Aug 7, 2016

Does the GOP Own Trumpism? It Helped Create it...

On occasion there may be a con artist, a demagogue, who captures a major political party and when the majority of the members oppose this person. This is not, and has not been the case with the Republicans. They created Trump, the tea parties, and now they own all of them. They own the rhetoric and the public policies they've been proposing. They allowed and often encouraged the infestation of the angry mobs, the racists, and the know-nothings. They reaped big political gains. Parties do better when they have excited people turning out to vote, and they do resort to negative attacks of their opponents, but there's a line that should not be crossed.

A country's political system rests on legitimacy and the institutions that makes it work. Since the 1990s, the Republicans--the official party and its leaders not just random conservatives--along with the Faux News machine, have been attacking the legitimacy of such institutions and the legitimacy of the Democratic presidential nominees. Both Hillary and Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama (you know, that Muslim Kenyan) have been attacked as not legitimate. This goes much deeper than political disagreements about ideas and policies; it erodes the institutions we supposedly so proud of. It's very irresponsible to undermine a system that you rely upon to get things done.

Leadership matters! People get clues from and get accustomed to a certain decorum, so clueless people are likely to copy and extrapolate the behavior of leaders. Inflammatory rhetoric has dire consequences. Juvenile behavior, inappropriate expressions, ad hominem attacks, bullying, racism, misogynistic behavior, and other crass behavior become appropriate in the eyes of said people. I hoped we're better than this. Someone like Trump should not be getting more support than a tiny fraction of the American society--the lunatic fringe.

But interestingly, though not surprising,  Republicans behave as they've been "trained" since Reagan and the emergence of Faux News. Over these years, Republicans have believed, in great numbers, crazy things that defy reality and logic. They've been trained to hate government, not to trust science (and the scientific method, which incidentally don't understand), to accept conspiracies, and anything else in between. A year ago, Trump was leading the "birther movement" and contrary to reality, I bet you many Republicans still believe Obama is a Muslim born overseas!

It's also interesting to see that this hard core of conservative Republicans is often not where the rest of the country is. Take for example: This group is less affected by the Khan controversy. Only 14 percent of that group reports being less likely to vote for Trump because of his criticism of the Khans. Forty-nine percent are unmoved by it, and 28 percent are actually more likely to vote for Trump now. Independents are split, with 31 percent who say they’re less likely to vote for Trump, and 45 percent who say it doesn’t affect their vote.  And, of course, there's Ben Carson who thinks the Khan's should apologize to Trump.

The above is not true, but it's fun to pay back in kind..

By the way, a 51 percent majority of registered voters agree with the Khans that Trump has “sacrificed nothing and no one” in defense of the U.S., including 30 percent of Republican voters and nearly half of independents. Trump himself exhibited his arrogance again by saying his sacrifices center on creating jobs and building things. Did he forget how he sacrificed by serving in the armed forces? (He didn't; he got 5 deferments during the Vietnam war). 

Did you seen Trump's economics team? It's a list of billionaires, one economist, and 40% of them are named "Steve."  Also, Michael Morell, who ran the CIA under both D & R administrations just announced he's supporting Hillary, while saying Trump is a threat to our national security. Increasingly, there's consensus in the foreign policy and national security world that Trump is unfit to be president of the US, and that Hillary is the one candidate to be trusted with such matters. After all, how can you trust a man with small hands and short sausage fingers?...