My clickbait headline necessitates a clarification right off the bat: I don’t mean Republican voters. I speak specifically about the creatures who control the levers of power in our country. Who puts them there is another issue entirely, and it’s impossible to separate the fact that 89% of Mitt Romney voters voted for Trump, and the historical ineptitude of the Democratic Party leading up to 2016. I’m just here to rant about Republicans in government, and this screed is primarily directed at every liberal who goes to bed dreaming of an Aaron Sorkin unreality where Democrats and Republicans “come together to enact common sense policies.” I like Renato Mariotti, but this tweet is asinine (to be fair, everyone on Twitter has posted at least one awful tweet).
To believe that the Republican Party only became a lawless institution in the age of Trump is to so blatantly ignore history that you either come off as a willing idiot or a useful idiot. I mean, have you heard of Richard Nixon? Hell, one of Dick Cheney's chief advisers outed a CIA agent for political revenge. And Trump just pardoned him! The GOP respects the law about as much as NFL front offices respect Colin Kaepernick. Here's a helpful chart from Daily Kos that Mariotti should have consulted before pushing send on his bad tweet (all sourcing on this chart comes from Wikipedia, so it's certainly incomplete, but the overall trend stands).
Sorkin liberals (I hate the proclivity to call these liberals “centrists,” because when us liberals begin to talk policy, we inevitably agree on far more than we don't—so using Aaron Sorkin's insufferable prose and unrealistic desires is a far more accurate portrayal of this worldview), need the idea of a functioning two-party system to keep up the propagandistic and unrealistic ideal of America that has been bludgeoned into our heads from every direction since birth. The problem is that this America doesn't exist. This is a sentence I write all the time because we all need to hammer these two unimpeachable facts into our heads:
America was built on the graves of the natives and on the backs of slaves.
We are not this noble and unique country who is an indisputable force of good. We are an empire who struggles with all the moral issues that all other empires have dealt with. We are not special—just the most recent form of an ancient archetype—and the faster we learn this, the better we will understand our politics.
Our democracy is one that is based on exclusion. Before even getting to our present issues with accessing the ballot, simple math proves that African Americans have legally had the right to vote for 61% of America's history, and women for just 40%. We are a democracy in name only, and the Republican Party has spent my entire life trying to return to the halcyon days when only land-owning white men had a say in U.S. politics. To compromise with that ideal is tantamount to treason in this liberal's mind. And I'm not the only one. Take a look at millennial women's utter revulsion to the Republican Party.
This is not some small sliver of the GOP who is wholly anti-democratic. This is their operating principle. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich ran for president—winning the South Carolina primary—and one of his big ideas was to effectively neuter the Supreme Court, and force it to answer to Congress instead of the constitution. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (another GOP presidential candidate) had to be ordered by a judge to do his constitutional duty and call for special elections. Congressional Republicans in Pennsylvania tried to dissolve the state Supreme Court after it struck down a hyper-gerrymandered congressional map that gave the Republicans an unfair electoral advantage. The Republican-dominated Kansas state legislature passed a law stripping the state Supreme Court of its administrative power over lower courts, and passed another law which took away its entire funding if any court struck down any part of this previous law. I could go on and on and on and on. It's impossible to look at the actions of the Republican Party and determine that they believe in the rule of law, yet we still get nonsense like this out of some parts of Hillaryworld:
I can’t believe I have to say this, but people like Hillary’s Deputy National Press Secretary above make it necessary.
Your political allies are people who voted for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (and didn’t vote)—not Paul Ryan. Again, 89% of Romney voters voted for Trump. President Trump is not some anomaly in American politics, but the logical conclusion of fifty-plus years of policy and rhetoric from our modern know-nothing party. Paul Ryan, and every other “honorable” Republican explicitly cultivated this madness. They are our political enemies—not allies. The sooner we learn that, the quicker we can transition from being the party of Sorkin to the party of Carlin, and really begin to loosen the vice grip that America’s oligarchs have on both of our political parties.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.