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Here's the real reason Republicans are all in on Trump's attempted coup

November 20, 2020 in Blogs

By Amanda Marcotte

Donald Trump and his, uh, lawyer Rudy Giuliani are moving into the next phase of Trump’s attempted coup, which entertainingly involves Giuliani sweating out the previous day’s martinis into his hair dye while barking incomprehensible conspiracy theories at bewildered reporters.

Unfortunately, the less amusing and more worrisome aspect of the whole ordeal involves Trump’s efforts to lean on Republican-run state legislatures to appoint pro-Trump electors in states where Joe Biden clearly won.

Like most people reading this, I, too, wish I had a crystal ball and could look into the future at Jan. 20, 2021, to see how this all shakes out. In the meantime, the main point of concern is that nearly all Republican politicians are, to one degree or another, supporting Trump’s efforts. Some, like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, are flirting with openly seditious behavior by actively trying to get legal ballots thrown in the trash. Most, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are playing word games to avoid saying who they think will be or should be sworn as president in two months. The only Republican senator to speak out so far is Mitt Romney of Utah, who was also the only Republican senator who voted to convict Trump after his impeachment trial earlier this year.

The common theory in the political class is that this silence is borne out of fear of Trump and his tweeting fingers. Former President Barack Obama, who has been blunt in his concerns about the threat Trump represents to our democracy, characterized the GOP’s passive consent to this coup exactly this way.

“I’m more troubled that you’re seeing a lot of Republican officials go along with it, not because they actually believe it, but because they feel intimidated by it,” Obama told MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart on Thursday.

Obama is right on two out of three counts. It’s true that Republican officials don’t believe a word of Giuliani’s sweaty conspiracy theories, which Heather Digby Parton has described as “going full Infowars.” It’s also true that this GOP compliance is the real problem here. As I explain in the latest Standing Room Only newsletter, successful coups rely on various bureaucrats and lower level politicians who go along. If Trump pulls this …read more


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