At all levels the Republican Party has become a coven of crazy people and those motivated by hatred of others - and the list of who is "other" is very, very long. By GOP standards, only far right white Christians are not other. The result is the increasing lunacy that we see in GOP candidates, with Donald Trump being only the most visible tip of the iceberg. Years ago, these lunatics would not have been welcomed in the party, but once the Christofascists were welcomed in, the flood gates of insanity were cast wide open. A piece in the Richmond Times Dispatch - one of the most reactionary newspapers in Virginia - decries what is now the GOP norm. Here are column excerpts:
On Friday, retired Gen. Wesley Clark suggested people who are “disloyal to the United States” should be put in WWII-style internment camps. He meant Islamist radicals, not Confederate flag-wavers. Either way, locking people up because they “have an ideology,” as Clark put it, is disloyal to the Bill of Rights — so the first person to go into any Disloyalty Camp should be Clark himself.
Clark once ran briefly for president as a Democrat, but his comments suggest he might be more comfortable in today’s GOP . . . . [Donald] Trump is doing very well among the Republican rank and file, thanks to his tough-guy bluster. A lot of the base sees him as a teller of hard truths other people do not want to face: Illegal immigrants are drug pushers and rapists, we still need to find out whether President Obama’s birth certificate is real, and so on.
Many of them [Democrats] like to say Trump is not a problem for the GOP, he is the GOP — and that’s the real problem: Republicans have waded so far into the fever swamps that somebody like Trump can spout the most lunatic nonsense and still fit right in.
But this is inaccurate. It would be more accurate to say Republicans have waded so far into the fever swamps that all of the candidates can spout the most lunatic nonsense and fit right in.
For instance: The other day Rand Paul, . . . . said he might like to revive NSEERS, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. . . . . a program created after 9/11 that, among other things, “not only singled out Muslims entering the country for extra interrogation at the airport,” but also required Muslim males over 16 to register in person at federal immigration offices. Registration including being photographed and fingerprinted.
[F]orcing people with certain religious backgrounds to register with the government probably sounds good to a lot of folks [in the GOP] — at least so long as you don’t make anyone wear a gold star.
Yet as far as fellow GOP presidential hopefuls Lindsey Graham, Chris Christie and Rick Perry are concerned, Rand Paul is a lily-livered sob sister.
And let’s not forget Ted Cruz . . . Cruz says he is one of Trump’s biggest fans: While conceding Trump is “not always artful,” Cruz says “he is focusing on the enormous problem of illegal immigration and the need to secure the border.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker thinks Americans need protection not only from illegal immigrants but from the legal kind as well: “In terms of legal immigration, how we need to approach that going forward is saying … the next president and the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, protecting American workers and American wages.” Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, is manning the barricades against the homosexual agenda that threatens not just the traditional American family but civilization itself. Rick Santorum is right there with him, warning that America is at a “tipping point.”
[I]f Republicans really want to keep America safe, they will have to widen the net. As the massacre at a black church in Charleston shows, white supremacists can pose quite a threat to security. What’s more, in 2002 the FBI’s section chief for domestic terrorism testified before Congress about the threat of ecoterrorism from environmental and animal-rights activists. Seven years later, the Department of Homeland Security warned about the potential terrorist threat posed by veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This past February, DHS and the FBI warned about the threat posed by right-wing militias, “sovereign citizens” and other anti-government radicals.
Add up all the warnings and it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that there has never been a greater need to keep America safe from current and aspiring Americans.
The GOP, of course, will not cast a wider net because of the fact that white supremacists, right-wing militia members and Christian extremists are all now an integral part of the party base. It's disturbing to see how low a once rational political party has fallen - and the descent into insanity really started when the Christofascists were welcomed with open arms by a cynical party leadership. The cancer has truly metastasized.