Republicans deny their party is racist. Suppressing minority voting, they’d argue, for example, is just common sense.
But if the party isn’t, pretty much all American racists who vote will vote Republican, and they’re stepping to Donald Trump like geese. To the KKK, neo-Nazis and nativists, he’s prayers answered. Slow to disavow them, Trump knows the game. His slogan may have substituted “g,” “r,” and “a” for “w,” “h,” and “i,” but the res is pretty much loquituring its ipsa. (Yes, I’m aware that Abe Lincoln, now spinning in his grave like a Frisbee, was a Republican and that before the Civil Rights Act the South was an asylum for racist Democrats. I also understand recent history.)
Some conservatives are mystified that their party loves him. Really? The same ones flaunting their nonstop Point-A cynical and hypocritical obstructionism, the latest involving the Supreme Court, see no connection to Point-B? Trump is the predictable result of decades dedicated to creating exactly his kind of voter: angry, credulous, paranoid, government-hating seekers of simple solutions and people to blame for their scripted sense of victimization. How ironic; after hungrily swallowing the fabrication that President Obama is a dictator, Republicans are gobbling up a lying, petty, xenophobic, narcissistic, vindictive, thin-skinned, appendage-aggrandizing, wife-insulting, violence-encouraging demagogue. Which leads to the unavoidable argumentum ad Hitlerum: he just demanded a Florida audience raise their right arms and pledge loyalty (and blamed a Jew for disrupting his rallies!) And raise their arms they did.
If Trump eventually loses, the people who voted for him will still be around. People who are OK with a candidate who threatens to “ruin the lives” of protesters; who bans and seeks vengeance upon reporters who criticize him; who demands that campaign workers pledge they’ll never disparage him. This isn’t reminiscent of Soviet- and Nazi-style suppression and punishment of dissent. It’s EXACTLY that. Do his supporters overlook his schoolyard immaturity, or is it what they like about him? Is their desire for scapegoats so great that they ignore the dictatorial implications or, buying up jackboots and dreaming of “punching them in the face,” do they welcome them? Do they care that Trump’s plans would weaken our democracy while strengthening those trying to purchase it (not to mention ISIS)? They believe they’re anti-establishment voters, yet they’d empower the party that’s dismissed them for decades, voted against every measure aimed at improving their lives and for every one making them worse.
A local high school just produced nine National Merit finalists, every one of whom is Asian-American. By contrast, Texas appears ready to elect to its state board of education a woman who claims Obama was once a gay prostitute, that school killings are caused by the teaching of evolution, the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, all Muslims are evil, and climate change is a hoax. (Based on emails I get, I’m sure some readers are saying, “Yeah. So?”)
It’s not just Texas. Across the country Republican legislators are proposing to ban teaching evolution, to rewrite history, to prevent even the mention of climate change. Were all branches of government put into the hands of today’s perversion of conservatism, America would go the way of Kansas, Wisconsin, Louisiana: failed economies, lagging job growth, downgraded credit, defunded schools, ignored infrastructure. Let’s hope Republican attacks on public education and immigration will fail; or if not, that current immigrants and their kids will continue to save us from ourselves. In those homes, kids are encouraged to learn. What do you suppose goes on in the homes of people who’d elect that Texan? To which party and what race and religion would you guess they belong?
No, Donald Trump is no surprise. Torture, bombing families, climate change denial, misogyny, mockery, economic policy that’s never worked, simplistic foreign policy. To cheering audiences, he’s simply articulating those things for which his party has come to stand, come Heil or high water. Trumpism confirms that liberals have been right about what’s become of the formerly credible Republican Party. As they abashedly turn to mendacious McCarthyite Ted Cruz, whose messianic view of himself is even scarier, shocked conservatives should consider their decades of silent acquiescence, the price paid for tax cuts, to understand what happened.
Email Sid Schwab at firstname.lastname@example.org.