We’ve long known that Republicans have little respect for traditional democratic norms and ideals. We’ve seen it in their hostility toward voting rights, their decimation of traditional norms in the House and Senate, their refusal to give D.C. residents a voice in Congress, their obstruction of the Obama agenda despite being in the deep minority, and their worship of big daddy strongmen (like Putin, even before Putin installed a puppet regime in our White House).
But conservatives used to at least pay lip service to the idea of democracy. Yet the last few weeks have been rough on that facade, as more of the truth comes out every day. Witness:
- Mike Huckabee calling for the elimination of an elected Senate, and specifically, the 17th Amendment, which literally has the words “elected by the people” in it. Note, this tweet didn’t emerge from a vacuum. ALEC has been agitating for this for years, and they’re only doubling down on the campaign these days. Ironically, the Senate has a strong natural GOP gerrymander—for example, the Dakotas get four senators to California’s two. But that’s still not enough for a GOP hostile to anything that might get in the way of dictatorial power.
- According to a YouGov poll, 45 percent of Republicans want the government to “shut down "biased or inaccurate" media outlets” (of course, they’re not talking about Fox News or Breitbart). And 35 percent are undecided about the bedrock U.S. guarantee of freedom of the press. Only 20 percent side with the First Amendment, apparently since everyone else has conveniently lost their pocket Constitution.
- Conservatives are literally pining for dictatorship, like Fox host Jesse Waters: “A lot of people wish President Trump was a dictator, maybe we could repeal Obamacare. It would be a lot easier that way.” When Republicans thwarted President Barack Obama, did we sit there and say, “God, I wish he was a dictator!” Of course not, even as Republicans convinced themselves that’s what Obama wanted. They do projection really well. But of course, when it comes to the guy who couldn’t even muster a popular-vote majority, the nation is supposed to bow to the loser. Fuck that.
- Conservatives don’t care about Russian interference in our elections. If Hillary Clinton was elected on the back of a massive Russian intelligence operation, I can guarantee you we wouldn’t be shrugging that off here at Daily Kos. But to Republicans, elections aren’t sacrosanct. As one Republican strategist said yesterday, “Republicans don't care about Russia. They do care about [White House] dysfunction.”
- Conservatives don’t even want people educated, lest they have proper agency to vote intelligently.
- And what does every despot do when he feels his hold on power slipping? He lashes out at an “other” to distract his supporters. For Trump this week, that was his broadside against our transgender servicemembers in the armed forces. And did he consult with the Joint Chiefs of Staff? With the congressional armed services committees? With any real military experts? Of course not! Dictators don’t have to deal with such messy courtesies.
Republicans and their conservative allies will stop at nothing to threaten their hold on power, and their tactics will only grow more desperate as their ideology continues to fall out of flavor. They held demographic trends at bay during the last cycle with their overt appeals to racism and xenophobia, but even that has its limits in the long term.
We’ve seen Republicans make a mockery of our democratic norms and ideals, and the reasons why are obvious. They hate democracy. They love Putin-style autocracy. And it’s up to us to make sure that never happens here, in these United States.