Why and how did the GOP end up with the mess that they currently have on their hands – the very real possibility of Drumf being their nominee?
Josh Marshall at TPM basically explains why. The Republican electorate felt betrayed.
The betrayal is that the GOP promised it would destroy Obama’s presidency (end it in 2012, defang it before and after) and turn back the various things he’s done to damage the country and ‘transform’ it. But let’s remember that Republicans played a high stakes game of brinksmanship in 2011, threatening to default on the national debt if President Obama didn’t comply with various demands, an event totally without precedent in more than two centuries of American history. There was the Cruz government shutdown in 2013 to attempt to force yet another showdown over Obamacare. There was the successful effort to kill immigration reform in 2013. There’s the current refusal to even receive the President’s nomination to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, at the beginning of the fourth year of his term – again, totally unprecedented in American history. (We had serial rejections in the mid-19th century, never a refusal even to consider a nomination.) And these are only some of the most high stakes examples.
Josh does not mention racism but I wonder why so many of the GOP wanted to destroy Obama’s presidency so badly. Was it that they really couldn’t bear to have a black man in the White House? Would they have treated a white Democratic president the same way? They didn’t give Bill Clinton an easy time either. Are they so power-hungry that they would stoop to any level?
You can say all sorts of things about these folks being crazy, or extremists or whatever else. But set aside all these evaluative or partisan interpretations and one thing is fairly clear in objective terms: a large portion of the GOP is not satisfied with what can realistically be achieved by conventional political means.
And that is fucking scary. They are simply not willing to abide by the will of the majority of the electorate. They want to impose their views on everyone else, even though they are in the minority. That is not democracy. But they don’t care.
Something this powerful, as we’ve discussed, isn’t just ginned up by political leaders. It runs much deeper. But again, the overreaching point is important: The narrative of ‘betrayal’ – at this volume and intensity – only makes sense if you are dealing with a chunk of the electorate with expectations that are deeply unrealistic in the context of conventional political action.
That is a volatile situation when you’re talking about at least a quarter of the national electorate.
That gets you Trump. It also gets you Ted Cruz. And it may get you worse still.
So this begins to paint a picture of why. Just how did these disasters of candidates even gain national prominence?
Business Insider has a good article on this.
It’s not normal for a political party to rent frontrunner status to cranks and charlatans for weeks at a time. Disastrous candidates are supposed to be blocked by validating institutions. Policy experts explain that their proposals do not add up. The media covers embarrassing incidents from their past and present. Party leaders warn that they will be embarrassing or incompetent or unelectable.
The problem is that Republicans have purposefully torn down the validating institutions. They have convinced voters that the media cannot be trusted; they have gotten them used to ignoring inconvenient facts about policy; and they have abolished standards of discourse by allowing all complaints about offensiveness to be lumped into a box called “political correctness” and ignored.
Republicans waged war on these institutions for a reason. Facts about policy can be inconvenient — a reality-based approach would find, for example, that tax cuts increase the deficit and carbon emissions cause climate change. Acknowledging the validity of complaints about racism could require some awkward conversations with racist and quasi-racist voters in the Republican coalition.
Of course, we’re now seeing the unintended consequence of the destruction of those institutions and the boundaries they impose around candidate acceptability: In doing so, Republicans created a hole that Donald Trump could fly his 757 through.
So you had idiots like Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Ben Carson and every other single candidate for the GOP making money by pretending to run.
The whole thing has become farcical and the GOP allowed it to happen The one, somewhat reasonable candidate last election cycle – Jon Huntsman – didn’t stand a chance.
While the GOP pounded down on anyone who would reveal that they were on the side of corporations, they also silenced the critics that would allow the loonies to rise.
They really are very stupid.
But then we knew that.