What has happened to the Republican Party?
I grew up in a Republican family in the 1950s and 1960s. My parents valued hard work, saving rather than spending, small government, family values, and religious faith.
What I am seeing in the current Republican Party fits none of those old traditional values.
In Georgia, I see that the Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis, indicted former President Donald Trump on thirteen counts of efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in that state. He is also charged with making false allegations of election fraud and attempting to get elected officials to violate their oaths of office. Eighteen others were also charged. Trump claims the indictments are politically motivated and a “massive fraud”.
The courts will have to decide his guilt or innocence—if there is a trial.
The Georgia Republican Party is trying to oust D.A. Willis, “potentially undermining the prosecution entirely”. Governor Brian Kemp said he would not support such an attempt. But former Alaska Republican Governor Sarah Palin called for “civil war” by stating publicly that “We do need to rise up and take our country back.”
In Wisconsin, similar outrageous activity is taking place where the Republicans control the state legislature with majorities in both houses due to gerrymandering. Even though liberal candidate Janet Protasiewicz got elected as a state Supreme Court justice, winning by 11 points over her Republican opponent, the Republican legislature wants to impeach her before she even hears a case, because she openly stated during the campaign that “congressional and legislative boundaries are ‘rigged’ and ‘unfair’”. Protasiewicz’s win tips the balance of power in the court to 4-3 in favor of Democrats.
The Republican Party in Wisconsin wants to use a clause in the state constitution that reads: “’no judicial officer shall exercise [her] office, after [s]he shall have been impeached, until [her] acquittal.’ So the state assembly could conceivably impeach Protasiewicz, and then the state senate could delay her trial forever—effectively creating a vacancy on the court that could last for a very long time,” or at least until the 2024 presidential election. So the gerrymandered state would go to the Republican candidate even though the state is solidly purple with 54% of the voters voting Democratic in 2018. Republicans still won control 63 of 99 of the assembly’s seats.
In Alabama, the Republican state legislature was told by the U.S. Supreme Court (made up of 6 conservatives and 3 progressives) that their redistricting maps were unconstitutional. Alabama Republican legislators ignored the SCOTUS edict to create another Black majority district and redrew the districts without them. A three-judge federal panel ruled that the new map was still in violation of the Supreme Court’s decision, and appointed a special master to redraw the map. Republicans in the state plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
There are other states where Republican Party behavior is over the top: Tennessee, Florida, Nevada, and Texas are all likely to have several districts turn blue due to court decisions before the 2024 election. These changes will likely give control of the U.S. House of Representatives to the Democrats.
It is obvious that the Republican Party, with a few exceptions like Georgia’s Governor Kemp, are out for power. Their views do not represent respect for representative democracy or the Constitution.
This behavior does not represent the Republican Party of my parents’ era of the 1950s and 1960s. For some Republicans who, like me, grew up voting Republican, the party has changed. Now it’s RINO—Republican in name only. It now represents what is called an anocracy—a façade of democratic ideals, but actually an autocracy. It seems that many Republicans have not caught on to that fact.