We just fear. Fear the Democrats. Fear the future. Fear everything. And it works for an election cycle or two. The problem is it does real damage to this democracy. — Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger
We just fear. Fear the Democrats. Fear the future. Fear everything. And it works for an election cycle or two. The problem is it does real damage to this democracy. — Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger
Adam Kinzinger’s Lonely Mission
Censured by his party and shunned by family members, Mr. Kinzinger, a six-term Illinois congressman, is pressing Republicans to leave Donald Trump behind — and risking his career doing so.

As the Republican Party censures, condemns and seeks to purge leaders who aren’t in lock step with Donald J. Trump, Adam Kinzinger, the six-term Illinois congressman, stands as enemy No. 1 — unwelcome not just in his party but also in his own family, some of whom recently disowned him.

Two days after Mr. Kinzinger called for removing Mr. Trump from office following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, 11 members of his family sent him a handwritten two-page letter, saying he was in cahoots with “the devil’s army” for making a public break with the president.

... A 42-year-old Air National Guard pilot who represents a crescent-shaped district along the Chicago’s suburbs, Mr. Kinzinger is at the forefront of the effort to navigate post-Trump politics. He is betting his political career, professional relationships and kinship with a wing of his sprawling family that his party’s future lies in disavowing Mr. Trump and the conspiracy theories the former president stoked.

... He has taken his case to the national media, becoming a ubiquitous figure on cable television, late-night HBO programming and podcasts. He began a new political action committee with a six-minute video declaring the need to re-format the Republican Party into something resembling an idealized version of George W. Bush’s party — with an emphasis on lower taxes, hawkish defense and social conservatism — without the grievances and conspiracy theories that Mr. Trump and his allies have made central to the party’s identity.

To do so, Mr. Kinzinger said in an interview, requires exposing the fear-based tactics he hopes to eradicate from the party and present an optimistic alternative.

“We just fear,” he said. “Fear the Democrats. Fear the future. Fear everything. And it works for an election cycle or two. The problem is it does real damage to this democracy.”

... “We have a lot of work to do to restore the Republican Party,” he said, “and to turn the tide on the personality politics.”

Mr. Kinzinger now faces the classic challenge for political mavericks aiming to prove their independence: His stubborn and uncompromising nature rankles the very Republicans he is trying to recruit to his mission of remaking the party.


... Mr. Kinzinger said he has little desire to reach out to the loudest critics in his district’s Republican organizations, whom he hasn’t spoken to in years and said hold little sway over voters. The letter-writers in his family, he said, suffer from “brainwashing” from conservative churches that have led them astray.

“I hold nothing against them,’’ he said, “but I have zero desire or feel the need to reach out and repair that. That is 100 percent on them to reach out and repair, and quite honestly, I don’t care if they do or not.”

As to his own future in the party, Mr. Kinzinger said he will know by the end of the summer whether he can remain a Republican for the long term or whether he will be motivated to change his party affiliation if it becomes clear to him that Mr. Trump’s allies have become a permanent majority.

“The party’s sick right now,” he said. “It’s one thing if the party was accepting of different views, but it’s become this massive litmus test on everything. So it’s a possibility down the road, but it’s certainly not my intention, and I’m going to fight like hell to save it first.”
Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/15/us/politics/adam-kinzinger-republicans-trump.html