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- 45th President of the United States
Authoritarianism gains ground in a democracy through the deterioration of political norms and subversion of constitutional processes. By rejecting a House committee request Wednesday for an interview about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Minority Leader Kevin McCathy further demonstrated the Republican Party’s obsession with gaining power no matter the cost to our ailing institutions.
McCarthy and the GOP have calculated that fealty to former President Donald Trump and his dangerous brand of populist nationalism is more important than investigating the role Trump played in encouraging the insurrection. McCarthy, who vainly pleaded with the then-president that day to send reinforcements to aid overwhelmed Capitol police officers, is now trying to protect Trump instead of protecting American democracy.
The Republican National Committee compounded the slight to our institutions by announcing Thursday that it could bar its presidential candidates from participating in debates. The party thereby threatened to deny all voters a chance to gauge candidates for our country’s highest public office side by side.
This is what actively weakening our institutions for political gain looks like. In an election year, voters must not ignore such threats to founding American ideals or mistake them for politics as usual. They are not politics as usual. They are not the fault of “both sides.”
McCarthy, a Bakersfield Republican, has forsaken whatever moderate tendencies he displayed while serving in the Legislature in Sacramento. This week, McCarthy and the GOP chose Trump’s ruinous agenda over American democracy.