Trump’s Axis of Assholes Just Completed Its Hostile Takeover of the Republican Party

The death of illusion is a cruel, sharp sensation. There is no Santa. Mommy and Daddy are splitting up. Reality television is neither reality nor television. Time and experience are harsh teachers, and they will be administering their lessons to the Trump Republican Party for a long time to come. Some of those lessons will be politically painful and, since in politics pain is the only teacher, well overdue.

The Republican Party’s wholesale moral, ideological, and political collapse is the most shocking ideological betrayal in our nation’s history. From a devotion (at least a stated devotion) to the Constitution, federalism, and limits on the power of government over its citizens, the Trump GOP has gone full authoritarian, pleading “Meine Ehre heisst Treue” to ensure Donald Trump’s continuing affection. That they believe this won’t come without political and moral consequences is beyond logic and reason, but here we are.

The old Republican Party kept hoping against hope that its strategy of publicly bowing to Donald Trump and privately rending its garments would give them an out later. They imagined they could just wait out the madness, shrug, and say, “Well, I had to… after all, I had an election coming…”

This week’s legal temper tantrums, insane demands, and alt-reich violence on the streets of Washington, D.C., proved that, except for a tiny handful, Republicans are just as awful as Trump. They are peerless when it comes to raging contempt for the will of the voters, the Constitution, and the fundamental underpinnings of the republic. The ludicrous, last-gasp Texas legal argument that the Supreme Court summarily rejected last week was not simply doomed to fail from a legal perspective. It was so politically and morally corrosive and dangerous that only in the era of Trumpian collapse would they have allowed their names to be attached to it.

Once 17 Republican attorney generals—and if you’re new to politics, “AG” also stands for “Aspiring Governor”—put ambition over the Constitution and the rule of law to co-sign the Lone Star State’s hot garbage, to use the legal term, we’re no longer in a functioning republic.

As these men and women rise in power, they’ll always be marked by their willingness to shred the Constitution to try and re-elect Donald Trump against the will of the American voter. They’re the future of the GOP, and that future is one of a lawless addiction to power and position. These men and women are not the chief law enforcement officers of their states with a sworn duty to protect the Constitution and uphold the law, but rather shit-kneed idolaters.

“Fear of Trump and the wretched lust for power are all they have left.

Yes, the Seditious Seventeen—not counting Texas—will be marked and stained by their willingness to subvert the law to re-elect Trump, but even they knew this was a rearguard action, a last-ditch bit o’ fuckery in hopes of getting the good tweet from the Donald. They’re scum, to be reviled, but the real villain of the piece is Mitch McConnell, now unquestionably the most powerful man in the Republican Party from an operational perspective.

If he holds the Senate majority after the Georgia races, don’t be shocked when McConnell and his obedient caucus demonstrate they’re dedicated to one mission: blowing up Joe Biden‘s administration. McConnell will undoubtedly block appointments, stop COVID relief spending, blackmail the Republican lobbying corps, and generally engage in the full spectrum of fuckery.

Under McConnell’s dark tutelage, we’ll see a generation of GOP senators liberated by the understanding that the Republican Party no longer sits on any kind of ideological foundation. He knows that the new faith in Trumpism means that he leads a movement that believes in nothing more than the retention and expansion of political power and, in that that knowledge liberates McConnell, he’ll make common cause with the forces of the Trumpist authoritarians to hold his position or expand it in 2022.

The handful—the tiny, tiny handful—of Republicans who refused to cross the political Rubicon this week were a minority of a minority. People like Mitt Romney, Adam Kinzinger, Denver Riggleman, Brian Kemp, and a handful of others deserve more than the shrug they’ve received from the left. The courage it takes to oppose the Trump-McConnell-Fox-Facebook Axis of Assholes is notable.

All authoritarian movements seek to purify their ranks, to weed out the unbelievers, the apostates, the poseurs. Trumpism is no different. You’ll see more and more GOP members tested in the dark and difficult days ahead. Don’t be shocked when they fail; as a close observer of the GOP’s transformation into the party of Trump-fluffers, I’ve seen it more closely than most and know how this story ends. They’ll make every excuse, but fear of Trump and the wretched lust for power are all they have left.

The true believers will be the worst dead-enders since Uday and Qusay. They’ll embrace his worst and darkest elements, claiming it was what they believed all along. They’ll fight until the last dog dies to convince you Trump won, birds aren’t real, and that everything they’re doing is in service to a conservative ethos.