So it looks like they’ve finally found their red line.
I mean Republican Party. On Tuesday, the GOP finally identified the hurdle that no Republican can be allowed to cross. Many of us wondered where it was – or even if it was. We were really, if morbidly, curious as to what the party would have to do to reprimand its own one. Now, thanks to the election and, in particular, the defeat of Madison Cawthorne, who will soon be the former North Carolina representative, we have our answer.
The red line is this: don’t embarrass the GOP.
It’s okay if you embrace a white-supremacist theory like Rep. Alice Stefnik.
No problem if you’re an anti-Semitism like Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.
It’s okay if you support a rebellion like Sen. Josh Hawley.
Just don’t embarrass the party.
One could argue that any or all of the above should bring great embarrassment to the party. But that argument misreads the Zeitgeist.
Consider Cawthorn’s list of chaotic behavior: he brought twice-loaded guns to the airport; He was shown patting his naked genitals on another person’s face in one video and partying in lingerie in another; He was accused of sexual assault; He issued a clarion call to violently overthrow the US government. Their disputes touched many bases in between, from kinks to outright treason, yet none of it raised more than a mild inland rebuke. Not that one March podcast in which he inexplicably claimed he was invited to a cocaine-fueled orgasm by his partners.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said when Cawthorne had “lost my faith.” This was even when Thom Tillis, a senator from his state, endorsed his primary challenger. This was when a member of the House Freedom Caucus anonymously told Politico about the reactions across the political spectrum. , , Saying ‘what the fuck. , , ?’” Even at the time, Tuesday’s disapproval by voters was narrow; He lost by only 1,300 votes out of 88,000 cast members.
Not to downplay how stupid it was for Cawthorne to back such an incendiary claim with zero evidence, but it does say something about GOP priorities that this is what makes them a stand. Took for, as you know, issues with a real impact on people’s lives. After all, no one will die because of Cowthorne’s allegation. But apparently, it threatened the brand, so something had to be done.
This red line turns out to be all we need to know about GOP values. Republican Party means Republican Party.
However, freeing themselves from Cawthorne, that party provides themselves with, at best, temporary relief. He is hardly the only loose cannon in his arsenal. In contrast, the GOP has pioneered a dangerous conceit: the high office, once considered the proper province of the serious, learned and prepared, is now democratized unless it is carried out by some unmistakable turn. could. Look for it and the ability to convince the average Joe or Jane that ignorance, immaturity, hostility to liberal values and a lack of impulse control constitute authenticity. Experience necessary. apply within.
Hence, hawthorn. Therefore, Boebert. Hence, Green. Therefore, Trump.
And therefore, a threat to existence. How much of this can democracy absorb and continue to function? We care about a moment of truth.
And it would be better if America had a red line of its own.
Leonard Pitts Jr. is a Miami Herald columnist. © 2022 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.