• Stephan Garnett

Welcome to the New GOP

Illustration Credit: Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast. Midterm candidates are desperately seeking Trump's endorsement.

As I contemplate it, given the depths the Republican Party has descended to these past few years, it was completely naïve of me to be appalled by a new political ad running in my home state of Illinois.

The ad is telling Republican voters not to vote for Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin, because Irvin supports the Black Lives Matter movement. And just to make this clear, Richard Irvin is a Black man.

Did you get that? Republican voters shouldn’t vote for a Black man running for governor of Illinois because he has the nerve -- the absolute, unmitigated gall -- to believe his life and the lives of other Black people are valuable. Frankly, if I could interview Irvin, I wouldn’t be able to resist asking him how it feels to represent a political party that doesn’t respect his right to life, that even includes members who wouldn’t hesitate to string him up from a tree.

Because that’s where the Republican Party is these days. Irvin is also under fire from local and national Republicans, because he’s previously referred to Donald Trump as “an idiot” and has called him “bigoted and racist.” There is little doubt that Irvin, the first African-American to be elected mayor of Aurora, will lose this election. With a few notable exceptions, GOP candidates in 2022 need the endorsement of Trump to win.

Let me state that again, but with a little embellished enlightenment this time: GOP candidates need the endorsement of a man who was so bad as president that he was twice impeached, lost re-election, and encouraged a violent and deadly government coup because he wouldn’t admit he lost.

I’ve lived through quite a few Republican administrations, and no, I didn’t like any of them. And as a Black man, I’m certainly no stranger to racism in America. But I honestly never thought the U.S. political landscape would degenerate to the point that an entire political party would prostrate itself before a man who has proven, beyond any reasonable doubt, that he possesses all the personal character of a cockroach and the intelligence quotient of a boll weevil.

Yes, it’s that bad now. Archly conservative members of the Republican Party no longer even try to hide their racism and bigotry. They don’t lie about it or prevaricate or dissemble. They flat-out show it.

What they will lie about is anything they don’t like. For instance, the ad telling voters to bypass Richard Irvin is sponsored by People Who Play by the Rules PAC, which was recently founded by conservative radio talk-show host and former political candidate Daniel K. Proft. Mr. Proft contends that Black Lives Matter is a Marxist organization that advocates for the dissolution of families and “burns down cities.”

The problem with both those assertions is they are patently untrue. What the BLM movement calls for is not the dissolution of the nuclear family, but the extension of it, so that it includes members that go beyond just mothers and fathers, but embraces other family members who realistically raise Black children.

Oh, and by the way. The last time I checked, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and about a hundred of other American cities where Black Lives Matter protests were held are still standing.

But my God! Why tell the truth when one can lie so effectively? Tucker Carlson and his cohorts at Fox News sure do it well. They’ve been so widely pushing the “replacement” narrative, yelling that Hispanic and Asian immigrants and Black Americans are deviously planning to “replace” white people, that whole segments of white Americans actually believe they’re about to become extinct.

I wonder if that was on Payton Gendron’s mind when he walked into a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., and shot to death 10 African-Americans. Or maybe Dylann Roof was thinking that when he murdered nine Black parishioners in a Charleston, S.C., church. Or perhaps being “replaced” was on Patrick Crusius’ mind when he massacred 22 Hispanic shoppers at an El Paso, Tex., Walmart.

Now for the truth: the percentage of white Americans is declining as the percentage of mainly brown Americans is increasing. But no one is attempting to “replace” anyone. What that is called, what that should be called, is an increasingly diverse society, and it’s happening all over the world.

So why give more power to a political party that can’t tell the truth, lies to its constituents and embraces the political aspirations of a lunatic? Why is there so much talk of the GOP sweeping the midterm elections later this year? Really? Hasn’t the recently leaked Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade given a pretty clear indication of what’s to come if Republicans take over Congress, the Senate and -- lawd ‘a mercy -- the White House?

Yes, inflation is bad, gas prices are through the roof, baby formula is difficult to get, the war in the Ukraine rages on, and little if any of the social progress we expected from a Democratic administration has materialized, largely because of two Republicans in Democrats’ clothing. But if anyone thinks that can all be resolved by switching to the other party, then fine. I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d love to sell you.

Understand that this isn’t the old days, when Republicans allegedly stood for fiscal responsibility and family values. What they stand for now is bigotry, racism, intolerance, subterfuge and authoritarianism.

And they don’t even try to hide it.

We’re still a two-party system. There’s no doubt about that. We still have two choices: the Democratic Party and the Fascist Party.

Choose carefully.