The GOP and the End of the World

Is this the end?

I listen to the Republican Presidential candidates talk about America and it’s a place I don’t recognize. It sounds like a corpse strewn hell-scape, like Republicans think “The Walking Dead” is a documentary. It sound like it’s the end of the world.

Liberals laugh at this. I know I do.

But here’s the thing. For quite a few Republican voters, it does seem like the end of the world. Maybe not literally, not like an asteroid is on a collision course with the earth. But in many ways it’s the end of the world they know.

Let’s say, for example, that you are an unskilled white working class male. You grew up in a world where your father made a good living as a factory worker. He could afford a good house, a stay at home wife to take care of the kids, and the occasional vacation. Those days are dead and gone. That world has ended. And to those guys that is no joke.

Or let’s say you’re a homophobe. (They’re surprisingly easy to find in the GOP. Just go to a Ted Cruz rally and swing a dead cat.) The world where being a homophobe was the norm is gone. Once upon a time calling someone a “fag” was normal, no on batted an eye. Now people are uncomfortable with such open displays of animus. That world has ended.

Or let’s say you are a racist, not a Klansman or anything that extreme, but just a guy who enjoys a good racial joke now and then, and the kind of guy that doesn’t like, you know. “those” people in your neighborhood. Once upon a time that was the norm. Now you’re shunned for expressing those views. If you are that guy, the world you grew up in has ended.

To many people this is no joke, it is disorienting and frightening. Republicans understand these fears and know that they can exploit them.

Republican presidential candidates can sell their version of the end of the world because, for many in the GOP base, for many working class whites, their world has changed dramatically, and in many ways it has ended. They world that they grew up in is gone. So for them, it is the end of the world.