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The present and future of the Republican Party

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Elise Stefanik is the Ivy League-educated bullshit artist who is about to become the third ranking member of the House Republican conference because Liz Cheney insists on not lying about the election being stolen. Stefanik, who started her political career as a Sensible Fake Moderate, has seized power by becoming a particularly unctuous Trump lickspittle, which needless to say means endorsing the Big Lie:

With Republicans preparing to oust Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming from the House GOP leadership and replace her with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, reporters have been digging up past Stefanik statements displaying her true credentials as a Republican leader of the future.

Those credentials, most obviously, are her unwavering loyalty to Donald Trump and to his Big Lie about the stolen 2020 election. But another crucial credential, one getting less attention, is Stefanik’s willingness to deceive her own constituents to justify taking official action to invalidate legitimate election results.

Just before voting to object to President Biden’s electors on Jan. 6, Stefanik released a lengthy statement faithfully echoing numerous Trumpian lies about the election, included flatly debunked nonsense about 140,000 unauthorized votes in Georgia.

This showed Stefanik embracing Trump and his lies more directly than many other Republicans, who carefully couched votes against Biden electors behind procedural objections. As Josh Marshall notes, this is a big reason Stefanik is a rising GOP star.

[…]

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), one of the slimiest practitioners of this disingenuous game, has repeatedly defended his lead role in undermining Biden electors by claiming he was merely representing his constituents’ worries about the election’s dubious outcome.

Of course, the concerns are entirely baseless, and people such as Stefanik and Hawley themselves fed those concerns relentlessly. It’s absurd to portray this as an act of public-spirited representation of constituents. Instead, these officials used their official stature to actively deceive them.

It would be a mistake, however, to see the defenestration of Cheney and elevation of Stefanik as being purely about loyalty to Trump per se. It’s also about Republican elites rejecting democracy, and House Republicans reserving the right to throw out any election results they don’t like:

All this official misconduct further undermines democratic stability. As Laura Field says, such deception has very high stakes, because it “undercuts citizens’ rational faculties” and creates distrust that “destroys the very possibility of liberal democracy.”

I’ve argued that the real problem with the Cheney situation isn’t just that Republicans are punishing her for denouncing Trump and the Big Lie. It’s also that they’re excommunicating Cheney amid her demand that Republicans fully commit to respecting democratic outcomes going forward.

It’s bad, you know.

…this is correct:

There is a long-standing belief on the right that Democratic Party victories are inherently fraudulent. They rely on massive levels of undetected fraud in Democratic-run cities teeming with lawlessness, and mobilize majorities who use their power to illegitimately redistribute wealth from its rightful owners to themselves.

The highbrow version of this belief has long been articulated in conservative organs such as National Review. Trump expressed a crude, lowbrow version, and employed crude, lowbrow tactics. Highbrow right-wing authoritarians look at their lowbrow cousins with contempt and embarrassment. The lowbrow authoritarians look at the highbrows as snobs and wimps. Ultimately, however, their shared beliefs outweigh their differences.

So when the next right-wing coup attempt takes place, backed by the overwhelming majority of Republican voters who believe Trump legitimately won in 2020, what will the mainstream Republicans do? The answer should already be clear. The next insurrection will be a Brooks Brothers riot.

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