Former Republican Presidential Speechwriter Issues Red Alert Over Donald Trump and Evangelicals
Ex-President Donald Trump and his caucasian, evangelical, right-wing base present an imminent danger to the security of the United States and the future of our constitutional republic, Peter Wehner, a former speechwriter for Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush wrote in The Atlantic on Thursday.
Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him has poisoned the entire American conservative political movement, Wehner said, stressing that the more often that politicians who are beholden to Trump parrot his conspiracy theories, the greater their influence among the GOP’s voting constituency will grow.
“The GOP remains fully in Trump’s thrall, with its leadership more committed than ever to spreading his foundational lies and conspiracy theories. Under Trump’s sway, the Republican Party is becoming more fanatical, venturing even further into a world of illusion,” Wehner wrote, explaining that he fallout for Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th is a sign of deep trouble.
“Trump’s grip on the Republican Party was on display once again last week, when Representative Liz Cheney [R-WY] was ousted from her leadership post as conference chair. Her fireable offense? Refusing to remain silent in the face of Trump’s ongoing efforts to undermine our constitutional system. She wants to ‘relitigate the past,’ it’s said, despite the fact that it is Trump, not Cheney, who is obsessing over the 2020 election,” Wehner said.
He cautioned that “if the Republican Party doesn’t counteract these lies rather than indulge them, political violence will become more acceptable and more prevalent on the American right.”
Words, Wehner continued, matter.
The repetition of the lies not only causes tens of millions of Americans to embrace them; over time, it deforms their moral sensibility. It creates an inversion of ethics, what in philosophy is known as the ‘transvaluation of values,’ in which lies become truth and unjust acts are seen as righteous. Believing the deceptions also becomes a form of virtue signaling, a validation of one’s loyalty to others in one’s political tribe. In this case, of course, what we’re dealing with is not just any lie; it’s a particularly destructive one, among the most dangerous a democracy can face. It erodes confidence in our elections, the rule of law, and our system of government.