Spirited Reasoners have learned a great deal over the last six years. Perhaps too much. For example, we have learned that the true political battle in the United States no longer happens between liberals and conservatives, but rather between lovers of democracy and lovers of autocracy.
Let’s pretend, for a moment, that the election-deniers have it right. In other words, let’s pretend Joe Biden wasn’t the actual winner of the 2020 election. What exactly would that tell us?
First off, it would mean that dozens of state and federal courts, even those presided over by judges appointed by Donald Trump, were wrong when they found no evidence of election fraud sufficient to affect the clear outcome of the election. Thus, when we take the side of election-deniers, we are immediately presented with a problem: How will we know who wins any future election? If we can neither accept the reported will of the voters nor the rulings of the judicial branch, how will we determine the leadership of our executive and legislative branches?
The simple answer is that election-deniers don’t care about all those branches. They don’t care about divided government. In fact, they’re sick of it. They want one strong leader who can “clear the swamp” and “get things done.” They want autocracy.
How will election-deniers know which candidate wins the next election? In their eyes, it will be the candidate who can demonstrate the raw power (as in military power) to shut everyone else up. If that requires shutting down the courts, the Congress, and the state legislatures, then so be it. These people are tired of talk. They want action.
Secondly, and logically following from the above analysis, siding with election-deniers means accepting an end to our Constitutional form of government. What good are checks and balances if we are no longer required to listen to our courts? What good is an orderly election process if we can simply storm the halls of Congress to prevent the counting of Electoral votes? Why even have elections if the outcome will be determined by military might?
The spectacular downfall of Liz Cheney in Wyoming and the primary losses of the vast majority of those Republicans who stood up to Donald Trump’s election-denying claims, demonstrate that the Republican Party is no longer the party of conservatism. It is the party of autocracy. Those, like Liz Cheney, who wish to espouse traditional conservative values within the bounds of the U. S. Constitution have been relegated to a single choice: Either stay in the party and renounce your belief in the U. S. Constitution; or leave the party and peddle your brand of conservatism elsewhere.
For those of us watching this battle from the outside, one thing is clear: anyone calling themselves a Republican must now be assumed to support autocracy over democracy. Otherwise, why are they willing to run in an election of voters where the outcome will have no legitimacy? Why haven’t they left the Republican Party to join a different party or form a new one? Why remain wedded to a party dominated by election deniers?