(Update: Many thanks again to Batocchio for adding me to Crooks&Liars' Mike's Blog Round Up! As always, you're invited to leave a comment and visit the rest of the blog. Today (Wed. May 12) is looking like it's going to be an insane day...)
So the Republican downward spiral seems to be gaining speed. Via Zach Beauchamp at Vox:
Remaining in the GOP’s good graces requires that elected officials either actively embrace lies about 2020 or, at very least, refuse to condemn them. As a result, 2020 conspiracy theories are exerting a dominant influence on the party — shaping both legislation and the base’s worldview...
From top to bottom, the GOP has been conquered by the Big Lie (note: trump claiming the 2020 results were stolen and that he won both the Popular Vote and the Electoral College). Much as North Korean state press proclaims that Kim Jong Il invented the hamburger, Republicans must now proclaim that was something fishy about Joe Biden’s victory...
Trump’s pronouncements, endorsed and spread by a number of prominent Republicans, radicalize the base — undermining faith in democracy itself. Republicans inclined to challenge this view realize they’re out of step with the party and mostly stay quiet; those that do speak up publicly, like Cheney or Raffensperger, get marginalized or stripped of their power. This weakens the constituency to challenge any future lies from Trump and other like-minded Republicans.
It’s a one-way ratchet, where a faction of the GOP elite led by Trump pushes the party further and further down an anti-democratic road. And there’s no obvious way to stop it...
What is happening now is that the Republican Party and all of its apparatus - not just the elected officials but the party handlers and above all their media punditry allies at Fox Not-News and elsewhere - are stuck defending an incredibly Big yet easily-disprovable Lie.
They got stuck partly because they got stuck with a Big Lying Bullshitter in trump placing himself at the head of their table. trump came in lying on Day One, proclaiming himself the most popular and most beloved even at the emptiest Inauguration in memory, and forced not only his underlings to shill that lie but got the rest of the GOP to either buy in or stay silent (which re-enforced the lie's power).
I said it before: Once you become trump's Bitch you will ALWAYS be trump's Bitch. Once he gets you lying for him to prove your worth, he will make you lie even more with even flimsier bullshit until your reputation is worthless.
But this isn't entirely trump's fault the Republican Party has caught itself trapped defending an indefensible Big Lie.
The Republicans are stuck with the Big Lie because it happens to fit this One Truth:
The Republican Party cannot and will not share power with a Democratic Party they view as un-American and thus illegitimate.
Somewhere back in time - you can argue happening between the rise of the conservative Southern Strategy in the late 1960s or the rise of Saint Ronnie in the 1980s or the corruption of Newt's Contract On America in the 1990s - the Republican Party bought into the idea that only they were true God-fearing God-chosen Gun-worshiping patriots. (Letting the Far Right Christian forces take control of the Party had a lot to do with that mindset winning out)
The ongoing slander of accusing liberal Democrats of being Socialists or Communists or both from the 1940s grew like a cancer into the belief - even as Socialism faded and Communism collapsed in the 1990s - that Democrats are destructive and anti-American. It doesn't help that a lot of liberalism brought Blacks and Jews (and slowly among more Women) in large numbers into the Democratic ranks to where the Republican paranoia fell even more into racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism.
All of that fuels the fear and anger and paranoia of not only the Republican voting base but also a Republican leadership that has driven out any moderating voices and replaced them with more rabid and aggressive haters. It's gotten harder and harder for the GOP to even reconsider its world-view against Democrats because it keeps adding more members to their ranks who will never change their hatred of the Dreaded
This Republican Truth - Democrats Should Never Hold Power That Rightfully Belongs To Us - fits easily into trump's Big Lie - Democrats Stole My God-Given Rightful Power - and now those two parts have fused into one.
But the Republicans have a problem. Where their One Truth was merely a world-view that did not expose itself to self-destructive implosion (Republicans could keep believing it and still function rationally in polite society), the Big Lie is a direct attack on the Real World that sooner rather than later is going to hit the Brick Wall of Unbreakable Facts. The Big Lie compels trump's believers into direct action - SEE the January 6th Insurrection - and these actions have legal consequences where the Big Lie has not and cannot prevail.
The Republicans are betting on their Big Lie carrying them forward into the future. But it's a Big Lie stuck in the past of a failed 2020 election, pushed constantly by a Big Liar in trump who cannot avoid his impending fate either in civil or criminal courts.
The Republicans' One Truth has become their Big Lie.
It's just a question now of when they pay for that lie, because it's too big to avoid.