Republican’s, You Went F*$%* Mad. Here’s What Happened. Here’s How We Can Fix You.
Some Republicans are still wondering what happened to the Republican Party and to most of us, that’s baffling. Witnessing Trumps rise, the weird inside fighting within, manipulated media, and the strange party values of exclusion are what the GOP has become. Yet, party leaders are still scratching their heads and asking “What in the world happened to the Republican party?” So, for those still standing in fog of disillusion, here’s an explanation of what we’re witnessing, what you started, what you‘ve become, and where you’re headed if you don’t change course today.
The modern Republican Party is a reaction to Berry Goldwater’s loss. The Republican’s strategy of the 1960s was to take over the Southern voters using a marketing plan called “The Southern Strategy”. The party of Lincoln used the South’s anger over integration (see the irony there?) and built a top-down narrative using subtle (and overt) divisive language regarding integration. “Two, four, six, eight, we don’t want to integrate” and “Interracial marriage is against God’s will” were recognizable chants of that time and could probably be compared to the “They steal our jobs”, “Muslims hate America”, and “Why can’t gays just have civil unions” chants of today.
Republicans lost that 1964 election, but that loss was hard for the party as a whole. They had literally aligned themselves with racism and their base was suddenly full of people who‘s fight was to suppress others. Until that moment, Republicans were the “smart growth, fiscal, live and let live” party (which is hard to imagine today, but maybe now you can sorta understand why your parents and grandparents still align themselves with the forgotten nostalgia of a party that once was). That election’s loss was the exact moment Conservatives realized they had to change the playing field because their outdated ideas were no longer winning the imaginations of voters. Until then, they had been playing by the rules.
Watergate was the first(of many) big rule breaking moments used to win elections and it was probably the first time the party began to lose the trust of the American public. However, tactics like this are what the GOP leadership had to use to win votes because they had alienated most Americans. Falsifying voter fraud cases, Bush paying a media commentator $240,00 to push the “No Child Left Behind” education failure, The Republican email scandal, censoring global warming , trading golf games in Scotland for votes on policy, lying about weapons of mass destruction, and bribes were all used to tactics used to keep the voter base in constant confusion about what was happening in Washington.
Most Americans have been baffled with the “we’ll do anything to win” moments of the Republican party but we’ve been watching you slowly spin out of control in our slow moving system for 60 years.
When the high courts called you out for Gerrymandering, sure, what you did it was legal. But, both parties had respectfully drawn district lines for many years in a “ladies and gentleman’s agreement” because fair democracy/representation was more important than winning for the sake of winning. As you continued to push dated values and continued to lose local and national elections, you decided to draw lines that misrepresented districts to win votes. Even the conservative-leaning courts agreed that what you did was wrong and have asked that we change it for you.
So now, in walks Trump with his chest puffed out. What you’re seeing today with him is a fully blossomed tree and you planted his seed 60 years ago. You fed it a steady diet of fake wars, freedom fries, terrorists in the White House, liberal conspiracies, gays wanting to marry their dogs, FEMA Camp lies, fake birth certificate scandals, and even Ebola outbreaks. Now you’re boxed in a corner and you only have two choices:
1) keep telling the public that the sky is falling.
2) recognize what you’ve created, own up to it, and fix it.
Your desire to scare people shows no limits and it’s shameful because having a scared population that trusts your lies is super dangerous and do you want to know why? You can’t fix problems that don’t actually exist. How many times do we get scared of an Ebola outbreak, Obama taking our guns, or death panels (remember those?) How many times will you say gas prices will reach $8 a gallon if Democrats are in the White House before we all take a step back and say “wait a second, nothing you ever threaten ever comes true, ever”.
Rather than progressing, you all continue to double down and refuse to move forward with the rest of us. Each lie you give continues to box you in a corner with one way out, to create a bigger lie. We’ve seen obstructions, halts in the government, Ted Cruz reading “Green Eggs And Ham for 36 hours so nothing can get done in session, fake investigations, and scandal after scandal. You hire spin masters like Rove and Luntz to alter the public perception rather than presenting your ideas and letting the public decide if they are good or not.
Now you‘re stuck because Trump is loudly repeating words to the angry base using the same language you started 60 years ago using the Southern Strategy. Established leaders like McCain and Romney who (in order to denounce Trump) must go back on their words and say “Remember when we made up those things about our economy? Jobs? Immigration? We were not being fully honest”. (Did you just hear the sound of the final nail in the coffin? Of course you did, that’s why those leaders won’t utter those words, ever).
Republican establishment could start listening to the voters and represent the public like they used to, change course as a party, and bring new ideas to our landscape. But instead, you have decided to jump in the sandbox and make fun of Trump’s supporters who are only repeating your language. Suddenly you don’t like what he’s saying, but the words he’s saying are your words spoken directly from your playbook. From the top down, established party leaders are trying to pander to what’s left of the fragile base, but that base left the station about the same time you started making fun of them.
Trump is not the worst thing that’s happened to the Republican Party. He’s a result of 60 years of all the worst things you’ve celebrated within your party. Every time you shared a post that you knew wasn’t true, but you hoped it would scare people into siding with you, you built this monster. Every time you told people that gays were destroying morality or there was an actual War On Christmas, you contributed to the hysteria and all this will probably be your demise as a party.
You see, while you were busy upsetting people, there were actual problems the rest of us were trying to fix. We warned you and we tried to fact check you in your posts, but you wanted no part of what we were saying because winning was more important than truth. Even people in your own party begged you to stop, but being a “Republican” was more important than unifying and being an American.
But good news, you have a choice now. You can continue standing in the rotting swamp of a party and beg the public to be frightened of the next crises du jour, or you can join the rest of America in building our country in a way that suits all 350 million of us. You can sit back and panic as the most moderate representatives of your party (who still remember the pre-Goldwater days) are plucked off, one by one, and replaced with the new tea party radicles. Or you can problem solve with the rest of us as we try and find solutions for actual crisis happening every day.
While you scramble around trying to remember what truth looks like, we are building clean technologies, reinventing transportation, working on climate crises, discovering ways to help reduce homelessness, rebuilding our infrastructure, improving education, engaging young innovators, becoming a leader in alternative energy so we don’t have to rely on oil, helping immigrants find a path to citizenship, cleaning our oceans, discovering new ways to help people in poverty, redefining healthcare, teaching our kids to avoid debt, and building relationships with other parts of the world instead of policing other parts of the world. These ideas are not ideas of a Democrat or Republican, they are American ideas that will define us into our future.
Take the blinders off because the view out here is crystal clear. At this point I’m not sure how you can identify with the party because I’m not even certain what you’re fighting for.