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    Thursday, August 18, 2022

    Connecticut Republicans need to denounce Trump ASAP

    So far, the most direct challenge to the still potent Republican king maker Donald Trump that I've heard from Connecticut GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski was an assertion that the ex-president indeed lost the 2020 election.

    Stefanowski and any other Connecticut Republican who has a shred of patriotism, an iota of integrity or hope of ever getting elected here is going to have to loudly repudiate the seditious Trump wing of their party. And hurry up.

    The clock is ticking.

    A begrudging acknowledgement that maybe the big lie is just that is hardly going to cut it anymore.

    A couple of months ago, I think Stefanowski, his GOP gubernatorial nomination then not yet in hand, probably thought refuting Trump's big lie about the election being stolen was a pretty brave stance.

    After all, even moderate Connecticut Republicans don't want to poke the Trump base here too hard.

    But the notion that acknowledging Biden won is somehow a bold statement for a Connecticut Republican is almost quaint today, as we digest testimony from a Trump White House insider about how the former president tried to lead the charge of armed insurrectionists in an attack against Congress, as it certified Biden's win.

    Honestly, Connecticut Republicans, wake up and confront the cancer that is eating away the soul of your party, not just nationally but here in Connecticut. Show some leadership, some guts. Speak up for your country, our Constitution and democracy.

    The arc of the story is now whether the former president will be criminally charged, whether an airtight case can be successfully prosecuted. The smart legal analysis, with this week's shocking revelations about Trump's behavior on Jan. 6, seems to be concluding that it can and should be.

    But even before the big indictments begin to fly, there are plenty of facts on the record for reasonable Connecticut Republicans to use to denounce the substantial Trump-inspired faction of their party that has steered away from democracy toward authoritarianism.

    I'm really tired of hearing moderate Connecticut Republicans say that Trump doesn't matter anymore and the rest of us should move on, as if the dark prince of Mar-a-Lago isn't still running their party and plotting a return to the White House.

    He's still pernicious and potent, and the lazy Connecticut Republicans who want to ignore the danger need to look to brave Republicans like U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney and the Tuesday star witness before her Jan. 6 Committee, Cassidy Hutchinson, who are willing to do something about it.

    You don't have to lead a congressional committee or bravely testify before one. Just speak out, at town committees, campaign events, to the news media, at every chance you get.

    Connecticut Republicans need to stop appeasing Trumpists and start purging them from the party.

    Trump's Supreme Court, including the justices who misled Congress about Roe v. Wade being settled law, is going to backfire on Republicans here in blue Connecticut.

    Already, one justice is publicly promising to repeal other freedoms, besides abortion rights, we assumed to be settled law, such as contraception and gay marriage.

    All those issues are now front and center in Connecticut statewide races, as the state legislature and governor have become the bulwark against a Supreme Court willing to impose its religious dogma on the rest of us.

    That's going to make winning in blue Connecticut an uphill slog for Republicans, whose party created this rights-denying court.

    But if the Connecticut Republicans can't loudly call out the seditious madman who has seized control of their party, an immoral, misogynist, racist bully who wasn't willing to accept the results of a free and honest election, the cornerstone of our democracy, then all is lost for them.

    History is being made here, and there's no better time to get on the right side of it.

    This is the opinion of David Collins.

    d.collins@theday.com 

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