Alas, Romney engages in his own brand of underwhelming rhetoric by equating right-wing denial about the 2020 election and climate change (he could have added covid-19 and gun violence) to the Democrats’ supposed denial about debt. and illegal immigration. Besides the fact that deficits are expected to drop significantly in 2022 and Democrats have Many times proposed comprehensive immigration reform, including border security, Romney’s laments on both sides smack of denial.
Only one party has adopted conspiracy theories and misinformation as its default setting, ranging from water-hauling for Russia’s interference in the 2016 election to quack cures for covid to the “big lie” that the 2020 elections were stolen. Only one party rallies its base with resentment, anger and vitriol. And only one party relies on a propagandist media that shields its base from nasty facts.
Romney, who voted against cloister for voting rights reform and has yet to condemn the GOP’s systematic attack on honest election administration, did not speak out against Republican election deniers on the ballot. midterm vote. He gives no indication of concern that the next House speaker may well be House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who tolerates his party’s most extreme members, including those who asked for forgiveness for their roles in the Jan 6 insurrection, and attacked the House Select Committee on Jan 6, from which it removed its Republican members.
Romney would do well to recognize that the main threat to democracy and belief in objective reality is his own party. Insofar as he advocates his return to power and refuses to denounce its most insidious elements, he contributes to the problem. As too much in the mainstream media, his reflexive retreat into moral equivalence ends up normalizing his own party, thereby masking his authoritarian impulses.
Romney, like many other “good” Republicans, exaggerates and inflates the flaws of Democrats to justify his continued membership in a malevolent party. But Romney has another option: follow the example of his longtime friend, Evan McMullin. The Utah Senate candidate is running as an independent against incumbent Sen. Mike Lee, who has eagerly sought to pressure state legislatures to send fake voter groups. Like McMullin, Romney and like-minded Republicans can start over. They can make common cause with Independents and Democrats on the paramount issue of our time: the preservation of democracy. They can refuse to contribute to the idea of the return of the Republicans to power.
Romney, instead of passively hoping for “a president who can rise above the din to unite us behind the truth,” can help lead a movement that robs the GOP of supporters who see no alternative to the status quo. what. As a proponent of the free market, he surely understands that if Republicans were to run for non-MAGA voters, they would lose some of his worst elements or give ground to a new reality-based party.
Romney’s op-ed represents perhaps his first effort to tiptoe away from a decrepit Republican Party. If so, he should pick up the pace and prepare to support an alternative to Trump’s party. Waiting for the GOP to clean up its act is the worst kind of denial.