How The Party Of Lincoln Became The Party Of Trump.

The Republican Party was once the party of abolitionists and the party of progressives. Its first leader, Abraham Lincoln, not only held the nation together during the Civil War. He signed the Emancipation Proclamation that ended one of the saddest chapters in U.S. history.

Unfortunately, a political party operating under the same name is now attacking the very foundations of our nation…the democratic principles established by our founders. Of course, the transformation of the once Grand Old Party didn’t happen overnight. After Lincoln, the party soon embraced the privileged and the powerful – the entrepreneurs rightfully labeled the “robber barons” who presided over the Gilded Age, a period of excesses marked by political corruption and unbridled materialism.

During that time, the nation was controlled by a succession of Republican presidents who presided over runaway capitalism founded on “Horse and Sparrow” economics – the theory that if you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through and fall to the ground for the sparrows to eat.

As disgusting as that idea is, it didn’t disappear along with the Gilded Age. Though it was credited, in part, for the Panic of 1896 and the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Republican Party clung to the idea through every succeeding administration until it resurfaced under Reagan who renamed it “Supply Side” economics (aka “Trickle Down” theory or, perhaps more accurately “Voodoo” economics), and it continued under George W. Bush and Donald Trump. Again and again, it has resulted in economic failure for the majority of working Americans.

But failed economic policy alone is not responsible for where the Republican Party stands today.

In an effort to rig the 1968 election, Richard Nixon treasonously undermined the Vietnam peace talks, promising the Vietnamese that they would get a better deal if they stalled negotiations to help him be elected. During that period, Lee Atwater launched the party’s so-called southern strategy to embrace southern racists who were angry about integration and the Voting Rights Act. And in 1974, Nixon was forced out of office following the revelations of Watergate in which he overtly stole the 1972 presidential election.

In the late 70s and 1980s, Paul Weyrich used Roe v Wade to bring anti-abortion evangelical Christians into the Republican fold.

Not to be outdone by Nixon, Ronald Reagan also committed a treasonous act by undermining the Iran hostage negotiations. He, too, promised a better deal if the negotiations were delayed in order to help his electoral chances.

Of course, it was Reagan who also named the federal government – the government of the people, by the people and for the people – as the enemy of most Americans. He also famously led the attack against labor unions, favoring multinational corporations over workers. And his presidency ended in a cloud of corruption when his administration was caught illegally selling weapons to Iran to finance death squads in Central America.

In the 1990s, political divisions among Americans really began to take hold after Newt Gingrich was selected as Speaker of the House. To ensure his caucus would follow his lead, he threatened to have them “primaried” if they failed to vote as he wished, effectively ending true representation of their constituents.

During that time, the Republican congressional majority led an impeachment of President Bill Clinton that began with an unsuccessful investigation into a real estate and ended with the exposure of an illicit relationship with an intern.

In 2000, George W. Bush’s brother, Jeb, and a conservative majority Supreme Court helped “W” steal the presidential election. Once in office, he cut taxes for the wealthy, led us into an unpopular war with Iraq based on lies, and ended his term with a financial crisis that resulted in the Great Recession.

In 2016 and 2017, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blatantly stole two SCOTUS seats for conservatives. And that was far from the only Republican theft. Trump was able to steal the election through a variety of schemes with the help of Russia, news of an investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server, and a cover-up of Trump’s extramarital affairs with a porn star and a former Playboy centerfold model.

Once in power, Trump used the Oval Office for personal enrichment, a highly partisan failed response to a public emergency (the Covid-19 pandemic), and tax cuts for the wealthy. And, like Nixon, he turned to Roger Stone and a host of other dirty tricksters in an attempt to steal the 2020 election. He even encouraged his supporters to engage in a violent insurrection to prevent the peaceful transition of power.

Republican administrations have overseen repeated economic failures, financial inequality, increased poverty, at least one war based on lies, and corporate consolidation resulting in numerous monopolies. They have allowed the NRA to flood our streets with increasingly lethal military-style weaponry. They have weakened the institutions that have made this country great. And they have led us to the brink of autocracy.

