Monday, January 18, 2016

For the Good of the GOP, Trump and Cruz Must Lose

The cynical part of me is taking great enjoyment watching those who view themselves as part of the GOP establishment or among the few sane remnants left in the GOP party base reacting to the twin Frankenstein monsters that have emerged from years of refusing to confront head on the extremists and Christofascists who have become a metastasizing cancer in the GOP.  Years ago when I resigned from the GOP and then later came out as gay, all of my fact-based condemnations of what I saw happening were ignored and I was for a time drawn through the mud by former GOP colleagues.  All of my predictions have come true and belatedly remnants of the old GOP are lashing out and decrying what has happened.  Among them is Michael Gerson, a columnists for the Washington Post who for far too long closed his eyes to what was happening in in the GOP.  I a piece in the Post, he now declares that BOTH Donald Trump and Ted Cruz must lose for the good of the Republican Party. Here are excerpts:
The outbreak of hostilities between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz may not be edifying, but it is clarifying. 

Cruz represents the arrival of tea party ideology at the presidential level. He espouses a “constitutionalism” that would disqualify much of modern government, and a belief that Republican elites are badly, even mainly, at fault for accommodating cultural and economic liberalism. 

Trump has adopted an ethno-nationalism in which the constraints of “political correctness” are lifted to express frankly nativist sentiments: that many illegal immigrants are criminals and rapists who threaten American jobs, and that Muslims are foreign, suspicious and potentially dangerous. 

Cruz is attacking Trump as a “fake conservative” on gun and property rights and as a New York liberal on cultural matters. For his part, Trump defends those portions of the welfare state that benefit the working class, opposing cuts in Social Security and an increase in the retirement age. Cruz is the conservative true believer. Trump is the wrecking ball of political convention. They are not only two strong personalities; they demonstrate two different tendencies within the right. 

Trump’s attacks on Cruz have begun drawing both blood and protests from ideological conservatives.   “Either cut the crap,” warns radio host Mark Levin, . . . Levin and others registered no protest when Trump denigrated women, minorities and the disabled. Attacking a favored conservative is evidently a different matter.

 But this is Trump’s greatest political talent — exploiting weaknesses . . . . The issue is simpler: Why would voters who support the forced expulsion of 11 million undocumented people want a president born north of the border? Trump’s mention of undisclosed Wall Street contributions highlights the contrast between Cruz’s outsider brand and insider résumé. 

But Trump is proposing a massive ideological and moral revision of the Republican Party. Re-created in his image, it would be the anti-immigrant party; the party that blows up the global trading order; the party that undermines the principle of religious liberty; the party that encourages an ethnic basis for American identity and gives strength and momentum to prejudice.  . . . . But they are not acceptable. They are not normal. They are extreme, and obscene and immoral. The Republican nominee — for the sake of his party and his conscience — must draw these boundaries clearly. 

Ted Cruz is . . . .  actually more of a demagogue than an ideologue. So he has changed his views on immigration to compete with Trump — and raised the ante by promising that none of the deported 11 million will ever be allowed back in the country.

For Republicans, the only good outcome of Trump vs. Cruz is for both to lose. The future of the party as the carrier of a humane, inclusive conservatism now depends on some viable choice beyond them.
Gerson is right that both Trump and Cruz must lose, not only for the good of the GOP but also for the good of the country.  The big question I have for Gerson and those like him is this:  Where was your voice when the foul elements of the Christofascists, white supremacists and other extremists were welcomed into the GOP with open arms in the interest of short term electoral wins?  This nightmare could have been avoided had decent, sane Republicans refused to compromise principles and refused to vote these horrible people into the party's committees and governing bodies.

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