Does anyone remember Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, or both of the Bush presidents? It seems like not so long ago that the Republican Party represented conservative ideology, but they weren’t completely insane. In the years since the rise of the Tea Party and hyper-partisan media, the GOP has drifted so far to the right that all of the politicians I mentioned would be considered Republicans in name only by today’s standards.
As you probably know, I used to be a Republican, but I left the party for good after the jingoistic, war-mongering rhetoric of 9/11 and the blunder of invading Iraq. Today’s GOP isn’t the party of Reagan, it is the party of Donald Trump and the hysterical xenophobia that he has harnessed to soar to the top of the primary polls.
Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are the product of years of Fox News and the conservative echo chamber, and they’re driving younger voters away from the Republican Party with their divisive and hateful rhetoric. I’d like to say that I feel sorry for the GOP, but this is the path they have chosen in order to attract older white voters who are afraid of a changing country that they do not understand.
This strategy is ultimately destructive for the GOP, although it serves political celebrities like Trump, Palin or Allen West to remain in the media spotlight well beyond the shelf life they would have had a decade or two ago.
These are individuals who aren’t interested in passing laws or representing policy, they’re simply in it for celebrity and making money off the easily duped individuals who rely solely on the conservative media for their information, and to confirm the biases they already hold.
Conservative media sources beyond Fox News promote stories that the right-wing wants to believe, to the ultimate detriment of the GOP. They publish articles claiming that sources have finally confirmed President Obama was born in Kenya, or even falling for satire claiming that Common Core is really a plan to indoctrinate kids into being gay. Yes, that actually happened.
In 2016, conservative establishment Republicans have failed to gain any sort of traction in the presidential race. Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, and even Koch favorite Scott Walker have dropped out due to the popularity of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Jindal tried to run to the far right even after he warned the GOP to “stop being the stupid party,” and his unpopularity in the deep-red state of Louisiana helped to cost David Vitter the governor’s race that should have gone to the Republican Party.
As I said before, this pandering comes at the short-term benefit of conservative pundits and politicians like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, but it is harmful to them in the long run. As we collectively transition from a white, religious voter base to a population that is more diverse and less conservative, the GOP has peaked in their hold on this country.
This is the crest of the Republican Party, and only liberal apathy is allowing them to maintain power across the nation. Whether you support Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, it is vitally important that voters educate themselves, stop listening to shrill partisan rhetoric of the fringe media that tells you want you want to hear, and get out the vote in 2016.
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