Port: From Bismarck to Washington, D.C., Trump-era Republicanism is about authoritarianism


MINOT, N.D. — Over lunch today, a Republican friend and I discussed the political realignment at work in America.

Specifically, the way Republicans, who once upon a time stood for ideas like “personal responsibility” and “individual liberty,” who once harbored a healthy skepticism of government authority, now have few compunctions about government power as long as they’re the ones wielding it.

Our conversation was in the context of the book bans — two of them, one only slightly less repugnant than the other — which our priggish prudes in the Legislature have passed and sent to Gov. Doug Burgum’s desk.

If you watched the floor debates around these bills, it was clear that many of the lawmakers supporting them are in the grip of a moral panic. They’ve convinced themselves that our libraries are dens of pornography. That “liberal librarians,” hopped up on the “LGBTQ agenda,” are trying to groom kids like pedophiles.

It’s an epidemic that exists in their heads.

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