Sunday, July 12, 2015

The GOP Must Destroy Donald Trump Before He Destroys It

With a new Reuters-Ipsos poll showing Donald trump running neck and neck with Jeb "Jebbie" Bush, the so-called GOP establishment is truly paying the price for having made the GOP a welcome haven for every religious extremist, white supremacist, and general lunatic - all of who seem to be rallying to Donald trump's birtherism, inflammatory anti-immigrant statements and slams of gay marriage (even though he's on his own 3rd marriage).   In the process, all of the hate and poison of the GOP base is being laid bear for the world to see despite continued :big tent bullshit" coming from the lips of those who would seek to do damage control.  Based on the GOP's history, few will speak against Trump and the party will be damaged, and deservedly so.  A piece in Salon looks at why the GOP needs to destroy Trump's candidacy.  Here are excerpts:
Slightly hunched over and surrounded by a forest of “Jeb!” signs and shouting supporters, Jeb Bush was pressed by a reporter about the bigoted, race-baiting comments made by leading GOP candidate, hotel mogul and kitsch peddler Donald Trump.  Jeb, seeming like he did not particularly relish the chance to answer this question, remarked, “I don’t assume that he thinks that every Mexican crossing the border is a rapist.”

Bush was holding back and making excuses.  Surely the Trump stunt, Bush figured, was meant to “inflame and incite and draw attention, which seems to be the organizing principle of his campaign.”  The coiffed king of bad taste did not represent the Republican Party, said Bush.  But is that really true?  Republican Party renegades can always tack to the far right.  It pays to do so.

Trump has been polling amazingly well.  Apparently his comments about drug-smuggling Mexicans, anchor babies, rapists and jobless chiselers have helped him with the crimson-red base of the party.  

Where is the outrage from other GOP candidates?  Some respond to Trump’s bomb throwing with little more than a shrug of the shoulders.  Others express the kind of dissatisfaction a suburbanite might register at crabgrass on the neighbor’s lawn.   

The establishment wing in the GOP has been pandering to, drawing on, and occasionally ignoring the smoke and fire of far-right opportunists, miscreants, racists demagogues in its ranks for decades now.  How the party has responded over the ages sheds some much needed historical light on the Trump debacle.

In the early 1950s President Dwight Eisenhower had his own Trump troubles in the hot mess of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.   . . . . Through it all President Eisenhower refused to take a firm public stand against the rabble-rousing red-baiter. . . . Lucky for the president, the Wisconsin senator finally met his demise. The Senate censured him for his recklessness and utter lack of ethics.  Three years later he died as a result of his raging alcoholism.

Picking up where Tailgunner Joe left off, the anti-communist John Birch Society fought mightily in the early 1960s to get America out of the UN. . . . In 1964, with Birchers running amok in the Cow Palace, many delegates zipped their lips rather than cast aspersions on the party’s far right fringe.  Barry Goldwater, who won the nomination in San Francisco, did little to distance his party from the hordes of treason screamers of the radical right.  Goldwater lost in one of the largest landslides in U.S. history.

Four years later the former Alabama governor and arch segregationist candidate George Wallace fought for the presidency as an ardent culture warrior. Wallace sunk to new depths of populist demagoguery. . . . . Republican candidates, perhaps in awe of Wallace’s tub-thumping, said little against the tiny former Golden Gloves champ.  If anything, other candidates like Richard Nixon were learning important lessons from Wallace’s School of Southern Populism.  The historian Dan Carter argues that Nixon drew skillfully on Wallace to craft a new Southern strategy.

And so it is much the same today, 46 years later.  As long as a large portion of conservative voters cheer with delight at Donald Trump’s grotesque, bigoted rants, the GOP will have to keep tacking to the right, or at least find some way to steal a little of Trump’s wind.  The front-runners  . . . .[will] tread carefully so as to not offend all those voters who see a criminal in every immigrant.

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