The core principle to which all Republicans must now subscribe has nothing to do with traditional GOP talking points about taxes and small government. Now, there is one overriding litmus test: Do you support the Big Lie? If you don’t, you are a traitor to the party.

The Big Lie, of course, is the paranoid, conspiracy-driven assertion that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump by a nefarious plot driven by Democrats, voting machine makers and a secret cabal of Venezuelan commies and wealthy Jews – and maybe a few space aliens.

All over the country, including in Washington, the state and local apparatus of the Republican Party is in the hands of Trump loyalists, many of whom live on the fringe of reality, subscribing to a variety of loony ideas, from fantastical QAnon conspiracies to the belief that Bill Gates is hiding tracking devices in COVID-19 vaccines. The main thing that separates them from the mob that invaded the US. Capitol is their location on Jan. 6; they did not go to Trump’s big White House rally and subsequently engage in mayhem, but they share with that mob the belief in the Big Lie.

At a GOP event in Utah last weekend, Sen. Mitt Romney was jeered by the crowd because of his vote to impeach Trump. Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney may lose her leadership position in the House GOP caucus because she refuses to stop saying Joe Biden won the presidency in a fair election. In this state, two Republican members of Congress, Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse, have been condemned for their pro-impeachment votes by GOP officials and activists.

The appalling reality is that the Republican Party has become a cult of personality. Trump may have lost, but Trumpism is triumphant in the GOP.  

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