I grew up in a Republican Party household. As part of a mostly white suburb in America in the 1950s and ’60s, that was the norm. My parents weren’t particularly political, but the message of less government interference in daily life and being wary of deficit spending met their expectations.
Being even less interested in what happened in Washington than my parents, I happily followed suit. Of course, I couldn’t vote, but if a Republican said something newsworthy, it was, by definition, good.
All that changed in 1974. Richard Nixon’s behavior and the Watergate scandal pushed my parents to abandon the G.O.P. and never look back. By then, as a college student and able to vote, my allegiances had already shifted. Anti-war demonstrations, student sit-ins, a more diverse, liberal student body at Syracuse University, and having a very low draft number in the 1969 lottery opened my eyes to the wonderful world of politics.
Even so, I didn’t think of the Republican Party members as a collection of people who seemed much different than Democrats. Deep down, we all wanted a strong democracy, a solid economy, and the ability for anyone to aspire to the “American Dream,” even if that “dream” was fiction for a good chunk of society.
Thinking back, I know I voted for Ronald Regan the first time and George H.W. Bush. For other elections, my vote went to the Democratic Party’s nominee to be president. Regardless of who won, I believed the winner would not harm the country or institutions much. After all, in four years, that person had to reapply for the job. There were enough checks and balances in the system from keeping one rouge politician from doing too many dastardly things. Republicans and Democrats went about solving our problems differently, but there was no evil intent.
Well, that all went out the window in 2016. We elected someone uniquely unqualified to lead much of anything. With a world view that revolved only around himself, many of us held our collective breath that he wouldn’t do something so dangerous that it couldn’t be kept in check. Our system had survived all sorts of trama over the years; we would be fine until the fall of 2020 allowed for a referendum on that choice.
The year 2020, which will go down in history as one of the worst ever, seems to be proving that belief as seriously flawed. For only the second time in our history, a presidential loser is refusing to accept the will of the majority of voters and the electoral system that has been in place since day one.
He will not concede. He and his most loyal followers have tried everything to prevent him from leaving the White House on the 20th of this month. Not incidentally, he is calling on his most rabid followers to come to Washington on January 6th and get wild, the day Congress deals with the electoral vote confirmation.
This past weekend, the president is recorded asking a Georgia election official to “find” just enough missing votes to change the results of the popular vote and award that state to him. Because it is his voice and the transcript matches the recording, no one can call this fake news. No one can unhear the president of the United States badgering, even threatening, the Republican official he is asking to magically locate just enough votes to change the outcome.
This is the state that recounted the votes three times, including 5 million ballots by hand, to satisfy party officials and lawsuits that tried to manufacture something that is not there. This is the state with two Senate elections going on this week that will determine who holds the majority in that body. What happens if one or both candidates lose? Can’t we just about guarantee the calls of fraud and refusing to accept the results?
Over sixty lawsuits have been filed: all but one minor issue have been tossed out of local and Federal courts, even the Supreme Court. The poor state of Georgia endured demands the Republican Governor resign because he wouldn’t bend to the demand to throw out legitimate votes and declare the incumbent as the winner. The same displeasure with the vote totals surfaced in Pennslyvania, Wisconsin, and Arizona, among others.
Then, hundreds of duly-elected G.O.P. representatives and Senators, along with both the president and the vice-president, have promised to attempt a feat that would, in essence, end democracy in this country. In their desperate attempt to hold onto power and placate the most fervent supporters for the losing administration, they are promising to force the delay of the validation of the Electoral College results so baseless accusations of voter fraud can be debated yet again.
With absolutely no proof, only allegations that something must be wrong if their Golden Boy lost, this attempt to throw out the election results so one party can install electors of their choosing will profoundly change our country’s history.
With this precedent established, the losing political party in any election will be encouraged to deny the results and ignore the votes that are inconvenient to their purposes. It shouldn’t matter what political side of the aisle any of us live on. This attempt to throw out 81 million votes should terrify everyone. Democracy only survives when the majority believe the results of an election are fair; distressing maybe to many, but still valid.
From this very dangerous charade going on in Congress, one must conclude that the G.O.P. has been hijacked by some power-hungry, morally deficient, short term charlatans. This group is so focused on pleasing the “base” of the current president and so afraid of his wrath in coming years that they are willing to tear up our system of government and blatantly ignore their own oath to protect the Constitution.
I am quite aware that 74 million of us voted for the Republican candidate. That is several million more than put him into office in the first place. Clearly, his policies and approach to governance pleased a lot of citizens.
I am also aware that Hilary Clinton garnered more popular votes than her opponent but lost the presidency by roughly 79,000 votes out of 138 million cast due to the electoral college system. I will also point out that she did not scream foul, fraud, and massive voter cheating in that razor-thin loss but conceded on election night.
Many of those most vocal about this Electoral College vote counting have admitted their gambit has zero chance of working. Yet, their political ambitions demand they pick a side in this made-up battle, and that side is to stand with someone who wants to hold onto power even at the cost of our future.
I have been a Democrat for most of the last fifty years of my life. Even so, my votes for Ronald Regan and George Bush, Sr. are an indication I don’t just blindly follow one party but vote for who I believe is best for the job.
I do not believe for a second that the majority of Republicans support this attempt to pervert this election. I have absolutely no doubt that, as a whole, those who support the G.O.P. want democracy to remain our form of government and would fight, tooth and nail, against attempts to dismantle it.
So, that begs the question: who is attempting to steal the G.O.P.? What are the rank and file Republican Party supporters thinking as they see some of their representatives making a concerted effort to deny the will of the majority? What do they believe will be the long term consequences of this attempted coup, which is really what is going on? Is there a reaction to a sitting president trying to coerce someone to just change the vote totals? Would all the Republican candidates elected on November 3rd agree that their votes were part of all the cheating and shouldn’t be counted either?
The G.O.P. is under attack by those who don’t support its history, beliefs, or importance in a two-party system. They are on a path to weaken or even destroy the future of the Republican Party. They are flinging wide the door on a movement from a growing group to form a third party that believes in this country more than a cult of personality and power.
Like the morbid fascination of seeing the video of a particularly gruesome car crash, or a town destroyed by a tidal wave, we will all be watching how this attack plays out.
The G.O.P., The Grand Old Party, cannot allow some outliers to hijack and destroy the party and our future as Americans.
Whatever happens over the next few days, the consequences for our fate are immense. All good men and women who believe in the America of the Constitution, in the rule of law, and not of the cult of personality and power grabs, must say, “Enough.”