As Donald Trump continues a fight as toxic as it is futile to invalidate the presidential election, the future of his party raises important questions.
In his xenophobic diatribes, Donald Trump sometimes quotes a poem that tells the story of a woman who finds a snake and shelters it in her home. One day, the snake bites its benefactress. She asks him, amazed, “why did you poison me?” The snake replies that she knew full well who he was when she greeted him.
The moral of the story, Trump says, is to beware of refugees, but today it may well be that the Republican Party is the cheated hostess and the role of the snake is played by Trump himself.
Everyone knew who he was
In his refusal to accept the verdict of the electorate, Trump confirms the autocratic temperament that has always animated him and which now seems to have infected his party.
Should we be surprised? Since entering politics, Trump’s authoritarian lean has been matched only by his indifference to the Democratic and Republican values and traditions his party prided itself on upholding.
A ripped off party
The “wise” in the Republican Party believed that they could temper its anti-democratic instincts and that the party would not be entirely defined by Trump, but recent events have proven them wrong.
The case brought by the Attorney General of Texas, which called for the votes of four states to be erased on the basis of unfounded suspicion of fraud, confirmed this transformation of the Republican Party.
The majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives endorsed this futile lawsuit, which meant overturning the results of a Democratic election without any proof, and several of them promise a final attempt – clearly doomed to fail – certification of the results by Congress in January.
Last summer, the Republican Party had already abandoned all pretense of being anything other than a personality cult when it made its only program element unwavering loyalty to Donald Trump.
The Republican Party believed it could benefit from a pact with Donald Trump without undergoing a profound transformation, but it lost this bet. Trump has not changed, it is the party that is now in his image and at the mercy of his unconditional supporters.
Over the weekend, pro-Trump protesters disillusioned with the failure of Republican attempts to overturn the election chanted “Destroy the GOP.” While there is reason to be skeptical about the chances of the ousted president’s return in 2024, Donald Trump and his cultists will continue to define what has become of the Republican Party.
It might just be a Faustian pact that Republicans made with Donald Trump and they took advantage of it while it lasted, but this kind of contract is not easily terminated. The authoritarian and undemocratic character of Trumpism threatens to define what was once a great party for a long time to come.