Is it too much to ask for an honest campaign and an open exchange of ideas?
Apparently, when it comes to Republicans, it is. Their dishonesty is nothing new. Smear tactics and voter suppression have been their winning formula for years, but this time around their mendacity has progressed to straight propaganda and foreign disinformation campaigns.
Perhaps it is idealistic to pine for a world in which both parties deliver their positions in a forthright manner, so the citizenry could make informed decisions and have easy access to casting their ballots. Of course, if that were to take place, Democrats would always win.
So Republicans pathologically lie. And cheat. And smear. And suppress. And, these days, openly accept assistance from a dictatorial foreign regime under the legal cover of a rogue Attorney General.
It’s disgraceful, and it always has been, but they don’t care. The ends justify the means to them.
It was disgraceful when Republicans smeared Purple Heart recipient John Kerry’s war record in 2004 with their Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad campaign. Republican National Convention attendees wore band-aids on their faces that year to symbolize Kerry’s war wound.
It was disgraceful when Republicans painted Barack Obama as someone who was, “palin’ around with terrorists,” because he once attended a church with an outspoken pastor.
It was disgraceful when Donald Trump and Republicans said Obama wasn’t born in the United States and, thus, wasn’t a legitimate president.
It was disgraceful when Trump’s campaign team, at minimum, turned a blind eye to Russian assistance in the last election, although a recent Senate Intelligence Report indicates they actually openly embraced it.
And it’s disgraceful that Republicans are doing everything in their power to prevent Americans from voting, whether it be through purging the rolls, shutting down polling stations or, the latest, sabotaging the United States Postal Service without any regard to the collateral damage it has caused.
Why aren’t Republicans confident enough to just run on, and own, their positions? They are anti-abortion, pro-cop, anti-health insurance, anti-taxes, pro-business and pro-gun. But instead of making legitimate arguments for these stances, they just lie and lie and lie some more.
On abortion, Republicans spent their entire convention claiming Democrats support terminating pregnancies up to the point of birth, an absurd prevarication. With regard to law enforcement, Trump and his minions keep saying that Joe Biden wants to defund the police, another outright lie. Biden actually wants to pour more money into policing to properly retrain our nation’s cops so they stop assaulting and murdering people with near impunity.
Donald Trump keeps promising a new health-care plan that never seems to materialize, and he signed a fake executive order to protect people with pre-existing conditions, something that is already guaranteed through the suddenly popular Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, Trump’s administration is fighting to have Obamacare invalidated in the middle of a viral pandemic.
Republicans have always said they support protecting Social Security and Medicare, but Trump wants to eliminate the payroll tax that funds them.
Republicans oppose universal background checks and banning high-capacity assault rifles, ideas supported by the vast majority of Americans, so they lie and say Democrats want to take all guns away.
The dishonesty hardly stops there. The Trump campaign has doctored photos and videos of Joe Biden to make him look older and decrepit, it has run deceptive advertising riddled with blatant and intentional lies about his positions, and we know from our own intelligence agencies that Russia is doing everything in its power to get Trump reelected.
Republicans’ reaction to all this has been a collective shrug. It’s just their regular playbook on steroids. The fact is, the GOP’s ideas are so unpopular that the only way they can convince people to vote for them is to either trick them or prevent them from casting ballots.
It’s the Republican way, and it doesn’t appear that’s going to change.