A recent piece in Politico pointed out that when Mitt Romney lost by 5 million votes in 2012, Republicans swore to rebuild their party on the principles that had been its hallmarks for decades: judicious spending, a strong anti-Russian policy, and strong moral and social values.
Donald Trump blew that up in 2016 when talked about his grabby hands on Access Hollywood, lost the popular vote by three million, but became president. Last month the same moral washout lost the popular vote by seven million and this time lost the presidency also, but this Republican party, apoplectic in 2012, seems okay with it.
There's a simple explanation: there is no Republican party, at least not in the traditional sense.
Don't get me wrong—the party of Reagan and Bush still exists. It's reflected in the attitudes of Ben Sasse, Susan Collins, Chuck Grassley, Martha McSally, and many others. But yesterday's Republican-authored hearing on voter fraud held by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, provided further proof of how far off-kilter the Trump party remains. A full 43 days after the election, 39 days after Joe Biden was declared the winner and two days after the electoral college voted to confirm what we already knew, Trump lackey-first class Ron Johnson (R-Wis) chaired this meeting of Trump diehards still keening over their defeat and spouting baseless claims of a stolen election. They called not a single witness because, of course, there aren't any...because, of course, it isn't true.
But it was listening to his colleague Rand Paul that clearly delineated the difference between what used to be a political party and what has devolved into a coterie of crybabies—myrmidons gladly acquiescing to every fantasy their leader imagines without regard for the welfare of the country entrusted to them. Paul, Johnson, and others like them are not interested in proving anything, just pondering aloud. What separates them from the totally lunatic conspiracist—from someone like Alex Jones—is nothing but the audience and their elected title. When Jones claims the Sandy Hook shootings were staged, that the government is modifying our weather, that Hillary Clinton was running a child-sex ring, we may shake our heads and dismiss him as a nut. But what is Rand Paul but Alex Jones with an elected position?
And as hateful as Alex Jones may be, and as many families as he has plagued and provoked, people like Rand Paul and Ron Johnson present a clearer danger. When they say Americans are upset about the election results, they are not only the messengers—they are the cause.