Conservative explains the powerful weapon MAGA Republicans have a in their 'authoritarian' playbook: 'Lies'

Conservative explains the powerful weapon MAGA Republicans have a in their 'authoritarian' playbook: 'Lies'

The term “The Big Lie” is typically used by MAGA critics to describe the false, totally debunked claim that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump through widespread voter fraud, and there are many other MAGA distortions as well — from the false claim that the January 6, 2021 insurrection was mostly peaceful to the ludicrous claim that COVID-19 vaccines are more dangerous than COVID-19 itself.

But the fact that these lies are outrageous doesn’t mean that they aren’t effective. In an article published by the conservative website The Bulwark on February 7, journalist/author William Saletan stresses that lies continue to be a powerful weapon in the MAGA movement’s “authoritarian” assault on democracy.

“Americans like to think our country is immune to authoritarianism,” Saletan explains. “We have a culture of freedom, a tradition of elected government, and a Bill of Rights. We’re not like those European countries that fell into fascism. We’d never willingly abandon democracy, liberty, or the rule of law.”

Saletan continues, “But that’s not how authoritarianism would come to America. In fact, it’s not how authoritarianism has come to America. The movement to dismantle our democracy is thriving and growing, even after the failure of the January 6th coup attempt, because it isn’t spreading through overt rejection of our system of government. It’s spreading through lies.”

According to Saletan, the MAGA movement has demonstrated that “you don’t have to renounce any of our nation’s founding principles to betray them.”

“All you have to do is believe lies: that real ballots are fake, that prosecutors are criminals, and that insurrectionists are political prisoners,” Saletan observes. “Once you believe these things, you’re ready to disenfranchise your fellow citizens in the name of democracy. You’re ready to cover up crimes in the name of fighting corruption. You’re ready to liberate coup plotters in the name of justice.”

Saletan continues, “And that’s where we are. Donald Trump and his party have sold these lies to more than 100 million Americans. He has built an army of authoritarian followers who think they’re saving the republic.”

Much of the Republican Party, Saletan laments, is willing to echo Trump’s lies.

“On Friday,” Saletan observes, “the Republican National Committee, following his lead, censured Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for telling the truth about January 6th…. The party has also adopted Trump’s broader strategy of using lies to induce and disguise authoritarian behavior. Instead of arguing that laws should be tightened to make it harder to vote, Republicans pretend that ballots blocked by such laws wouldn’t come from real or legal voters.”

Saletan wraps up his article by warning that Republican lies are effective because so many Americans buy into them.

“We’re in a battle to save democracy, but the battleground isn’t values,” Saletan writes. “It’s facts. We’re up against a party that spreads, condones, excuses, tolerates, and exploits lies — lies about our political process, and lies about an attempt to overthrow our government — in order to make Americans think that the party of authoritarianism is the party of democracy. And we’re in serious danger of losing.”

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