For a couple decades we’d been thinking the GOP cared about religion, family values, and conservative principles, whatever those in fact are.
Donald Trump has come along and built a yyyuuge following in the GOP by doing almost none of those things though. It’s turns out what they really wanted all along were: nationalism, racism, misogyny, and getting rid of both wimpy “due process” and overly PC language.
How could the GOP have been so wrong for so long about what their base really cared about?
When W brought together the religious folks, I thought, wow, what a great move. In spite of what Barry Goldwater said it seemed like a solid strategy.
Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them. -Barry Goldwater
It was surprising because the GOP didn’t really seem to engender a lot of the things that I would describe as the “big print” in the Bible. They’re not exactly about helping the less fortunate, or setting aside material things. They tend to think the less fortunate should, through hard work and an enterprising spirit, lift themselves up by their bootstraps.
Never mind the odds that make all that harder. It’s personal responsibility, baby.
Then there’s that “helping the less fortunate.” I remember asking why conservatives didn’t think we should be spending tax money on social programs to help the less fortunate and I got a long, tangled reply about how it deprives the good Christian of the ability to make that decision on their own, as God commands, when the government takes the money through taxes. The only problem with leaving it to the good Christian to make that decision on their own was that we had that before, and not enough were making the choice commanded by God so millions were going hungry.
And I’m pretty sure it’s not Christian to ask a bunch of people (and kids) to suffer so that a few folks can make the right decision.
But now Donald has come out with about as weak a religious platform as could ever come from an American politician and yet people are cool with it, they’re onboard. He couldn’t cite any favorite Bible passages. He said it was a “private” thing (like taxes apparently).
Racism in 2016
I’d thought the whole “round them up in internment camps” things was history at this point, but it seems like we’re only one terrorist attack on American soil away from doing it all again. And the likelihood of that attack grows daily with the increasing invective leveled at Muslims and Muslim countries, not to mention the wars.
Under a Trump presidency, when the inevitable happens, it seems credible that we’d round up the Muslims and/or folks of heritage from the Muslim countries and do something, tag them, move them, I’m not quite sure what. At least until we figure out what’s going on.
What is going on? It’s puzzling, we attacked their countries and they’re worked up about it. Sheesh, chill people, we attack lots of countries, it’s nothing personal. We’ve got a yyyyuge military and we like to use them.
They attacked us on 9/11 and we didn’t overreact by attacking some totally innocent country? Oh wait, we did. Never mind.
Misogyny and sexism
On one hand we’ve got our first ever female candidate for the presidency. Then we’ve got a guy who calls women insulting names, something I try to teach my kids to never do. But this apparently taps a vein of anti-female hostility, and appeals to bunch of scared white guys who are intimidated by women stepping up and taking an active role in society.
It’s always been there, but like many of the things Trump stands for, I thought it had been lost to the sands of time for the most part. Alas, it’s only buried under a thin veil of “maybe I better not say it out loud.” But now that a candidate for the presidency has made it OK so say that stuff, more folks are feeling brave and speaking their minds.
Side note: the GOP has recently declared porn a public health crisis but their candidate has appeared in Playboy and his most recent wife has done nude photo shoots. Cognitive dissonance.
Overly PC Language
I will admit, some of our language has gotten a little overly-PC. But that does not mean we should also do away with basic good manners. Calling an obese person “weight challenged” is an obvious euphemism. Heck, ever “obese” might be viewed as beating around the bush a bit. But to use that as an excuse to make fun of the handicapped, the minorities, and mentally challenged… again, that’s something I’m trying to keep my kids from doing but now it’s OK when a presidential candidate does it.
That pesky “due process” thing
Due process guarantees everyone to a right to a fair trial, innocent until proven guilty, and all that. But that’s being sold as not being “tough” or “smart.” The kings in the days of yore, who would pass single-handed judgment on men who’d cross them in some way were not being “smart”, they were just being malevolent. And so “due process” was born during medieval times in England. It was born as a tool against tyrants, not as something to halt the flow of righteous punishment.
It is not perfect, nothing in this world is, but it seems preferable to the alternative which was tried for years and abused beyond belief.
Their true colors
There’s a meme going around that suggests that we have Trump to thank for exposing the ranks of racists among us, and that seems to be pretty true. As soon as Trump rose up and started talking about his worldview, a lot of people became brave and came forward in support with similar ideas.
I had thought our civilization had moved beyond those things but Trump puts everything back in question. Will we role back civil rights? Suffrage? Child labor laws?
Trump’s “liberal views”
And then to further confound things, there are a number of things that Trump says that would tend to be viewed as flat-out “liberal” except for the fact that his base doesn’t care, they love the above-mentioned stuff so much they’re willing to forgive and forget a few minor points:
He was pro-choice only a decade ago. Now it’s understandable that politicians flip-flop, it’s what they do, they change their minds depending on the latest polls. But abortion stances seems to be something that you’re supposed be to born with. Not Trump. In 1999, he stated unequivocally “I am pro-choice in every respect.” Now granted, recently he’s said that women who have abortions should be punished, but it wasn’t all that long ago that he stated loudly and clearly the exact opposite.
On health care, just last year he said:
As far as single-payer [health care], it works in Canada, it works incredibly well in Scotland. — Donald Trump
But he’s figured out that the average voter has the attention span of a cephalopod, so he’s just saying whatever he needs to say at the time to the particular audience he is addressing.
The GOP nominee
So what the GOP needed all along was a chameleon who would change colors to suit the audience, and who wasn’t afraid to say those things that have rallied people for centuries: “us” against “them.” He’s here…