Once again political commentators are convinced that Donald Trump has disqualified himself from the presidential election, this time over Trump’s claim that the military would follow his unconstitutional orders no matter what.
Conservatives have been saying this on an almost weekly basis since last summer, so this latest Trump criticism is probably not going to stick with his supporters. However, it disguises the fact that nothing Trump says is really that different from any other Republican candidate’s talking points, except that Trump ignores the political correctness with which Republicans typically feign in order to not offend the minority groups their policies disenfranchise at best, and seek to militantly deport at worst.
Rubio, the establishment favorite, is a malleable, war hawkish, neoconservative yes man a la George W. Bush as he tries to show that he is tough despite his age and executive inexperience. Ted Cruz, meanwhile, has vowed to break Geneva Convention laws wth equal bravado as Trump. Equally repulsed by Mexican immigration as Trump, Rubio and Cruz routinely bicker over whose potential presidency would be the most severe in dealing with immigrants, despite being the children of immigrants themselves.
Looking ahead beyond Trump’s latest moral outrage, though, the Republican Party is likely going to be stuck with Trump as its nominee unless the GOP chooses to force a convention coup, which will, of course, provoke Trump into running third-party as he is already leading his political rally attendees in swearing oaths that they will vote for him no matter what.
Flirtations with fascism aside, Trump is simply the most outspoken opportunist looking to take advantage of a Republican base that in 2016 continues to believe dumb things, such as that Obama is a Muslim antichrist, that America’s military and economy are in ruins, that the Iran Deal is an American capitulation, that immigrants don’t pay taxes and drain the safety net, etc.
Benefiting from the GOP’s descent into political irrationality, Trump is the latest of absurd GOP frontrunner candidates to compete for the top of Republican polling, including such intellectual lightweights as Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Scott Walker. Trump’s success in the Republican primaries is a result of the GOP’s 2016 cornucopia of weak presidential candidates, who have proven impotent against a candidate the conservative media has sworn is unelectable for nearly a year now.
The reason the GOP establishment’s attacks on Trump can do no lasting damage to his campaign is because most of the Republican candidates have made their careers by either distancing themselves from the establishment, or by attacking the establishment outright. The GOP’s near-sighted, infamous gerrymandering manipulations of congressional districting is mostly to blame for this, as Republican candidates for public office must race to the radical right because their electoral competition increasingly comes only from other conservatives. Which is why the national Republican Party has lost control of its nominating process, and the political nightmare that is Donald Trump is headed for the nomination despite not being considered a real Republican by the party elite.
The Trump campaign’s mutiny is a textbook example of a political party ruining its long-term interests for short-term gain: the furious anti-government Tea Party movement may have won the GOP a couple of midterm elections, but Republicans have fanned those flames of obstructionist outrage forgetting that Republicans constitute half of the government. Now the electoral winds have changed, and the Republican arsons are getting burned in their own embers.
It does not help that the GOP has blatantly lied to conservatives for the last seven Obama years, and has promised outrageously unobtainable goals. Repealing Obamacare while President Obama is still in office and in possession of a legislatively insurmountable veto is chief among them. As a result, the Republican base is so pissed off over what looks like Republican betrayal in Congress that conservative voters are nominating by a landslide an outright fascist menace who promises to do all the things the Republican Congressional leadership knew all along was politically suicidal.
By pretending that Obama is a political monster, the Republican Party has created one. Unfortunately for the GOP’s containment strategy of Trump’s influence, the average conservative voter is already appallingly misinformed, and Trump offers these “low education” and unrealistically angry voters a mindless simplicity with his campaign platform of “trust me.”
It is a dose of conservatism’s own medicine that Republican obstructionists who have fought Obama tooth and nail over even the most basic of governmental competencies are suddenly considered too liberal for the mob that the GOP’s irresponsibility and unprofessionalism have let loose.
Conservatives and liberals may have legitimate philosophical differences, but the Democratic Party’s debates have featured a litany of serious issues and discussions given less air time than the length of Trump’s penis in the Republican debates. This lack of civic integrity, going back to Newt Gingrich’s total-war political scheming, has ruined the political discourse of our country, and stalled the functionality of our civic government. Unsurprisingly, Republicans have a two-for-two record of shutting down the government in the most recent Democratic presidencies.
It is sad watching our country deteriorate and actually become crippled, and more so because one party, the Republican Party, has obtained a monopoly of governmental jihad and fundamentalist absurdity. However, the arc toward ideological insanity has been a long one, and Republicans have been learning all the wrong lessons from history going back to Barry Goldwater’s landslide defeat in 1964. Like dominos, Goldwater’s defeat led to Reagan’s sell-out experiment in existentially dishonest supply-side economics, George W. Bush’s US reputation-ruining foreign policy, and the Tea Party’s Pavlovian obstinacy to compromise and good-faith politics. Trump is the embodiment of all these ideological extremisms put together into one presidential candidacy.
Republicans have ruined the people’s trust in government, and now, with Trump’s sudden surge into GOP dominance, conservatives are finally lamenting the end of America’s civil discourse. Following the last Republican debate, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly complained that, “…increasingly in America, folks are hearing what they want to hear, not what’s actually being said.” Maybe because Fox News’ existential purpose in the media is to legitimize that exact, purposeful ignorance.
Republicans have only themselves to blame for the catastrophe they have unleashed upon Election 2016. It is karmic satisfaction to see the GOP implode from its own repugnant politics, but a bitter aftertaste lingers on when I remember that it is ruining America.