It wasn’t just one man or one term that corrupted the GOP. The transition of the party from the idealistic Party of Lincoln to the criminal enterprise that is the Party of Trump is the result of a series of planned events that prioritized party over nation, money over freedom, and power over honesty.

Republicans’ Shadow Government.

Republicans continue to rant on about the “Deep State” – unelected government officials who make decisions affecting ordinary Americans’ lives. In fact, it’s mere projection. (Given the GOP’s recent history, you can assume that they’re already doing whatever they accuse Democrats of doing.) 

But they are right about one thing. There is an unelected shadow government affecting our lives. It’s called ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), an organization of conservative state legislators and others that is funded by some of America’s largest corporations.

If you are thus far blissfully unaware of ALEC – and most Americans are – you are almost certainly familiar with some of its work. It writes so-called “model” legislation based on conservative ideologies for the benefit of – you guessed it – large corporations.

Think your elected state representative wrote the deadly “stand your ground” bill that became law in your state? Think again. It was likely authored by gun manufacturers, distributed by ALEC and introduced for votes by an ALEC legislative member.

Think your state representative authored the bill that preempts cities and other local jurisdictions from regulating guns and ammunition? Nope. It was generated by ALEC.

The “show us your papers” anti-civil rights, anti-immigration law? Nope. Once again, that was a product of ALEC. 

Indeed, whenever you see a rightwing bill introduced in your legislature that seems identical to bills passed in other states, it almost certainly is a product of ALEC. Often, legislators who are members of ALEC never even read the “model” bills before submitting them. As a matter of fact, one Florida legislator introduced a stack of ALEC-spawned bills without even removing the ALEC cover sheets from them!

One of the latest examples of the work of this shadow government is an ALEC bill that would give corporations almost complete immunity from lawsuits intended to hold them accountable for harmful actions. If the bill becomes law, it will severely limit states from collecting damages from corporations that produce and distribute dangerous or deadly products.

It’s difficult to see how such legislation benefits consumers and ordinary citizens. But the benefits to ALEC’s corporate members are obvious. And since the creator of fascism, Benito Mussolini, once said that fascism could more accurately be called corporatism, clearly ALEC and Republican legislators have earned the right to be called fascists.  

So, the next time you hear Republican conspiracy theorists rant on about the “Deep State”, don’t think about the hard-working civil servants at the Post Office or the IRS. Think about ALEC and most GOP legislators.

A Renaissance of Hate.

How else could you describe the era of Trump and his cadre of domestic terrorists? A former president who, while in office, gave the term bully pulpit new meaning by appealing to legions of bullies and white supremacists to do his bidding. A demagogue who has so mastered the art of “mob speak” that he no longer needs to tell his followers to defy laws and the Constitution. They have become so attuned to his narcissistic and sociopathic needs that they are willing to act based on the hope that they will receive his praise and avoid his wrath.

It’s an era marked by the former president so determined to burn down the government that he has ordered his mini-me representatives in the so-called Freedom Caucus to block federal funding just to spite his political rival – the consequences be damned. An era of rightwing governors using immigrants and refugees as political tools by cruelly busing them hundreds of miles to score political points. An era in which state legislatures gerrymander districts to suppress minority votes. An era of supposed righteous “Christians” who cheer policies and tactics that brutalize and marginalize women, the LGBTQ community, and migrants.

It’s an era in which ordinary Republicans, emboldened by their leader’s lies, threaten the lives of judges, jury members, and election officials – even Republican officials. An era in which seven percent of Americans have been convinced by the wannabe dictator that violence is necessary to “save” America from Trump’s political opponents, aka “Demoncrats.” An era in which the so-called party of law and order now wants to defund the FBI and politicize the DOJ because their charlatan-in-chief has been indicted for crimes against the State of New York, the State of Georgia, and the United States of America.

So, how are we to break this Trump-fueled fever?

