I first started getting into politics in 1972, when I was 14. Back then, my original mentor was a Republican Senator. At the same, I was doing a little grunt work for George McGovern; you know, just getting their coffee and donuts in the morning, making a few fundraising calls, shit like that. However, while I was doing that my liberal Republican Senator never said one cross word about me or McGovern. At the time, each party saw the other as the “loyal opposition” and they never really trashed each other.
Can you imagine that these days? Look at how the entire Republican Party shouts at good people like Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and you can see how things have changed. We now have a “president” who refers to a Senator as “Pocahontas” and who calls Democrats out as if they were all the enemy, and the current GOP leadership backs him as if he was a great statesman and not an enormous fuck-up who has no idea what his job entails.
Of course, Trump’s rise has thinned the Republican herd to a significant degree. The loudest voices in the press and social media are ex-Republicans, like Richard Painter, Nicolle Wallace, George Conway, Jennifer Rubin, Rick Wilson, and many others. Meanwhile, all Republicans who actually hold office spend all their time defending him, no matter how stupid and horrible he seems. Is the pressure really so bad on Republicans in government that they can’t do the right thing, ever? Call me crazy, but if I thought I had to side with the Russian asset in the White House to keep my job, I’d suffer from the loss of my job.
That’s why I go ballistic when I hear a professional lefty call a Democrat, “Republican-lite.” There is no such thing. There are no “Republican-lites,” not even within the Republican Party. That’s why there are so many ex-Republicans now; even Republicans are under too much pressure to toe the party line to become “Republican-lite.” Whereas there used to be such people as “liberal Republicans,” they have now become extinct. There really aren’t any moderate Republicans right now. They seem to have become extinct with the death of John McCain. Even formerly reliable moderate Republicans like Lindsey Graham can’t afford to be that anymore.
It started with the “Southern Strategy,” which came in the late 1960s when the GOP decided they were tired of losing and started recruiting the hardest-core right-wingers in the electorate. Before 1964, the right-wingers in the country were split, with the racists and white nationalists ensconced in the “Dixiecrats” in the Democratic Party and the “Taft Wing” of the GOP. However, post-1968, they all made up the “base” of the Republican Party and the GOP gave them such importance, Republican politicians had to cater to them.
As a result, they have completely bastardized the word “conservative.” There is nothing even remotely “conservative” about the current Republican Party. There is certainly nothing “conservative” about Donald Trump. That is obvious when you consider the “never Trump”-ers like those noted above. They are all actual conservatives who would never side with plutocratic Russia against the budding democracy in Ukraine. There is nothing “conservative” about a Senate leader who sits on hundreds of bills passed by the House, and stonewalls a Supreme Court nomination for a year for ideological reasons is not at all “conservative.” Using Twitter to berate and insult patriotic Americans with whom you disagree is in no way “conservative,” and yet Trump does it daily and the GOP lets him.
If you think being a Republican is the same as it was 50-60 years ago, you simply haven’t been paying attention. Put it this way; in 1964 and 1965, when it came time to pass the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, 80 percent of the Republican Caucus at the time voted for both of them. Now, they are complicit in trying to take those laws apart. Can you imagine a Richard Nixon, or even a St. Reagan, saying glowing things about Russia? Or supporting a “president” who suggested that John Dingell was looking up at us “from Hell”? Can you imagine a “president” like Nixon or Eisenhower calling Republicans they disagreed with on a few issues “human scum” and getting majority support from the party? The reason the GOP needs to go is because they’re currently not just un-American, but anti-American. We can’t afford to have people in our government who believe the government should be dismantled and who think incompetence is anything but a character flaw.
They all need to go if we are to keep our democracy. At least for a while…