It’s simple. Don’t allow anyone to make it unnecessarily complex. It is just this: for some time, the Republican Party has been losing members. There are more registered independents (41 percent) than Democrats and more registered Democrats (31 percent) than Republicans. Today, registered Republicans are about 25 percent of the electorate.

Sadly, the media confuses the public by reporting as if America has a two-party system with two equal parties. That has not been true for some time. The media reports that 80 percent of Republicans favor something as if that were a meaningful number. Eighty percent of 25 percent is 20 percent of registered voters.

In a form of government where majority rules, Republicans cannot win another election. Wait; there are 27 Republican governors, and 50 Republican senators. Republicans appear to win about half the time. Yes, but Republicans cannot win fairly or by traditional means.

No one agrees with that more than the Republican Party. Since the 1970s, they dedicated themselves to gerrymandering, voter suppression, and packing the courts. For 50 years, they did not seek the majority, they sought alternative routes to victory. It culminated in this year’s attempt to count the votes themselves.

There are those who are not served by democracy. Notwithstanding Churchill, some prefer another form of government. For some time, to some Republicans, oligarchy seemed preferable.

Another disservice of the media is to tell you Republicans are afraid of, or enthralled by, Trump. Really? Trump brought no political philosophy, no platform, no policies. Trump did not change the trajectory of the Republican Party one wit. He did teach by example two valuable lessons: One: Republicans can say the secret part out loud. Two: They can articulate their hidden agenda because there are strategies to avoid consequences.

In the 15th century, Trumpery meant deceit/fraud. In the 16th century, Trumpery referred to an object of little or no value. In the 19th century, Trumpery meant showy but worthless. Today, Trumpery is grift.

A political observer said, “Trump is none of the things people call him. He is a grifter. The grift — separating you from your money — is all. That is why he ran for president; that is why he started the big lie. By Jan. 6, he raised $240,000,000 on the big lie.”

Ninety years ago, in Nazi Germany, the big lie was eerily similar. It was that Germany won World War I. It was more efficacious than Trump’s. Trump’s big lie about winning the 2020 election only engaged a fringe of militia. Hitler’s lie immediately drew the support of the military. German generals preferred to blame a conspiracy negating Germany’s win to rationalizing, explaining, and apologizing for Germany’s loss.

Trump didn’t care what the lie did to the country or who might use it as long as it lined his pockets. In fact, the only thing that saved democracy was that Trump was equal parts autocratic and ineffective — good grifter and talentless statesman. Yet, to some, Trump is ever useful.

Why would both movements 90 years apart in two different countries begin with a lie? Easy. Once attained, people do not willingly and knowingly give up their rights. Granted any measure of freedom, they must be duped into relinquishing it.

The attempts to snuff out freedom will be nonstop and intensifying. There will be an erosion of rights. There will be escalating consequences for resistance. There will be violence. It will all be justified; it will all seem to be happening within the system. The language will not change just the meaning of the words.

As totalitarianism grows, it will confuse nationalism and patriotism, freedom and license. It will value force over comity, individuality over consensus or communal responsibility. The big lie and subsequent lies will never suppress hatred but always ignite and use it. Those who want power will not ask nicely for votes; they will divide and enrage, bring out any underlying resentments until it seems reasonable to break the windows and leave feces on the floor of the U.S. Capitol — the People’s House.

The lie sets up the lunacy that justifies relinquishing power to the autocrat. Remember what the window-breakers and door-smashers told you on Jan. 6?

“We were invited here. … We wait and take orders only from our president.”

Finally, a form of government will emerge in which the people are told what to do not asked what they think their leaders should do. It is the opposite of democracy. It is a system in which what is illegal and who is guilty are arbitrary. It is the opposite of the rule of law. It is a form of government that values power and strength and glorifies violence.

Therefore, the consequences for disobeying become more severe as a dictatorial government requires more complete subservience.

It is hard to admit being suckered. No matter how hard it is, it is easier than relinquishing freedom and losing democracy. Admit the grift. Ask Trump to please go away now and tell your elected officials to do their jobs — represent the peoples’ best interests not merely their own. Remind them the people will stand shoulder to shoulder with those whose policies they oppose later to protect democracy now. Do it while there is still time.

Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all others.”

Churchill was right.

Carole Owens, a writer and historian, is a regular Eagle contributor.