Dana Milbank is a columnist for the Washington Post. He is one of my favorites. (I also adore Valerie Strauss and Jennifer Rubin, and of course, Glenn Kessler, the fact-checker). I’m sorry that his many links did not transfer when I copied and pasted. Subscribe to the Post.

He writes:

There were even more vermin than usual in Washington this week. A rabid fox at the Capitol bit at least nine people, including Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.). And Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison attacked Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) with an insult most entomological.

After Cotton implied that Supreme Court Justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson is a Nazi sympathizer, Harrison referred to Cotton as a “little maggot-infested man” on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Fake news! Cotton may go low, but, at 6-foot-5, he is not little. Also, maggots typically feed on dead things, and Cotton, though stiff, is not currently deceased. The man likes to carry on, but he is not carrion.

Harrison went on to censure the Republican Party as a whole: “It is a party built on fraud, fear and fascism.” Interestingly, a statement from the Republican National Committee taking offense at the “maggot-infested” charge did not dispute the “fraud, fear and fascism” formulation. As your self-appointed fact-checker, I have therefore examined the merits of the accusation.


Sixteen months after President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud failed in some 60 court cases, we have finally found evidence of potential voter fraud. Trump’s White House staff chief, Mark Meadows, reportedly registered to vote in 2020 using the address of a mobile home he never lived in. And former Trump State Department official Matt Mowers, a current congressional candidate, voted twice during the 2016 primaries, in New Hampshire and New Jersey.

The “big lie” about a rigged election, accepted by two-thirds of Republican voters, has spawned new frauds about the dangers of coronavirus vaccines (leading to sharply higher death rates in heavily Republican counties) and the promise, touted by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) of the deworming drug ivermectin to treat covid-19; an exhaustive new study finds the drug useless.

Then there are the little everyday frauds. Just days after Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) told the world that his colleagues engage in coke-fueled orgies, Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) declared at a Trump rally that it was Trump who “caught Osama bin Laden,” record-low unemployment is at a “40-year high” and there weren’t “any wars” during Trump’s presidency. Never mind Syria and Afghanistan.


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said people like Ketanji Brown Jackson become public defenders because “their heart is with the murderers.” Cotton said Justice Robert H. Jackson “left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremberg and prosecute the case against the Nazis. This Judge Jackson might have gone there to defend them.”

Republican senators used the Jackson confirmation to stir fear of minorities and vulnerable groups with manufactured crises about transgender athletes (of the 200,000 participants in women’s collegiate sports, perhaps 50 are transgender) and “critical race theory” (which isn’t taught in public schools).

Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance released an ad saying “Biden’s open border is killing Ohioans, with more illegal drugs and more Democrat voters pouring into this country.”

The Florida legislature approved an “election crimes” police force for Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), with the potential to intimidate voters, while various GOP-led states move forward with new provisions providing residents with incentives to inform on each other.

The newly-revealed text messages of Justice Clarence Thomas’s activist wife, Ginni, show her sharing with the Trump White House her “hope” that the “Biden crime family” as well as elected officials, bureaucrats and journalists would be taken to “barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition.”
Is the GOP “a party built on fraud, fear and fascism”? Certainly, not all Republicans think this way. But too many others are subverting democracy, cavorting with white nationalists, spreading racist fears and fantasizing about extrajudicial punishment for political opponents and the media. For them, the jackboot fits