A landslide repudiation of Republican candidates – all Republican candidates – in 2024 will help. But that alone will not inoculate our democracy from their hateful rot. There needs to be a reckoning in all aspects of our society, beginning with the churches that abandoned compassion and love in favor of power and profit.

Similarly, corporate leaders need to look beyond tax cuts, short-term profits and greed and, instead, consider their impact on the future and what’s best for the nation. Voters need to set aside ideology and vote on the issues which a vast majority approve, including gun safety, abortion rights, mitigation of climate change, civil rights, and immigration reform. Most of all, Fox News Corp, NewsMax and other purveyors of lies must be relegated back to the sewers from where they came.

We’ve done it before.

In the 1800s, tens of thousands of courageous Americans sacrificed everything to end slavery. When the KKK rose to power in the 1920s, good people stepped forward to rip off their white sheets and pointy hoods. In the 1940s, the greatest generation marched into war, and many gave their lives to defeat fascism. In the 1950s, the media and a few senators stood up to the fear mongering of Joseph McCarthy and sent him packing back to his world of darkness. In the 1960s, a majority of Americans rejected Jim Crow laws. In the 1970s, women successfully fought to break the bonds of misogyny. And in the 1980s, we finally recognized the inalienable rights of gays, lesbians, trans, and non-binary Americans.

Unfortunately, like zombies, the fascists have emerged from the grave to spread the clouds of darkness over our nation once again. It’s time for all Americans of good will to stand up and figuratively punch the bullies in the nose. The fate of our democracy depends on it.

The 2025 Project: A Republican Plan To Destroy Democracy.

When it comes to the destruction of our democracy, Donald J. Trump is only a symptom. The real killer is revealed only when you look at the Republican Party in its entirety.

Once hailed as the Grand Old Party of emancipators led by Abraham Lincoln who saved the nation from being cleaved in two, by the 1960s, the party had reversed roles with the southern Democrats of the Confederacy and took on a win-at-any-cost philosophy. In doing so, it embraced racist, anti-government white Christian nationalists. It began pandering to large, multi-national corporations and it rigged the economy for the benefit of billionaires.

It also engaged our nation in unnecessary wars and war crimes. It abandoned polite public discourse, replacing it with cruelty and a determination to “own the libs.” And, in 2016, it elected a demagogue who used the presidency to enrich himself and his family, and who eventually orchestrated a desperate, unconstitutional attempt to stay in power.

Yet, as bad as that Republican Party has been for most Americans, the latest version is even worse!

Lest you think that’s mere hyperbole, consider The Heritage Foundation’s 1,000-page 2025 Project – a plan to deconstruct the federal government, to free corporations (especially those in the fossil fuel industry) from regulations, and to give the next Republican president almost unlimited power.

Under the 2025 Project, Republicans would fire more than 50,000 federal employees and replace them with party loyalists. In addition, they would drastically shrink or eliminate numerous federal agencies altogether. Among those agencies would be the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy’s renewable energy office, the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and the FBI.

All of this would free corporations to pollute and cheat at will. It would end most efforts to address climate change. It would overturn the rule of law, ending prosecutions of those Republican officials who committed felonies surrounding January 6th while ginning up prosecutions of Democrats under false pretenses.

It would abolish diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. It would roll back protections for workers. It would funnel most taxpayer-based education funding into private schools. It would allow the president to take control of the FCC and, therefore, the media. It would almost certainly institute a draconian nationwide ban on abortion. And it would allow the Republican president to dodge Senate confirmation of cabinet members.

With a Republican president and a government full of Republican workers subjected to loyalty tests, there would be none of the guardrails that saved our nation from dictatorship during the Trump administration.

Terrifyingly, the plan calls for the federal government to be transformed within 180 days of the inauguration of a Republican president!

Voting for Trump or one of his mini-me Republican presidential candidates would be akin to voters forming a suicide pact to destroy our democracy and the world economy. It would almost certainly plunge the world into an economic depression. And it would likely fill the streets with millions of protestors who would be met with violence from Trump’s various armies of domestic terrorists.

