Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois will not be returning to Congress next year, having become one of the many casualties of the GOP civil war. However, Kinzinger, a dyed-in-the-wool conservative by virtually all definitions, will not be going down without a fight. He has appeared on numerous programs over the past couple of years, slamming Donald Trump and the MAGA brand of fascism Trump and some of his fellow GOP officials represent, as well as current Republican “leadership” and their impotence in the face of the very real threat to our democracy represented by Trump’s Big Lie.
On Sunday, Rep. Kinzinger went on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, where he talked about the Republican Party’s leadership and also about how far gone GOP candidates are, in his estimation. Kinzinger said he believes that the historic nature of his political party’s corruptions will lead to historically poor midterm results. When asked by Todd what House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could or would do to salvage the upcoming elections, Kinzinger made it clear he had next to no faith in what the GOP calls “leadership.”
“Kevin McCarthy isn’t leading. He is asking ‘What does Marjorie Taylor Greene want me to do?’ Mitch McConnell is trying to save the Senate,” Kinzinger said. “We have no leaders, and no wonder our base believes everything Donald Trump says.” Kinzinger isn’t 100% right, of course. The GOP created this problem in various ways. They opened up the space for an old-school fascist to take control of a dissatisfied Republican base.
Todd then asked about statements that fellow exile Rep. Liz Cheney has made about her willingness to support Democratic candidates in races where the Republican opposition is so extreme it would be unconscionable not to. Kinzinger was pretty clear about his criteria for what kind of Republican candidate he would support, saying, “If you have Republicans that are running against even left-wing Democrats that believe in democracy and believe in voting, that person should be elected over somebody who would overthrow the will of the people and, ultimately, destroy this country.”
That’s a low bar, but it is an absolutely important line in the sand. One should always support the person who believes in the concept of a democracy over a person who would like to create an authoritarian minority. Kinzinger goes on to do a solid job of simply explaining how and why holding the line on democracy, regardless of political party affiliation, is essential. “This country cannot survive outside of democracy,” he said. “It will turn into a power struggle between groups of different races, different ethnicities, and different religions[…] Take that away, the country is a mess. Republicans that are for that have no place in office. I don’t care what their policy position on taxes are.”
Trump and his followers proved on Jan. 6 how dangerously close they came to overturning our democracy. Help cancel Republican voter suppression with the power of your pen by clicking here and signing up to volunteer with Vote Forward, writing personalized letters to targeted voters urging them to exercise their right to vote this year.
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