“How did we get Trump?” a Republican might ask. The answer is quite simple. You created him.
Let me explain.
While Republican candidates scramble to NOT be identified with Trump, Democrats bathe in the warm glow of success and reliability cast by President Obama. The isolated proudly fact-free mutants living in the Fox News and talk radio twilight zone might be able to ignore the pesky fact that unemployment now stands at 4.9% (lower than when Reagan left office in 1988, and it’s lower than when Bill Clinton won re-election in 1996) but for the rest of America President Obama has been seen to provably have done a good job. The unemployment rate inherited from President Bush stood at 8.3% in President Obama’s first month in office.
Today President Obama’s approval ratings is 52%. This is virtually the same as President Reagan’s in August 1988. On the other hand George W Bush rate was 32% in 2008 and his reputation declines with each passing day.
In other words President Obama has confounded those who painted him as not just a bad president but an unworthy one. In other words what the Republicans began as a gleeful lynching party ended with the party killing only itself.
Eight years ago the Republican Party leaders decided to lynch President Obama. Their “rope” to “hang” him with was to define him as unacceptable. He was even un-American. After President Obama’s election Republican leaders met to plot a path back to power that had nothing to do with policy. It was all about de-legitimizing our first black president. They would not change policies or work with this “You lie!” interloper. They would just obstruct President Obama on… everything.
Total obstruction and character assassination became the one and only Republican “policy.” This was even before President Obama began to try to to pass a giant stimulus bill and launched healthcare reform.
As notes in the Guardian, (in “The Republicans tried to sink Obama. Instead, the party imploded”) Republicans plotted openly to deny the president even a chance to attempt bipartisanship. They upended mainstream politics. The black in the White House wasn’t reasonable; he was an ideologue; his healthcare reform wasn’t a free-market system based on Republican plans– it was a socialist takeover that would destroy the American way of life. He was inviting terrorist attacks on the homeland. He was a Muslim in waiting, a terrorist himself! He was not even hunting down bin Laden! He wasn’t really American at all. He was evil.
Sarah Palin, religious right evangelicals, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Roger Ailes became the GOP image. Shutdown of government rather than letting President Obama govern became “policy.”
Mitch McConnell summed up the entire contribution to actual governing the GOP made in 8 years: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
The Republicans only were about one thing: The humiliation of the president, the defeat of one man. They were no longer even pretending that the advancement of policies through legislation was even a possibility. The Republicans in other words became obsessed fanatics, more like theologians unwilling to compromise (say) their belief in the Trinity, than policy makers working in the real world.
Now Donald Trump is simply building on what the GOP leadership started.
Memo to the GOP:
It’s too late to whine about Trump or his “policy” positions say, inviting NRA 2nd Amendment solutions to politics (i.e., assassination!) or deporting millions of immigrants and/or saying all Muslims are enemies, women are to be treated as “shit” (Trump’s words) not to mention destroying trade while blowing up the deficit.
Trump is just doing what the GOP leadership did: burning down the entire American house in favor of a personal vendetta. He too is all about one man, not policy. Trump is about… TRUMP!
After eight years of the GOP faithful experiencing a cartoon “reality” version of President Obama — he’s a Kenyan Muslim socialist with terrorist sympathies and job-destroying policies on healthcare and bank regulation who wants to wreck America– the GOP faithful got used to accepting utter fiction. So it’s only logical that they would end up replacing reality politics entirely with an actual reality TV fiction. When Trump became their candidate it almost seemed as “normal” as say Spider Man seeming “real” to an 8-year-old raised on too much TV.
The GOP crafted insult as policy and now they have a candidate who has yet to find a politician he won’t insult. Thus the lynching of President Obama has become a riot (as it were) where no one is safe. Just ask Trump’s GOP primary rivals. Just ask Mike Pence 90 odd days from today.
The Republican Party failed to destroy President Obama. They did however leave it to history to determine what could have been if they had been more constructive than simply obstructing– everything. That President Obama has been so successful in spite of the GOP will perhaps go down as his biggest triumph.
The rise of Trump is no coincidence. He is the logical conclusion of hate for hate’s sake. Now the Republicans are hanging from the tree they’d picked out for the comeuppance of the “uppity” black man they so hated.
Now Republican candidates are saying they will not vote for their very own presidential nominee. The GOP’s own national security officials are condemning Trump and openly calling him reckless and a danger to the world. Republican leaders are fleeing for the shadows… from their own creation.
Trump is the GOP’s handmade monster. He is a liar’s liar made by and for a party that made anti-Obama lies (from “Birther” lies on) it’s only “policy.”
Trump is the purest form yet of GOP fact-free hate-and fear-driven fantasy– distilled into pure poison.
That poison is going to kill the GOP.
Meanwhile the “one-term president” is wildly popular.
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Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book —WHY I AM AN ATHEIST WHO BELIEVES IN GOD: How to give love, create beauty and find peace
Please read about my journey through then out of the religious right and Republican Party. It has a lot to do with today’s political reality in the Trump disaster. Buy it HERE