(Todd A. Smith)
The Republican Party is finally unified again.
But just like in late 2022, the GOP has unified behind a person that wanted to overthrow our democracy and rip up the United States Constitution.
However, I cannot totally blame the Republican Party for this one.
The Democratic Party takes some blame as well because the Democrats could have formed a coalition with moderate Republicans to ensure that an election denier did not hold the gavel in the United States House of Representatives.
Journalist Benjamin Wermund from the Washington Bureau of the Houston Chronicle reported, “House Republicans broke a weekslong stalemate on Wednesday to elect a new speaker: U.S. Rep Mike Johnson, a relatively unknown member who helped lead support for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s attempt to toss out the 2020 election results in key battleground states.
“Every Texas Republican supported Johnson, who they praised as a ‘tried-and-true servant leader’ and ‘consensus conservative.’ Democrats were united in opposition, noting the 2020 effort and describing the Louisiana Republican as a threat to democracy.”
I agree with the Democrats on that one 100 percent.
On the contrary, I disagree with the GOP 100 percent because a servant leader serves the masses not a cult leader who wants to be a dictator.
Furthermore, true conservatives abide by the Constitution, not shun their duty to uphold it.
New House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is two spots away from holding the highest office in the land.
Unfortunately, that does not bode well for our democracy because it gives an election denier more power than he deserves, and it emboldens other election deniers to continue chipping away at our cherished freedoms.
People should not receive promotions for doing wrong.
They should not even get to keep, or regain, their old jobs.
That is why it is important that former President Donald Trump be held accountable for trying to overthrow American democracy back in 2020 and 2021.
I have talked to many people who do not even like Trump, and they believe that the only reason the former president faces so many charges is that Democrats want to prevent him from regaining the White House.
While the criminal counts will not impact whether Trump can sit in the Oval Office again, the criminal charges and possible punishment should serve as a deterrent so that others will not attempt another coup in the United States.
That is why America has prisons and capital punishment in the first place.
Yes, America wants to rehabilitate the criminal.
But it is also a warning to others who might be thinking of committing a crime.
Think about it.
How many times have you wanted to do something you should not do, and the only thing that stopped you was the potential consequences?
With the election of Johnson as House Speaker, the Republican Party is telling future politicians from their party that democracy and the Constitution are not important.
The GOP is telling members of their party that patriotism means nothing.
The only thing that matters is fealty to the former president and the MAGA movement.
That is a dangerous recipe going forward.
But as much criticism as the GOP has received for not wanting to work across the political aisle and putting party before people, the Democratic Party could have shown the American people, especially moderate Republicans and Independents, how different they are.
They could have shown what a true democracy looks like, which is people from different viewpoints and backgrounds working together for the common good of the country.
However, they chose instead to help MAGA Republicans oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Then, they nominated Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) as House Speaker, knowing his nomination would fail unless Republicans jumped ship and voted for a Democrat.
While some might say, Todd why are you asking Democrats to do something that you do not expect Republicans to do?
The answer is pure mathematics.
The GOP is in the majority and will never vote a Democrat as the leader of the House.
But many Republicans would have voted for a level-headed and moderate Republican for House Speaker.
They would have voted for a speaker that did not deny that President Joe Biden won the highest office in the land in 2020.
Now, the House has a speaker that might misuse his power and authority to do the bidding of Trump after the 2024 presidential election.
Now, they have someone in Johnson who might do his best to do whatever it takes to hurt the Democrats so that Trump might win the public relations battle with President Biden going into their probable rematch.
That is not a good thing for the Democrats in any shape or form.
Furthermore, it is an even worse look for our beloved democracy.
What the Dems should have done instead was form an alliance with reasonable Republicans to elect Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) who withdrew his name from the race after receiving pressure from Trump and his friends from the unpatriotic MAGA movement.
While they understandably would have disagreed with Emmer on many issues, the Democrats might have had someone in office that agreed with them on the importance of free and fair elections and not the election denier that runs the people’s House right now.
Now, instead of more unity around our democracy and our Constitution, Trump has a cult follower in power that might sew more division amongst an already polarized people.