Much has been made about Donald Trump’s ascent to the top of the GOP presidential pecking order. For those of us who’ve been paying attention to the realities and rhetoric of the Republican party for the last 10-15 years, his rise to the top is a natural evolution of things. To those who’ve been living in denial (or are just flat-out lying) about the current state of the Republican party, they’re “stunned” that someone like him could become a leading presidential candidate.
Throughout this whole process, many on the right who oppose Trump’s candidacy have said that if he wins the nomination, it will signal the “end of the Republican party.”
Well, here’s a bit of a “news flash” for those folks: The Republican party has been dead for a long time.
Once upon a time, the Republican party was a great political entity. This was, after all, the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower. Three men who, in today’s GOP, probably couldn’t win a primary if their lives depended on it. Though, to be honest, Ronald Reagan couldn’t win a primary in the reality of today’s Republican party. And he’s the “go-to” guy for all these clowns to worship. Well, as long as they worship the myths of Reagan while forgetting many of the inconvenient truths.
It’s been a very long time since the GOP was a “great” party. When they decided to adopt the “Southern Strategy,” that was it. That’s when the party decided it would pander and appeal to blatant white, southern racism. Next came the full-on embrace of religious fanaticism – a move that even Mr. Conservative Barry Goldwater said would be a “terrible damn problem” because those types of people (aka the Ted Cruz types who now dominate the party) “frightened him.”
There’s no sign of the days where the GOP was great. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, now many Republicans defend the Confederate flag. Teddy Roosevelt was an advocate for strict campaign finance reform to avoid corporate money influencing politics, now Republicans argue that “money equates to free speech.” Dwight D. Eisenhower presided over incredibly high taxes and built the Interstate Highway system, now Republicans scoff at the very mention of anything remotely “socialist.” Even Ronald Reagan advocated for gun control and immigration reform, two issues that would instantly disqualify him from being a Republican today.
The Republican party isn’t being “torn apart” by Trump – it’s finally being given a face who represents what the party really stands for. I’ve described Trump as a conservative blog sprung to life, who then ran for president. His talking points come straight from the comments sections from basically any conservative media source you can find online.
Donald Trump isn’t killing the Republican party because it’s been dead for decades. All he’s doing is bringing to the surface everything ignorant and hateful the party has been pandering to for years, but always denied actually existed. Because up until now, they always had plausible deniability.
But that no longer exists. There’s no more debate over what is or isn’t “Republican” because we now have indisputable evidence of what a good chunk of Republican voters want: A vile, racist, bigoted egomaniac who preaches hate and fear, while preying on paranoia and ignorance.
It’s not just Donald Trump who proves this, it’s the guy right behind him as well. While they’re different on some levels, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are still very much the same type of candidate.
So it’s true, the Republican party is dead – but it wasn’t “killed” in 2016. The great parts of what the GOP once was have been gone for a very long time. The only difference now is, Republicans who’ve been living in denial for years can no longer really claim ignorance.
All the rise of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz represents is the final etchings on the tombstone of a once great political party.