To be clear, the 2025 Project is not just the imagination of The Heritage Foundation, former Trump officials, and Trump enablers. It is being heralded by a host of rightwing organizations, most Republican presidential candidates and, by extension, most Republican voters.

It’s not a plan to improve the federal government, to improve our democracy, or to improve the lives of working Americans. It won’t help ordinary Americans realize the American Dream.

It’s a plan to enshrine racism, homophobia, transphobia, and cruelty. A plan to replace our form of government with an autocracy similar to Putin’s Russia where industries and the nation’s resources are controlled by oligarchs chosen by whichever Republican occupies the White House. And where the outcome of elections is predetermined by whoever is in power.

Voters need to understand that a vote for a Republican in 2024 is a vote for the 2025 Project – the political equivalent of swallowing the poisoned Kool-Aid at Jonestown.

RIP GOP.

Long ago, the Republican Party was the party of liberals – a political party that fought for abolition of slavery, fought to hold the nation together, and fought for civil rights. In the 1950s and 60s under Eisenhower, it was the party of growth. And, over time, the party evolved into the party of limited government, limited regulation, and business.

It’s difficult to imagine that history, given where the party currently stands.

Today’s Republican Party created the Department of Homeland Security, the federal government’s second-largest government agency – second only to the Department of Defense. And, instead of striving to reduce government meddling into an individual’s private affairs, the party now encourages it.

Republicans now want to use government to tell Americans how to pray, what to believe, who to love, what to read, what pharmaceuticals they can take, and what they can do with their own bodies. They have also busied themselves with reinterpreting the Constitution. According to them, the Separation Clause requiring separation of church and state doesn’t exist. Neither does the first phrase of the Second Amendment – “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…”

According to the GOP, the Second Amendment cannot be restricted or regulated. But other freedoms in the Bill of Rights – free speech, the freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and the right to assemble – must be restricted to meet its own narrow vision of liberty.

Indeed, it seems the GOP is no longer interested in policy or democracy.

It no longer cares about solving problems for ordinary working citizens to make their lives better or safer. It has no interest in human rights, addressing climate change, or promoting democracy globally. It makes no effort to persuade a majority to vote for its candidates. Rather, it resorts to voting restrictions, voting suppression, and partisan gerrymandering. And, given its calls to defund the FBI and the DOJ for prosecuting those involved the attempted coup on January 6, it obviously no longer cares about law and order, as if it ever really did. (In fact, its previous calls for law and order were really racist dog whistles aimed at civil rights protestors.)

What drives the GOP today are conspiracy theories (Democrats stole the 2022 election, vaccines make you sterile, the FBI and DOJ have been weaponized against Republicans, Democrats are cannibalistic pedophiles, etc.). Most of all, Republicans are driven by power and hatred – hatred of science, hatred of intellectuals, hatred of the LGBTQ community, hatred of minorities, hatred of immigrants, hatred of the left.

In reality, the Grand Old Party no longer exists. Today’s Republican Party now seems to be a combination of the John Birch Society, white supremacists, narrow-minded “Christian” evangelicals, and outright fascists. And its overarching strategy is to keep ordinary Americans fighting against one another, so they can push through legislation that benefits millionaires, billionaires, multinational corporations, and themselves.

Can Our Democracy Survive?

The one thing Democrats and the MAGA Party (the Republican Party no longer exists having been subsumed by Fox-fueled Trump followers) can agree on is that our democracy is under attack. However, they see vastly different threats.

The MAGAs believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. While Democrats point to the January 6 insurrection and increasing laws in MAGA-controlled states that limit voting rights for MAGA opponents, that take away a woman’s right to control her own body, that prioritize the freedom to own weapons of war over the lives of children.

But I believe the division runs deeper than that. It stems from the way the leaders of the MAGA Party view democracy.

