After it was revealed that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy turned over key footage of Jan. 6, including sensitive information like camera locations in the Capitol Building, to FOX News Host Tucker Carlson many Americans are questioning the benefit gained by acting in such a reckless manner and the overall goals which 'America First' Republicans are working towards. Some of these self-identified 'America First' officials include Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (GA), Rep. Lauren Boebert (CO), Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL), and Rep. Jim Jordan (OH).
Based off of their attempts at legislation since winning the majority of seats in the House of Representatives, the only identifiable plan is to spite the "woke" institutions and policies present in American society. Changes to infrastructure, antagonizing divide among citizens , and manufacturing doubt towards authority are also on the short list of the group’s efforts to disrupt life as Americans currently know it.
Aside from gaining brownie points with their already fervent support base, what do these Republicans gain by making seemingly unwise decisions on key policy and legislative matters?
The simple answer? Unchecked power. Let’s explore some of the motivations, actions, and rewards to be reaped by Republican leaders who align themselves with the America First sect of the party.
Since the conclusion of his problematic presidency in January 2021, Donald Trump and his associates in Congress have consistently attempted to plunge the nation further into chaos. ‘America First’ is simply the new term for MAGA Republicans in government whose policies and actions are openly in hopes of aiding Trump with his vision for America’s future.
Loyalty is a powerful virtue for Americans , one which has been abused by former President Trump in nearly every capacity since before the conclusion of the 2020 Presidential election.
In 2016, Trump ran his campaign on the message “Make America Great Again”, one which he plans to continue utilizing even towards younger voters. This statement represents an overarching idea of what the U.S. should look like, rather than being based on a set list of policies. As such, when its layers are peeled back the movement seems to only focus on the shifting demands and expectations of the former president rather than bettering the lives of Americans of all backgrounds.
Trump spent most of his campaign being abrasive and critical of both opponents and prior Presidents while also giving assurances to rural families that jobs would return to their local areas. Though these verbal attacks were unconventional and historically unprecedented, the delivery left an impact on a sect of voters who felt that U.S. politics had reached an irreversible stage of corruption.
The MAGA plan essentially sought to return America to its economic glory days during the period of industrialization, which also appealed to many Americans struggling with finances, education, or job security. In addition to his economic plans, Trump capitalized on the grievances of Conservative Americans with social issues like transgender rights, minority representation, etc.
Due to his success among their voting base at the time, Republicans had no choice but to fall in line and begin adjusting to life with the outspoken President and new leader of their party. But once the 2020 election season came around, many of these Republicans who were forced to fall in line for Trump were still blindly advocating for support in his name.
Unlike Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene or Governor Ron DeSantis, the careers of individuals like Ted Cruz were not primarily fueled off the back of Trump’s success, so why continue to support by choice? Because of the undying loyalty displayed for Trump by his supporter base.
We’ve seen a number of instances where supporters of Trump are proudly misled on the nature of certain events or issues due to their blind faith in his word. Belief in alternative COVID treatments, denial of his sexual crimes against women and youth, in addition to conviction over a “rigged” election are only some examples of the loyalty displayed by Trump’s supporters.
This type of faith is one that politicians can only dream for, considering the lack of criticism and opposition they will face regardless of the quality of their Congressional tenure.
The conviction of faith held by Trump supporters was on full display during the attempted coup on January 6, 2021. Supporters flooded the steps and halls of Congress shouting about widespread corruption, demanding that certain representatives pay the consequences for their roles in facilitating the “theft of votes” during the election. Funnily enough, these supporters even left the capital believing that no repercussions would follow their “peaceful protest”.
Prior to the enactment of January 6, Trump and his many associates had been formulating a plan to overturn the election results through his supporters and by hard pressing elected officials to support their efforts. Whether due to manipulation or idealization, some officials actually committed to Trump’s plan and are still in denial to this day about the election being stolen.
Of the nine confirmed officials who supported this plan and sought preemptive blanket pardons from the former president following its successful conclusion, six were lawmakers.
