The party of Reagan is dead, killed by a would-be authoritarian and his anti-democratic cabal of Republican elected officials. The members of the GOP who oppose Donald Trump’s attempted coup are harassed, threatened, and mocked in clear violation of Reagan’s 11th Amendment: Thou shalt not speak of ill of fellow Republicans. The president that brought us the optimism of morning in America has been usurped by Donald Trump’s reactionary dystopia. 

Republicans won the presidency in the 1980s as the party of new ideas (most of which I thought were bad and still do).Trump is trying to win it as the party of intimidation and brute force. His thuggish armed supporters surrounded the Michigan Secretary of State’s house demanding she overturn the election. No high-profile Republican condemned the action, certainly not Trump. He bashed Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for not overturning the state’s election and now government officials are getting death threats. 

In an effort to curry favor with the president and his anti-democratic base, 17 Republican attorneys general filed a baseless lawsuit to overturn the election in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. A majority of the GOP members of the House of Representatives joined the suit. They all know it will fail. They all know Joe Biden will be sworn-in on January 20. 

Republicans and conservatives who are not joining the president or not being attacked are largely silent. Twitter is full of conservative commentators and GOP elected officials tweeting about sports, history, press conferences, anything but the president and elected officials trying to delegitimize an election. People who have opinions about almost everything have no opinions about an attempted coup. As Rome burns… 

When the dust settles sometime after January 20, those conservatives and Republicans will suddenly have a lot to say. They will point to voters’ distrust in the electoral system instead of the sustained assault on the truth and democracy. They will tell us that our institutions protected us, but we must restore faith in elections by making voting more difficult.

They will support another round of voter suppression laws using the euphemism “voter integrity.” They will once again attempt to disenfranchise voters likely to support Democrats. And this time, they believe they will have judges willing to uphold the laws. That’s the end game: delegitimize our democracy so we can make our country less democratic and more favorable to authoritarians. It’s not what Reagan envisioned.

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