Instead of seeing democracy as a means of majority rule, I believe MAGA leaders see it as a tool that can be manipulated on behalf of the powerful and wealthy. The result is that we now have several standards of justice based on factors such as race, wealth, and privilege. We see elected officials defy the wishes of significant majorities of their constituents on universal background checks for gun purchases, red flag laws, and access to abortion. And we see them use the power of their office to threaten and punish those with whom they disagree.

As a result of the MAGA ideology, our entire economy and, at times, our government are driven by a wealthy few. The owners and investors of large, multinational corporations have been allowed to influence elections while avoiding taxes. Through their political influence, these multinationals have been deregulated. They have exported high-paying jobs. They have eliminated workers’ retirement plans and other benefits. And they have taken almost total control of entire industries through consolidation.

For much too long, we’ve had eight too-big-to-fail banks, three or four conglomerates that control most of our grain, and six companies that control most of our meat supply. The majority of pharmaceuticals sold in the US are controlled by just ten corporations. Our oil and gas industries are controlled by a few corporations and state actors that dismiss their role in the climate crisis. Likewise, our transportation, insurance, and other industries have each been captured by a few large corporations.

And, chillingly, just six corporations now own roughly 90 percent of the media that bring us the news!

At the same time, the politicians that have been bought and paid for by these corporations have cut their taxes while pushing the tax burden onto ordinary hardworking citizens. Even that has not been enough to satisfy their greed. So, they regularly offshore profits in order to extort our government into allowing them to “repatriate” their ill-gotten gains at further reduced tax rates.

Corporations’ insatiable greed has even been the primary driver of inflation. Yet they and their political lackeys have blamed it on an administration that has set about trying to curtail their power.

Understandably, many Americans are angry. But thanks to the many lies peddled by the leading cable “news” outlet and others, their anger has been misdirected. Instead of blaming the rich and powerful, they blame immigrants, the poor, and minorities.

The problem has been made worse, I believe, from the MAGAs’ Kim Jong-un-like devotion to Trump. In both cases, the followers seem to see their Dear Leaders as deities. Many MAGAs continue to believe that Trump was chosen by God. They compare him to the Messiah and pray for him to save them. And, with both Trump and Kim, the followers not only accept their leaders’ extravagant lifestyle. They celebrate it. And they contribute to it.

The only conclusion can be that the many Millennials and GenXers who have bought into the MAGA ideology, simply don’t understand the benefits of democracy. It seems they have become convinced that an autocrat – at least their autocrat – can improve their lives. That an autocrat can help them live a similar life of luxury. That, instead of the messy process of convincing others to agree with their political and religious beliefs, an autocrat can force others to agree with them by decree.

Like so many of those in pre-war Germany, they seem more interested in forcing change than preserving our government along with its freedoms. Far too many of today’s Americans lack an understanding of history or civics. And, instead of seeking truth from universities, books, and qualified experts, they turn to social media and propaganda outlets like Fox “News.” In fact, they have eschewed legitimate news sources as “enemies of the people.” They dismiss education as a waste. And they are banning books that make them uncomfortable, blissfully unaware of the comparisons to the dictators and war criminals of the past.

In doing so, they are following the path taken by unsuspecting citizens in Russia, Myanmar, Venezuela, Hungary, Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran, as well as pre-WWII Italy, Japan, and Germany. And, unless we can convince them that democracy is worth saving – that real change can only come through the ballot box – we may be headed down those same rabbit holes.

What They Say Versus What They Do.

Today’s Trump-loving MAGA GOP has tried to stake out the political high ground by waving the flag and likening themselves to the colonial patriots of 1776. They claim to be the only true defenders of the Constitution – God-fearing Americans who are for low taxes and limited government. Many walk around with a copy of the Constitution in one hand and a Bible in the other. But, following countless encounters with such people, I can assure you that most have read neither. Moreover, they have a flawed understanding of American history and civics if, indeed, they have any understanding at all.

