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EDITORIALS

Editorial: Republicans not living up to history

The Editorial Advisory Board
President Donald Trump

The Republican Party has an honorable history, dating back to President Abraham Lincoln.

President Dwight Eisenhower was also a Republican, and a Kansas icon to boot. For decades upon decades, the party has stood for fiscal responsibility and a robust national defense. Many Kansans are proud to be members of the political party and share in that history.

Unfortunately, this month we have seen that party crash and burn. Republican officeholders have nearly obliterated their history and achievements through fawning, anti-democratic deference to Donald Trump. GOP lawmakers across the country have abandoned their duty to the country and pledged allegiance not to the flag — but to a failed real estate developer who lost the presidential election by some 6 million legally cast votes.

We can’t ignore what happened in the aftermath of this year’s general election. The vote was not close. There was little to no evidence of fraud, certainly none widespread. Elections officials were clear about who won. News media outlets projected, correctly, that Joe Biden prevailed.

But Trump refused to accept the will of the people.

He cried fraud. He filed lawsuits. He spun wild conspiracy theories. And with few notable exceptions (Sen. Mitt Romeny among them), Republicans wouldn’t stand up to him. They spouted nonsense about legal and illegal votes, and wouldn’t denounce the president’s most objectionable claims.

It took Sen. Jerry Moran three weeks to offer a tepid “every indication” response to Biden’s obvious victory.

We have been hesitant to overstate our opinions during the years that Trump has led this country. But we cannot understate what happened here. The president actively worked to subvert democracy. And many Republicans just stood by and let him try.

This isn’t being a member of a political party. It’s being a member of a personality cult, or a supporter of a would-be fascist.

Republicans knew better, too. They understood that Trump had lost. But many were afraid of incurring his tweeted wrath. And others, a much smaller number, seemed to enjoy the prospect of stealing an election that the opposition party had won.

This is dangerous, this is objectionable, and this cannot continue. If Republicans hope to represent Kansans, or anyone at all in this country, they must commit themselves to respecting the will of the people. They must withdraw from this precipice.

The democratic system is not about ideology. It’s not about any one candidate. It’s about understanding that our country’s systems are in place for a reason. It’s about understanding that someone loses and someone wins in every election.

If Republicans can’t commit to that, our country has come to a very dark place.