It is painful to observe the behavior of elected Republicans in Washington, but that will not prevent the party from coming back in force in November.
Donald Trump is no longer in office, but his toxic style, his contempt for democratic norms and his rejection of certain fundamental principles of American politics are still popular in his party.
The unsuspecting observer might believe this to be a temporary aberration, but, for many Republicans, it’s a winning formula that’s here to stay.
Some recent drifts
In recent weeks, the hearings on the nomination of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court have been enough to cause nausea, as the interrogation of certain Republican senators seemed to come straight from the sewers.
The Republicans have perversely criticized this judge for being accommodating to pedophiles, which is false, while implying that she is sympathetic to them, which is tendentious.
For days, we witnessed the deplorable spectacle of the first black woman appointed to the Supreme Court – a high-caliber jurist with an impeccable reputation – being dragged through the mud in an effort to score points on the extreme fringe of the party, including including the crackpot QAnon conspirators obsessed with entirely fictitious allegations of pedophilia among Democrats.
Not a word, however, on the serious allegations of sexual abuse of minors against representative Matt Gaetz.
Not to mention the bizarre or frankly nonsensical statements by Republican stars like Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert, who do not hesitate to rub shoulders with white supremacists, notorious fascists or Putin apologists, with the blessing of the Republican leadership.
Speaking of Putin, Donald Trump’s admiration for the Russian dictator continues to be a problem, as does his opposition to the firm commitment of the United States to its allies, which rubs off on his party. Thus, a third of Republican representatives recently opposed a symbolic resolution in support of NATO, at a crucial moment for the alliance.
A winning formula?
In the Republican Party, principled conservatism and adherence to democratic norms gave way to ideological nihilism and partisan tribalism. Meanwhile, the mainstream media’s sacrosanct standard of balance has resulted in this wacky party being seen as a reasonable alternative to the Democratic Party.
In the prevailing cynicism towards politics, all compromises of democratic principles and violations of political norms by Republicans are trivialized.
This same cynicism leads the electorate to greet the increasingly damning revelations about the events of January 6, 2021 with a shrug. Even criminal charges against Trump, if they end up coming, would likely not have a big effect on voting intentions.
What will matter above all for the electorate next November will be inflation, which gives the impression that everything is going badly when the American economy and employment are on the rise.
The spectacle currently offered by the Republican Party in opposition is distressing. But that’s nothing compared to what awaits us when he wins a majority in Congress next year and possibly regains the presidency in 2025.