Political parties are massive social organizations, and as such, there never has been and never will be one that does not attract its share of lawbreakers. By their nature, political parties seek power to attain certain goals, so people who are ambitious to lead or rule over others naturally gravitate to them. Even the noblest politicians must have a certain unscrupulous edge if they are to gain and hold office for any amount of time, which is what gives the whole profession its unsavory reputation at the best of times, which these are not. And then of course we have Lord Acton’s famous aphorism about how power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, a saying that helps explain the transformation of figures like those giants of American twentieth-century politics, Democratic Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and Republican President Richard Nixon, into bywords for corruption. These men seemingly lost sight of any other purpose for the power they wielded except for holding onto it.
But there is a world of difference between the inevitable infiltration of political parties by lawbreakers, and the open embrace of lawbreaking by a political party. This is the position of the MAGA-tized Republican Party, a position it has condemned itself to by bending itself to Trump’s will. Since Trump’s entire “business” career is based on criminal fraud with a whiff of violence, and he carried this mentality into politics, the Republican Party has been forced to defend him against any and all consequences of his crimes. And as was completely foreseeable, this has corrupted the party from top to bottom, so that it celebrates lawbreaking and lawbreakers of all kinds, and invites them to run for office. That explains why the fraud George Santos has been able to brazen out his unmasking, with the full backing of Speaker-is-a-Mouse Kevin McCarthy. It explains how a convicted felon like Solomon Peña was allowed to run as a Republican for the New Mexico state legislature, although his murder plot against multiple Democratic elected officials is still somehow considered an embarrassment by the Party and Trump himself, which are trying frantically to disown him.
More than that, the criminal mindset of the MAGA-tized Republican Party has the most ominous implications for the future of the party and the country, because it has been eagerly taken up as a crucial tool of governance by the party’s most prominent elected officials. Exhibit A is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his so-called “political stunt” of defrauding Venezuelan refugees in Texas into boarding a flight, at the expense of Florida taxpayers, to Martha’s Vineyard. Florida’s state legislature authorized $12 million to transport migrants out of the state, not some other state. There was no bidding on the secretive contract DeSantis or his agents signed with an aviation company, as state law requires. It may even constitute human trafficking. But the governor flaunts this lawbreaking, and it has elevated him to apparent frontrunner status for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination!
If the MAGA-tized Republican Party achieves its goal of unified control of the federal government in 2024, its criminal nature practically guarantees the death of the nation’s small-r republican regime, and its replacement by a “mafia state” at best, or at worst a totalitarian regime wherein “law” is merely a flexible tool for implementing the whims of the powerful and their crackpot ideologies (compare, for example, the concept of “Socialist legality” in the Soviet Union and its spawn). Aspects of both were already adumbrated under Trump; they will see their fullest, evil flower under a second MAGA administration.