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An excerpt from columnist Dana Milbank’s new book warned Thursday in the Washington Post that Republicans “have become an authoritarian faction fighting democracy.”
The essay, adapted from “The Destructionists: The Twenty-Five Year Crack-Up of the Republican Party,” claimed former President Trump is merely a symptom of a GOP that has grown more and more radicalized over the last quarter-century.
“He isn’t some hideous, orange Venus emerging from the half-shell,” Milbank wrote. “Trump is merely a reflection of the sickness in the GOP, the problem won’t go away when he does.”
The essay, titled “The GOP is sick. It didn’t start with Trump — and won’t end with him,” suggested Republicans have become “Destructionists” and laid out a list of accusations: “They destroyed truth, they destroyed decency , they destroyed patriotism, they destroyed national unity, they destroyed racial progress, they destroyed their own party, and they are well on their way to destroying the world’s oldest democracy.”
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While the piece acknowledged there are at least some cases of “violence, disinformation, racism and corruption among Democrats and the political left,” it suggested that “the scale isn’t at all comparable.”
Milbank painted the GOP in harsher terms than the Democrats, saying, “Only one party is trying to restrict voting and discredit elections. Only one party is stoking fear of minorities and immigrants.”
In recent years, Democrats have condemned election security measures, such as requiring citizens to show their IDs at voting booths, as voter restrictions and “White supremacy.”
Milbank rationalized his political partisanship, “Admittedly, I’m partisan — not for Democrats but for democrats. Republicans have become an authoritarian faction fighting democracy — and there’s a perfectly logical reason for this: Democracy is working against Republicans.”
Again, he railed against Republicans with a laundry list of broad grievances:
“Republicans and their allied donors, media outlets, interest groups and fellow travelers have been yanking on the threads of democracy and civil society for the past quarter-century; that’s a long time, and the unraveling is considerable. You can measure it in the triumph of lies and disinformation, in the mainstreaming of racism and white supremacy, in the erosion of institutions and norms of government, and in the dehumanizing of opponents and stoking of violence.”
Among the list of allegations Milbank used to paint the GOP as beyond the pale for decades included the faulty international intelligence before the Iraq War, Sarah Palin claiming Obamacare would lead to “death panels,” the disputed claim that Tea Party activists shouted the n- word at Congress members, Tea Party activists chanting “Kill the bill” outside the Capitol, Palin’s infamous congressional map with crosshair and the Supreme Court’s Citizens United and Voting Rights Act decisions.
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Milbank reiterated his idea that Trump-era Republican Party politics are not new, but a continuation of a long-standing tradition.
“Against that quarter-century of ruin, what we are living through today is just a continuation of the GOP’s direction for the past 30 years: the appeals to white nationalism, the sabotage of the functions of government, the routine embrace of disinformation, stoking the fiction of election fraud and the ‘big lie,’ and the steady degradation of democracy,” he wrote.
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