How the GOP Got Trumped

How did it come to this? The party into which I was born has undergone a remarkable evolution since I first became aware of politics. My father and his two younger brothers were/are veterans of the 2nd World War — I say “are” because my uncle Sidney, all 97 years of him, is still alive and kicking. They were Republicans, Eisenhower Republicans, and would likely be ashamed of what this party has become — Trump Nation — in all its hateful glory. And many of them appear to revel in it — in the media attention; in the angry, epithet-laden mobs; in the tacit support of some pretty scary folks.

So, what’s going on over there? Party chairman Reince Priebus seems to be at a loss, to control or even explain the current state of his party. It doesn’t much seem to follow the script he outlined in his “autopsy” after the drubbing the GOP took in 2012.

What the Republican party refuses to acknowledge, or even recognize — denial is such a powerful thing — is that they’ve been sowing, fertilizing, and nurturing the seeds that have grown into this man-eating plant since the days of Richard Nixon. The “Southern Strategy” of creating the divide between white and black in the South — this, coincidentally, was in some measure the strategy introduced by the one and only Roger Ailes — fanned flames of hatred among southern white voters that continues to this day.

“Morning-in-America” Reagan allowed his bulldog Lee Atwater to amplify the same message to an even greater degree so long as he kept Ronnie insulated from the nastiness. Atwater trained and mentored Karl Rove, and the flames of hatred were massaged further. The Bush/Cheney/Rove “Trickle-Up” economic agenda — War Creates Wealth for the War Machine — ruined the economy, anger over disenfranchisement and economic hardship bubbled over, and they massaged the anger into hatred, over the sense of helplessness white men were feeling, that “the other” were to blame.

Into this fire stepped the showman Donald Trump, who the party was thrilled to embrace, because of his media skills. What they failed to recognize was that Trump was not someone to be controlled. No one considered his apparent and obvious narcissistic personality disorder, something he has had on public display for more than thirty years. And now they’re stuck with him. Reince Priebus is so overmatched by Trump that it is painful to watch. And it’s not going to get any better, for Trump isn’t capable of controlling himself.

My prediction: Sometime this fall Trump will hear from his family (they are the only people he listens to, and maybe — MAYBE — hears) that the election is beyond his reach — when it is apparent he will lose Pennsylvania and Ohio — and he will quit; that is what he does, because losing damages his brand (and really, to Trump the brand is everything), possibly leaving the GOP high and dry, without the ability to get a different candidate on the ballot in all 50 states. And without a candidate at the top of the ticket the GOP could easily lose the Senate AND the House. You see, Trump’s history is not so much building things, but destroying things. No one has ever done it better.

And Reince, you have no one to blame but yourself. How’s that autopsy looking now?