The House’s minority leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, has already promised to remove three prominent Democrats – Eric Swalwell, Adam Schiff and Ilhan Omar – from important committee duties, simply – it seems – in revenge.
This would be a radical move in almost any case, but it comes at a critical time when American democracy is at its most fragile for generations. A party seeks to maintain our democratic system of government and the institutions and norms that enable it. Another has steadily sought to undermine them.
This latest threat is another warning sign: the GOP is on its way to becoming an anti-democratic party. That fact we miss on the danger of our nation.
McCarthy’s threat is a retaliation for Democrats removing two Republican members of Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona, from their committee after Greene and Gosar made a series of inflammatory and disturbing comments demonstrating their general inadequacy. to the office.
Gosar posted an anime video online showing him attacking President Joe Biden with a sword and appearing to murder his colleague, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York. Greene’s involvement in violent and conspiratorial rhetoric is too numerous to mention in their entirety, but they include confidence in the QAnon conspiracy, which preaches the theory that Democrats are tied to a child sex ring (she has since distanced herself from QAnon) ; make several anti-Semitic comments, including comparing Covid-19 vaccination claims to Nazism (which she later apologized for) and blaming California forest fires on Jewish space lasers; and indicated her support for the execution of several prominent Democrats before she even ran for Congress (in a tweet, Greene said: “Over the years, I have had teams of people running my pages … Some did not represent my views. In particular. that CNN is spreading over the Internet. “).
In a healthier democracy, comments like Gosars and Greenes would make them personas non grata within their party. Instead, the GOP’s management has mostly made weak condemnations of their comments and then continued to embrace them. McCarthy said, for example, that Greene’s comments “do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference” and claimed to “unequivocally condemn those comments.” But while he was happy to comment on the concept of condemnation, he actually refused to do anything about Greene or Gosar and protested against the bipartisan move to deprive them of their committee duties.
And now, instead of just letting those chips fall, he seeks revenge on Democrats who have done nothing comparable to Greene or Gosar – and certainly have not suggested that they support violence against their colleagues.
It is not just McCarthy and his threats of retaliation that signal the GOP’s death to anti-democratic darkness. Very many Republican elected officials have dug into the big lie that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election; 147 of them voted to overturn the results of a free and fair election, simply because their guy lost.
Some Republican members of Congress have justified or downplayed the events of January 6th. They have not faced the consequences of their party, and some are now running for re-election, despite the fact that the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution says that no one “there who has previously taken an oath as a member of Congress. .. to support the United States Constitution, must have participated in rebellion or rebellion against the same. ”
Some Democrats and voters are finally saying “enough.” In North Carolina, a group of voters is requesting that Rep. Madison Cawthorn is disqualified from running because of her connection to the uprising. Cawthorn spoke to the crowd gathered in Washington, DC on January 6, claiming that Trump had indeed won the election, after tweeting “it’s time to fight” in the days leading up to it. Later that day, Trump supporters continued to storm the Capitol complex, killing five people.
Cawthorn has not learned his lesson and does not appear to have regrets for his actions. “When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes your duty,” he said in September, also warning against “bloodshed” because Trump did not win. Those arrested for their rebellious actions on January 6, he said, were “political prisoners” and there should be plans to “try to knock them out.” A spokesman for the representative said this week that “over 245,000 patriots from western North Carolina elected Congressman Cawthorn to serve them in Washington.”
Republican members of Congress are openly calling for violence and trying to undermine American democracy. Republicans could clean up and declare that no one who tries to undermine a free and fair election – let alone the American democratic system itself – should serve in Congress with an R next to their name. But instead, party leaders are vengefully targeting Democrats with threats to remove them from committees.
This is not a matter of partial distinction. It’s a fundamental question of what America should be. And the behavior of many Republicans, including several of its leaders, suggests that the GOP’s response is anything other than “a free democratic nation.”