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The “cowardly” Republicans strengthen the fringe of the party, anger Paul Krugman

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The “cowardly” Republicans strengthen the fringe of the party, anger Paul Krugman

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Conspiracy theorists who complain about “rigged” elections and label climate change a “hoax” are bad enough. Equally threatening are the “cowardly” Republicans who reinforce the frightening fringe, economist Paul Krugman argued in an opinion piece for the New York Times on Thursday.

“When we talk about the moral descent of the GOP, we tend to focus on the obvious extremists, like the conspiracy theorists who claim that climate change is a hoax and that January 6 was a false flag operation,” he said. writes Krugman.

“But lunatics would not be running the Republican agenda so completely without cowards, Republicans who clearly know better but who reliably swallow their concerns and follow the party line,” he added. “And at this point, the lunatics and cowards are basically the entire elected wing of the party.”

Krugman stressed that this was not a new phenomenon, writing that when they were both competing for the GOP presidential nomination, George HW Bush rejected Ronald Reagan’s claim that the tax cuts would magically pay off as a “voodoo economy”. But Bush returned once he became Reagan’s vice president – like almost all Republicans when Donald Trump presented the same nutcase theory, Krugman noted.

The party’s increasingly far-fetched demands “start with cynicism, spread through disinformation and culminate in capitulation, as Republicans who know the truth decide to acquiesce to the lies,” according to the economist.

Trump and his supporters never had any evidence that Joe Biden’s presidential victory was fraudulent. Yet, Krugman complained, the Wall Street Journal printed a letter from Trump earlier this week in which he repeated his litany of obvious lies, giving him yet another important platform to peddle his lies.

Another Republican talking point – equating COVID vaccines and masks with tyranny – is particularly frightening because it costs lives, he said.

Krugman concluded, “If you want to understand how the GOP has become such a threat to everything America should stand for, cowards are at least as important a factor as madmen.”

Read Krugman’s full essay here.

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