It’s not the least bit surprising for a political party that lost control of two branches of government in an election to face a period of reflection and retrenchment in the aftermath of its defeat.
What is happening now in the Republican Party, however, goes far beyond the typical post-electoral rout soul-searching and finger-pointing and can only be characterized as an unprecedented battle for the soul of the GOP.
On one side of the internecine conflict are the Trump loyalists comprising of a combination of actual right-wing extremist true believers — who seriously believe the toxic lies being propagated by the ex-president and distributed through the cooperatively evil conservative media ecosystem — and those cowardly party members with little in the way of political convictions but an extraordinary fear of facing primary challenges from Trump acolytes in the next election.
On the other side of the struggle for defining the modern Republican Party are the traditional establishment Republicans who are more concerned with maintaining an aura of rationality and respectability as they support policies that benefit few others besides their wealthy corporate donors but whose actions are defined more by rational self-interest than by conspiracy theory-derived delusions.
It’s fairly easy to determine which faction any given Republican member of Congress belongs to by examining how they voted on the certification of the 202o presidential election and on the establishment of a commission to investigate the circumstances around and causes of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol.
Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is one of the few Republicans who not only voted for both certification and an independent commission to look at the Trump-inspired invasion of Congress but also voted to impeach the former president after that seditious riot.
Congressman Kinzinger continued his assault on Republicans still in thrall to Donald Trump this morning during an appearance on Fox News Sunday where he attacked House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — one of the GOP leaders more concerned with political expediency than the authenticity of the reality he chooses to believe — for refusing to tell the truth about the insurrection carried out by mobs of angry MAGAts.
Kinzinger believes that unless the GOP fully participates in the investigation of the events of January 6th, they will face political oblivion and massive defeat in future elections as people see through their reality-defying lies about where the responsibility actually falls for the violent and destructive invasion of his workplace.
.@RepKinzinger (R-IL) on Fox News: "The American people deserve the truth, and my party to this point has said things like it was hugs and kisses, it was antifa and BLM — it was anything but what it was, which was a Trump-inspired insurrection on the Capitol…" pic.twitter.com/bcQ7DE6c1B
— The Recount (@therecount) May 23, 2021
Congressman Kinzinger cuts right through the ludicrous conjecture put forth by those of his colleagues with the least amount of respect for the intelligence of their constituents who continue to urge people to reject the evidence of their eyes and ears, and he correctly assigns responsibility for the violence to the former president.
Kinzinger slightly tempered his tone when discussing Minority Leader McCarthy’s opposition to forming a bipartisan panel to probe the insurrection, but still accused the California GOP congressional leader of avoiding disclosure of the truth about what happened on January 6th.
One last @RepKinzinger bite: Says his Republican Party has lost its way, is now "engaged heavily in mask battles, anti-vaccination, and whatever the outrage of the day is, including Dr. Seuss. All that may be important but there are much more important things for this country…" pic.twitter.com/2I1hBvQnPK
— The Recount (@therecount) May 23, 2021
It’s certainly refreshing to see a Republican acknowledge that culture wars are perhaps not the best tactic with which to solve our nation’s bevy of crucial issues that it must face going forward.
Unfortunately for America, Congressman Kinzinger is part of a small minority within his own party who realize the poisonous effects that Donald Trump has had both on the GOP and the nation as a whole.
His entreaties for sanity and reason to govern the Republican Party in its future efforts are likely to fall fallow on the ears of his radicalized colleagues.
The presence of a few levelheaded individuals in the ranks of the GOP won’t be able to salvage the party from the deleterious effects of its nominal leader.
Hopefully, American voters will realize that Republicans must be defeated in every election that they stand for if our democracy is to return to stability and normalcy.
Original reporting by Jason Lemon at Newsweek.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.