Trump took Republican Party in a different direction

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To the editor:
In 1955 the well-known political commentator William F. Buckley Jr. described conservatives as "the disciples of truth who defend the moral order." So once upon a time, perhaps the GOP was actually composed of moral, high-minded politicians. But today's Republican Party is no longer a bastion of principled and moral conservatism, nor even a reliable defender of the democratic principles embodied in the Constitution.
In 2016 the GOP sold its soul to the lowest bidder and became a cult of personality under the thumb of Donald Trump. The party abandoned its heritage of moderate conservatism and embraced Trump's corrupt politics and megalomania as its path to power. His foul legacy of lies and treachery has now destroyed the party's credibility and put the final nail in the coffin of Republican "truth and moral order."
Even though Trump grossly violated his oath of office and perpetrated a colossal election fraud on the American people, the Republican Party has refused to acknowledge that he is a vile and remorseless monstrosity, an indisputable danger to our democratic republic. And by clinging to Trump and his perfidy, while censuring its own Republican patriots who stood loyal to the Constitution, the GOP joined him in the gutter and branded itself as a co-conspirator in betraying our democracy. History will not forget the party's complicity in his fraudulent schemes and the resulting spectacle of insurrection he instigated at the Capitol on January 6.
The damage done by Trump's Republican Party has been immense: It has poisoned the well of politics in this nation by polluting our national discourse with a steady stream of false and misleading rhetoric. This polluted rhetoric has debased America's democracy and led to a Pandora's box of popular discontent that has become a breeding ground for reactionary politicians. The outcome of the primary elections has confirmed this dark story of an ailing democracy, and nowhere more so than in New Hampshire.
The modern GOP has fostered a divisive "culture war" in America and engaged in pervasive efforts to suppress voting and delegitimize electoral outcomes. It seeks to invent a bogeyman for every occasion, rather than formulate good policy for the common welfare. It talks of individual freedoms and democratic values, but acts to suppress or distort them to suit its ideology and political ambitions.
The GOP now offers America a stifling, reactionary conservatism under the slick banner of "Make America Great Again" (MAGA). This backward-looking brand of politics has absolutely no relationship to the powerful synergistic forces of democratic freedom, socioeconomic progress and creative individualism that have been the true source of America's greatness.
Furthermore, the ominous attack by Republican politicians on our electoral processes has exposed the weakness of our Constitutional right to vote. We need to modernize the Constitution to strengthen its protections against those right-wing forces that threaten our democratic institutions. If we don't act to secure ironclad voting rights, then the downgrading of America's democracy by Republican politicians and their proxies on the Supreme Court might soon be a done deal.
History has shown us that the transition from democracy to authoritarianism is often an inside job orchestrated by democratically elected officials. And as we have seen in the Oval Office, in Congress and in state governments across the country, even the world's greatest democracy is susceptible to such treachery. This treachery must not go unanswered, unchallenged or unpunished. And whether we do it in the courts of law or at the ballot box, we must bring accountability and well-deserved retribution to those Republican politicians and officials who have conspired to corrupt and diminish our democracy.
So vote to protect our democracy in the upcoming election. Vote to re-establish truth and moral order in the political ranks of American conservatism.
- Ron Sheppe,
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