Friday, July 29, 2016

Democrats Win the Convention Contest

Perhaps I am biased, but having followed both the GOP and the Democrat conventions, I believe the Democrats hit a home run - especially when their convention is compared to the hate fest and extremism that defined the GOP convention and the GOP nominee, Donald Trump.  Even New York Times columnist David Brooks - who for far too long acted as a GOP apologist even as hate-filled Christofascists and white supremacists hijacked the party - concedes this reality.  The issue will be whether sane, decent and rational Americans can see the existential threat that Trump and his party now represent to the nation and democracy and stir themselves to vote in November. A vote for Hillary is a vote to preserve what is best about America.  A vote for Trump is an invitation to take the nation down the road towards fascism.  The choice is really that simple.  Here are highlights from Brooks' column:
Donald Trump has found an ingenious way to save the Democratic Party. Basically, he’s abandoned the great patriotic themes that used to fire up the G.O.P. and he’s allowed the Democrats to seize that ground. If you visited the two conventions this year you would have come away thinking that the Democrats are the more patriotic of the two parties — and the more culturally conservative.
Trump has abandoned the Judeo-Christian aspirations that have always represented America’s highest moral ideals: toward love, charity, humility, goodness, faith, temperance and gentleness.
He left the ground open for Joe Biden to remind us that decent people don’t enjoy firing other human beings.
Trump has abandoned the basic modesty code that has always ennobled the American middle class: Don’t brag, don’t let your life be defined by gilded luxuries.
He left the ground open for the Democrats to seize middle-class values with one quick passage in a Tim Kaine video — about a guy who goes to the same church where he was married, who taught carpentry as a Christian missionary in Honduras, who has lived in the same house for the last 24 years.
Trump has also abandoned the American ideal of popular self-rule.
He left the ground open for Barack Obama to remind us that our founders wanted active engaged citizens, not a government run by a solipsistic and self-appointed savior who wants everything his way.
For decades the Republican Party has embraced America’s open, future-oriented nationalism. But when you nominate a Silvio Berlusconi you give up a piece of that. When you nominate a blood-and-soil nationalist you’re no longer speaking in the voice of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and every Republican nominee from Reagan to McCain to Romney.
Democrats have often been ambivalent about that ardent nationalistic voice, but this week they were happy to accept Trump’s unintentional gift. There were an unusually high number of great speeches at the Democratic convention this year: the Obamas, Biden, Booker, Clinton, the Mothers of the Movement and so on.
These speakers found their eloquence in staving off this demagogue. They effectively separated Trump from America. They separated him from conservatism. They made full use of the deep nationalist chords that touch American hearts.
[T]the extremist fringe that threatens to take over the Democratic Party seems less menacing than the lunatic fringe that has already taken over the Republican one.
This week I left the arena here each night burning with indignation at Mike Pence. I almost don’t blame Trump. He is a morally untethered, spiritually vacuous man who appears haunted by multiple personality disorders. It is the “sane” and “reasonable” Republicans who deserve the shame — the ones who stood silently by, or worse, while Donald Trump gave away their party’s sacred inheritance.
The Democrats had by far the better of the conventions.
It could be that in this moment of fear, cynicism, anxiety and extreme pessimism, many voters may have decided that civility is a surrender to a rigged system, that optimism is the opiate of the idiots and that humility and gentleness are simply surrendering to the butchers of ISIS. If that’s the case then the throes of a completely new birth are upon us and Trump is a man from the future.
If that’s true it’s not just politics that has changed, but the country.


Candide said...

It has been said before, but bears repeating. Brooks' argument that Trump is an aberration from what Republicans stand for is a lie. The Southern Strategy, the demonizing of gays, the hating on Blacks, Muslims, immigrants, atheists, trans--it is what they ARE. People are useful to them as wedge issues. They sometimes do it openly--like Jesse Helms did and McCrory now does here in North Carolina. They sometimes do it surreptitiously, like Pence with his Religious Freedom bill. But never tell me this is not what characterizes the Republican Party.

Michael-in-Norfolk said...

I agree with you completely. As I said, Brooks has been an apologist for GOP misogyny for years. Perhaps if he and others had opposed what you describe, we would not have Trump as the GOP nominee. Trump is the natural result of what the GOP has peddled for decades now.