Republicans always whine about 'cancel culture,' but they also love to 'cancel' things that are actually important to our democracy

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Republicans always whine about 'cancel culture,' but they also love to 'cancel' things that are actually important to our democracy
The GOP is doubling down on election lies, culture war, and complaints about cancel culture.Insider
  • Republicans cry "cancel culture" at every opportunity - but rarely does it have to do with politics.
  • They are even cancelling their own for not towing the line about Trump and his election lie.
  • The Republican Party is no longer the home of conservative ideology - it's a nationalist cult of Trump.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

Unable to win elections, and unable to accept their losses, Republicans are doubling down on their two-prong strategy to suppress Black and brown voters and rile up (primarily white) voters on their team.

As for this inspiration, it's not substantive, conservative policy ideas. It's straightforward lies about the election, pushing the January 6 riot at the Capitol under the rug, phony culture war battles, nationalist grievance, and complaints over progressive cancel culture.

Supposed "cancel culture" is a vague term deployed by conservatives when someone faces consequences for an offensive action - it's about things like Dr. Seuss and Space Jam. But the GOP is actually making a new art of canceling their own - and anyone else who stands in their way.

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Cancel this column

The GOP cries "cancel culture" at every opportunity. But the "cancel culture" they're referring to is calling out entertainers, corporate leaders, or companies that step in it. According to Republicans, cancel culture is when retailers stop selling MyPillow because the CEO is a conspiracy theorist, or when your horse is disqualified from the Kentucky Derby because you gave it performance-enhancing drugs.

But none of this has anything to do with our democracy, our fundamental system of governance.

Indeed, the GOP loves to whine about cancel culture - but many in the party are more than willing to engage in their own version of cancelling. And in contrast to letting a few old, low-selling books go out of print, Republicans' version of cancellation is actually harming the country.

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Cancellation replacing democracy

As with many aspects of politics, Republicans act more ruthless than Democrats - and also cause more damage to the country.

Just ask GOP Rep. Liz Cheney about right-wing cancel culture. She stood up to her party and denounced their complicity in Trump's baseless Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen. And for her trouble, Cheney was removed from her leadership position within the House Republican Party. In short, she was cancelled.

The Ohio GOP has censured every Republican (including one of their own representatives) who voted to impeach Donald Trump. Former Republican Senators like Bob Corker and Jeff Flake were all-but-forced into retirement because of their feuds with Trump, who used his cronies to find primary challengers.

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In fact, the entire point of the January 6 coup attempt was to cancel the legally-cast votes for Biden. It was, in a way, the logical conclusion of the Republican's push to cancel anything they don't like.

The GOP version of cancel culture is to strike fear in the heart of anyone straying from the Trump nationalist line and lie.

And of course there are the Black and brown voters whose voices are being systematically canceled in swing states. Republican leaders in Texas, Georgia and Iowa (among 11 others) have passed laws that make it far more difficult to vote. And in some cases, like Arizona, voters are being literally canceled from voter rolls.

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In places like Florida, Republicans are using the power of the state to try to prevent technology companies from deplatforming dangerous people like the former president. These laws are, of course, blatantly unconstitutional, but tearing up the Constitution is no big deal for Republicans who only care about what pleases Donald Trump.

Today's GOP

GOP cancel culture is not just a thing on Twitter or fights over celebrities' pasts. It has much more serious consequences, and it is damaging our democracy.

So when the GOP complains that changing an offensive mascot on a syrup bottle is the end of our country, remember they're canceling their own members and voters who are just trying to make their voices heard.

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The Republican Party is no longer the home of conservative ideology. It's a nationalist cult of one person who was the first president since Hoover to lose the White, Senate, and House.

But that hasn't caused them to reassess. It's caused them to double down. And cancel anyone in their way.

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