As decisive as Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election was — Biden won 306 electoral votes and defeated then-President Donald Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote — the Republican Party hasn't become any less Trumpian. That is especially true in individual states, where Republicans have been passing resolutions condemning anyone in the GOP who dares to criticize the former president.
But the wackiest resolution in recent weeks might be one in Oregon that describes the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building as a "false flag" operation — and that resolution, journalist Russell Berman stresses in an article published by The Atlantic this week, shows how Trumpified many Republicans continue to be at the state level.
"In the view of the Oregon Republican Party, what transpired on Jan. 6 was not an insurrection — and the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol were not supporters of Donald Trump," Berman explains. "Rather, the uprising that the world witnessed that day was a 'false flag.' Its aim, according to the party, was to discredit Trump and 'advance the Democrat goal of seizing total power, in a frightening parallel to the February 1933 burning of the German Reichstag.'"
The claim that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building was a "false flag" has even been debunked by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. According to Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, McCarthy told Trump there was zero evidence of Antifa or any other left-wing activists attacking the Capitol — the rioters were clearly "MAGA."
The Oregon GOP's resolution was passed on Jan. 18 in a 12-2 vote. And that resolution, according to Berman, points to a larger debate among Republicans in Oregon and other states — one in which they are debating how Trumpified their party should be.
"Elected Republicans in Oregon were aghast that the state party's leadership would formally embrace an obvious falsehood about the Capitol riot and liken it to the Nazi takeover of Germany," Berman explains. "Days later, Christine Drazan, the Republican leader in the (Oregon) House of Representatives, secured the support of her entire caucus for a statement repudiating the resolution. At the heart of Oregon's intra-party feud is a deepening divide over Trump and whether the former president should remain the de facto leader of the GOP. That fight is playing out in states across the country."
Recently, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey have all been attacked by fellow Republicans at the state level for being insufficiently Trumpian.
Oregon, like California to the south and Washington to the north, is very much a blue state. The last Republican to carry Oregon in a presidential election was Ronald Reagan in 1984. But instead of moving more to the center, Berman points out, the Oregon GOP is moving more to the right.
Tracy Honl, vice chair of the Oregon Republican Party, believes the GOP has become too marginal in her state — and fears that the type of resolution passed on Jan. 18 will only make things worse.
Honl told The Atlantic, "We don't have enough Republicans…. We have to reach out to these others, to find our common ground to win them over. But this resolution — unfortunately, this turns those very people off."