Governing vs. extremism: The GOP’s backwards incentives

By Mike Ongstad, Communications Director

The Republican Party system is being turned upside down. Extremism is rewarded, while the honest work of governing is harshly punished. If, like Sen. Mike Lee, you work “14 hours a day” to overturn an election for Donald Trump, you get an endorsement, and the party will protect, fund, and amplify you. But if, like retiring Rep. Fred Upton, you stand up for democracy or work across the aisle to solve America’s problems in good faith, you get death threats. If, like Sen. Ron Johnson, you use your committee power to spread conspiracies, you raise $7 million in one quarter. But if, like Renewer Rep. Liz Cheney, you tell the truth and try to stop another attack on our democracy, you get kicked out of party leadership.

The longer the GOP protects those who used violence to try to overturn an election, the more it emboldens violence as its main political force. GOP leaders occasionally pay lip service and denounce these threats, but their embrace of insurrectionists and conspiracism speaks louder than their soundbites. Extremist organizations, fundraising networks, PACs, and the caucus of radicals growing in Congress are gaining steam, and they have one mantra: “Power by any means.” The GOP won’t break this descent into political violence unless we make them. That will take sustained political courage from principled leaders like Upton and Cheney. But even more importantly, it will take us—everyday American voters standing alongside them.

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