For more than a decade, Republicans have decided that destroying the Democrats and the competence of government is more important than defending American democracy. We saw that under President Obama, when Republicans pursued a strategy of blocking whatever Obama attempted, sight unseen, and refused to compromise on anything other than keeping the government open. The roots of that policy date back to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s efforts to destroy Bill Clinton.
We also saw Republicans and their allies in the courts conniving in voter suppression and substituting money for speech, and blocking Obama’s judicial appointees to an unprecedented degree. That was bad enough.
Now, under Trump, Republican enabling of both autocracy and a sellout of the national interest has reached new lows. With a few heroic exceptions, most Republicans have concluded that standing idly by while Trump makes truly bizarre foreign policy decisions that weaken America’s influence with allies and help totalitarian adversaries such as China, Russia, and North Korea is an acceptable price to pay for staying in power. The fact that many of these policies are lubricated by Trump’s personal financial self-interest seems not to matter either.
If we lose our democracy, or if we narrowly miss losing it, or if the U.S. ends up sacrificing a great deal of global influence, history will blame the Republican Party. Trump is a lunatic and a megalomaniac. At least some Republicans know better, but most refuse to act on their knowledge.