Donald Trump is the apotheosis of modern Republicanism

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise that a super-wealthy real estate developer would run for President promising to turn America into a gated community.

Really, this is where Donald Trump’s rhetoric has been pointing since he launched his campaign by calling for “the greatest wall you’ve ever seen” to keep out Mexican criminals and rapists. His latest stand, for a ban on Muslims traveling to America, is of a kind with the Mexican wall. It’s just one tick crazier.

But after all the crazy shit Trump has said, the ban on Muslims was the straw that broke mainstream Republicans’ backs. Some Republicans, including a lot of Vermonters, sensing that the Crazy Line has been crossed, have finally criticized Trump as being out of step with true Republicanism.

Well, there’s a problem with that. It’s not true.

Donald Trump is, in fact, the inevitable end product of the past two decades of Republican and conservative politics.

Ever since the all-out attacks on Bill Clinton, the Republicans have pursued a scorched-earth policy when it comes to Democrats in leadership. They have met Obama birtherism with a nod and a wink. They have stoked the fires of right-wing anger, and benefited politically from doing so.

They have enjoyed the free energy of the right-wing media machine, and capitalized on its ability to engage the conservative base with extreme, hateful rhetoric. (The Rush Limbaughs of the world weren’t criticizing Trump today — they were defending him. They know where their bread is buttered.) They egged on the Tea Party movement because in the short run, its anti-liberal fervor helped them prevail at the polls.

Trump isn’t the first far-right candidate to beguile the GOP electorate. He’s just the most media-savvy and the most fearless. How is he different from Michelle Bachmann or Mike Huckabee or Herman Cain or Sarah Palin, the Queen of the Know-Nothings who was ushered into the GOP tent by none other than the “moderate” John McCain?

If the senator from Arizona wants to blame someone for the depths his party has fallen to, he should damn well look in a mirror.

And, as Rachel Maddow pointed out on her Wednesday show, there’s really not much space between Trump and several of his fellow candidates on how America should view Islam.

Ted Cruz? “I commend Donald Trump for standing up and focusing America’s attention on the need to secure our borders.”

Rick Santorum? “I’ve proposed actual concrete things that would have… not the effect of banning all Muslims, but a lot of them.”

Rand Paul? “I’ve called for something similar which is a moratorium based on high risk.”

(Which, by the way, would have done nothing to stop the San Bernardino attack, which was carried out by two people who seemed to be living a normal American life.)

Jeb Bush? He wants to bar refugees who aren’t Christian.

Marco Rubio? He’s called for the shutdown of mosques and any other place “that’s being used to radicalize and inspire attacks against the United States.”

The Republican leaders of both the House and Senate have promised to support the Republican nominee, even if it’s Donald Trump.

Vermont Republicans are, with the exception of party chair David Sunderland, coming down a lot harder on Trump. Which is understandable, because they don’t benefit much from the harsh conservative rhetoric. Vermont is a different place, where opposing the placement of Syrian refugees is actually a political loser. But they still identify themselves with the national party, they have benefited materially from out-of-state conservative support, and they are banking on such support in 2016 for their efforts to win more seats in the legislature. Like it or not, they are part of the big machine.

That machine’s willingness to encourage the basest impulses of their base has created a world in which, according to one poll, two-thirds of Republican voters agree with Trump on banning Muslims.

This isn’t an extreme viewpoint in GOP circles; it is, in fact, the mainstream. That’s the bitter harvest the Republican Party is now reaping. And they have no one to blame but themselves; they’ve been assiduously sowing this crop since the early 1990s at least.


5 thoughts on “Donald Trump is the apotheosis of modern Republicanism

  1. Walter Carpenter

    “Like it or not, they are part of the big machine.” Yep, they are, and they cannot hide from it. What this party has done, at least on the national stage, culminating with Trumpism, is a sad comment on who we are what we have been historically underneath the great words — a nation largely born in slavery.

  2. chuck gregory

    Not a couple of decades, John, but 47 years– Kevin Phillips nailed it in ’68 when he prophesied the Southern Strategy of appealing to fear and anger would peel off the white vote from the Democratic party. Trouble was, the Republicans had to turn up the amperage year after year in order to keep winning. Now they’ve finally overachieved. Too bad state Republicans have been infected by osmosis.

  3. Dave Katz

    Check out driftglass, here–nsfw, by the way:
    Many, many of our fellow citizens have been yelling this for years–nay, decades. Our marketplace/adprop culture inculcates in us Americans a deep preference for manufactured dreamtime over the ugly reality that’s right up in our faces. Not sanguine about a reality-denying, infantilized culture and its chances in a crisis. Like, oh, say, climate change? No, no, ISIS! RUN!

  4. Jacob

    I dont understand why republicans did not call him out sooner. I mean everyone can see what this guy is up to. It isnt just about 1 comment about a wall to block Mexicans or about the fact he doesnt want any muslim in the United States. These are just populist words and part of his retorics. But any researcher can see this guy is seriously bad news.

  5. newzjunqie

    Actually Trump is not a republican nor has any real conservative bonafides. I believe he was put up to this by the Clinton Machine and yes if Trump gets hair across ass will run as third party and included caveat with announcement that he would not. Come hell or highwater she is being installed by DNC. Not taking any chances by allowing another candidate as look what happened last time. Debates are all oddly scheduled for little-watched times and dates however few Dems seems to find this a complete outrage. Yeah I know I’m likely alone here.

    HRC unlikable and primarily Dem diehards and feminists want her, though the others will also fall in line. Highly scripted and lapses to robotic affect easily. Even laughter and attempt to engage as, ya know like a real person falls flat. Has no use for anyone w/o deep pockets or something to offer the “foundation” and used position at state to enrich self. All who were once connected to them turn on them, they have no real friends. There is alot of material for anyone who wants to do a little research, plus her WH records are sealed I believe. Why? Unless election spoiled cannot be assured of winning.

    Also do not think HRC is well, but do not think Trump is either. He is not merely overweight but extremely bloated which is not normal. Dr. saying he’s “the healthiest candidate who has ever run” – how does he know??? Highly suspect. Healthy ppl look the same but older as they age, Trump a gross caricature.

    Right is doing a delicate dance, do not want to upset narcissistic nutjob Trumps’ applecart. He is being cajoled as no one wishes to give appearance of shutting him out and are hoping things happen in a way that can be viewed as normal loss. And don’t want to lose his supporters. But that is foolish b/c they are the creepiest minority (mysogenists and racists) element of the party who sure as hell aren’t going to vote Dem some likely former Palinites. Also numbers are skewed imo.

    To see him taking full-of-himself roadshow to anyone who will listen and watching the arrogant display of grandiose delusion a perpetual facepalm. He doesn’t seem to get that hosts also want the attention and are humoring and being “nice” to not set him off or make him angry, something egomaniacal tyrants do not always get. Really acts like he is going to win – OMG.

    Although I think it may be taken off the DM-5 (why – so many it’s become a new norm?) narcissism is a disorder or illness, perhaps due to its delusional aspect. Trump has the makings of a dictator, research shows a clear pattern.

    I only watch cable so don’t know if anyone has seen these but I gotta say as if Trump hadn’t already scared the bejezus out of me this was sobering:


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