This weekend, the Texas Senate, dominated by MAGA Republicans, acquitted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of corruption charges despite overwhelming evidence. The Texas Speaker of the House, who is also a Republican, blasted the decision saying the house “produced more than enough damning evidence to warranty impeachment.” Axios uncovered a campaign by national Republicans to influence the Senate vote by applying grassroots pressure and the threat of primaries to GOP Senators who voted to impeach. The vote further illustrates that the corruption of the Trump Republican Party reaches down to the state level.
According to Axios, the MAGA media, including Steve Bannon and Charlie Kirk, used their channels and networks to rile up the GOP base. Grassroots activists lit up phones in the offices of Republican state senators urging them to let Paxton off the hook. Trump weighed in calling Paxton “one of the TOUGHEST & BEST Attorney Generals in the Country.”
The GOP has made it clear that there’s no accountability for Republican politicians. The amoral governing principles of the Trump administration has permeated the party. MAGA has complete control the party apparatus and has set up propaganda channels to keep its base misinformed and angry. We’ve reached a very dark place in our politics.
While so-called mainstream Republicans may voice disgust with the MAGA wing of the party, they give them aid and comfort by trying to persuade voters that Democrats are just as bad. They’ve been muted in their criticism of the sham impeachment inquiry, too scared of their base to let truth get in the way of their politics. Mitt Romney laid bare the cowardice of the current GOP when he revealed how many Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, admitted agreeing with him about Trump but while refusing to criticize the former president publicly. Romney voted to impeach Trump twice.
Other, more ideological conservatives whistle past the graveyard of democracy demanding free-market solutions or proposing conservative economic policies that are out of favor with both parties. However, they’ll direct their criticism toward Biden and the Democrats as if they have any influence left in the modern GOP. They’re still fantasizing about a revival of Reagan’s Republican Party and rationalizing their support, or at least neutrality, for MAGA-leaning candidates or ones without the courage to stand up to Trump and company. After three decades of driving GOP policies, they haven’t accepted that they now have little influence.
Nothing has exemplified the change in the GOP than the UAW strike. A decade or so ago, Republican politicians would be railing against the strikers. Today, there’s just silence. MAGA is part of the labor movement. Biden’s vocal support of the union got almost no pushback from the GOP.
Trump’s economic policy for a second term would build on his tax cuts for the rich, paying for them with tariffs on foreign imports. Free marketeers who will stand by the GOP for tax cuts but ignore the trade barriers are showing their colors. Tax cuts are greater than free trade. As we’ve already seen, they’ll take tax cuts over spiraling deficits every time.
More importantly, Reagan conservatives and free market ideologues who are sticking with the GOP are selling their souls for a false hope. They are tacitly or blatantly condoning the corruption of people like Trump and Paxton while hoping for crumbs from MAGA. The party that once preached law and order is abandoning the rule of law. The GOP is not just corrupt. The party is morally bankrupt.