These people include: Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ), Rep. Gaetz, Rep. Taylor-Greene, Rep. Mo Brooks (AL), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX), and Rep. Scott Perry (PA).
Surprisingly, once the insurrection was quelled none of these representatives were punished by law or removed from their seats as repentance for their actions. Instead, they were allowed to continue fueling a false conspiracy against themselves and Trump for months, finally managing to gain control of some sort by getting the majority of seats in the House of Representatives this past fall.
Prior to leaving office, Trump also installed three new judges on the Supreme Court whose actions since being appointed have displayed a similar unwavering loyalty as seen in his support base. Due to their and the DOJ’s disinterest to bring any charges at the time, the only form of consequence faced by these representatives was public humiliation from only one side of the political spectrum.
Although he wasn’t installed by Trump, Judge Clarence Thomas has repeatedly refused to recuse himself from cases involving Trump or Jan. 6, even though a clear conflict of interests exists due to his wife, Ginni Thomas.
Before the events of Jan. 6 occurred, Ginni was personally calling representatives and election officials in different swing states asking them to overturn their results in favor of Trump. Neither Judge Thomas nor Ginni have faced any consequences following this, calling into question for many the legitimacy and integrity of today’s Supreme Court.
Sadly, certain policies and rhetorics in American politics today are still purposely being spread in an effort to bolster Trump’s presidential run odds in 2024. Issues like gun rights/abolition, abortion, academic subjects like critical race theory, and the existence of trans individuals have all been scapegoated by Republicans in an effort to garner more votes, and more specifically, long-term votes.
In the name of making a ‘Red Wave’ in America, Republicans have shamelessly denied knowledge of and lied about a number of issues knowing that their existing supporters won’t bother to fact check them. The most infamous example of this is shown in the timeline of George Santos’ career in Congress. After being exposed for lying about his qualifications during his campaign and allowing illegal financial contributions to be added under the table, Republican leadership have not only failed to reprimand Santos, they’ve even EMBRACED him further.
No amount of new information concerning the depths of Santos’ lies have shamed his party into taking action, and Santos seemingly has no qualms with dodging the topic forever either. Neither side cares because they mutually benefit from the relationship. Santos is allowed to remain in Congress for whatever reason he initially sought the seat for, while Republican leaders have a guaranteed vote when chalking up potential supporters for their legislation.
Though some in Congress have condemned the actions of both parties, no consequences have, or likely will, be pursued in a meaningful capacity. House Democrats called for Santos to be removed from his seat following the reveal, but without the majority it will be difficult to garner enough bipartisan support.
Unfortunately, not even calls for further insurrections against the nation are enough to warrant some sort of punishment for Congressional representatives who are ‘America First’.
On February 20, 2023 Rep. Taylor-Greene sent out the following tweets unprovoked:
As of the time of writing, no criticism has been expressed to Taylor-Greene from her peers in Congress nor her fellow ‘America First’ Republicans for her blatantly seditious proposal. Marjorie has continued to spread false rhetoric without regard for truth or what may arise from her lies, which will likely result in another tragedy without consequences. Damage to the U.S. education system and commercial institutions alone could likely constitute a nation-wide emergency, but those kinds of worries bear no concern for Rep. Taylor-Greene nor the 'America First' Republicans as long as their goal of influence is achieved.
By this point, it’s clear to see in retrospect how Trump’s cunningness during his presidency not only landed him a “Get out of jail free card” but also a base of loyal supporters in nearly every facet of American society, who are also afforded the ability to bend the law to their whim. Whether they be in government, entertainment, or education, these people are actively and openly attempting to shape American life in the way that only they see fit while removing the power of those who oppose them openly or ideologically.
Although the curtain has likely closed on bringing justice for those who have violated numerous laws in our nation, it is never too late to work ahead for solutions concerning issues on the horizon. Working with others to fight for a better, more integral nation is crucial in light of the efforts to reverse civil progress made over the centuries.
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