To save America, destroy the Republican Party of Trump, insurrection and conspiracy nuts

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Jason Sattler, Opinion columnist
·6 min read
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We lucked out.

Hundreds of years about puffing ourselves up about the United States’ unprecedented “peaceful transfer of power” are over. With over 20,000 National Guard troops securing our nation’s capitol after an uprising that led to five dead and came within a minute of reaching the vice president, we’re fortunate that power was simply being transferred.

Ridding the White House of Donald Trump should be a cause for an year-long celebration, filled with all artists who wouldn’t perform at his inauguration. So almost every artist.

But there is no time to congratulate ourselves. As one of those charged in the Capitol attack (the horn-wearing Jacob Anthony Chansley) told the news media and the FBI, "the insurrection is still in progress and he intends to continue participating."

We have to make sure the failed Jan. 6 putsch at the Capitol doesn’t have a shrewder sequel or reboot. And we have to do it while fighting a deadly virus generating new variants faster than our current ability to vaccinate against it and coping with the worst sustained job losses in American history, by far.

Electoral College is risky, unworkable

Trump, obviously, needs to be prosecuted for every crime he’s committed and barred from running from office again. All the insurrectionists in elected office who rejected the presidential election result must be expelled from power. We need a 9/11-type commission to address the multitudinous security failures at the Capitol. Also, we need to immediately address the arcane, undemocratic Electoral College and the excruciating process of certifying the presidential election, which could have easily been hijacked by the president and his party if a few more Republicans had won in 2018.

But among all these massive tasks, there is only one that will make the others possible: We must destroy the Republican Party as we know it.

Unfortunately, the only people who have the power to complete this crucial task with the speed it demands are Republicans’ favorite people — corporations. The Roberts Supreme Court has systematically made it much easier for corporations to buy an election and harder for people to vote in one. And corporations have lapped up the benefits by electing Republicans eager to slash their taxes and consumers' protections.

Former President Donald Trump and Former First Lady Melania Trump step into Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Jan. 20, 2021.
Former President Donald Trump and Former First Lady Melania Trump step into Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Jan. 20, 2021.

The business community has tacitly admitted the role it plays in enabling Republican extremism with the various pledges companies have made to stop, at least temporarily, funding candidates who voted against confirming Joe Biden’s victory. But these face-saving gestures are not nearly enough.

The Chamber of Commerce spent over $100 million over the past decade electing Republicans. Even before Trump’s attempted coup, the organization was already trying to figure out how to separate from the GOP.

But this is no time for sly half-measures. The business lobby needs to recognize that the bet it made on the Republican Party in the early 1970s may have paid off in massive gains for the rich and lower taxes on billionaires than nurses, but it also almost led to the destruction of the republic.

No time to be silent: Centrist Republicans, speak up! We must take a stand against the insurrectionists

The dog whistles and coded white nationalism Republicans have used to gain power intentionally divided this country for more than a half century. And when the right recognized that this approach wasn’t enough to win in an increasingly diverse country, it fixated on unnecessary voting restrictions and unconscionable gerrymandering. The caricature of democracy invited conspiratorial extremists into the party, and then into the White House and Congress.

In the wake of the Capitol assault, some members of Congress are afraid that other members may try to kill them. And why wouldn’t they be? Adherents to QAnon conspiracies believe without any evidence or sense that their political opponents are cannibals and pedophiles. There are at least two Republican members of Congress who have expressed support for Q’s blood libel.

Shamed and shunned: Trump is a lot like his mentor, my cousin Roy Cohn. Now he's leaving like him, in disgrace.

You sold us this, corporate America. So what’s your return policy?

You need to take on not only the conspiracy freaks but also “legitimate” Republicans who objected to confirming the election results and keep pushing the Big Lie that Trump’s 7-million vote loss wasn’t legitimate. And you can’t stop there. You have to defeat the likes of Rep. Bill Huizenga. He learned nothing from this debacle and has called for a further perversion of our democracy by gerrymandering Michigan’s electoral votes to minimize the power of the state’s Black voters.

The numbers show it's Trump's party

Begin by recognizing that you’ve already lost the Republican Party to Trump or multiple Trumps. Almost two-thirds of GOP voters say that the outgoing president has acted responsibly since he lost the election and tried to stay in power anyway. With two-thirds of the general electorate taking the opposite view, that probably won’t be enough to win the popular vote any time soon. But it is certainly enough for Trump to pick a winner in almost any Republican primary. So forget Republican primaries.

Donating to the Democratic opponents won’t be enough either. When necessary, you need to run “Constitutional Conservative” third-party candidates in bright red districts with the sole goal of splitting the right-wing vote enough to keep Trumpists from elected office. And you will have to be as unrelenting and creative as those who imagine the guy who played Forrest Gump is a sex trafficker.

A Pro-Trump rioter carries a Confederate flag near the Capitol Rotunda on Jan. 6.
A Pro-Trump rioter carries a Confederate flag near the Capitol Rotunda on Jan. 6.

Will this work? It’s a bet. And it’s the right bet to make, unlike the conjoined bad bets you made in favor of the GOP, wealth inequality and monopoly power and against climate science.

Of course, I know that expecting big business to save America is a terrible bet. Democracy is too important to trust to people who miss former House Speaker Paul Ryan. But in this moment where conglomerates are actually showing some shame, corporate America has a responsibility to reverse the short-term opportunism that helped lead to Confederate flags in our Capitol, and blood being spilled.

If the interests that help make the GOP possible don’t start correcting the damage they’ve done, they’re just another part of the cancer America needs to remove from our dying democracy.

Jason Sattler, a writer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors and host of "The GOTMFV Show" podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @LOLGOP

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Corporations bet on Trump and Republicans and nearly destroyed America