So, let’s examine their boastful – dare I say delusional – claims one by one:

• They call themselves patriots. But they are actively trying to destroy our government. They support autocrats, dictators and our nation’s adversaries such as Putin and Russia. So, in reality, the only thing they have in common with the original patriots is that they own guns.
• They claim to support freedom. But they are trying to limit the freedom of others to love and worship as they please. They are denying others the right to vote. And they are denying women the freedom to control their own bodies.
• They claim to be for ordinary working people. But most of the bills they propose are written for them by large corporations and corporate “think” tanks.
• They claim to be anti-crime. But they have made it incredibly easy for any criminal to obtain military-style weaponry that permits them to out-gun the police. Many support those who attacked police on January 6. And now they are trying to undermine the FBI and the DOJ.
• They claim to be fiscally conservative. But they have given trillions in tax cuts and subsidies to the wealthy and large multinational corporations. The resulting loss of revenue has led to large deficits and a growing national debt. Further, they have created “free market” messes – the Great Depression and the Great Recession – that were left for Democrats to clean up.
• They claim to be against raising taxes. But they have proposed a 30 percent sales tax that would be devastating to everyone but the very wealthy.
• They claim to support Social Security and Medicare. But they have opposed them from their very beginning and they continue to call for major changes that would put millions of seniors at risk.
• They claim the mainstream media is biased against them. But their media darlings on Fox News have been proven to be little more than propagandists peddling lies that divide us and damage our nation.
• They claim to be pro-life. But they are really only pro-birth. For example, they refuse to do anything to stop school shootings. They continually try to cut food stamp programs and school lunch programs that feed impoverished children. And, by encouraging the births of more unwanted children, they will further overload the foster system – a system that too often serves as a feeder system for our prisons.
• They claim to be pro-education. But they are banning books and threatening teachers who dare to discuss real American history.
• They claim to be Christian. But they have little to no compassion for the poor and the oppressed.
• They claim that the events of January 6 were part of a peaceful demonstration carried out by tourists. But anyone with a functioning brain could see that it was a violent attack on our nation’s capitol as part of a failed coup incited by the disgraced, twice-impeached former president.
• And, of course, they claim the 2020 election was stolen. But multiple recounts and audits found negligible voter fraud. And most of the fraud that was uncovered was committed by some of their very own.

In other words, everything they say is a lie.

Why A New Civil War Seems Inevitable.

It seems the majority of Americans have viewed Marjorie Taylor-Greene’s call for a “national divorce” as laughable. But many of us who have been following the extreme right for the last several decades are not laughing. Both the rhetoric and actions of what can only be called the sedition caucus point to the near inevitability of a civil war led by many of the same people responsible for the January 6 insurrection.

Consider that some of the planners and cheerleaders for the coup attempt are not only still occupying seats in the US House of Representatives. They have, thus far, faced no repercussions. Indeed, they now control both the Speaker and many of the House committees. Likewise, the former president who led the coup has not yet been held accountable. He has even announced that he is running for president in 2024 and, in fact, is the leading candidate of the Republican Party despite his obvious attempt to turn our democracy into an autocracy!

Moreover, he has previously shown an intent to use the office to dismantle institutions, to punish opponents, and to sell favors to other nations, including our adversaries.

But the threat to our democracy goes much deeper.

For one thing, the twice-impeached former president packed our courts with rightwing loyalists. So, any court cases against Republican legislation designed to undermine our democracy are likely to fail. Second, autocracy-friendly Republicans have full control of 23 of our 50 states. They also have legislative control of 30 states. And 19 of those states have already called for a convention to rewrite the Constitution. If successful, their rewrites are likely to remove the barrier between church and state, as well as to change the requirements for citizenship and voting. They might even embrace far more radical ideas such as a bill offered by a Florida legislator which would essentially ban the Democratic Party in that state.

An even more likely recipe for civil war was outlined in a chilling Twitter thread by author and former Navy aviator Brynn Tannehill. She begins by stating that “we have two competing visions for America that are mutually exclusive, both sides really don’t like each other, but one of the two is violent, delusional, and willing to destroy democracy to get its way.” She then explains how Republicans are forcing the issue with a new bill that passed out of committee in Tennessee. According to Tannehill, the bill “would bar insurers from doing business with the state if they cover health care for trans people anywhere in the US.”

