It is a favorite game in politics to take the most extreme member of the other party and then paint the entire party as extreme. However, when many candidates and officials plus the head of the party evidence nuttiness, it is fair to label the party as such.

That’s where the Republican Party is now. At a White House briefing on Wednesday, there was this exchange:

Reporter: QAnon believes you are secretly saving the world from this cult of pedophiles and cannibals. Are you behind that?
President Trump: Is that supposed to be a bad thing? We are actually. We are saving the world.

QAnon believers, Trump says, are just a bunch of people who “love their country.” Actually, the FBI, in May 2019, said the conspiracy theory is a domestic terrorist threat pushing baseless allegations such as Pizzagate: “The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.”

In a written statement, Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, responded to President Trump’s remarks, saying that, “not only is our president refusing to take responsibility for his failed leadership that has cost over 170,000 American lives and tens of millions of jobs — he is again giving voice to violence.” Bates continued: “After calling neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville ‘fine people’ and tear-gassing peaceful protesters following the murder of George Floyd, Donald Trump just sought to legitimize a conspiracy theory that the FBI has identified as a domestic terrorism threat.” But you’ll hear no objections from Republicans.

Also on Wednesday, former Florida governor Jeb Bush tweeted that, “nut jobs, racists [and] haters have no place in either Party.” Perhaps he confused the GOP with a mainstream party.

Trump also warmly welcomed Republican primary winner Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. She has been a vocal QAnon devotee and a bigot. (“In a series of videos unearthed just after Greene placed first in the initial June 9 Republican primary, she complains of an ‘Islamic invasion’ into government offices, claims Black and Hispanic men are held back by ‘gangs and dealing drugs,’ and pushes an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that the billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who is Jewish, collaborated with the Nazis.”) Greene will fit right in. QAnon finds a home with no less than 60 current or former Republican congressional candidates.

Laura Loomer, a self-described “proud Islamophobe” got the nomination in Florida’s 21st Congressional District. For her anti-Islam comments, according to the Palm Beach Post, she has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Uber and Lyft. The GOP will take her — enthusiastically!

Let’s not forget Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). She has praised a racism-spewing, far-right figure and a far-right media outlet that peddles conspiracy theories. (“ICYMI — watch my conversation with @JackPosobiec & @OANN. . . . I’m continuing to speak out against cancel culture and taking action to restore law and order in our cities,” she tweeted last month.) A WNBA team co-owner, she also excoriated the league for allowing players to wear a Black Lives Matter insignia on their uniforms.

But you need look no further than Republican senators and House members on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees who have echoed the discredited Russian propaganda that Ukraine has the hacked DNC server and worked to elect Hillary Clinton in 2016. And, of course, Trump will support debunked covid-19 cures (hydroxychloroquine! Try disinfectant!), raise the racist birther charge against vice-presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris and defend Confederate symbols. The president will create bizarre narratives about nonexistent voter fraud. He continues to point to a made-up horde of Mexican immigrants ready to engage in a crime spree.

This is neither the conduct nor the mind-set of a rational, mainstream organization. The party takes its cue from a deeply disturbed and easily bamboozled president who will adopt any theory or embrace any person who likes him — whether it be Greene or Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong Un or QAnon. The only requirement is that praise be lavished upon him. This is deeply unhealthy and dangerous for any democracy, which requires a modicum of good faith and adherence to reality.

Republicans often turn a blind eye (Didn’t see the tweet!) toward Trump’s racist and misogynistic outbursts. Those who do know better go along with the craziness hoping to be rewarded in the post-Trump GOP. In the meantime, the party has devolved into a cesspool of bigotry and mind-numbing conspiracies, with a large dollop of science denial. When a party wants to honor at its convention the couple who waved weapons at peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters, you have to conclude that it’s not only lost touch with Americans but also with decency and reality.

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