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Republican ‘Cowards’ Are Empowering The Party’s Fringe, Rages Paul Krugman


Republican ‘Cowards’ Are Empowering The Party’s Fringe, Rages Paul Krugman

Conspiracy theorists railing about “rigged” elections and calling climate change a “hoax” are bad enough. Just as threatening are Republican “cowards” who empower the frightening fringe, economist Paul Krugman argued Thursday in an opinion piece for The New York Times.

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

“But the crazies wouldn’t be driving the Republican agenda so completely if it weren’t for the cowards, Republicans who clearly know better but reliably swallow their misgivings and go along with the party line,” he added. “And at this point crazies and cowards essentially make up the party’s entire elected wing.”

Krugman made the point that this isn’t a new phenomenon, writing that when they were both competing for the GOP presidential nomination, George H.W. Bush dismissed Ronald Reagan’s claim that tax cuts would magically pay for themselves as “voodoo economics.” But Bush came around once he became Reagan’s vice president — as did almost all Republicans when Donald Trump pitched the same crackpot theory, Krugman noted.

The party’s increasingly outlandish claims “begin in cynicism, spread through disinformation and culminate in capitulation, as Republicans who know the truth decide to acquiesce in lies,” according to the economist.

Trump and his supporters have 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 prominent platform to peddle his falsehoods.

Another Republican talking point — equating COVID vaccines and masks to tyranny — is particularly chilling because it’s costing lives, he said.

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

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