What are the chances of the six staunchly Catholic justices who comprise the majority of SCOTUS ruling against such a law? After their ruling which overturned decades of precedent to throw out Roe v Wade, those chances are likely zero, nada, nil.

Almost certainly, that will cause states to react as they did following the end of Roe v Wade. Red states quickly banned abortion while blue states began passing laws that would codify a woman’s right to abortion. So, in a reaction to Tennessee, blue states are likely to require insurers to cover trans health care in their own states.

Even if the Tennessee bill doesn’t pass, there will be other discriminatory bills proposed by rightwing zealots with the intent to further divide us. As Tannehill points out, “…this sort of blackmail can be used on any topic: whether it’s Disney for promoting ‘woke’ material, coverage of abortions, drug manufacturers and Mifepristone, or anything else they want to ban.”

Of course, the real flashpoint between the two sides revolves around guns. Democrats rightfully want to limit access to weapons of war and to ban untraceable ghost guns. But Republicans view the 2nd Amendment as the 11th commandment: “Thou shall not take away our guns.” Yet, without new gun safety measures which restrict the sales of ever more lethal weaponry, our nation will be consigned to a future with more school shootings and mass murders. Assuming that our nation, which has been far too passive in addressing climate change, has any future at all.

The One Unifying Policy Of The Political Right.

Hate. Hatred of homosexuals. Hatred of transsexuals. Hatred of women. Hatred of immigrants. Hatred of people of color. Hatred of “urban elites.” Hatred of socialism. Hatred of Black Lives Matter. Hatred of anti-fascists. Hatred of non-Christians. Hatred of election officials and other public servants. Hatred of educators. Hatred of environmentalists. Hatred of science. Hatred of progress. Hatred of history. And, most of all, hatred of the libs.

Though these haters are greatly outnumbered in the US, they now control the US House of representatives, 23 state houses, 26 governorships, dozens of courts including the Supreme Court of the United States, and of course, the Republican Party.

These people not only led or supported a violent coup. They are now calling for a national “divorce.” They cling to power through a combination of fearmongering, gerrymandering, voter suppression, political dirty tricks, and a massive propaganda effort.

Undeterred by mass murder and slaughter on our streets, in our schools, in our stores and in our theaters, they justify gun violence through a fraudulent interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. Rather than support democracy, they support the world’s most despicable autocrats and war criminals. They have sided with Russian oligarchs in order to fill their campaign coffers. And all the while they claim moral superiority through their affiliation with Christian evangelicals (aka Christian nationalists).

Their legislative efforts seem to consist almost entirely of fraudulent investigations and attempts to legalize discrimination. Other bills are designed to rig the economy on behalf of billionaires and multinational corporations, to ban books, to rewrite history, to hollow out or dismantle federal agencies, to end Social Security, Medicare and other safety nets, and to undermine democratic institutions.

It’s not hyperbole to say that political right has pushed democracy to the precipice. Indeed, I believe we are now at a pre-WW II Germany moment. If you value democracy, if you value freedom, if you value others, if you value our planet’s ecosystem, you must speak up and get involved. You must get organized. You must stand up for our Constitution. The elections of 2024 could be a watershed moment.

We simply can’t allow the haters to win. Democrats, independents, and the few remaining traditional Republicans must repudiate them so thoroughly with our votes that they crawl back into their dark closets with their guns and never threaten our nation again.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due.

In thinking about the many problems that we face as a nation, it has become clear that the vast majority can be traced to policies enacted and supported by the Republican Party, a political party that has evolved from the party of growth and controlled spending (Eisenhower and Nixon) to the party of small government (Reagan and Bush I) to the party spreading global democracy (Bush II and Cheney) to a party intent on undermining our own democracy (Trump).

