Within the iconic scene from Casablanca when the on line casino at Rick’s café is being raided, the character Captain Renault, performed by Claude Rains, famously declares, “I’m shocked, shocked to search out that playing is occurring in right here!” On the identical second, after all, the croupier is delivering his winnings to him.
This traditional second provides the proper analogy to the present righteousness and indignation of anti-Trump Republicans who’ve rallied behind and certainly lionized Consultant Liz Cheney (R-WY) for taking a supposedly principled stand in opposition to those that former RNC chair and now Lincoln Mission Republican Michael Steele has termed the “GOP apostates.”
Cheney, after all, has positioned herself as the nice defender of democracy and the U.S. Structure by refusing to validate the “Large Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump.
Clearly, as we noticed final week when Senate Republicans voted down a proposal merely to fee an investigation of the insurrectionary assault on the Capitol final January 6, Cheney’s fellow congressional Republicans are shamelessly overt in defending efforts to destroy democracy in America.
But, let’s not be fooled and retreat into ignorance of even the newest political historical past.
The Republicans now so vociferously distancing themselves from Trump have lengthy, like Captain Renault, been blissful to be acquire the spoils of what has been—and continues to be—their very own struggle on American democracy.
Certainly, whereas Cheney, Steele, and different self-proclaimed “principled” Republicans proceed to decry these promulgating the present “Large Lie” that the 2020 election was illegitimate, it should be acknowledged how traditionally these Republican leaders have engaged as a celebration in their very own widespread stealing of elections and are persevering with to take action.
After all, these Republicans, strenuously posing as “principled,” stay quiet about their very own election-stealing technique, even because it sits ponderously entrance and heart because the proverbial elephant within the American political area—or what Ryan Grim, writing in The Intercept, has called “the elephant’s weapon within the room.”
That elephant is the long-standing Republican apply of gerrymandering, which these nice defenders of democracy like Cheney and Steele actually don’t speak a lot about, obscuring these machinations behind their noisy and distracting, although additionally essential, denunciations of the wave of outrageous and excessive voter suppression laws along with the “Large Lie.”
As Grim writes, “The decisive impression of gerrymandering is nicely understood by marketing campaign operatives and occasion leaders however is barely acknowledged in nationwide political conversations — the elephant’s weapon within the room, so to talk — whilst analytic focus narrows to the main points of specific voter suppression payments.”
This silence, this lack of vigorous acknowledgment of the “elephant’s weapon,” has forestalled, Grim propounds, critical confrontation with the political catastrophe that lies forward:
“If Democrats handle to flee the normal midterm curse and don’t drop a single vote from 2020 to 2022, they might nonetheless lose management of the Home of Representatives merely as a consequence of Republican gerrymandering following the census. Until, that’s, there’s a change to present legal guidelines or an amazing Democratic wave on par with 2006 or 2018.”
That’s, as soon as once more the American voters might very nicely have their voices nullified by a Republican Get together doing all it will probably, because it traditionally has, to implement minority rule in America.
We don’t need to look far again into historical past to seize this development.
After the 2018 mid-terms, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow defined simply how severely Republican districting efforts—or gerrymandering—skewed the electoral map in favor of a Republican minority.
In that mid-term in Wisconsin, 53 p.c of the votes for positions within the state legislature went for Democratic candidates, with Republican candidates receiving 45 p.c of the votes. But—examine this out—Republicans have been elected into 64 p.c of the seats!
Maddow requested and answered her personal query: “Why is that? As a result of they tilted the enjoying discipline.”
In that very same report, she recognized an identical dynamic in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, all key swing states enjoying main elements in nationwide elections.
However Cheney, Steele, and others of their ilk stay decidedly reticent about this political dynamic, this Republican conduct, that’s its personal type of stealing elections and is equally deleterious to democracy, maybe much more so as a result of it a lot much less mentioned.
Not solely, as Grim famous, is it “barely acknowledged in nationwide political conversations,” the gang of so-called principled Republicans actively sweep it underneath the rug, deny its actuality.
Take Steele’s recent opinion piece on MSNBC.com, during which he once more upholds this false distinction between principled Republicans who don’t consider in stealing elections and people “GOP apostates.” He writes,
“The fracture throughout the Republican Get together isn’t the largest problem in American politics in the present day. However it’s vital in highlighting what’s: the battle to protect, shield and defend American democracy. From voting rights, the Structure and the rule of regulation to the once-lauded alternative of precept over partisanship, character over corruption and nation over occasion, we now have witnessed the Republican Get together — my occasion — quietly approve of or outright take part within the systematic deconstruction of the legitimacy of our republic.”
As we are able to see from a cursory have a look at the latest historical past of gerrymandering, Steele himself right here tells a whopper of an enormous lie in insisting the Republican occasion has a historical past of defending democracy and prioritizing precept over partisanship.
Trump is solely a handy foil on to whom the GOP can challenge its personal corrupt apply. He’s their scapegoat, as Steele continues,
“Since his exile to the modern-day Elba of Mar-a-Lago, the disgraced former president’s mantle of lies and divisiveness has been trumpeted by elected GOP apostates of Republicanism and the conservative beliefs that animate its rules. Keen to talk fact solely in whispers and behind closed doorways, they’ve taken a jackhammer to the very basis of our democracy as they persist in promoting the ‘big lie.’”
We are able to’t, after all, consider Steele’s sanctimonious hype.
The “principled” GOP had already finished a reasonably good of taking a jackhammer to American democracy.
Let’s not be shocked.
Tim Libretti is a professor of U.S. literature and tradition at a state college in Chicago. An extended-time progressive voice, he has printed many tutorial and journalistic articles on tradition, class, race, gender, and politics, for which he has acquired awards from the Working Class Research Affiliation, the Worldwide Labor Communications Affiliation, the Nationwide Federation of Press Girls, and the Illinois Lady’s Press Affiliation.