For most of my life, it has been normal for Democrats and Republicans to differ on several policies but at least work together to get things done for the American people. I don’t recognize today’s Republican Party. They have followed former President Donald Trump off an authoritarian cliff.
The Q-Anon, conspiracy peddling, white supremacy, hateful and violent right have taken over the party, and the 70% of normal Republicans have essentially said or done nothing, allowing a complete authoritarian take-over of what was once known as the “Grand Old Party.” The modern Republican party has now embraced fundamentally anti-democratic and anti-republican values.
Slowly, but surely, their leaders have moved away from wanting to govern with conservative values to wanting to win absolute power, unified only by their hatred of Democrats or people who do not look or think like them.
So many historic norms and shared constitutional values have been breached that it is hard to know where to begin.
- Remember when Republicans refused to even give President Obama’s lawful nominee for the Supreme Court a hearing? And then started packing the Court with unqualified and partisan hacks?
- Or when Republicans ignored foreign interference in U.S. elections because they welcomed the interference to help their candidate?
- Or when Republicans benefitted by the massive theft of Facebook data used by Cambridge Analytica to engage in psychological warfare to suppress the vote?
- Republicans have declared war on voting, elections officials, and systematically pursued laws that make it harder for people to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
And now the Republican Party is seriously considering canceling their primaries. Think about that. A direct cancelation of the right of Republicans or unaffiliateds to have any vote in whom their Republican candidates will be.
We are even seeing Tina Peters, the Mesa County Republican Clerk and Recorder — the elected official entrusted by Mesa County voters to oversee their elections with integrity and without bias — caught handing over access to classified voter and election information to QAnon conspiracy theorists in 2020. Why? Because she bought into the Big Lie, and wanted to do everything in her power to install Donald Trump into power, even betray the voters who put her in office.
Now that Republicans are in the minority in Congress and have lost the White House, we’re seeing their desperation to seize power at all costs more than ever before. Sham “recounts” fueled by conspiracy theorists that are being indulged by Republican politicians, sham recalls like we saw in California and even in Colorado driven by sore-loser politics, countless voter suppression laws passed in state legislatures in states like Georgia, Arizona, Texas, and Florida, and even an attempted coup on our U.S. Capitol on January 6 in the name of the 45th president.
Voters need to understand that the Republican Party they may remember growing up and seeing in the media is gone. Gone is the principled core of conservatism that I personally disagree with, but respect as it’s based in true beliefs. That core of the Republican Party has been replaced with a drive to acquire and abuse power at all costs. No matter if their base is trying to intimidate election officials, spread disinformation, embrace conspiracy theories, or attack voting rights, Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy will turn a blind eye because their goal is to win at all costs, our democracy and republic be damned.
We’re no longer a country divided between liberals and conservatives. We’re a country divided between people who are pro-democracy and people who are anti-democracy.
Morgan Carroll is a former Colorado Senate President and a lifelong Coloradan who is in her third term serving as Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party.