By Roger Chambers
While many Republicans continue to support him, reaffirming Donald Trump’s right-wing populism in mid-term elections of 2022 or the national election of 2024 would hasten authoritarianism. Constant lies continue, amplified by Fox News. Trump does not respect essential individuals and institutions such as courts, media, the FBI, intelligence advisors, and long-term federal employees of the State Department and the Department of Justice.
His constant attacks and insults against women, Blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, credible journalists, the disabled, and residents of what he called “Shithole Countries” were met by silence from spineless Republicans who tacitly supported them with their silence. With implied and overt comments, former President Trump unleashed white supremacist and other extremists to spread their lies and hatred more openly, inspiring some to violent actions. Perhaps even more dangerous, lies have led many to still believe he won the 2020 election, despite numerous facts to the contrary.
The January 6 Committee has investigated the armed insurrection when a mob attacked security officers and police, threatening elected officials shouting, “Hang Mike Pence!” Many Republican members of Congress consider this committee illegitimate. In response to a letter about the continued obstruction of a full investigation, Representative Claudia Tenney replied in part that this investigation is “targeting individual members based on political views,” and “not serving the public or upholding our Constitutional principles, which require adherence to the rule of law and the quest for truth.”
Apparently the “political views” that she perceives as being attacked by the committee are those that include the denial of the legitimacy of the 2020 election and those who supported and/or instigated the insurrection. Those seeking election to Congress who refuse to firmly admit Biden won and claim Trump’s support as a badge of honor are a major part of the problem.
This January 6 Committee has conducted hundreds of interviews and reviewed thousands of documents. Many Congressional Republicans have refused to testify voluntarily or by subpoena. Trump advisor Steve Bannon and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows were referred to the Department of Justice for charges of Contempt of Congress. Most Republicans voted against these contempt charges. With much documentation, many Congressional Republicans are strongly implicated in supporting and even planning the armed insurrection. This should prohibit them from holding a federal or state office based on provisions in the 14th Amendment.
Important facts emerge almost daily, likely even more before this is published. House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy initially claimed that he was “done” with Trump and would urge his resignation. After lying about these documented statements, he was largely applauded by the House Republican caucus. This is just the latest incantation of the infamous and very dangerous comments by Kelly Ann Conway about “alternative facts” on “Meet the Press” on January 22, 2017.
More recently, an unprecedented early disclosure revealed that the Supreme Court will likely overturn Roe v. Wade, the case that affirmed legal access to abortion in 1973. Disastrous consequences will follow which might include criminal charges for those receiving or assisting in an abortion.
It is ironic that the worst President in our modern history appointed three Justices to the Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to proceed with President Obama’s recommendation of Merritt Garland for several months. Then he literally forced through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett in weeks. This was one of the most despicable acts of a Senate Minority leader in modern times. McConnell has hinted at delaying hearings (for weeks, months or years?) on future nominations of President Biden for the Supreme Court that might occur. That is neglect of Constitutional responsibility.
The process of “advise and consent” in the Senate is nearly destroyed. Court nominations are approved almost strictly along party lines rather than assessing candidates’ legal, ethical, and educational qualifications. Confirmation of Katanji Jackson Brown was especially repulsive with Republican Senators insulting her many times. When this first female Black Justice was confirmed, instead of recognizing this as an important historic event, Republicans turned their backs and left the room.
There are calls for “packing the Court.” A Constitutional Amendment would be better. Limit Justices terms to 18 years. Each President would appoint a new justice every two years between federal elections. Require the Senate to proceed with hearings within 30 days and a vote within 60 days of such nominations.
Until this or something similar is done, we will continue with a very conservative court that is completely out of touch with an increasingly diverse country. They appear to be more concerned about losing white male domination of such institutions. The radical Christian right, now supported by the Supreme Court seem intent on keeping women (especially poor or minority women) “barefoot and pregnant,” severely limiting their ability to obtain essential reproductive health care or educational opportunities to improve their economic and social status.
The current “Trumpist” party prefers maintaining power, no matter how unethically, rather than responsibly leading by legislating with the Democrats on urgent issues of abortion and women’s rights, reasonable gun control, against voter suppression of minorities, infrastructure, and climate change. Failing to lead on these issues of great importance to ALL Americans is obstructionism at its worst.
Those actively involved in the insurrection and attempted coup need indictment, conviction, and imprisonment for their treasonous crimes. One should refuse to vote for any candidate who has declined to respond to Congressional subpoena, and those who do not clearly admit that Joe Biden was legitimately elected.
If the Republicans win control of either the House or Senate in 2022, we may well pass the point where we can reclaim our representative democracy as viable. The threat of tyranny from Trump’s populism is real, largely inspired by a constantly lying and twice impeached former President.
This mentality, with or without Trump, could still quickly lead to the end of our constitutional republic that has lasted over two centuries.