After Donald Trump fired James Comey, and then had the temerity to admit in an interview that it was, as everyone suspected, to end the Russia inquiry, there's been a lot of talk of a "constitutional crisis. I laugh a bit at this, not because I deny the seriousness of of Trump's action, but because we have been in crisis mode for quite some time.
The first such crisis came last spring when the Republican Senate refused to even consider president Obama's pick for Supreme Court justice, effectively treating him as illegitimate. The second crisis came after the election, when the candidate who lost by millions of votes was allowed to become president. The Supreme Court battle was a case of the Constitution being ignored, the election was a case where the Constitution appeared to be at odds with its intended purposes. And now, of course, we have a crisis where the chief executive is behaving like an autocrat, but his Republican allies are unwilling to provide a check on his power.
At base in all of these cases the issue is that one of our political parties is merely the vehicle for an extremist ideology that will stop at nothing to grab political power by any means necessary. This ideology is also not supported by a majority of Americans, which is why this party suppresses the vote, gerrymanders, harnesses gushers of dark money, and puts its support behind a nationalist demagogue who promises "jobs" while passing all the cuts to taxes and health care that they want.
Anyone who fails to understand the true nature of the Republican party fails to understand the current political reality. Those "objective" journalists who portray it as just another center-right political party are wrong, as are the radicals on the Left who treat them as one side of the neoliberal coin, with the Democrats on the other. It is not fear mongering to say that the Republican party as currently constituted poses a threat to the existence of constitutional democracy in this country, it's the truth. Democrats, radicals, and journalists all need to be acting under this assumption. Our three constitutional crises in the past year ought to be proof enough.