Are we so numb we can’t see what happened? Republicans don’t even pretend to believe in the republic anymore.
Those of us who have repeatedly sounded the alarm about the Republican Party’s threat to democracy and American society have often been told we were exaggerating or being ridiculous. We were hyperbolic, attention-seeking or just plain wrong — because, after all, the Republican Party’s leaders and voters really do love America.
Last week the Republican National Committee dropped any remaining pretexts of patriotism or love of democracy with its now-infamous statement that those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, were “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.” Reports suggest that a draft version of that RNC statement was even bolder in its embrace of right-wing terrorism.
Last Friday’s statement of support for fascism announced that the Republican Party has birthed a monster that will ultimately eat it alive. But looking beyond outrage and disgust, what does this tell us about America in this moment of existential crisis?
In terms of the mainstream news media and America’s political class, it reveals how deep the capacity for denial goes. Many of the same voices who insisted that the Republicans were not fascists and did not pose an existential threat to democracy also downplayed or outright dismissed the obvious evidence that Donald Trump and his cabal were going to attempt a coup to nullify the 2020 presidential election.