Donald Trump has turned the Republican Party into the greatest threat to American democracy, according to one conservative legal expert.
Attorney Richard North Patterson, a former member of the Council on Foreign Relations, argued in a new column for The Bulwark that a "post-truth" GOP has become "pre-fascist," and explains how Trump's "big lie" on election fraud conditions his followers to accept any action undertaken to keep him in power.
"Granted that the big Republican lie did not equal Hitler's poisonous assertion that perfidious Jews stabbed Germany in the back," Patterson wrote. "But the GOP's lie to its base was, nonetheless, breathtakingly ambitious: that an unfathomable conspiracy involving thousands of state and local officials and judges, many Republicans, had stolen the presidency from Donald Trump — from them."
Patterson explained how decades of GOP politics -- "traditional elites" like Mitch McConnell rebranding campaign bribery as "free speech" while placating their base with white identity politics -- have congealed into disdain toward democratic institutions and a lust for unbridled power.
"Its implications are grave indeed; if most Republicans disbelieve in democracy, they will support its subversion by electoral chicanery — if not worse," he wrote. "The attack on Congress created a beachhead for anti-democratic violence: Polling shows that a full one-third of Trump supporters feel that the mob represented their grievances. More broadly, half of the party's electorate believes that GOP lawmakers did not go far enough in attempting to overturn the election."
That poses a grave threat to the future of American democracy, Patterson warned.
"It is far too little to say that the GOP has lost its way," he wrote. "Quite deliberately, it has become American democracy's most dangerous enemy."