Trumping the GOP
It’s funny watching the Republican establishment trying to deal with Donald Trump, who has emerged as the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. The reason they can’t rein him in is they’re unaccustomed to repudiating wrong when it comes to their own. If the Republican Party didn’t create Donald Trump, they’ve certainly paved the way for him.
A party that hates campaign finance reform, cheered on the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling and welcomes the aid of moneyed contributors like the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and Foster Friess was primed and ready for a self-important billionaire like Trump. It was a matter of time before these self-important gazillionaires grew bored of financing candidates and wanted the brass ring for themselves.
When birtherism was waning it was Donald Trump that fanned the flames of stupidity once again with his inane questioning of the president’s birth certificate. Republicans didn’t stand up and shut him down. In fact, respectable elected GOP officials were mealy-mouthed in the face of the rampant birtherism in their party. Too many Republican officials couldn’t find the integrity to tell their supporters that the president wasn’t a Muslim, a socialist, a communist, or supporter of terror. Since birtherism would always appeal to the GOP’s nut wing, the position of leader was destined to be filled by someone aroused by the sound of his own voice.
(It must be noted that Trump refuses to release his own birth certificate.)
Donald Trump, once a registered Democrat, said he was “very pro-choice” in 1999. He was for an assault rifle ban and longer waiting period to buy guns. He used to support universal healthcare. He donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaigns and invited her to his last wedding. He also once described President Obama as “amazing,” “phenomenal,” and as having “the mark of a strong leader.” But why would the Donald think he couldn’t reinvent himself when the last two Republican nominees for president, John McCain and Mitt Romney, have been moderates pretending to be conservatives?
Why wouldn’t Donald Trump make belligerent offensive remarks about undocumented immigrants? His party killed comprehensive immigration reform when President George W. Bush pushed for it. Republicans killed it again when President Obama pushed for it. Trump knows that the base is rabidly anti anything they can spin into “amnesty.” That issue was sitting out there waiting for someone and Trump seized it and rode that xenophobia to the top of the polls.
But I must say the GOP establishment finally found their voice when they defended Sen. John McCain against Trump’s assertion that McCain was no war hero since he was shot down in Vietnam. But where was that same outrage when another veteran and war hero, Sen. John Kerry was attacked by the ironically named Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004? Why wouldn’t Donald Trump think it was fair game to go after a veteran when Republicans stood silent before? Whatever you tolerate will continue.
Trump benefits from the Palinization of America. In 2008, when running for president, Sen. John McCain had the unbelievable gall to use the campaign slogan “Country First” while selecting the least qualified person to be vice-president in the history of the republic, part-time Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Republicans turned a blind eye to her rank stupidity and fell in love with her barbs and the way she never apologized for anything.
Trump is Palin with more money and a bad rug.
The sad thing is there are moderate and fiscally conservative Republicans appalled by this extremist strain that has seized control of their party. Recently, former senator, presidential candidate and war hero Bob Dole recently scolded Republicans for not passing the U.N. Disability Rights Treaty. It’s a shame but Bob Dole wouldn’t feel welcome in today’s GOP.
Trump is not an aberration in the Republican Party. Unfortunately, his simplistic answers, thin-skinned verbal retaliations and bluster is straight from the playbook of modern Republicanism. He’s the love child of Rush Limbaugh and Michele Bachmann. GOP presidential candidates, elected officials and professional conservative blowhards set the table for the lunch that Trump is currently eating.
When you allow your party to cater to corporate persons, the xenophobic, homophobic, sexist and racist attitudes of a far too vocal minority, and add in the anti-science know-nothingism of people either too stupid to understand the facts or too venal to challenge their corporate paymasters you end up with an ignoramus like Donald Trump leading in the polls.
Don’t back away from him now. You made him.