The GOP has coalesced around white supremacists and religious zealots to claim the title of “Faith and Flag” party. Yet few have any concept of ethics or patriotism. 147 Republican lawmakers assisted in the attempted coup of January 6, 2021, with the intent of helping a wannabe autocrat remain in the White House. Indeed, the party’s love affair for autocrats and kleptocrats has been made clear by its many connections to Putin’s Russia (see the Muller Report) and its invitation to Viktor Oban as the keynote speaker of CPAC.

Moreover, the party’s thirst for power and its desire to court the favor of billionaires and multinational corporations seem to be the cause of many of our nation’s most enduring problems.

Wealth inequity? By any measure the growing disparity between the ultra-rich and most working Americans has been caused by the GOP’s longtime commitment to Trickle-Down economics. Rather than money trickling down to the working class, it has created a gusher of wealth flowing upward to the wealthy and large corporations.

Gun deaths and mass shootings? They’re a direct result of the gun lobby’s influence on the GOP and a fraudulent interpretation of the Second Amendment. Because of liberal gun laws, we now have more guns in this country than people. And the number grows by a million or two every year. Moreover, a growing number of crimes involve the use of unregistered ghost guns – many with inexpensive “Glock switches” that convert semiautomatics into fully automatics. But any attempt to restrict such lethal weapons is met with GOP obstruction.

Violence against people of color, ethnic groups, and LGBTQ people? Many GOP candidates have successfully campaigned with ads and rhetoric demonizing these communities and unfairly blaming them for our societal failings. And since words have consequences, hate crimes continue to rise.

Misogyny? The GOP and its evangelical supporters have long tried to relegate women to a secondary social status. And now the GOP majority Supreme Court has gotten into the act. By overturning Roe v Wade, it has put the economic, mental, and physical wellbeing of women at risk.

Climate crisis? The GOP and its oily supporters have long denied that humans have contributed to climate change through our addiction to fossil fuels. For decades, they sponsored fraudulent climate studies to support their denial. And though we are now suffering through the resulting consequences, the GOP is still fighting any attempts to address the problem. It is now almost inevitable that, in our lifetimes, we will see a massive rise in sea levels and the extinction of more than a million species – maybe our own.

Inflation? Though the GOP has blamed rising prices on an overheated economy, rising labor costs, and attempts to mitigate the climate crisis, in reality, inflation has been caused by corporate greed and supply chain issues following the GOP’s failed response to the pandemic.

Corporate consolidation and the export of jobs? The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy reports that GOP policies have actually rewarded multinational corporations for sending jobs overseas. Other GOP policies such as “repatriating” offshore profits at bargain tax rates have led to corporate stock buybacks that reward shareholders, instead of creating jobs. They have also encouraged consolidation by creating incentives for corporations to buy out competitors rather than to compete with them.

Border invasion? There are many causes for the wave of asylum-seekers, refugees, and immigrants at our southern border. So-called Democratic “open border” policies are not among them. The “invasion” has overlapped both Democratic and Republican administrations. Not even the fence and the GOP cruelty of separating children from parents could stop it. And despite repeated calls for a comprehensive immigration policy, the GOP has blocked it.

Failing education? In public education funding, the GOP sees a large pool of taxpayer funds that could be used to create profits. That’s why it is so determined to direct those funds to charter schools and private schools that are not subject to the same fiscal transparency as public schools. It also sees a well-educated public as a threat to its own survival – hence its current attempts to ban books along with those who would dare to teach an accurate account of slavery and genocide as part of American history.

Inequities in IRS audits? In its long-standing efforts to starve the federal government of revenue, the GOP has made draconian cuts to IRS funding and staff. As a result, the IRS does not have the resources to ensure that large corporations and the wealthy are paying their fair share of taxes. So, it has focused attention on ordinary citizens who don’t have the benefit of high-priced tax accountants and tax lawyers.

Political division? For the cause of our conflicts look no further than the GOP and its propaganda outlets. Fox News pundits, rightwing radio hosts, social media, websites, and online podcasts all spew a steady stream of hate, misinformation and outright lies. All of this means that Americans no longer share the same set of “facts.” As evidenced by the former president and George Santos, it’s increasingly rare when the truth escapes a GOP mouth.