Congressman Jamie Raskin warned Sunday of authoritarian tendencies emerging in the Republican party as it remains controlled largely by former President Donald Trump.
“The GOP under Donald Trump’s thumb is now positioning itself outside of the constitutional order,” said the Maryland Democrat on ABC News’ This Week. “They attack our constitutional processes, and they attack the outcome of our elections.”
Raskin, who serves on the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, added, “The GOP is going to rule, or they’re going to ruin the prospects for political democracy to make progress in any other way, and that’s a fundamentally authoritarian approach.”
Raskin said that some Republicans use a “totalitarian tactic” when “propounding lies” alleging voter fraud despite the lack of evidence to back these claims.
Raskin served as the House’s lead impeachment manager during the second impeachment of Trump and has rejected the ex-president’s claims of widespread election fraud in the 2020 election. He said earlier this month that he refused to let American democracy “go down the tubes.”
Opinions vary on why Trump remains so dominant in the Republican party. FiveThirtyEight CEO Nate Silver noted on ABC News’ This Week Sunday that “usually when presidential candidates lose elections, their parties look for a fresh face in the new cycle. But the evidence pretty clearly shows that Trump is different.”
“Trump has been very successful capturing people through fear, through prejudice, through emotions,” said David Schultz, a politics professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, in a Friday interview with Al Jazeera. “The Republican Party is Trump now. Without Trump, I don’t think there is a Republican Party.”
Trump is “the best-known Republican politician” whether he is liked or not, agreed Matthew Dickinson, a politics professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, also speaking to Al Jazeera. “Most of the Republican establishment [doesn’t] like him—your electoral fortunes are tied to the ability of Donald Trump to mobilize voters on your behalf.”
On Thursday, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a frequent critic of Trump, said that the former president is still favored among Republicans mainly due to GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“Kevin McCarthy is legitimately, single-handedly the reason that Donald Trump is still a force in the party,” Kinzinger told the Associated Press. “That full-hearted embrace, I saw firsthand in members, made them not just scared to take on Trump but in some cases also full-heartedly embrace him.”
Newsweek contacted Trump’s office for comments.