Gary Horton | Republicans Are Morphing Into a Personality Cult

Gary Horton

Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s “Country First” campaign slogan seems quaint and old-fashioned – and now, even politically dangerous compared with Republican behaviors today. 

Overwhelmingly, no longer is the measure of a senator or congressman their loyalty to country and Constitution, but rather, their submission and servitude to Donald Trump. Mouthing the Big Lie battles with the Pledge of Allegiance for fitness and standing in the Republican Party. 

Can a Republican politician today reject Trump and remain viable as a Republican? Can even local Republicans admit Joe Biden won fair and square and remain viable with party and populace? Can today’s conservatives reject Trump’s mobsterism and remain… Republicans? 

McCain said, “Country First” – meaning service to country before party, politics and self-interest. All that genuine McCain honor is long gone, and, today, replaced by a mandatory, “Support Trump.” And this means promulgating the Big Lie, whitewashing the capitol insurrection, and voting down a Biden-backed infrastructure bill even though it tremendously benefits your own constituents. Trump Republicans give zero ground to anything assisting Biden. Straying from Trump’s edicts is political suicide. 

We’re witnessing something far less than democracy in action. Republicanism has become nearly a theocracy worshipping the narcissist demi-god ex-president Trump. Today’s Republican Party is a personality cult, where Trump’s wackadoodle, self-serving conspiracy theories overrule facts known by all, while service to Trump outweighs good-will service to country.  

Ultra-conservative Liz Cheney is easily the star-power sacrificial lamb in this public slaughter of morals and civics. A conservative’s conservative, Cheney yet was ousted from Wyoming’s Republican party this past Saturday for disloyalty – not to the Constitution, but disloyalty to Trump, the man.  

Quoted by Newsweek, “It’s ‘laughable’ for anybody to suggest Cheney isn’t a ‘conservative Republican,’ said Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler. ‘She is bound by her oath to the Constitution. Sadly, a portion of the Wyoming GOP leadership… allowed themselves to be held hostage to the lies of a dangerous and irrational man.’” 

Trump-endorsed Cheney opponent Harriett Hageman responded, “Liz Cheney stopped recognizing what Wyomingites care about a long time ago. When she launched her war against President Trump, she completely broke with where we are as a state.” 

For many Republicans, real conservative bona fides no longer suffice. Fealty to Trump is the secret handshake to electability. 

So, daggers were drawn for Republicans breaking ranks for the Joe Biden infrastructure bill benefiting their constituents at home. Not even bringing home billions in bacon for local projects turns the trick for Republicans today.  

“Every Republican who voted for the infrastructure bill must be eliminated from the party,” tweeted Florida Rep. Anthony Sabatini.  

“RINOS just passed this wasteful $1.2 trillion ‘infrastructure’ bill… Time to name names and hold these fake republicans accountable,” said Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado. 

Josh Barnett, an Arizona House candidate, said: “Thirteen Republicans just voted to turn America into a communist country. They should be pushed back on so hard ’til 2022 that their lives are absolutely miserable ’til we have them removed.” 

And Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz added: “I can’t believe Republicans just gave the Democrats their socialism bill.” 

That’s right. In today’s Republican Party, roads, bridges, even schools have become socialist, even communist – if funded in any bill associated with Joe Biden! 

This isn’t governing. This is America being trashed right in front of our eyes, as the totalitarian Republican embrace of Supreme Leader Trump continues its path of destruction. 

While California will benefit more than any other state from the infrastructure bill, you won’t find Garcia’s name on it. Garcia again fell in with Trump. Voting not for country, not for state, not for the 25th District, but for the Trump party line. 

And Rep. Mike Garcia promoted Trump’s Big Lie on Jan. 6, when he voted against the certification for Arizona and Pennsylvania – even after multiple recounts and checks proved them correct. Having himself won office by only 300-plus votes, Garcia took a fall, discrediting Biden’s 11,000-vote victory in Arizona and 70,000-vote win in Pennsylvania. 

And no retraction of his anti-democratic vote has been forthcoming even after the Republican-funded “Cyber Ninjas” determined Biden indeed beat Trump in Arizona not just by the original 11,000-plus votes, but by 99 votes more!  

Biden won fair and square. Can you say it out loud, Congressman Garcia? 

“Country First.” John McCain’s famous “thumbs down” against repealing Obamacare showed what politicians with principles should do, even when it’s against their party. Can you imagine McCain’s response if he saw Trump’s toadies today? 

McCain wouldn’t be printable in this family newspaper… 

Getting into the congressional election season, there are big questions on the horizon for Rep. Mike Garcia: Will it be country or Trump? Did Joe Biden win in a fair election? And, why his no vote on the highly beneficial bipartisan infrastructure bill? 

Will our Republicans again hold politicians accountable to country – or will Trump maintain his stranglehold on politicians dependent on his iron-fist rule? Will tomorrow’s America be ruled by a functional democracy or by a dangerous Trump personality cult? 

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.

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