Why are so many people acting as if Trump is something new from the GOP? It’s almost as if the media is bending over backward to insinuate that Trump is some sort of anomaly. They are trying really hard to separate his actions from the actions of their beloved Republican Party as a whole. Take the term, “Trumpism,” for example. Many people inside and outside the media have been using to suggest that Trump is somehow different in some way; that he doesn’t represent the Republican Party in any way, shape or form. They are trying really hard to separate the crap he says and does from what we’re used to seeing and hearing from his adopted party.But is he really such an anomaly?
In some ways, I will admit that Trump is worse than anything the Republican Party has put up for president, but the difference isn’t that great. Much of what he says he would like to do as president is only a slight departure in tone from the usual presidential candidate, who often has to mix his right wing zealotry with a little moderation because that’s how you win a presidential election, but look more closely and you’ll find that what he stands for is exactly what the GOP has stood for over the course of a generation. I mean, have you met the Tea Party? These people are batshit crazy and they have been swinging the entire Republican Party by the tail for at least the last decade, and they didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. Consider the most common reason Trump die-hards say they’ll vote for him:
“He says what’s on his mind. He says exactly what I’m thinking.”
These people are the Republican base these days and they have been for a while. It took them until “the Black man” was elected president to become organized and active, but good lord, do you really think they’re new? Everything Trump says is mimicry from two sources; the John Birch Society playbook and right wing talk radio. Much of what Trump says has been said by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and their listeners for a quarter-century or more.
Trump claims he wants to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. While the GOP elites can pretend that this proposal is somehow extreme, but is it? They admit that we have as many as 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, but they have stifled every attempt Democrats have made to solve the problem. When was the last time you saw a major Republican politician contradict one of their constituents when they screamed, “Send them back!”? They can point to Ronald Reagan signing an “amnesty bill” back in the 1980s, but that was a Democratic bill and he worked with Democrats to do the right thing then. And Republicans had to tack on that insipid I-9 form, just to satisfy their need for “accountability.”
The point is, for almost 40 years, Republicans have portrayed “illegal aliens” (their term) as brown people who are coming over here and “stealing” Americans’ (white people’s) jobs. This, despite the fact that roughly half of all undocumented workers are not from Mexico and points south, and several million come from such terrible countries as the UK, France, Germany and Australia and simply over-stay on their visas.
In what way does Trump’s promise to build a wall not fit into the Republican narrative, especially over the last eight years? They didn’t exactly stop the “Minuteman militia” from “bearing arms” at the border and allow them to patrol, as if they were sworn law enforcement officers. How is allowing, and even encouraging, right wing whack jobs to patrol the border any different, really? Why does no one in the Republican Party point out that most undocumented immigrants don’t sneak over the border, anyway? Hell, roughly 40% of them come here by plane and most others come over the border legally and just stay too long. They don’t say anything like that because it would disturb the narrative the Republican Party has been pushing for decades; that all of the scary brown people are sneaking over the border to create havoc. Like I said, Trump’s proposals for immigration are the same thing the GOP has pushed forever, and his proposal for fixing it comes straight out of Republican orthodoxy, right wing talk radio, and Fox News.
How about his economic proposals? He says he’ll cut taxes and create lots and lots of jobs. Sure as hell sounds like “trickle-down economics” to me. Hasn’t that been a Republican staple for almost 40 years now? Yes, he’s promised to get rid of NAFTA, but we all know that will never happen and the GOP will approve TPP during the lame duck session, so he will have no impact on free trade. That is especially true because, If he wins, it means the GOP won and they will retain a majority in Congress and the states.
One of the most entertaining proposals he has made so far this election season has been his promise to bundle and buy up the national debt for 20 cents on the dollar, which is batshit crazy, but… is it really crazier than constantly refusing to raise the debt ceiling and putting the credit rating of the United States in mortal danger, which Republicans have been doing repeatedly, to massive cheers from their base? I mean, just a few years ago, the Republican Congress voted to default on the national debt, which not only violated the Constitution, but would also destroy the economy. Really, is Trump really that far afield in the GOP?
And while Trump seems woefully ignorant on foreign policy and military matters, let us remember that the Republican Party isn’t really a “think tank” when it comes to those subjects. The people who are voting for Trump actually believe Fox News propaganda and the “fiscal responsibility” Republicans simultaneously reduced taxes, started two wars and thought they could finish the war in Iraq in six weeks. Not exactly geniuses. For that matter, they broke two countries by starting one war to get rid of al Qaeda, then abandoned that to start one in Iraq, a half-assed mess that turned into a hellish quagmire that destroyed what little stability there was in the Middle East. Republicans are also the party that became hysterical when Obama promised to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay and who turned “Benghazi” into a meme, politicizing the tragic deaths of four Americans after they ignored the 60 who died at embassies during the Bush Administration. And it was the leader of the GOP for eight years, one George W. Bush, who started a war in a “Muslim country” even though he didn’t know there were differences between Sunni and Shi’a.
Trump is trying to stoke fear among the people because he believes that’s how he can win. But really, how is that not a return to the Bush years? Or that matter, how does that differ from the Reagan years? Trump is trying to scare voters into believing that everything the government touches turns to shit, but how is that different than Republican orthodoxy, really? I mean, it was Ronald Reagan who said,
“The most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”
For about 80 years now, the GOP has been selling the notion that government does everything wrong, which is a strategy with a single purpose, really; to create fear and trepidation among the populace. About the only way Trump differs from his party, really, is in his promise to, as head of government, do everything to fix everything. However, that only differs from the party rhetorically. There is nothing the Republican Party wants more than to run everything and do everything their way. If they could manage to get 400 seats in the House and 67 in the Senate, they would happily do to the country what they’ve done to the red states.
We need to make it clear to voters that Trump is absolutely not an outlier and he most certainly does represent what his adopted political party stands for. Is it somewhat cartoonish? Sure, but the GOP has been a cartoon-like party for a long time. It’s time we end this and put adults back in charge of the government. Right now, that means not just denouncing Trump, but everything the Republican Party currently stands for.