Perhaps I sound like a broken record, but it needs to be said repeatedly that Donald Trump is no fluke or anomaly in the Republican Party. His brand of bigotry and callousness towards the less fortunate is now main stream in the GOP and a direct result of party leadership decisions over the last 20 plus years, including the decision to allow the Christofascists (including those who masquerade under the Tea Party label) to infiltrate the party in the quest for short term electoral victories. Now, the resulting Frankenstein monster seems impossible to kill. An op-ed in the New York Times stresses this reality. Here are highlights:
The adults patrolling the playpen of Republican politics are appalled that we’ve become a society where it’s O.K. to make fun of veterans, to call anyone who isn’t rich a loser, to cast an entire group of newly arrived strivers as rapists and shiftless criminals.Somewhere, we crossed a line . . . from respecting a base set of facts to a trumpeting of willful ignorance.Yes, how did we get to a point where up to one-fourth of the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan now aligns itself with Donald Trump? Those same political marshals would have us believe he’s a “demagogue,” a “jackass,” a “cancer.”But Trump is the brand, to a sizable degree. And the crazies have long flourished in the Republican media wing, where any amount of gaseous buffoonery goes unchallenged.And now that the party can’t control him, Trump threatens to destroy its chances if he doesn’t get his way, running as an independent with unlimited wealth — a political suicide bomb.Trump is a byproduct of all the toxic elements Republicans have thrown into their brew over the last decade or so — from birtherism to race-based hatred of immigrants, from nihilists who shut down government to elected officials who shout “You lie!” at their commander in chief.It was fine when all this crossing-of-the-line was directed at President Obama or other Democrats. But now that the ugliness is intramural, Trump has forced party leaders to decry something they have not only tolerated, but encouraged.Consider Trump’s swipe against McCain’s military service, and by extension all veterans who have been involved in the fog of combat. . . . The Republican National Committee was quick to lay down a similar principle, saying, “There is no place in our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”No place except a presidential campaign, that being the 2004 attempt to destroy the honorable Vietnam service of candidate John Kerry. Where was Bush’s “respect and admiration” when his brother was benefiting from a multimillion-dollar smear of a Navy veteran with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart?How can he get away with bashing combat veterans? Simple: The party he now wants to represent wrote the playbook on it.The racism toward Mexicans that Trump has stirred up has been swooshing around the basement of the Republican Party for some time. Representative Steve King of Iowa did Trump one better in 2013 when he said undocumented immigrants had “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”But that toxic mix has been just the tonic for his party for years, including Perry’s suggestion that Texas might have to secede. President Obama was barely into his first months in office when Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted “You lie!” at him in a joint session of Congress. For hurling that insult, Wilson was widely praised in conservative media circles.Trump also stoked the humiliating lie about President Obama’s citizenship. He began that crusade, he claimed, because so many Republicans still believe it, and have encouraged him to keep it alive.All of this overshadowed the entry into the race of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a sensible conservative who could beat Hillary Clinton. But he won’t get any traction until Republicans destroy Donald Trump and the vulgar, nativist element in their party that they nurtured — until it became a monster.
The so-called GOP establishment willing set the stage for the monster that their party has become. Either they exile the extremists and crazies, or the GOP needs to die as a national or even regional party. Today's GOP shows the downside of winning in the short term at any cost. Yes, I put much blame on the Christofascists, but from my time in the GOP when their infiltration began, the craziness we now see writ large began with them.