Monday, February 29, 2016

Has The Republican Party’s Implosion Arrived?

A number of years ago I was a member of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach city committee and precinct chair for the Alanton precinct, historically a Republican bastion.  I held these positions for nearly eight (8) years.  On top of this activism, I grew up in a family of Republicans that stretched back to my grandparents or longer.  In those days, being a Republican meant one respected knowledge, respected science and education, sought a fiscally conservative government and had no desire to police other peoples' bedrooms. Then something began to happen: far right Christians who wanted to police everyone's bedroom and force their religious beliefs, including biblical literalism, on all members of society - I call them Christofscists - began to be elected to the city committee.  Next racist comments began to become more acceptable.  Then white supremacy became acceptable.  Slowly and steadily, the Republican Party ceased to be what it had once been.  When the fusion of far right religious extremism and party positions began to become complete, in revulsion, I resigned from the Republican Party.  

All of this occurred quite a number of years ago and in the intervening years things only got worse. Now, with the rise of Donald trump and to a lesser extent, Ted Cruz the perversion of the GOP has become nearly complete. Hate, bigotry, and ignorance are embraced and we are on the tipping point where Republicans have held their noses and voted Republican may be no longer able to so do. When their exodus begins, the GOP may finally implode and finish its self-destruction that cynical elites allowed to happen as they chased short term, cynical electoral gains.  The cancer has spread and metastasized.  The Frankenstein monster that is now the party base can no longer be controlled.  A column in the Washington Post looks at this coming implosion.  Here are highlights:  
The implosion over Donald Trump’s candidacy that Republicans had hoped to avoid arrived so virulently this weekend that many party leaders vowed never to back the billionaire and openly questioned whether the GOP could come together this election year.
At a moment when Republicans had hoped to begin taking on Hillary Clinton — who is seemingly on her way to wrapping up the Democratic nomination — the GOP has instead become consumed by a crisis over its identity and core values that is almost certain to last through the July party convention, if not the rest of the year.
A campaign full of racial overtones and petty, R-rated put-downs grew even uglier Sunday after Trump declined repeatedly in a CNN interview to repudiate the endorsement of him by David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Trump had disavowed Duke at a news conference on Friday, but he stammered when asked about Duke on Sunday.
The fracas comes as the presidential race enters a potentially determinative month of balloting, beginning with primaries and caucuses in 11 states on Tuesday. As the campaign-trail rhetoric grew noxious over the weekend, a sense of fatalism fell over the Republican firmament, from elected officials and figureheads to major donors and strategists.
The choice for voters is not simply one of preference but rather a fundamental one about the direction they want to take the country, with the insurgent Trump promising utter transformation.
“For many Republicans, Trump is more than just a political choice,” said Kevin Madden, a veteran operative who advised 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. “It’s a litmus test for character.”
Madden, like some of his peers, said he could never vote for Trump. If he is the nominee, Madden said, “I’m prepared to write somebody in so that I have a clear conscience.”
More splintering came late Sunday when freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who has been a vocal Trump critic, declared on Twitter that if the reality TV star is nominated, he will “look for some 3rd candidate — a conservative option, a Constitutionalist.”
“It’s scary,” South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who has endorsed Rubio, said on ABC’s “This Week.” She added: “I think what he’ll do to the Republican Party is really make us question who we are and what we’re about. And that’s something we don’t want to see happen.”
Then there’s the question of whether Trump’s fiercely loyal base of backers would shift their allegiance to Rubio or one of the other candidates — Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Ohio Gov. John Kasich or retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — were Trump to lose the nomination.
The GOP base is now uncontrollable.  Indeed, the party base looks frighteningly similar to those in Germany who flocked to the Nazi banner as  Adolph Hitler vowed to make Germany great again after its disastrous defeat in World War I and the post war aftermath - even though Germany had brought that disaster on itself by going to war in a war that was avoidable.  If America is no longer great, it is because of the GOP's failed policies, a senseless and avoidable war in Iraq, and a financial market melt down spurred by GOP favored deregulation.  Obama gets blamed by Republicans, yet he has done a remarkable job in turning the country around in the face of Republican obstructionism fro day one of Obama's presidency.  

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