Robert Ariail depicts the Republican elephant whistling past the graveyard, and it certainly seems the GOP is coming apart at the seams and could, indeed, cease to exist.
The Whigs, however, may not be the best example of that, though they did go from being able to put candidates in the White House — not exactly a Who’s Who of political giants (William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore) — to complete dissolution. This puts them well above the Free Soil Party, for example.
Bill Bramhall answers the question: The Whigs fell apart because of internal disagreements over major policies. The Founders indeed expected voters to compromise, and the Constitution itself is full of pragmatic compromises, most famously between states that favored abolition and states that wanted to continue slavery.
But, despite necessary compromises, political parties should present a coherent platform, and the Whigs split into irreconcilable factions over major issues.
As the elephant here suggests, that’s not the Republican way. They’ve exiled as “RINOs” those who didn’t hew to the party line, leaving the question not whether a house divided against itself can long stand but whether a house that chips away at its membership can.
Party discipline is not, in itself, a bad thing, but party discipline based on a cult of personality should scare the hell out of anyone with an interest in democracy or in good governing generally, particularly when the personality around which the cult has been built appears to be fragmenting.
This latest rant from Dear Leader is sadly typical of what appears to be his failing mental state. He’s never been noted for his scholarship — George Washington did not seize British airfields during the Revolution — but more recently he has cited Barack Obama as the current president of this country and Viktor Orbán as Turkish head of state, while cautioning against starting World War II.
In this diatribe, he uses an insult that seems strange, coming from the only one of five children whose mother loved him so much that she shipped him off to military school, but it’s more bizarre that he claims to have read a book 24 hours before its release.
However, his cult members persist in believing that it is Biden who lacks mental acuity.
And that Snowball sabotaged the windmill.
So here we are, and this David Sipress cartoon is getting a lot of mileage on social media, because, no matter which side of the aisle you sit on, the collapse of leadership is straining patience.
For progressives, it has gone from amusing dysfunction to a serious governing crisis, while all but the most dyed-in-the-wool anarchists on the other side have had enough.
Still, as Ann Telnaes points out, that small contingent of maniacal anarchists are managing to keep the elephant in thrall. There is the old myth about elephants being afraid of mice, and here it merges with another old saying, which is that the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
If so, the important question will be how much the rats will have damaged the elephant before they choke on it.
Meanwhile, as Pat Bagley notes, it has become dangerous to question the cult, particularly if you expect to continue as a member of the political party it has absorbed.
It would seem, to an outsider, that the solution is to walk away, to become a Democrat or perhaps try to found a credible third party, but that only works for people who were tangential and lukewarm to begin with.
Being a Republican who favors same-sex marriage, full voting rights and allowing young people to choose their own reading material must be a bit like being a pro-choice Roman Catholic who favors women priests: You stick around hoping for change because belonging is a central part of your identity despite your growing disillusionment.
Though, as Daniel Boris notes, the possibility of a prison sentence does focus matters. Georgia’s first-offender law is a godsend for the prosecution, giving those who choose to cooperate the chance to expunge their record following probation.
I’d love to see the letters of apology Powell and Jenna Ellis will be required to write to the people of Georgia as part of their plea bargains. Perhaps we shall.
Though what I’d love more would be for Fox viewers to find out that it had even happened.
I’ve had a bothersome question of why MAGAts believe everything these cult figures say up until they admit they’ve been lying, and that last is the one thing their victims refuse to believe.
This is not just about the lunatic fringe. It may be fun and easy for reporters at rallies to interview screwballs in ridiculous outfits and hear the bizarre things they say, but there is a far larger number of voters who are not delusional but still trust what they see on Fox.
As Matt Gertz writes in Media Matters, while Fox viewers got to see plenty of Jenna Ellis promoting lies on behalf of the election denial movement, they saw barely three minutes of coverage total when she recanted and tearfully confessed that she’d been wrong.
Four legs good, two legs better, and, while all animals are equal, some are more equal than others.
In four panels, Jen Sorensen lays out the ways in which the cult members enforce the rules.
As she points out, it is a combination of perverse leadership and eager, willing collaboration.
After World War II, French collaborators had their heads shaved and were publicly shamed for their betrayals.
However, once, when I was being young and omniscient about WWII, my mother said, “You have to remember that, at the time, we didn’t know who was going to win.”
We don’t this time, either.
The other problem is that, once France was liberated, everyone who hadn’t had their heads shaved claimed to have been in the Resistance, and that was clearly not true.
In the words of L.P. Berra, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
And it ain’t.