Here’s the Republican platform for 2022.
1) Arrest the members of the Jan. 6 Committee for daring to investigate the insurrection
From Steve Bannon to Newt Gingrich to Matt Gaetz to Marjorie Taylor Greene, the right-wing news, rallies, and radio have been full of this idea. Gingrich has been on Fox promising “jail time” for those on the committee. Gaetz has “enthusiastically endorsed” that suggestion. Both Gaetz and Greene have been on Bannon’s podcast to not just redirect the blame for Jan. 6 violence toward Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Capitol Police, but to call for investigations of anyone who dared to help the Jan. 6 investigation.
This call has been picked up by Republican candidates, who are openly running on promises to turn the tables on the Jan. 6 select committee by making them the target of prosecution if Republicans are returned to power.
2) Conduct more investigations of Hillary Clinton
The reaction to the latest document from John Durham—an empty document that contains not a single new charge and no information that hasn’t been available for years—was still enough to trigger a huge furor on the right, including a call from Donald Trump that people should be executed “in stronger times.” Trump wasn’t alone in celebrating the idea that members of the Clinton campaign should die. Jim Jordan has already performed his expected role of echoing the leader, not just saying that Trump was right about Clinton’s team “spying on him,” but saying that in the past these crimes “would have been punishable by death.” Which is only slightly more amazing because Durham didn’t even allege any crimes.
Should Republicans regain the House, expect the dozen hearings on Benghazi to look like a warmup. Every committee will be a race to find a more ludicrous, more extreme reason that Hillary Clinton needs to be presented with 16 subpoenas this week. Vengeance on Clinton for what is perceived as her role in connecting Trump to Russia is high on Trump’s list. That makes it high on the list of GOP candidates.
3) Ditch democracy
It’s not enough to prosecute the people who dared to look into the events leading up to Jan. 6. It’s not enough to go back and attack Hillary Clinton for things her campaign didn’t do in 2016. The biggest item on the Republican agenda for 2022 is making sure they never have to have anything that ever looks like a platform in the future. Simply get rid of democracy, and all those trappings of democracy can follow swiftly behind—and really, aren’t they just so tiresome? Remember, America, you never have to hear about tedious things like election fraud and political platforms again if you just give up that worn-out democracy.
While a handful of Republicans in D.C. may be reluctant to sign on to the idea that Jan. 6 isn’t “legitimate public discourse,” that’s not where the party infrastructure, the base, or the right-wing media is at all. The idea that Jan. 6 is anything to be ashamed of is past passé—Jan. 6 is something to be proud of.
There are candidates at every level running on the idea that Trump “won” in 2020, that Jan. 6 was a conspiracy to stop Trump, and that Pelosi murdered Republicans in a scheme to make Republicans look bad.
2022 Republican candidates see nothing wrong with the scheme to create slates of false electors, agree that the party in power can set the outcome of elections so long as that party is Republicans, and that by controlling the machinery of elections, they are free to quietly, efficiently suppress democracy anytime they want.
Oh, and they are also effectively suppressing voting. Really, it’s a blitz on democracy.
Special Bonus: Destroying public education
This isn’t so much a plan for the future as it is a plan for getting people to the polls. Republicans have raised up a wave of fury in which decent, hard-working, and most of all white American parents are being told that their children are being taught actual history, asked to think for themselves, and being faced with suggestions that race, gender, or sexual orientation doesn’t define a person’s worth. They’ve not only managed to pass hundreds of bills protecting their little Jane and Johnny from every hearing that the world exists only because white Christians made it, they’ve also convinced roughly 100 screaming anti-vaxx, anti-book, anti-diversity Republicans to run for every school board set in America, and they’ve put together a set of rules and requirements that makes public education absolutely impossible.
This is a win, win, win all around. Because what good is it to destroy democracy if you don’t also get to rewrite history and warm yourself around stacks of burning books?
Republicans have an agenda. It doesn’t have anything that looks like a normal agenda with plans for the economy, or a single idea for making lives better. Don’t worry: They’ll get around to the small stuff after they get rid of all the big stuff.