The GOP and the Mob

In recent days we have seen Republicans, among them state lawmakers in Michigan and the Secretary of State in Georgia, stand up and do the right thing. We have also have seen the Republican mob commit insurrection. The problem for the GOP, and by extension this nation, is that the Republican Party cannot win in national politics without the backing of its mob.

I live in Georgia. It has been a Republican stronghold for decades. Living here is not hell. It is not what I would most like it to be, but it is not some kind of authoritarian dystopia or anything remotely approaching that.

Moreover, Republicans have established political control by one single means: the ballot box. Republicans, to their eternal credit, have outvoted Democrats almost every chance they have had.

In local political contests in Georgia we hear almost nothing of the grotesque hyperbole routinely uttered by Republicans in national elections. That’s because they don’t need the mob to win elections here. They don’t have to dangle the rhetorical red meat of sclerotic partisanship to ‘energize’ the mob. They can win almost any election just by showing up on the ballot as a Republican.

I’m not saying that’s a good thing. I’m saying that in assessing the present situation we need to be completely clear about the state of things politically: it is the need for the support of the mob — what Hillary Clinton accurately deemed “the deplorables” — that drives Republicans at the national level to talk and act as they do.

The only people who can put an end to Republicans’ appeals to the mob are Republicans. Would that mean ceding national power to Democrats?

The question Republicans must ask themselves is whether maintaining their current level of power in national politics is more important than having a peaceful democratic political process is. Based on personal experience, I can assure Republicans this: living in a country dominated nationally by ‘the other side’ would be nowhere near as bad as your imagination probably suggests to you that it could be.

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