I commend The Citizen for publishing the column “Fayette’s voting system pronounced ‘secure, fully functioning’ by state audit.” The piece points out that we have had — and will have — a fair elections system.
I am a former local Georgia elected official (and ex-Republican). Most of my friends are conservatives. Many believe in Trump’s disingenuous “deep state conspiracy” elections theory pushed by right wingers. Based on the facts, I absolutely do not. Trump is just a totalitarian bully who has little regard for democracy.
Carl Bernstein of Washington Post/Watergate fame appeared on CNN in 2018, well before the 2020 election. He castigated the media for fixating on minor issues. Instead, he suggested that more time be devoted to analyzing the move towards dictatorship by our then-President. He made the case for directly comparing Trump to infamous former Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin.
McCarthy was prominent during the Cold War period immediately after WW II, when the USA was swept by anti-communist hysteria. McCarthy played on these feelings, appealing to the frightened masses, especially those in the GOP base.
Bigotry was another aspect of the McCarthy era. McCarthy disproportionately persecuted Jews and homosexuals, convenient scapegoats during that time period (similar to Muslims and Hispanics today).
He attacked the State Department for supposedly being “infested by Communists” (untrue), and falsely claimed he had a list of over 200 traitors. In 1953, the Republican-controlled Senate made McCarthy Chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of Governmental Operations. McCarthy accused the Democrats of “twenty years of treason.”
He decided to question the patriotism of the US Army in televised hearings. He came off as an aggressive, demeaning bully who slandered people without any regard to the truth. After public sentiment had grown very negative, McCarthy finally was called to account for his actions by the Senate, which voted to censure him.
McCarthy proved amazingly little but was very divisive. He used smear tactics to ruin the reputation and lives of hundreds of innocent people, including everyday Americans and civil servants as well as elected officials opposing him. For four years, he was largely supported by a GOP leadership who knew full well that he was totally wrong, but was afraid to anger their motivated base.
But McCarthy was only a Senator. We now have a former President using many of the same tactics, questioning our elections system, the basis of our democracy. Indicted multiple times for his insurrection efforts and related crimes, Trump is fighting back. He’s hitting below the belt, demanding that we investigate, punish and remove civil servants and whistle blowers.
Trump is again running for President. And he will claim that the 2024 election is rigged if he does not win.
The real question that remains is: “what will the GOP leadership ever do about our modern-day McCarthy and his clear undercutting of our democracy?”
It is up to all of us, Republicans as well as Democrats and Independents, to protest Trump’s authoritarian behavior and place pressure on GOP leaders to denounce his tactics, statements and actions. We Americans are better than this.
Peachtree City, Ga.