The GOP: Tracing the roots of Trumpism

No Comments » March 16th, 2016 posted by // Categories: USA Watch



 

The GOP: Tracing the roots of Trumpism

Translating code words into plain English

“The chickens come home to roost. Hoisted on your own petard. You reap what you sow.” The clichés abound, said David Corn in MotherJones.com, but they all come down to the same thing: The Republican Party elite created the monster that is Donald Trump, and is now watching helplessly as the bombastic New York City billionaire tears the Grand Old Party apart.

For years, Republican leaders “exploited the climate of hate in which Trump’s candidacy has taken root.” They portrayed President Obama as an “anti-colonialist Kenyan” and “secret Muslim” who deliberately tried to ruin the country. They “adopted a political strategy of never-ending obstructionism,” and winked at the racism and birtherism of the Tea Party base. Now the base is wildly cheering Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim immigrants and the deportation of 12 million Hispanics, said Fareed Zakaria in The Washington Post. So why do Republican leaders seem so appalled? Mitt Romney last week condemned Trump as a phony and a fraud and begged Republicans not to vote for him. Rewind to 2012, when presidential candidate Romney gleefully accepted Trump’s endorsement, even though Trump had spent months leading the birther movement. While pandering for votes, Romney, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and other prominent Republicans have dog whistled on immigrants, Muslims, and blacks; Trump merely chose to say “plainly what they were hinting at for years”—and in doing so, “hit the jackpot.”

Trump’s movement is deeper than some racist rhetoric, said Bruce Haynes inRealClearPolitics.com. A populist rebellion has been brewing in the U.S. for the past 25 years, as a “tsunami of economic and cultural globalism” swamped the white working class and took away their jobs and “their dignity.” Since 1979, the U.S. has lost 7 million manufacturing jobs, many of them outsourced to China and Mexico thanks to trade agreements negotiated by elites in both parties. In 2008, Americans who lost homes, savings, and jobs to the Great Recession then had to watch as the Washington elites bailed out the same Wall Street banks that caused the meltdown. Believing that they have been “sold down the river,” middle-class voters in both parties have turned to populist outsiders, namely Trump and Bernie Sanders, to “drop an anvil on the system’s head the way one was dropped on theirs.”

The Left deserves plenty of blame for Trumpism, said Noah Rothman inCommentaryMagazine.com. For years, the liberal media and Democrats have scolded the working class for their “outdated” beliefs on gay marriage and gun control, and identified any opposition to Obama or Democratic policies as inherently racist. Today, as Democrats shout “bigot” at the toxic Trump, is it any wonder that “so many on the Right are no longer listening”?

There’s no doubt many voters feel betrayed by Washington, said Conor Friedersdorf inTheAtlantic.com. But legitimate grievances have become “pathologies,” because of the daily drumbeat of rage, paranoia, and race-tinged hatred on Fox News, the talk radio shows of Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, and the fever swamps of right-wing websites. Conservative audiences have been told over and over that Democrats are stealing elections by registering droves of illegal immigrants and conspiring with our Islamist enemy to weaken America and destroy Christianity. They’ve been warned that “folks with heartland values will be squashed unless a strongman with unprecedented backbone stands up to Democrats.” No wonder they’re embracing Trump. And no wonder they can’t see through his lies, said Josh Barro inBusinessInsider.com. Both the right-wing media and GOP leaders have instructed voters to ignore the “validating institutions” in science and the media, and “inconvenient facts” about climate change, trickle-down economics, and systemic racism. By promoting anti-intellectual irrationality, and bogus candidates like Sarah Palin, “Republicans created a hole that Donald Trump could fly his 757 through.”

If Trump’s rise has exposed anything, said Jonathan Chait in New York magazine, it’s that Republican voters feel little loyalty to conservative ideology. Right-wing intellectuals like to think belief in small government, low taxes, and other conservative economic principles is the glue that holds the GOP’s various factions together. But the rise of Trump, who has prioritized “right-wing social resentments while tolerating ambiguity on economics,” suggests that most Republican voters “aren’t maniacally obsessed with shrinking government after all.” Movement conservatives find this revelation deeply embarrassing; they can’t believe that the party of Lincoln and Reagan has been taken over by a demagogue who offers nothing but “boasting, absurd promises,” and cultural rage. Now the survival of the conservative movement is at stake, said Renee Graham in The Boston Globe. “Republicans have made their bed. They can only hope that Trump, the creature they created, doesn’t smother them in it.”

 

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