You’d think as we spend our seventh year in the “I can’t believe this is happening” era of American politics, that those who claim to know the most about our system would’ve gotten the hint: “It” whatever “it” is, is going to keep happening. The insanity will increase over the coming two years as we approach the next most important election of our lives.
No one could believe Donald Trump would run for president. Or win the Republican nomination. Or win the presidency. Or act like a syphilitic, Adderall-addled platypus, tear down democratic institutions, kill 800,000 Americans or attempt a coup. But he did all those things.
His political offspring (he must like them more than Don Jr) have learned from him and continue escalating the crazy. Let’s review the bidding from just this week, shall we?
When the human suit, also known as Kevin McCarthy, was elected Speaker of the House on the 15th ballot, DC’s funhouse mirror accepted that outcome as the ‘normals’ winning out. They did not. More than half of McCarthy’s conference, 132 of them, voted not to certify the 2020 election that was won freely, fairly, and legally by PRESIDENT Joe Biden. These are not normal people.
Among the demands that McCarthy caved to was allowing the MAGAs to set up a showdown on the debt ceiling. Last week would have been the time for reporters to reach out to the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Bankers Association and ask how they feel about a default. Just in time, the New York Times published an article noting that official Washington and Wall Street only have ‘rough plans’ for what they’ll do in the event House Republicans take the American economy on their Thelma and Louise adventure.
Remember: Authoritarian movements tell you what they’re going to do, then count on your unwillingness or inability to imagine such insanity to carry off their plans.
Also this week, those same Republicans elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Space Layzerrs) to the House Oversight and Homeland Security Committees. Is it shocking? Sure. Is it surprising? Not at all. Marge was going to get her pound of flesh from McCarthy for helping bring along the nuts for him.
Again, this is how MAGA works. Work from within the power structures of the government to help dismantle and discredit its foundations. Greene isn’t going to spend time on genuine oversight of grant programs at the Department of Energy. She will toss subpoenas around like dirty towels at a Crossfit box. She’s not interested in ensuring our homeland’s security; she wants to open the fusebox at DHS and start ripping wires out. The whole plan is obstruction and destruction.
Aside from Greene’s incompetence and complicity in a variety of anti-democratic acts, she’s representative of the types of people who rise to power in authoritarian regimes. In the Republican Party of Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes, Greene would be that local volunteer desperate to drive in the motorcade when the president came to town - but couldn’t pass the background check.
In the GOP of 2023, Greene and the George Santoses of the world are the norms, not the exceptions. Only in an organization that favors, rather demands unfailing loyalty and rewards the worst possible behavior can these ne’er do wells achieve high elective office and its attendant power. Why won’t McCarthy throw Santos to the wolves? Because he’s no better or worse than anyone else in the House Republican Conference. He’s just vote #222.
This week’s insanity wasn’t limited to Capitol Hill, though. In New Mexico, a defeated Republican candidate and four accomplices were accused and arrested on charges of committing drive-by shootings at the homes of Democratic officeholders (two county commissioners and two state legislators) because they wouldn’t take this losing candidate’s claims of a “rigged” November 2022 election seriously.
Thankfully, no one was injured in the attacks, but the media did report that one bullet entered the room of a sleeping 10-year-old. And this is who they are. What started with Donald Trump saying he wouldn’t concede in 2016 has led to a spate of other candidates claiming victory in the face of evidence to the contrary. Mix that with the GOP’s embrace of violent elements and groups (see the Proud Boys), and political violence reenters the frame.
These are just three things that should concern individual Americans. But they shouldn’t come as a surprise, not anymore. Believe what’s happening before your eyes. It’s real. Snap out of it.