The grandees of the Republican party are nearing panic over the potential of Donald Trump becoming their nominee for President. They alone are to blame for their fate. And this fate does not depend solely on whether Trump becomes their candidate.
Republicans created the environment that allowed, maybe even enticed, a candidate like Trump to run and win or come close enough to fracture the party.
They created an atmosphere in which complete disrespect for the other party is not only OK but expected. The 2008 decision by Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor among other Republican leaders to obstruct every Obama initiative gave substance and sustenance to massive disrespect. The contempt with which party leaders and now the candidates spew disdain for anything Democrat paves the way for Trump’s outrageous comments to fall on numbed ears.
It extends to public disdain for “the other”. “The other” is any bogeyman the current political speaker needs to blame for whatever they don’t like to generate an emotional response. The Republican list currently includes Democrats, immigrants, scientists, Muslims and the press. For the Democrats, it is “Wall Street”. That is a shorter list and more nebulous but just as dangerous. Both parties have culpability in the search for bogeymen.
It is hard to deny the disrespect Republicans create when they attempt to shut down the government rather than advancing principled but achievable options; when they spend more time fund-raising than they spend working; and when they fail to do their constitutional jobs like passing budgets and confirming court nominees. If Congress doesn’t respect the government, why would we not expect the people to drift toward a candidate to promises to “make America great again”. Whether you think government should be smaller, larger or just work, most people expect their representatives to work to make it so and not just avoid tough votes.
Facts have never been of major concern to political campaigns. Nonetheless, the Republicans’ continuous attacks on science from denying climate change science to defunding the Office of Technology Assessment, helped increase the general populace’s acceptance of the idea that facts are subject to political vetting. When they assign Representatives who fundamentally do not believe in the process of science to the House Committee on Science and Technology, you have to think they don’t take science seriously. (Paul “science is spawn of the devil” Broun for instance. Google it. There are now at least five Republican anti-science members of that committee.)
If facts don’t matter in science or political campaigns, why would it matter that 76 of 77 statements made by Mr. Trump and fact checked by Politifact turned out to be false?
The Republicans have also shown a systematic revulsion for their own ideas when proposed by a Democrat – e.g., ACA, Cap and Trade, and Common Core (which was more bi-partisan but a grass-roots initiative). When a Republican dominated Congress spends six years arguing over purely symbolic issues instead of trying to improve anything, how can a large part of the public avoid a level of cynicism that makes the Donald look attractive relative to professional politicians? At least he gets things done – according to his branding. The fact that he makes stuff up, makes outrageous claims and has no political theory is of no consequence if all other politicians are regarded as the same! Then, simply the facts that he is from outside and reflects the frustration is enough to give him a platform.
Hilary – similar lessons applies to the Democrats! Wonder why Bernie looks so appealing?