Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, is exploring the bizarre phenomenon of Republican lawmakers’ distorted reality about what really happened on Jan. 6. In an op-ed published by The Guardian, Reich noted how Republicans appear to have “divorced from reality” as he weighed in on the first series of hearings.
“The Republican party is becoming ever more divorced from reality, and Trump’s attempted coup continues unabated,” Reich wrote. “The first four hearings of the committee have demolished the myths of voter fraud repeated incessantly by Trump.”
He went on to explain how far he sees Republicans taking “the big lie,” the election smear campaign perpetrated by former President Donald Trump in an effort to erode the integrity of the 2020 presidential election. “The lie is now so deeply entrenched in the Republican party that it has become a central tenet of Republican dogma,” he wrote. “It is now the vehicle by which Republican candidates signal their fealty both to Trump and to a broad range of grievances (some imaginary, some derived from the so-called ‘culture wars’) that now constitute the Republican brand.”
Reich also noted that the “big lie” isn’t just taking its toll on the House Select Committee’s investigation but also on midterm elections. While many Americans would like to think that Trump’s “big lie” is a thing of the past, Reich detailed how the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections says otherwise.
“So far, at least 108 Republican candidates who embrace the big lie have won their nominations or advanced to runoffs, and there is no sign that the hearings have reduced the intensity of their demagoguery,” he explained.
“Republican voters have chosen eight big liers for the US Senate, 86 for the House, five for governor, four for state attorney general, and one for secretary of state.”
He added, “These big lie candidates feel no pressure to respond to the findings of the committee because their districts or states already lean Republican, and most voters in them have dismissed or aren’t paying attention to the committee hearings.”
So, how could this issue be fixed? According to Reich, it’s a matter of “cognitive dissonance,” something that likely will not be easy to achieve as far-right news sources have only further amplified the “big lie.”
“The cognitive dissonance required to shift from believing Trump’s big lie to accepting the reality of what occurred is simply too formidable. In addition, few of their sources of news – Fox News, rightwing radio, and rightwing social media – have questioned the big lie.”