Thursday, March 03, 2016

The GOP's Growing Desperation

As noted in a post yesterday, Donald Trump represents the end result of the Republican Party's years of fear mongering against blacks, gays, non-Christians, Muslims and anyone else the largely lily white GOP base deems to be "other."   Now, these authoritarian loving sheeple are looking for a dictatorial strong man to protect them from the many menaces that the GOP has fabricated and preached against for years.  Now, having created the atmosphere for the rise of someone like Trump - or Hitler in 1930's Germany - the GOP is desperate to find someone who can defeat the Frankenstein monster that has been created.   As a column in the Washington Post notes, there seems to be no one up to that challenge.  Here are column highlights:
The Republican Party is on the verge of being taken over by an egomaniac who appeals to the nation’s darkest impulses. Yet Donald Trump’s foes are splintered, tactically but also philosophically.
It doesn’t help that each of his three serious challengers is a flawed alternative. None is sufficiently dominant to force the others aside.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) has the most legitimate claim as a Trump-slayer. He’s now beaten him in four contests. Yet Cruz is so disliked by so many party leaders that they have refused to rally behind him. Indeed, many in the GOP view Cruz as being nearly as vulnerable to Hillary Clinton as Trump is. 
The Republican establishment plainly prefers Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), but voters have not gone along. Rubio did manage to win the Minnesota caucuses. But he ran third in eight of the other 10 states that voted Tuesday and has lost 14 times since the nomination battle began.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich may well be the party’s strongest potential general-election candidate. But his relative moderation has marginalized him in an increasingly right-wing party.
But the difficulty Republicans have in identifying a single candidate to take Trump down speaks to a deeper problem. Its leaders have yet to decide whether Trump’s greatest sin is that he exploits bigotry or that he fails to bow to conservative ideological orthodoxy.
While conservatives such as Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) have brought the two strands together, there is ambivalence about how to go after Trump because the party itself has often played at backlash politics around race and immigration — and because, throughout President Obama’s tenure, it has embraced Trump as an ally in stirring resentment on the far right. 
Moreover, some of Trump’s most extreme positions have won wide approval from the Republican rank-and-file. For example, exit polls reported by CNN and The Post found broad backing for his temporary ban on Muslims from entering the United States: It was favored by 78 percent of Republican primary voters in Alabama, 67 percent in Texas and 63 percent in Virginia.
It’s true that anti-Trump Republicans found common ground in excoriating Trump for his equivocation in condemning the Ku Klux Klan and the racist leader David Duke. “This party does not prey on people’s prejudices,” insisted House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) . In fact, the party has subtly and not so subtly played on racial resentment — birtherism, the claim that Obama is a Muslim, Ronald Reagan’s famous “welfare queen” reference — for decades. Trump is just cruder about it.
And blocking Trump now would enrage his army of followers and prove to them that the party is every bit as distant from their concerns as their hero has been saying.

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