The Republican Party has been referred to for a century as the G.O.P., which stood for the Grand Old Party. However, in recent decades, the party has failed to demonstrate anything “Grand” in their policies or behavior, beginning long before Donald Trump came on the scene. But the decay and degradation of the party has only accelerated during his reign in the White House. Republicans have become unapologetic and fanatic members of his Trumpian cult, actively or tacitly approving any and all of his excesses including reckless un-American, lawless, and un-Constitutional actions, policies, and behavior. They no longer represent the values and principles that one can reasonably associate with a “Grand” group.
Republicans used to claim to be the party of Fiscal Responsibility. They can no longer make that claim since President Ronald Reagan first unleashed the false “trickle down” claim that by giving massive tax breaks to the super rich they will trickle down to benefit everyone else. Those tax cuts never did “trickle down” and ended in disaster, as did similar tax cuts from George W. Bush and in states like Kansas. Similar claims have proven false with their huge tax giveaways to the wealthy and large corporations in 2017 under Trump. Their actions have seriously expanded the huge income/wealth gap between the top 1 percent and the rest of the country.
The national debt doubled under Reagan thanks in large part to these cuts, and tripled under Bush for the same reason and their Great Recession. It was left to the Democrats under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to reduce our massive deficits and clean up the fiscal mess left by Republican presidents. Trump’s cuts have added $2 Trillion to our debt. The greatest increases in federal spending came under Reagan (average 8.9 percent annually) followed by George W. Bush (6.7 percent), as contrasted with Obama’s 1.4 percent, according to the conservative Forbes Magazine and Wall Street Journal.
Republicans also claimed to be the party of National Security and Patriotism. They can no longer credibly make that claim, beginning with their fraudulent Iraq War. They have endangered the world by opposing and, under Trump, ending our participation in the international effort that ended Iran’s nuclear weapons development for at least 15 years. Republicans, along with Israel, have been itching for a war with Iran for a decade, a war that could be much worse for the U.S. than the Iraq War. They have stood idly by as our intelligence agencies, the FBI and Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation concluded Russia launched a widespread and intensive attack to disrupt our 2016 elections and get Trump elected. Republicans support Trump’s denial that the Russians attacked our country, and have done nothing to prevent such attacks in the 2020 elections.
Republicans also tacitly support Trump’s reckless awards of security clearances to his son-in-law Jared Kushner and 22 others, overriding the objections of our intelligence agencies. Most alarming is that Republicans refuse to do anything to prevent Trump from following Vladimir Putin’s agenda to destabilize and divide our country as well as the international community’s barrier’s to Russia’s hostile intentions, including NATO and trade agreements, and his embrace of murderous authoritarian dictators around the globe.
Republicans once claimed superiority in Law and Order and our Constitution. Now they join Trump in attacking the very institutions that enforce laws and protect our constitutional democratic republic, including all of our intelligence agencies and the FBI. Trump has not only broken laws, he has directed others to do the same, and violates our Constitution by ignoring and declaring war on Congress’s obligation to hold him accountable, yet Republicans just shrug and say “move on”.
Remember when Republicans claimed only they represented family values and the “Moral Majority”? Those claims became invalid beginning with several disgraced Republican political leaders in the 1990s and now Republicans’ full support of the most immoral president in our history.
The Republicans have attacked efforts to get affordable health care to tens of millions of Americans, most notably the Affordable Care Act, offering nothing of their own to help Americans get the care they need, voting 70 times to repeal it. They are currently still trying along with Trump to destroy the ACA along with protections for more than 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Republicans have advocated weakening or eliminating laws that protect our environment, and are so beholden to the fossil fuel industry that they refuse to acknowledge the extreme dangers to our planet of climate change caused by use of fossil fuels, in spite of the unanimous judgments and alarms sounded by the international scientific community and our own federal agencies, supporting Trump in his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords. They have also enabled him to gut regulations that keep our air and water clean.
Republicans routinely oppose policies favored by large majorities (typically 70 – 90+ percent) of Americans to improve their lives, including gun safety laws, health care protections and affordable access, consumer protections, voting rights, and civil rights, and guarantees of a living wage. To remain in power, they rely instead on contributions from large donors, gerrymandering, voter suppression laws designed to steal voting rights from millions of Americans who don’t like their policies, blocking legislation from Democrats that improve lives, and lying about their policies.
By deciding they will support anything and everything Donald Trump does and advocates, they have abrogated their responsibilities under Article I of the Constitution by joining the Trumpian Cult and enabling him to undermine and threaten our democratic republic. The Senate under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Donald Trump, refusing to provide a check on his reckless and lawless excesses. Republicans violate their oath of office to uphold our Constitution, choosing to take direction from Trump rather than act independently as called for in the Constitution. Federalist 51 by founders Madison and Hamilton states “each department of government should have a will of its own and its members should be as little dependent as possible on those of the others.” Congressional Republicans are fully dependent on what Trump wants, cowering in fear of him if they cross him.
The Republican Party can’t point to a single thing they have accomplished to improve the lives of the American people, including their giant tax cut scam which benefited the wealthy and not the other 98 percent of Americans. They only oppose measures that benefit the vast majority of Americans and strengthen our security. The Party is nothing but a drag on advancing the lives of Americans. They can’t out-cheat and out-abuse our democratic republic indefinitely as the population opposing their policies continues to expand and become more diverse
Donald Trump, with full support of Republicans, has attacked and undermined every one of our institutions that have made America great, including the Justice Department, the FBI, intelligence agencies, the courts, our free press (which he calls the “enemy of the people, a phrase used by Stalin and Hitler), and now Congress by fully obstructing Congress’s legitimate constitutional oversight duty to hold him accountable and investigate his administration. Their actions amount to subverting our Constitution and the rule of law in an attempt to undermine our democratic republic and establish a monarchy with Trump as dictator. Ben Franklin, when asked what the Founders had created with our Constitution, answered “A republic, if you can keep it”. We are in extreme danger of losing it if we don’t act soon to replace Trump and his enabling Republicans in the November 2020 elections.
Mike Brown is a member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum. He writes from Cambridge.