Is it Don The Con Trump who ripped babies from the arms of immigrants, whose actions and inaction led to the deaths of 1.1 million Americans from Covid, who called for the murder of immigrants and protesters, who gave support to war criminal Vladimir Putin, who incited a violent coup?
Is it Mike Pence who, as Vice-President, blessed all of Trump’s cruel excesses and cloaked them in a veneer of religiosity?
Is it Ron DeSantis whose “War on Woke” has banned books, threatened teachers, and marginalized and denied rights to blacks and the LGBTQ community?
Is it Greg Abbott who has led the fight against women’s rights, who encouraged the proliferation of guns – even after the mass murder of children at Uvalde, who destroyed public schools, who competed with DeSantis in a game of busing immigrants to northern cities.
Or is it an as yet unknown candidate who is capable of even more deceit and cruelty – perhaps Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, John Bolton, Kristi Noem, Kim Reynolds, Bill Lee, Tate Reeves, Mark Meadows or Mike Pompeo?
Cruelty is, after all, the only thing the MAGA/Christian Nationalist/Own-The-Libs organization seems to care about. Certainly not a functioning federal government (witness the current House majority). Not the future of our democracy (witness January 6 and voter suppression laws). Not personal freedom (witness anti-abortion, anti-trans and anti-gay laws). Not law and order (witness gun proliferation). Not the future of our planet. (Climate crisis? What climate crisis?) Not human rights. (Who cares about immigrants and the poor?) And most certainly not the truth (witness the depositions in the Dominion v Fox News case).
The transformation of the organization from the Party of Lincoln to its current fascist state has taken more than 50 years. And even for someone like me, who was repulsed by the GOP’s actions at an early age, the change has been shocking.
That’s not to dismiss the GOP’s treasonous past, beginning with Nixon’s interference in the Vietnam peace talks by sending an emissary to convince the North Vietnamese into believing he would offer them a better deal if they postponed peace negotiations until after the election. There was also his dirty tricks squad which interfered with his opponents’ campaigns and ultimately broke into the Watergate headquarters of the DNC in an effort to improve Nixon’s election chances.
There was Reagan’s deal with Iran to delay the release of American hostages until after the election, apparently in exchange for weaponry as part of the Iran-Contra scandal.
There was Jeb Bush’s interference in the 2000 election which cost upward of 10,000 Floridians (mostly Democrats) their right to vote.
And, of course, there’s the GOP’s ongoing effort to rig elections through extreme gerrymandering, voter IDs, and reducing the number of polling places and voting hours in heavily Democratic and mostly black districts.
So, who will be next to best exemplify the sentiments of the Republican Party and become its 2024 presidential candidate? It’s a difficult question. Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Pol Pot, Vlad the Impaler, Josef Stalin, and Mao Zedong are no longer available.