The May 4 column in The New York Times by Thomas L. Friedman observes with some horror that: 

Trump’s Big Lie Devoured the G.O.P. and Now Eyes Our Democracy

Friedman starts by acknowledging that Biden’s early success has been a blessing, and that there were hopes the divisions in this country would start to heal. But…

…We are not OK. America’s democracy is still in real danger. In fact, we are closer to a political civil war — more than at any other time in our modern history. Today’s seeming political calm is actually resting on a false bottom that we’re at risk of crashing through at any moment.

Because, instead of Trump’s Big Lie fading away, just the opposite is happening — first slowly and now quickly.

…To be a leader in today’s G.O.P. you either have to play dumb or be dumb on the central issue facing our Republic: the integrity of our election. You have to accept everything that Trump has said about the election — without a shred of evidence — and ignore everything his own attorney general, F.B.I. director and election security director said — based on the evidence — that there was no substantive fraud.

What kind of deformed party will such a dynamic produce? A party so willing to be marinated in such a baldfaced lie will lie about anything, including who wins the next election and every one after that.

Well duh.

Friedman warns that if all the measures Republicans are enacting in states they control come to pass, Republicans stand a good chance of firmly establishing minority rule over the country. A two party system cannot work when one party refuses to accept any election it loses, lies about it, and rigs the game.

Still, Friedman can’t help himself. One reason he longs for the Republican Party to redeem itself is because of his fear of the left Going Too Far.

…The best tool for keeping the Democratic Party close to the center-left on more issues is a healthy Republican Party that hews to the center-right.

And the center is the ideal place to be to keep Friedman’s world flat. There are no great disagreements, no major problems that can’t be handled by a reasonable consensus, and all of us can get on with our lives without having to worry about politics at all — or falling off the edge of the world IF we just stay in the center.

We don’t have that. We have, instead, a G.O.P. trying to cling to power by leveraging a Big Lie into voter suppression laws that leverage the party back to power by appealing solely to a largely white 20th-century America. Trump’s G.O.P. is making no effort to offer conservative alternatives to the issues of the day. Its whole focus is on how to win without doing that.

It’s easy to ridicule Friedman, but better late than never. What he still doesn’t acknowledge is the GOP is making no effort “to offer conservative alternatives to the issues of the daybecause they have none. The G.O.P. is post-policy; they didn’t even bother to come up with a platform for the 2020 election. They make no plans on how to govern because all they want to do is rule.

If Republicans are pushing the Big Lie, it’s for a fundamental reason. They’ve been running on lies for years, and they have to keep getting bigger or lying stops working. Let’s trot out a few:

  • “I am not a crook!”
  • There is a silent majority in this country.
  • Government isn’t the solution to our problems; government is the problem.
  • Tax cuts pay for themselves, and create jobs.
  • Wealth trickles down.
  • The real problem for blacks isn’t police violence; it’s black on black crime.
  • America is not a racist country; the real racism is talking about race.
  • Liberals are the real racists.
  • Liberals hate America and want to destroy it.
  • Liberal social programs only make problems worse.
  • Raising the minimum wage is a job killer.
  • Deregulation sets business free to innovate and become more competitive.
  • Climate change: is a hoax/is natural/has always been happening/is something we can’t do anything about.
  • The media has a liberal bias.
  • America is and always has been a Christian nation. 
  • The War Between the States had nothing to do with slavery — and slavery wasn’t all that bad.
  • Guns make people safe; liberals want to leave everyone defenseless against bad guys.
  • The radical left is a violent threat to America; Antifa and BLM are terrorist organizations.

The list is endless and constantly changing. Friedman isn’t the only member of the media who is trying to maintain an increasingly untenable view of what and where the center is; acknowledging the lies listed above as what the G.O.P. is all about would only prove ‘liberal bias’ on their part.

Bothsideism and false equivalence is practically a conditioned reflex for the press — but it’s finally starting to break down a little. Friedman concludes with:

Things are not OK.

Unless more principled Republicans stand up for the truth about our last election, we’re going to see exactly how a democracy dies.

It’s hard to argue with Friedman’s conclusion, although one can debate if there is still such a thing as a principled Republican. Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney only qualify because deviancy has been defined so far down

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