By Matthias Lai, Staff Editor
January 6, 2021, was a historic day, and it may be pointed to as the catalyst for the end of the Republican Party. Three notable events occurred, all of which bode poorly for the Grand Old Party.
John Ossoff defeated David Perdue in the runoff election in Georgia, becoming the second Democrat senator in the state, as Rev. Raphael Warnock defeated Kelly Loeffler earlier in the same election. This signals a shift in Georgia’s political landscape, as it had been considered a strongly Republican base for decades, but has become a certified battleground. This also means that the Senate will be shifted to the left, as Warnock and Ossoff will be the 49th and 50th Democrat senators, giving the party a 50-50 majority with Kamala Harris casting the determining vote.
However, that news was lost in the midst of pandemonium in Washington D.C., as around 1,100 protestors, some armed, met at the US Capitol Building. Touting Trump Flags, US flags, confederate flags and a great deal of MAGA paraphernalia, they were responding to President Trump’s continued claims that the 2020 election, which he lost, was “stolen” from him. Around 2:30 PM, the protest turned militant, as people stormed the building and broke in, smashing windows and breaking through doors to enter. As soon as the building was breached, armed police held down the area as Congresspeople were rushed to safety. The mob, at this point devolving into a gang of rioters, looters and terrorists, reached the central rotunda, and some entered and trashed the offices of some congress members, including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s. The riot, it seems, intended to intimidate the US Congress to overturn the electoral college vote, where Biden won, and declare President Trump the winner of an election he fairly, and by all means, quite decisively, lost. The effort has been advanced by almost half of the House Republicans, and a handful of Senate Republicans including Ted Cruz from Texas, despite there being no evidence of any irregularity that would change the election result. As the insurrectionists stormed the building, Mitt Romney, Republican senator from Utah, is reported to have said to Cruz, “This is what you’ve gotten”. This event, the historical uniqueness of it, and the man who caused it all point to the downfall, and at the very least, redesigning of the Republican Party. The party will be forced to decide whether it wants to succumb to mob rule, and allow a “selfish man’s injured pride” to dictate how they operate, and even go so far as to directly defy the Constitution of the United States, or if they will rediscover their principle, and use the power they have as government officials and lawmakers to create policy and a culture that is both conservative and American, but also ethical, humane, and just.
That is the question Republicans in both houses of Congress were asked today, as the vote to certify President-elect Biden’s victory was held. The vote was postponed by the violent mob, but resumed a few hours later. However, even after the startling display by the Trumpist and in some cases Neo-Natzi terrorists, 147 Republicans, including 8 senators, voted to object to the electoral college from Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona. The decision to object has fractured the Republican Party, as conservative congress people are forced to choose between their President and the rational-legal system of the United States, which holds that the results of elections should be abided by. This seems like it could lead to a split in the GOP, as foundationalist Republican Senators like Romney and now Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are facing off against Trumpists like Cruz and Josh Hawley of Missouri. There is concern in the party as to whether Donald Trump, with his incendiary rhetoric and devoted but not very conscientious following is the future of the party, or whether they should move on to a more centrist approach that involves cooperating with the Democratic Party, which now holds the advantage in both chambers of Congress and the executive branch. At the end of the day, the objection failed miserably in both the house and the senate, and Joe Biden was confirmed by Vice President Pence as the president-elect.
Only time can tell what the future holds for America and the Republican party, but we are sure to see a flurry of progressive action in Biden’s first two years now that he has the majority, and that will be sure to shape the country for years to come. As America’s power balance shifts to the left, we will see whether the Republican party adapts and moves along with it, or if it shores up the right wing ideals. Either way, the party as we know it will never be quite the same, and it could spell disaster for the GOP.
Featured Photo: Matthias Lai