I hold absolutely no hope for a country with 20 trillion dollars in debt and the poor judgement to elect Donald Trump president, but to comment on politics at all, one must at least pretend things can get better before they get (far) worse – even if it’s just to while away the time before calamity strikes.
In that vein, it might be worthwhile to reflect on how we got here. Being a conservative (and I use that term reluctantly, because Trump and his supporters have tarnished it to such an extent as to render it a pejorative), I feel uniquely qualified to gaze into my side’s navel with honesty. Democrats have their own problems, and I’ll leave it them to put their house in order – but, in that too, I hold no hope.
Politics, as they say, makes strange bedfellows, Political parties, especially in America, have always been a loose alliance of political factions, voter blocs, and special interests that share more common goals than not. They don’t necessarily have identical goals. Most care about some goals more than others, and some only care about one goal to the exclusion of anything else, but they are all willing to overlook their differences in hopes of winning something that would be impossible to achieve alone. And especially because those guys over there? In that other bed? They’re awful.
The question, then, is choosing your bed partners. Are some partners are too ugly to share the bed. I think the answer is yes. And Trump proves it.
Broadly speaking (very broadly), there are two types of conservatives in the Republican Party (again, I use that term with reluctance; I actually prefer the term “liberal” as the Founding Fathers were liberal in their time, fighting for freedom from an oppressive centralized government): those who believe in the principles of limited government and individual liberty as a positive good for all Americans, and those who use the rhetoric of limited government and individual liberty as a convenient political weapon to achieve other ends.
This plays out in various ways, the most common of which is the corrupt big government cronyism prevalent on both sides of the aisle. They play political games, so they are extremely selective about where they apply their principles. They might, for example, use the principle of small government as an excuse to cut taxes or regulations for their political allies while keeping the thumb of big government firmly planted on their political enemies. While ugly and distasteful, this is the kind of political corruption people expect, so they aren’t they aren’t quite ugly enough to kick out of bed.
Others use conservative ideology not to conceal corruption, but to hide intolerance and hate. Simply put, these people are every bit the racists and homophobes they appear to be, but they cloak themselves in principle and law. Even so, they can never help revealing themselves through their rhetoric.
Examples are easy to find in the comments sections of news sites and blogs. For every principled small government conservative who wants to reform entitlements to shore up our children’s financial future, there is another who talks about deadbeats and welfare mothers. For every Republican who talks about responsible immigration reform, there is another who talks about building walls, mass deportations, and anchor babies. For every conservative concerned about domestic terrorism, there is another who shouts about banning Muslims.
If you’re a conservative who is uncomfortable with that kind of rhetoric, you’re likely a person of good intention who believes in limited government because individual liberty empowers everyone and makes their lives better. Or, to Steve Bannon, a cuck.
But if you’re a conservative who sees government as a weapon to punish people you don’t like, especially welfare cheats, illegals, libtards, and RINOs, you’re probably a Trump supporter. And you’re not really a conservative at all.
To wit: They should lift themselves by their bootstraps. You should get high tariffs and a big border wall. They are a bunch of moochers looking for a handout. You deserve your entitlements and tax credits. They hate freedom and the American way of life. You want to keep your statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. They give everything away in bad trade deals. You like cheap stuff at Wal-Mart. They are a bunch of rapists and murderers flooding across the border to steal the jobs of honest ‘mericans. You don’t have a job because NAFTA sent it to Mexico.
These were the people who vacated the Democrat Party after LBJ pushed the Civil Rights Act through Congress. At one time, they made the south Democrat blue. Now, they make it GOP red. Republicans were happy to have them because they helped win elections. They tolerated things they shouldn’t have. They defended these people. Denied they were racist. Ridiculed Democrats as the party of the KKK even as the architects of Jim Crow switched their registration to Republican.
Sooner or later, though, every faction of a political party will have its day, which is why we should be careful about who we accept as coalition partners. And, not to put too fine a point on it, excrement floats. Especially orange excrement with yellow hair.
Now Trump and his horde of alt-right white nationalist troglodytes have taken over the Republican Party – the party of Lincoln, mind you, and they’re turning into the party of Jefferson Davis. They took advantage of a divided Republican field to win the nomination, and, with the help of a hostile foreign power, the White House. And they are turning the GOP into a rump party before our very eyes.
Some allies are not worth having. Trump and his supporters are guilty of a lot more than eating crackers. If winning the political battle means selling out your soul and your principles to align yourself with people this ugly, you deserve to lose the war. And the GOP is learning that the hard way.