The Relationship Between Moral Responsibility and the Republican Party

Eli Diamant ‘22, Guest Writer

In a previous opinion editorial, I argued morality and politics are inherently intertwined. The following is an extension of that premise and relates to the connection between the Republican Party and moral responsibility. It is crucial to characterize political parties in accordance with their moral priorities. It’s time we start saying it like it is: the Republican Party is authoritarian, and it fits almost every necessary criteria to warrant this label. Although authoritarianism is a political label, morals and politics are inherently codependent, as I established in my previous article. When something is incorrectly characterized, it is seen as something that it is not, and this extends to the political world as well. Not calling the Republican Party authoritarian contributes to the further marginalization of the social groups that the Party harms. Now, this is not to say the Democratic Party is perfect, but they care about more than just power, something that Republicans cannot say. Over the years, it has been the Democratic Party that promotes increased social welfare, cheaper education, and taxing big corporations. Republicans run on their supporters’ irrational fear of crime that is rooted in racism, under the facade of “law and order”. By this, they mean the continued oppression of minorities who are marginalized by unjust laws.

While on the topic of labels, it is crucial to call current President Donald Trump what he is: a neo-fascist leader. Fascism is a form of far-right authoritarianism that delegitimizes their opposition and suppresses those who do not support them. We all know how double negatives work; Trump claims to be an anti-anti-fascist, meaning he is in fact fascist (his rallies and twitter feed).. An authoritarian party does not care about accountability or the consequences of their actions. This allows for an immoral person, such as Trump, to gain power simply because he is popular. Proof of the lack of moral responsibility of the Republican Party is that Republican elected officials did not intervene in Trump’s rise to power. Authoritarian parties feel no shame or pity. 230,000 dead, civil unrest for months on end, and yet Donald Trump received 3% more votes in 2020 than he did in 2016 (New York Times). The Republican Party, both elected officials and those who support them, demonstrate no shame, no accountability, and no pity.

For the most part, members of the party establishment have not denounced Trump’s immoral or authoritarian political actions, such as separating children from their parents at the border or rejecting the results of a democratic election. Attorney General Barr, a devout Republican himself, enabled this authoritarian leadership by letting Trump off the hook for his many crimes before and during his presidency. Barr ordered the violence on peaceful protesters outside the White House and then lied, saying that the protests were violent (CNN). This demonstrates abuse of power and the desire he had to please his almighty leader. Sucking up to authority for the simple fact that they’re the authority is morally irresponsible and an ideal that the Republican Party has promoted for decades. They want the power in the hands of a few. They want an oligarchy, not a democracy. They may not say it with their words, but their actions speak in complete sentences, much unlike the past two Republican presidents. 

The only way an immoral, fascist leader can come to power is through an authoritarian party, a party that does not care about truth or morals, solely power. This is not a recent phenomenon and one of the main reasons Trump ran as a Republican is because he fully understood that the Democratic Party would not accept a candidate like him, despite him identifying as a Democrat in the past. The authoritarianism of Republicans dates back to the 40s, when the party attempted to halt FDR’s attempts at relieving the depression with his New Deal programs. It has never been about working together to create a better America; it has always been about how they can have more power than others. Ronald Reagan is considered the Republican cream of the crop, yet his trickle down economics and war on drugs prove that cheap ploys for power and money were his main motivation.

“You should be able to disagree about politics and still be friends,” is a frequent claim made by people who complain about the current political divide. The problem is that this is seen as a political difference, when in fact it should be thought of as a moral difference. Differences in morality, which is what our political differences now represent, are valid excuses to cut off Trump-supporting family members or friends. Human rights and welfare are social and moral issues before they enter the political world. Differing ideologies on these subjects are inherently differences in moral character. Support of an authoritarian party says a lot about your moral character. In due time, everyone who associated and supported the Republican Party during the Trump Presidency will be on the wrong side of history. And you don’t need to take my word for it—take history’s. Supporting a fascist, white supremacist leader of an authoritarian party here in the U.S. will not be seen favorably in the future. After all, how many people do you know that claim that Mussolini was a good political and moral leader?