For years I have been condemning the Republican Party leadership for allowing the party to be taken over by religious fanatics and racists who were welcomed into the party with open arms originally as the so-called GOP establishment looked solely at short term electoral success and utterly ignored the Frankenstein monster it was creating. That Frankenstein monster is now fully formed in the person of Donald Trump and those in the party base who cheer on his most outrageous and bigoted rhetoric. No doubt the leadership of ISIS sees Trump as a gift from Allah that can be used endlessly for promoting the propaganda line that America seeks to wage war against Islam and all Muslims. Back here in America, the GOP finds itself descending into increasing chaos. A piece in Fredericksburg.com looks at this chaos. Here are highlights:
Donald Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States is shoving the Republican Party to the edge of chaos, abruptly pitting GOP leaders against their own presidential front-runner and jeopardizing the party’s longtime drive to attract minorities.
Unbowed, Trump fired a searing warning Tuesday via Twitter to fellow Republicans carping about his proposal. A majority of his supporters, he tweeted, “would vote for me if I departed the GOP & ran as an independent.”
The crossfire between Trump and frustrated Republicans became a furious blur the day after the billionaire businessman announced his plan.
Party elders, meanwhile, warned that too much criticism might indeed push him to abandon the GOP and launch a third-party bid that could hand the presidential election to the Democrats.
And Republicans up for re-election in the Senate grew terse in the Capitol hallways as they were asked again and again to respond to Trump’s remarks—a glimpse of their political futures if the former reality show star captures the GOP nomination.
“This is not conservatism,” declared House Speaker Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s top elected leader. “What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for. And more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.”
In New Hampshire, Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey called Trump’s idea “abhorrent.” At the same time, he reminded Trump of his Republican loyalty pledge, saying, “I know him to be a man of his word.”
And in Mississippi, RNC member Henry Barbour said Trump’s comments “aren’t worthy of someone who wants to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.” He said Trump would be a “disaster politically for the GOP if he won the nomination.” “It’s embarrassing at best,” Barbour said of Trump’s impact on his party.
Barbour helped author the Republican National Committee’s “Growth and Opportunity Project” after a painful 2012 presidential election that forced party leaders to re-evaluate their strategy in presidential contests to reflect the nation’s demographic shifts. Among other things, the report cited an urgent need for GOP leaders to adopt an inclusive and welcoming tone on issues such as immigration.
While experts widely consider his proposal unconstitutional, Trump’s continued popularity underscores the deep divide between Republican leaders and the party’s conservative base, which holds outsized influence in the presidential nomination process.
Indeed, Trump’s plan was cheered during a South Carolina rally Monday evening, and vocal supporters across the country defended the Muslim ban as necessary for national security. Polling suggests the sentiment is likely fueled by sharp strain of xenophobia: A new AP-GfK poll found 8 in 10 Republicans think there are too many immigrants coming from the Middle East.
Candidly, I don't know how this self-created monster can be killed without killing the GOP in the process. The lesson is to never allow religious extremists and white supremacists to become the core of your party base.