Culture Wars/Current Controversies

On the Republican Party

By Caroline Mimbs Nyce The Atlantic

“He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP,” Donald Trump Jr. purportedly texted about his father to then–Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, as rioters smashed their way into the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2020.

But in the months that followed, Republicans rallied around the Big Lie, making it the New Lost Cause, and peddling a myth about election fraud.

And so America finds itself at an impasse, with one of its two major parties actively threatening democracy. As my colleague George Packer puts it: “A party can’t be half-democratic and half-authoritarian.”

  • Mark Meadows learned the hard way: Donald Trump is still king. The former president’s onetime chief of staff first cooperated with the congressional January 6 committee, then backtracked. “Trump won’t tolerate even a hint of deviation from his line,” David A. Graham explains.
  • The GOP is in crisis. “Criticism of the Republican Party does not suggest an axiomatic endorsement of the Democratic Party, its leaders and policies,” our editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, writes in our December issue. “But avoiding partisan entanglement does not mean that we must turn away from the obvious.”
  • January 6 was practice. Next time will be worse, Barton Gellman warns in his cover story: “Trump has reconquered his party by setting its base on fire.”

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