Brian Beutler makes a good point about Republican Rep. Jim “Gym” Jordan’s attempt to become House Speaker (boldface mine):
Trump, and his loyalists like Jordan, don’t accept defeat in any context that offers them a pretense of deniability, they keep pushing and pushing until they claim the power they seek, and when that doesn’t work they lie and plot revenge and overturn the game board.
What makes this somewhat different is that, with all those threats out in the open, directed at people who’ve always surrendered to them, Jordan lost anyhow, every vote tallied in a public roll call. Republicans happen not to like that stuff so much when it’s deployed against them. If it had been a secret ballot, he probably would’ve lost by a much larger margin—and he probably would’ve claimed fraud. Now everyone can see the tactics he and others like him employ, the lies they tell and threats they make to get what they want—and that they can be stopped anyhow. If Jordan withdraws, it will be because of his dirty dealing and bad acting.
And that could be step one in what would be, if we’re lucky, a long and grueling process of deMAGAfication…
We know how their methods work, because we see them at work outside the GOP conference all the time. Republicans threaten to default on the debt unless they get what they want. Then the party leadership and Fox News and various other right-wing influencers get to work creating a mirage of a different kind: Of Republicans who won’t cave, who stand on principle, and on the side of the American peopblah blah blah—and if the libs don’t yield to their demands, the consequences will be their fault. They aim to get inside the heads of mainstream journalists and rank and file Democrats, and cow them into conceding. It often works.
Some asshole with a blog put this a bit more starkly:
But this is actually what Republicans do to Democrats all the time. If Republicans win the vote, then they follow the rules, but when Republicans lose, they take their ball and go home–fuck the rules! While much of the legacy media has become conditioned to ignoring when Republicans do that to Democrats, Republicans are now doing this to themselves. Essentially, there is an anti-caucus: a minority of Republicans have decided that only they have the right to govern, even when the governance in question only involves other Republicans.
The authoritarian impulse always metastasizes.
I don’t expect a Republican Party that has as its base White Christian supremacists to be good on any policy issue of note. But too many of them no longer honor even the basic modus operandi of democracy, even when it comes to themselves. Before the Republican Party can be pulled back from the abyss of their policy batshitloonitarianism, it first must be deMAGAfied. It must stop being a de facto authoritarian party.
Ultimately, that work belongs to Republicans, but Democrats can assist the pro-democracy forces in the Republican Party by not giving into the authoritarians (who are much of the party). Democrats also will need to be firm, and, to their credit, so far they have been.