Yesterday, CNN reported that Elizabeth Neumann, a top Trump Homeland Security Department official warned that "Republicans are normalizing, they are mainstreaming, what counterterrorism experts would say is violent extremism: that it is acceptable to use inflammatory rhetoric and encourage violence to achieve your ends and… it is acceptable to engage in public life through conspiracy theories... They just legitimized a person that used tactics I would say 10 years ago, even five years ago, would have been abhorrent to the Republican Party. But President Trump has made bullying a key figure of the Republican Party now, so they know they can't condemn that behavior because they know the base loves it." California GOP operative Mike Madrid warned that Republicans "have fed the monster for so long that even when it turns on them, when the barbarians are literally at the gate... when they were the targets and they were prey, they still will not turn on it. That's how dangerous is the societal threat that we are facing."
Charlie Sykes may be vehemently anti-Trump but he's been a mainstay of Wisconsin's conservative establishment for decades. Today he congratulated the Republicans who voted to convict Trump, extolling their courage and noting that "Even the ones who aren’t up for re-election face censure, excommunication, and the feces-flinging wrath of the Trumpist flying monkeys," no doubt conflating Matt Gaetz (FL), Andy Biggs (AZ), Gym Jordan (OH), Lindsey Graham (SC), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Mad Cawthorn (NC), Ted Cruz (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Josh Hawley (MO), Lauren Boebert (CO), etc with the Trumpist-directed insurrectionists who shit in their hands and smeared the excrement all over the Capitol walls on January 6.
But Sykes' column at The Bulwark wasn't about the Trump antagonists; it was about those 43 senators for whom Trump’s Big Lie, his attempt to overturn the election and the attack on the Capitol "did not cross a red line." He cited Alexander Burns' assertion that "The vote stands as a pivotal moment for the party Trump molded into a cult of personality, one likely to leave a deep blemish in the historical record. Now that Republicans have passed up an opportunity to banish him through impeachment, it is not clear when-- or how-- they might go about transforming their party into something other than a vessel for a semiretired demagogue who was repudiated by a majority of voters."
Pretty dismal for a life-long conservative Republican like Sykes to contemplate. It gets worse, when he looked at the numbers of the Republicans defining themselves in the last ew weeks:
The number of Republicans who backed the Texas lawsuit to overturn the presidential election: 126;
The number of Republicans who voted against certifying the electoral votes of Pennsylvania: 138;
The number of Republicans who voted to protect conspiracy theorist/bigot Marjorie Taylor Greene’s committee assignments: 199;
The number of House Republicans who voted against impeachment: 197;
And then Saturday’s vote. Overall the pro-Trump GOP vote (in the House and Senate): 240-17.
He wrote that it's "Trump's party. But worse. Over the last five years, Republicans have shown willingness to accept-- or least ignore-- lies, racism, and xenophobia. But now it is a party that is also willing to acquiesce to sedition, violence, extremism, and anti-democratic authoritarianism."
The state Republican parties have begun censuring the senators who voted for conviction over the weekend. Louisiana moved first, followed by North Carolina. Toomey hasn't been censured by the Pennsylvania GOP yet but the county committee censures have started rolling in. Even the Maine GOP is threatening to censure Susan Collins. Maine GOP Chair Demi Kouzounas told party members in a Saturday email that "many of you are upset after what happened today as are we [and] to be prepared for an emergency state committee meeting in the near future" to discuss the Collins matter. In November, Trump lost the state of Maine with 360,737 votes (44.02%), while Collins, on the same ballot, won the state with 417,645 votes (50.98%). Collins lost just 2 of Maine 16 counties. Trump lost 8-- including 3 of the 4 with significant populations, including Kennebec, which he won in 2016.