From political party to conspiracy cult: How Donald Trump sped up the devolution of the GOP

FORT SMITH, Ark – It’s been happening for decades — but the transformation is now complete.

It started with the Whitewater investigation, went through all of the Benghazi investigations, and ramped up in recent years when Republicans turned around to falsely claim that the investigation into Donald Trump’s ties with a Russian conspiracy to interfere with the 2016 election was as a “hoax,” ignoring the overwhelming evidence of rampant collusion. On Wednesday, the transformation of the GOP from a real political party to a conspiracy theory cult was finally fully completed.

Wednesday was the day Senate Republicans spent hours and a hefty chunk of taxpayer money to bolster the lie that Democrats “stole” the 2020 election, with their only evidence being the say-so of a narcissistic sociopath whose only spoken language is lying. No one, especially no Republican politician, sincerely believes that Trump was the “real” winner of the 2020 election, or that there’s any evidence whatsoever of voter fraud or election irregularities of any real importance. As Sen. Gary Peters, D.-Mich., the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee declared during his opening remarks, “this hearing gives a platform to conspiracy theories and lies” and ” is a grave threat to the future of our democracy.”

Of course, that is the point.

As the committee chair, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and his fellow Republicans understand, their party can no longer win fair elections or campaign on ideas, since the public rejects most policies the GOP stands for. So the party’s only recourse is to dish out a steady stream of conspiracy theories meant to distract from the policy debate while leveraging their power to undermine democracy.

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