Since Donald Trump’s rise to the de facto face of the Republican party, one of the things that’s annoyed me most has been the gall of many within the GOP to act shocked that someone as vile and offensive as Trump could manage to become the party’s leading presidential candidate. Quite a few have even tried claiming that his rhetoric doesn’t represent the values of the party. To those Republicans I ask: How many states and how many millions of Republican voters have to vote for him before he represents the values of the Republican party?
Though anyone with even the slightest bit of common sense knows these Republicans are lying. They damn well know what Trump has been saying over these last few months is exactly what many of their voters believe. The biggest difference between Donald Trump and these Republicans claiming he doesn’t represent the party’s values is just that he’s bluntly saying what the party has mostly subtly alluded to for years.
Republicans have opposed treating illegal immigrants like human beings, frequently suggesting they’re leading to higher crime – Trump flat-out calls most of them criminals and rapists. Republicans have constantly (though usually subtly) pandered to anti-Islam conservatives – Trump calls for a complete ban on all Muslims from entering the United States. Republicans suggest President Obama isn’t looking out for the best interests of the American people – Trump questions his birthplace and calls his birth certificate fake.
The only thing Trump has done is he’s taken the filter off the Republican party – and millions of conservative voters are loving it.
When you get right down to it, the undeniable truth is that Republicans created this mess. They’re like the person who spends their life drinking and smoking heavily who then seems befuddled at the fact that one day they’re diagnosed with lung cancer, liver disease and congestive heart failure. When Republicans decided that it would be a good idea to pander to bigotry, ignorance and racism – it was only a matter of time before those people seized full control of the party.
But to prove my point, I thought I’d list five of the main ways the Republican party is directly responsible for the rise of Donald Trump.
1. The embrace of the “Southern Strategy”: This was really the foundation of it all. Back in the 1960s, the Republican party deliberately began focusing on “white anger” during the civil rights era by pointing out that Democrats were becoming the party of African-Americans. This was the party literally saying that they were going to pander to racism because they knew they could use that ignorance to their political benefit. This was when the “party of Lincoln” officially died.
2. They vilified the poor: By vilifying poor people as “lazy moochers looking for a government handout,” the Republican party continued building its foundation by telling Americans that there were tens of millions of poor people living fantastic lives all on their dime. Never mind the fact that most people on programs like SNAP are children or the elderly, and a lot of the people who rely on government programs actually have full-time jobs. Those factually-based statements don’t matter. As they did when they pandered to racism to incite and fuel anger, they’ve done the same thing when it comes to those living in poverty.
3. They embraced conspiracy theories and irrational paranoia: Don’t you know all the media that’s not “right-wing approved” is liberally biased? Fact checkers, nightly news broadcasts, even international news sources – all liberally biased. Well, at least if you listen to most Republicans. The GOP has driven much of its rhetoric by pandering to people’s fears. Things like:
- Immigrants are taking your job.
- Any mention of sensible gun regulations is tantamount to a gun confiscation.
- Gay rights are an attack on Christianity.
- ISIS terrorists are pouring across our borders.
- Socialized health care will cause more people to die.
- Our military is becoming weak.
The list goes on and on. By the way, literally none of that is true – but millions of Republicans believe every word of it. They’ve built on the anger many of their voters already felt by pushing an all-you-can-eat buffet of fear and paranoia. We’re talking about millions of people who deny any source of information that’s not GOP-approved, facts be damned.
4. Republicans became anti-government extremists: Conservatives, especially southern and rural ones, have always been anti-government. Even back before the “Southern Strategy,” when Democrats were the conservatives, these folks distrusted the federal government. But we’ve never really seen anything like we have since 2008 when Barack Obama was elected president. Since then, Republicans have essentially treated him like a Muslim-sympathizing traitor who’s trying to weaken the United States, help destroy Israel and rules like an emperor instead of a president.
Naturally all of that is pure nonsense, but many conservatives believe that it’s true because that’s essentially the message the GOP has been pushing for years. And since 2008, Republicans have done just about everything humanly possible to obstruct this president – all the while claiming he’s the one who’s been divisive.
For decades Republicans have painted “the government” as an enemy. They stoked the “anti-establishment/government” flames and now those people feel more empowered than ever.
5. While the party never really embraced “birtherism,” the Republican party really never strongly denied it: Let’s face it, “birtherism” is a byproduct of racism. Ted Cruz, John McCain and even George Romney (Mitt’s father who also ran for president) were all born in foreign countries – yet none of them experienced the rabid “he’s not really an American” rhetoric like President Obama has and still does.
And Donald Trump basically built his current place among Republicans by being a very outspoken “birther.” He even went as far as to call President Obama’s birth certificate fake. Even as vile as Trump was then, they still sought out his endorsement, money, and Fox News even had him on weekly during their morning show Fox & Friends prior to him announcing his candidacy.
To be fair, there are far more than five reasons, but it would take me a short book to list and explain everything Republicans have done to create “Donald Trump the overwhelming frontrunner for their presidential nomination.”
So, when these Republicans continue to act “shocked” that his rhetoric has made him so popular, or deny that he represents the true values of the party, just know that they’re lying through their teeth. The only thing Donald Trump has really done is openly and bluntly say what most Republicans have thought and subtly alluded to for decades.
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