This piece is prompted by yesterday’s entry by 5oclockshadow, with the title “Fruits of this Poison Tree: Republicans Can No Longer Pretend They’re Not the Party of White Identity Politics.”
I appreciated that piece for connecting Trump to what the Republican Party has been doing for years—a connection I believe is of utmost importance for as many Americans as possible to see. 5oclockshadow made that connection specifically with respect to the appeal to “white nationalism.”
While the connections between Trump and the GOP of our times include white nationalism, and while that kind of racism is indeed a major tributary to Trumpism, that’s just one way that Trump manifests the destructive thing the Republican Party has become.
Trump also expresses the politics of the lie, the politics of corporate greed, the politics of fear-mongering, the politics of xenophobia, the politics of the plutocratic takeover… All characteristic of the political practices of the Republican Party in this era.
All those parallels tell us that there’s something continuous going on here, the same thing manifesting itself in different ways.
Democrats should be campaigning this fall in ways that help people see those parallels.
Another way of perceiving the deep connection between Trump and the Republican Party of this era is to look at the Party’s base, which has elevated Trump to become the Party’s face. Whatever is wrong with Trump reflects something gone terribly awry in the Republican base which has found a man like him so attractive.
If Trump is large, it is because the base has made him large. If Trump is remarkable, that’s because something remarkable has happened to the Republican base. It is not normal for the base of a major American party to be in such a frame of mind and feeling.
The question, “How did the base get this way?” opens a whole can of Republican worms, for the Party and its right-wing-media allies have been poisoning the consciousness of these people for years.
For a generation, the Republicans and their media allies have been teaching their followers to be excited about a guy who displays macho power, lies without the least pause, sows division between different groups of people, is a bully and unwilling to treat others as legitimate and worthy of respect.
The Democrats should be campaigning to show how the ugliness of Trump is indeed “the fruit” of a party that for years has been poisoning our politics, putting partisan advantage ahead of taking care of the interests and well-being of the American people, and doing great damage to our nation.
The more effectively that can be accomplished, the greater the likelihood that the American people will not only hand Trump a possibly landslide defeat but also take away from the Republicans the control of the Congress.