I recently returned from a visit to New Orleans, the highlight of which was not jazz or beignets, but the National World War II Museum. This extraordinary institution tells of the many inspiring sacrifices made by heroes of the greatest generation on the battlefield and on the home front in defense of democracy against the dark forces of totalitarianism. As I browsed the exhibits, I thought of my late father piloting a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber over targets in Nazi-occupied Europe. I’ve also been thinking about America in 2023, where former President Donald Trump, someone who has besmirched our democracy and Constitution, might still be favored to become the Republican presidential nominee in 2024.
Sure, there are many Republicans who believe, against all evidence to the contrary, that the 2020 election was stolen and that the deadly January 6 riot was a “legitimate political discourse,” according to the Republican National Committee. But I know there are many others who are not detached from reality and continue to support the narcissistic, corrupt and anti-democratic former president. I keep wondering why, and I think I found the answer in a recent nationally representative survey of 1,500 respondents conducted by The Conversation, a nonprofit news organization founded in 2011 that publishes articles on topics of public interest written by scientists published.
The poll concluded: “A broad spectrum of Americans of all political persuasions are looking for leaders who are fundamentally anti-democratic.”
While members of both parties held anti-democratic sentiments, they were far more often held by Republicans. For example, 32% of “Strong Democrats” and 67% of “Strong Republicans” agreed that “political leaders sometimes have to use harsh language to criticize entire groups that refuse to work hard and contribute to society to do our country”. On another front, 33% of “Strong Democrats” and 72% of “Strong Republicans” agreed that “if political leaders believe a news organization is trying to undermine American values, they should take action to stop that news organization.” close .”
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The question then arises – why?
The Conversation researchers believe the key to understanding these anti-democratic views is “a desire for protection.” In our highly polarized society, many Americans see the other parties “as an existential threat to the country — and narrow-minded, dishonest, immoral, and also unintelligent.” Many Americans, the researchers argue, “prefer leaders willing to subvert democracy if it means protecting people like themselves from groups who threaten their values or status.”
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., speaks to reporters after meeting with Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. before the House of Representatives meets for its third day to choose a speaker and the 118 May 2023.
I loathe Trump’s GOP, but as a lifelong Democrat, I also deplore any anti-democratic tendencies that might exist in my own party. And I will vigorously fight them to honor my father and all those who have sacrificed over the years to protect our freedoms. But as the poll underscores, there is still work to be done within the ranks of the Republican Party. That work must begin with the rejection by responsible Republican leaders of an anti-democratic former president who is still pedaling the lie about the 2020 election, a lie that led to the January 6 attack on the Capitol, an attack which Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick correctly referred to as “one”. Attempted coup.” Former Representative Liz Cheney and former Representative Adam Kinzinger told the American people the truth, but they paid a political price.
At the last Gridiron dinner, former Vice President Mike Pence truthfully said, “President Trump was wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. And his reckless words endangered my family and everyone in the Capitol that day. And I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”
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Pence should have had no hesitation in cooperating with the Justice Department’s investigation in order for Trump to be held legally accountable.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel announced that any candidate who wants to participate in the GOP’s first debate later this year must sign a pledge of support to whoever wins the nomination. Better they demand that all participants in the debate support free and fair elections in 2024 and commit to recognizing whoever emerges victorious. The lies and disinformation that Trump and his accomplices have been spreading for over two years must now be unequivocally rejected and not corrupt the next election cycle.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, the self-proclaimed most independent member of Congress, was noticeably absent from that discourse. Congressman, would you support requiring all Republican candidates to commit to accepting the outcome of a free and fair 2024 election? Of course, we know that in Trump’s worldview, the only free and fair election is one in which he wins. More importantly, after the January 6 “coup attempt,” would you still support the anti-democratic Trump in 2024 if he becomes your party’s candidate again?
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Persistent silence on these issues makes you complicit.
Martin J. Raffel is a resident of Langhorne.
This article originally appeared in the Bucks County Courier Times: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick PA protects democracy