We’re in the “OMG” phase of the 2016 presidential election cycle. Nobody thought that Donald Trump was a serious aspirant for the presidency; that it was merely a show to stoke his already oversized ego. How did virtually everyone get it wrong?
Well, had Trump lost a few early contests he probably would, as a good business man should, cut his losses, call it a day and return to his gilded palaces. That was not the case as we know.In fact, he is steamrolling to the Republican nomination, much to the chagrin of the so-called party establishment, and they are wringing their hands trying to figure out how he can be stopped before or during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. Failing to do so would deprive the Republicans the golden opportunity from re-taking the White House in what could have been a victory against one of two vulnerable Democrats.
How did this uncontrollable monster get created? The GOP brought it upon themselves, and they deserve what they got.
Since Trump’s announcement to join a large but weak field of Republican candidates, he essentially verbalized what many in the “base” of the party had been thinking all along but felt restrained from doing so. Trump used the failure to enact immigration reform to throw Mexicans under the bus—literally. “I’m gonna build a huge wall, a beautiful wall because right now we’re a country without borders and if there are no borders, we don’t have a country,” he repeated over and over. #hocopolitics
That sparked the heretofore latent xenophobic instincts from many within the party to rally around the man who “tells it like it is”. He tapped into the misogynist characteristics of Republican voters and those who had never previously voted with his verbal insults hurled against Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina. Trump lampooned a disabled person and essentially called Vietnam POW Senator McCain a loser for being captured, and that’s just the beginning.
These missteps alone should have done him in. The media, the more sensible Republicans and the American people in general should have recognized the seriousness of his candidacy and expressed sufficient outrage to derail his march. They never saw it coming.
Trump exposed his racist leanings when he spoke harshly against Black Lives Matter demonstrators. It was his Sister Souljah moment, and the numerous racists in this country floated to the surface like earthworms after springtime rainstorm. Then there is Trump’s support for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country making religion a test for immigration.
|Courtesy of mediamatters.org|
As I indicated before, the Republicans have nobody to blame but themselves for this phenomenon. Through dog whistles and other subtle forms of bigotry, the party became a home to racists (“Go back to Africa,” said one at a recent Trump rally) and anti-Semites (“Go back to Auschwitz,” snapped another—both on video). Trump’s hesitation to disavow the KKK and David Duke in particular reinforced that notion.
As Bill Maher correctly points out, obviously not everyone in the Republican Party is a racist but if you are a racist, you are comfotable in the Republican Party. They now have cover with Trump, and the candidate has done nothing to tamp down the vitriolic rhetoric. The 2008 campaign between McCain and Obama set the tone for the toxicity that exists today. Though McCain is not directly responsible for it, he did select the village idiot Sarah Palin to be his running mate.
At rallies during the campaign, Palin accused Obama of being a terrorist, a socialist and more by dint of his past associations. The GOP did nothing to quell that incendiary rhetoric. They also did nothing to counter the Trump-led “birther” movement that claimed Obama was born outside the U.S. and is not eligible to be president.
The negative discourse continued after the rather lopsided 2008 election victory for Obama when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell infamously stated his goal to make Obama a one-time president. And there was South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson shouting “You lie” during a speech the president made in 2009 to a joint session of Congress.
It had become rather obvious that the loyal opposition was bent de-legitimizing Obama and preventing him from carrying out his agenda. Had the Democrats acted like this to a Republican sitting president, there would be cries for treason.
They undermined him at every turn including bringing in a head of state (Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu) against Obama’s wishes to speak before Congress to lobby against the Iran deal. Now they want to deny the president the Constitutional responsibility of filling a Supreme Court vacancy.
All this disrespect, all this vitriol planted the seeds for Trump to march through the primaries and vanquish his opponents through personal insults and victories. Here is a man who has wafer-thin knowledge of policy, little or no understanding of how the government should be run, who publicly said he loves the poorly educated, and convinces himself he can make deals to solve our problems. Trump makes this race all about himself and believes if elected he will be king or a dictator in that he can do whatever he pleases. He even admitted recently that he gets his information from the Internet and his advice from himself.
As such, he is poised to damage the Republican Party for years, and all the hand-wringing by conservatives who dislike Trump for his failure to follow conservative orthodoxy and sensible pragmatic Republicans who see defeat being snatched from victory, will unlikely stop this stupid train to November. All they can say now, to paraphrase Trump, is “Get him the hell outta here!”