You know, in the last few days, I have caught myself calling the Republican healthcare bills, “Trumpcare.” I have done this numerous times.
See, here’s the thing. It should be called “GOPCare.” This is a Republican idea that Lord Donny hasn’t even read. He only feels like he needs a “win” and this is the only thing he can possibly call that. What’s sad is, this kind of thing has been repeated constantly by Republicans for the better part of four decades, yet we never seem able to make them pay for it. For example, they cut taxes rather habitually, but they rarely cut them for the people who make up their rabid base. Yet, these folks think that voting for Republicans will cut their taxes.
Likewise, look at the peril they keep putting the elderly in. They always threaten to cut their Social Security, they always threaten to cut Medicare and they continue to try to cut Medicaid to the bone, even though millions of seniors depend on Medicaid for a lot. You know all those people in assisted living centers and geriatric centers? Medicaid pays for the part that Medicare doesn’t. Also, a lot of older people get disability payments, and those will be imperiled by Republican cuts, if they have their way.
Republicans have done horrible things to the people of the United States. Blaming everything on Trump entirely misses the point. Yes, Trump is horrible and may represent the worst thing the Republicans have ever done, but he is a symptom of the GOP approach to government and little more. Lord Donny is the ultimate result of an approach to politics that puts every bit of energy into winning and exactly nothing into governing. It is like a teenager who thinks getting a job is the important thing, but decides to slack off once he’s doing it.
Even with healthcare, the Republican obstruction and abject cruelty pre-dates Trump by quite some time. if you’ll recall, when Bush was president, the GOP tried to kill Medicare, but they were shamed into backing off. In fact, the shaming was so complete, that they decided to fix it instead and passed Medicare Part D, the first-ever prescription drug benefit for Medicare. Of course, being Republicans, they screwed that up badly, too. The expressly refused to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and they created a “donut hole” that basically forced the least wealthy seniors t have to cover most of their own prescriptions. That “donut hole,” of course, was fixed by the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans are now trying to repeal while also assuring their “base” that they won’t lose their health insurance, which is, of course, impossible.
There are a couple of points we all have to make here, but the most important thing is, the entire Republican Party is a nightmare, not just Trump. I mean, where the hell do you think Trump’s over-the-top rhetoric comes from? It comes from right wing talk radio, which has almost exclusively peddled the Republican line for damn near 30 years now, since Saint Reagan and Republicans killed the Fairness Doctrine. Do you think Trump is the only one on the right talking about banning Muslims from the country? Turn on Michael Weiner Savage, Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, among others, and you will hear his rhetoric expressed repeatedly. Trump parrots that shit because he KNOWS it is what his tightest constituency wants to hear. Republicans have been talking about building a wall for a really long time; this isn’t Trump-new. In fact, they just completed building a wall along most of the border within the last decade or so, based on a bill they passed during the Saint Reagan era. If you think the right’s demonization of people darker than alabaster will stop if we manage to impeach Trump and banish his entire family, you haven’t been paying attention. Even when Saint Reagan rightfully offered amnesty to millions who were here illegally, the GOP went along only grudgingly. In fact, most of them openly fought him on it. It was Democratic votes that made the amnesty program a success.
These days, when Obama was starting the DREAM Act, Trump had not even started running yet, and the entire GOP went after him as if he’d promised to kill their mothers. They will happily oppose anything liberals do without even thinking twice and they will support anyone who ends up in the GOP leadership, even someone like Trump. That is because the “deplorables” who most happily voted for Trump make up the Republican base and that base is shrinking from election to election.
And before some of you unicorn progressives get on my case about that statement and say something profoundly stupid, like,
“If the GOP is shrinking, why do they keep winning?”,
let me clue you in. They keep winning because, even though the GOP base is shrinking and should be easier to beat, professional lefties and unicorn progressives would rather spend their energies attacking the Democratic Party and confusing voters as to who is the worst major political party in the history of the republic. I’d say the world, but I don’t do hyperbole often.
If you think “the American people are just dumb” or something equally odious, you need to keep something in mind; Donald Trump got the third-most votes in the last election. In first place were the voters who didn’t show up at all, who made up about 50 percent of the electorate. That group has decided almost every election since about 1970 and many of them call themselves “progressive.” If you said anything bad about Hillary Clinton during the election, you did encourage this group to not show up in droves. In second place was Hillary Clinton, who was backed by a majority of the people who actually showed up. Donald Trump was supported by less than one-quarter of the electorate. That means THREE QUARTERS of the electorate did not support him on Election Day. Moreover, you can’t find a reputable poll that has ever given him support by much more than that since.
The problem we have isn’t that we are being overwhelmed by stupid. I don’t even believe the bullshit concept that we are all “divided.” The “division” seems to come from extreme far left and extreme far right engaging in dueling hyperbole over in the corner. I can’t remember the last time I argued with a Trump fan because it’s not worth my time. At some point, the less strident of them will see the error of their ways and I want to be there to greet them when they come to the light. If the election were to happen again today, I doubt seriously that Trump would come close to the GOP nomination, given his current record of complete ineptitude. And the problem for him will only get worse as time goes on, although I hope the time doesn’t go on too long.
Speaking of which, I am also tired of the idea that Republicans will never go along with impeachment. They will, but only if we get our shit together and make all of them scared to death to support them. You may think Republican politicians have no fear, but every politician of all stripes fears losing reelection. Yes, that includes Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan. The problem is, people on our side don’t strike fear into their hearts because too many of the loudest on our side thinks they’re being politically “savvy” by pointing out how bad Democrats are, too. At the same time, we also write off Republicans as “unreachable” and we refuse to talk to them about anything. We look much like we’ve adopted the Bush-Trump approach to political enemies; apparently, if they don’t see things our way, we shouldn’t deign to talk to them.
It’s way past time for us to start playing politics smarter. Yes, we need to get rid of Trump and Pence for the sake of the country, but more important is to return the entire GOP to the woodshed we banished them to in 1932, after they pushed us into the Great Depression. Trump is not the problem; he is merely a symptom of a much larger problem, in which the current incarnation of the Republican Party is the worst thing to happen to this country, politically and our singular focus is to get rid of them. Not for good, certainly, but for as long as it takes to get them to reform and take the act of governing seriously.
Also published on Medium.