Thursday, September 03, 2020

It’s not just Trump. All Republicans must go.


It’s not just Trump. All Republicans must go.


Opinion by 

Jennifer Rubin


September 3, 2020 at 8:45 a.m. CDT

The argument for keeping House and Senate Republicans rests on the premise they somehow lack the disqualifying characteristics (e.g., congenital lying, racism, constitutional illiteracy, conspiracy-mongering) that addle President Trump. Think again.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) used to be considered a middle-of-the-road Republican — before she exonerated Trump for plainly impeachable conduct. Now, she sounds just like him. Iowa Starting Line reports that Ernst now seems to embrace "a thoroughly-discredited QAnon conspiracy theory about U.S. deaths from covid-19 being a mere fraction of what has been reported.” Without any factual support — and with massive data to the contrary — the senator insists it’s all a plot:

“They’re thinking there may be 10,000 or less deaths that were actually singularly covid-19,” Ernst said, seemingly referring to the debunked conspiracy theory that only around 6% of covid-19 deaths were due to the virus. “I’m just really curious. It would be interesting to know that.”

Going even further, however, Ernst also suggested that doctors were intentionally falsifying coronavirus cases in order to receive more money for caring for the patient.

“These health care providers and others are reimbursed at a higher rate if covid is tied to it, so what do you think they’re doing?” she questioned the crowd.

What may have started as a debunked conspiracy theory — that doctors are conniving to over-count patients — is now seriously propounded by a U.S. senator (as reported: "multiple experts told us that such theories of hospitals deliberately miscoding patients as covid-19 are not supported by any evidence”). If anything, the number of official coronavirus cases, as Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has explained, is a fraction of the actual cases.

Meanwhile, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) has followed Trump’s lead in espousing racist gibberish. This week, he put up a Facebook post (later removed by the social media platform) that included a photo of armed Black men and protesters and declared, “If this shows up, we’ll consider the armed presence a real threat. We being, We the People, of Louisiana. One way ticket fellas. Have your affairs in order.” By deploying the word “this,” Higgins dehumanized the individuals depicted, reducing them to mere objects. The response? No rebuke. No censure. No expulsion from Congress. Is it any surprise? A party that welcomes two QAnon-embracing congressional nominees has become a cesspool of hate and conspiracies.

Beyond expressions of overt racism and ongoing support for totems of the Confederacy, denial of systemic racism is now the default setting for virtually all Republicans, including the president, attorney general and members of Congress. Statistical data (not only in the criminal justice system), the series of unjustified police killings of African Americans, the disproportionate number of Black people afflicted by covid-19, and nearly every other social or economic indicator (from life span to wealth) reveal that the tentacles of racism still have a stranglehold on the country. The notion that everything is fine and that no institutional racism exists is the defense mechanism of a party invested in white supremacy.

A party that willfully denies the painful reality of endemic racial inequity — and, therefore, lacks the desire to remedy it — cannot responsibly govern in a multiracial society. (Interestingly, in the wake of the tear-gassing of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square, numerous high-ranking military leadersacknowledged the scourge of ongoing racism. The U.S. military, it seems, is far more progressive and honest on the issue of race than the GOP.)

All of that is in addition to other atrocities from the GOP. Republicans routinely amplified Russian propaganda; repeated outright lies (e.g., that President Barack Obama illegally spied on Trump or that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III found no evidence of obstruction of justice); went along with Trump for months in his anti-mask sneering; echoed baseless claims of widespread voter fraud; and joined Trump’s hunt for the identity of the whistleblower in the Ukraine scandal (whom they dubbed a traitor). Whether they actually believed this nonsense or simply regurgitated Trump talking points is irrelevant. They willingly took part in the assault on truth and contributed to remaking the party into a cult of personality.

House and Senate Republicans are not helpless bystanders in the Trump travesty. They protected him from criticism, enabled his antics and amplified his most egregious lies. Once you determine Trump is unfit to serve, it really is not possible to give the rest of the party a clean bill of health


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