The Post-Insurrection Party

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

On Sunday Trump came out of his gilded cage at Mar-a-Lago to speak to the CPAC conference, following the golden statue of him that had arrived there earlier to be worshipped by his followers, like the golden calf that Aaron once made to keep the Jews happy and that was crushed into water they subsequently had to drink.  But there was no Moses at CPAC to crush the golden Trump and he spoke for over an hour. The ‘former guy,’ as Biden calls him, claimed that he had won the election, blamed the Supreme Court for not having the guts to acknowledge that, and spent a lot of time attacking House Republicans who had voted for his second impeachment and GOP senators who had voted to convict him in the trial.  Next to urging the Republican Party to purge itself from these ‘RINOs’ Trump took full credit for everything the Biden administration has achieved in its first five weeks in acquiring, distributing and administering the COVID vaccines, while obviously the over half a million American deaths for which he bears a significant degree of responsibility were not mentioned.  The most important news in Trump’s speech was that he’s not planning to start a new party and that he only hinted at running again in 2024 but didn’t firmly commit to it.

The conference showed that there is no need for Trump to leave the GOP because he still has a firm grip on the party, but it is unclear how effective his control will be.  One possibility is that he will go all out recruiting Trumpist candidates and run primaries against every Republican he considers a RINO, but that would require a nation-wide effort and it’s not clear that Trump has the drive for such an operation, considering that his CPAC performance was rather low-energy.  It would become the task of state parties to run Trump’s candidates and transform the Republican Party into a modern fascist party in his image, but his future leadership may be wanting and here and there a RINO might win a primary or even an election.  And the GOP has a bigger problem than catering to Trump’s whims in selecting candidates.  Party leaders realize that unless there is a significant degree of voter suppression Republicans won’t be able to win future elections, because they represent the interests of only a small part of the electorate, so fascisizing the party and fascisizing state election procedures has to be done simultaneously.

Precisely for that reason GOP state lawmakers have introduced or carried over 253 bills in 43 states that restrict voting access. The proposals focus on five areas: shortening the window in which voting can take place, limiting voting by mail, imposing stricter voter ID requirements, slashing voter registration opportunities and enabling more aggressive voter roll purges.  A party that can only win elections by keeping people from voting does not belong in a democracy, and if a Trumpist Republican Party would ever win the White House, whether Trump, Don Jr., Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley would sit in the Oval Office, the Unites States of America would undoubtedly become a fascist country.  The lawmakers who are promoting voter suppression argue that their objective is to protect and enact the will of the people, so instead of fascism coming to America in the name of freedom, something Thomas Mann warned for in the 1940s, it would come in the name of democracy.  

Preventing that the post-insurrection party ever holds power is the fight of our time.

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