 2008 campaign.
Powell leaned into me and said it was “jerks like that” who caused the party to leave him.
Today, another strong conservative member of the GOP, Rep. Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawThis issue will secure a Democratic wipeout in 2022 House Ethics panel dismisses security screening fine issued to GOP lawmaker Juan Williams: The GOP is an anti-America party MORE (Texas), offers a similar assessment. Crenshaw, speaking at a public event this month, described unnamed far-right GOP members of Congress as “grifters” and “performance artists.”
Crenshaw said the party’s commitment to public service has been replaced by media darlings who “know how to say slogans real well. They know how to recite the lines that they know our voters want to hear.”
If Crenshaw is right, the Republican Party’s problems are bigger than former President TrumpDonald TrumpSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Laura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement MORE. The problem is with voters willing to back Trump.
Those are people who value slogans more than the ability to govern the country.
That means ambitious GOP politicians are right to imitate Trump’s tactics of inciting outrage and demeaning anyone, including Republicans, who stand outside the cult.
It also means that Republicans are indifferent to the corruption in the Trump White House that has been detailed in numerous books.
Those books agree Trump tried to overturn the presidential election.
Those books say he bullied his own vice president and tried to intimidate Justice Department officials.
This is contemptible. Yet today’s Republican voters still tell pollsters they will support Trump for the party’s 2024 nomination.
The self-destruction of the party is evident in the GOP’s voting record in Congress.
In the last year, every congressional Republican voted against a bill to help the country recover from the economic damage caused by COVID-19.
Republicans also overwhelmingly opposed an infrastructure bill favored by most Americans.
Now the GOP is opposed to President BidenJoe BidenMacro grid will keep the lights on Pelosi suggests filibuster supporters 'dishonor' MLK's legacy on voting rights Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown MORE’s Build Back Better bill to lower taxes for the middle class and help with child care.
Last month, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats make voting rights push ahead of Senate consideration Hogan won't say if he will file to run for Senate by Feb. 22 deadline Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities MORE (R-Ky.) apparently shrugged off a question about a Republican agenda to help the country move forward.
A donor at a private dinner asked McConnell about what kind of platform the GOP might actually propose, according to Axios.
McConnell, Axios reported, replied by essentially dismissing the idea that the GOP should even consider doing such a thing, when it could instead make hay just by hitting Democrats.
Republicans in the Senate, led by Utah’s Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSchumer ramps up filibuster fight ahead of Jan. 6 anniversary Juan Williams: The GOP is an anti-America party Manchin faces pressure from Gillibrand, other colleagues on paid family leave MORE, recently threatened a government shutdown to oppose the Biden administration’s mandate that larger businesses must require their employees to either get vaccinated or have weekly COVID-19 tests.
Opposing a mandate for vaccination is legitimate. Allowing a deadly vaccine hesitancy to grow among Republicans to score political points is worthy of scorn.
That indifference to public good leads to the conclusion that the GOP wants to collapse faith in government to gain support for a coup attempt in 2024.
The Atlantic recently featured the headline “January 6 was Practice.”
Barton Gellman writes this chilling synopsis:
“For more than a year now, with tacit and explicit support from their party’s national leaders, state Republican operatives have been building an apparatus of election theft. ... They are driving out or stripping power from election officials who refused to go along with ... the Big Lie.”
Last week, a group of academic and Democratic political strategists surveyed by The New York Times’s Thomas B. Edsall almost unanimously agreed that “the Republican Party under the leadership of Trump is a threat to democracy.”
That finding is consistent with a November letter to Congress by more than 150 scholars sounding the alarm for the future of government by and for the people.
They wrote that “this is no ordinary moment” for American democracy, but a “moment of great peril and risk,” produced by the January insurrection and efforts by Republicans nationwide to seize control of vote-counting for future elections.
Biden recently hosted the first ever White House "Summit for Democracy."
He warned of threats to global democracy that include “voices that seek to fan the flames of societal division and political polarization.”
He had every right to include Republicans in the United States.
The time has come for every American, including the president, to stand up and act before it is too late.
Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.