Recently, many writers and political pundits have likened Donald Trump’s electoral usurpation of the GOP’s political apparatus to Victor Frankenstein losing control of his monstrous creation. However, this analogy tends to cast unwarranted aspersions upon Mary Shelly’s fictitious beast given that it’s hard to imagine even Frankenstein’s monster possessing a more atrocious demeanor than the former real estate mogul and television celebrity. No, we’d best leave that classic tale alone when grasping for ways to describe the debauchery that is Mr. Trump’s candidacy, since ‘ole Donnie Boy appears to occupy a class all of his own. After all, his pugnacious and vitriolic rhetoric has practically rewritten the rulebook for campaign decorum and etiquette. But this is not an article intended to address the repulsive nature of the Donald (as he shall forevermore be referred to on this blog) as a candidate; I think that already speaks for itself. Instead, I wish to examine the circumstances that led to this hostile takeover of the Republican Party, by acrimonious insurrectionists, in the first place.
The foundation for the current political mutiny was laid when the Republican Party made the conscious decision to begin courting bitter and resentful segregationist evangelicals during and after the civil rights movement. Prior to this era, these voters had typically supported Democrats, especially throughout the southern states, but with the passage of the civil rights act, many of these democratic constituents were left feeling betrayed. Over several decades, the GOP slowly morphed into the party we see today, dominated by white evangelical voters, as they sought to assimilate these disaffected individuals into a broadening republican base. Despite this transformation, the party, for the most part, only paid lip service to the desires of this massive new constituency as evidenced by the political arc of recent and past progressive social adaptations effectuated during this timeframe in the United States. Once again, evangelicals and poorly educated whites were relegated to the fringes of the political arena. What establishment officials failed to recognize until it was too late, however, was the potential consequence of contorting their already inconsistent ideology to accommodate a so called socially conservative agenda.
By lending credence to these distorted views, the republican party tacitly embraced some of the vilest and deep seeded hatreds that exist within our society. It was only a matter of time before an opportunistic debutant made a play at the reins of power by placating these embittered masses. Still, this doesn’t explain why the Donald, a non-conservative, big government enthusiast, would get the nod to take on this role. From a bird’s eye view, it would seem that the Donald embodies many of the same repugnant socially conservative views as the loathsome Ted Cruz, so why is it that he has managed to distinguish himself in the eyes of the vast republican constituency? The answer lies in the Party’s abandonment of the only redeeming attribute it claimed to represent: a commitment to reducing the size and scope of government. It has been made abundantly clear these past few decades that neither party is currently wedded in any significant capacity to the idea of small governance. Instead, both parties have embraced ideologies dedicated to expanding the role of government in the daily lives of each and every citizen. Therefore, in reality, the only notable difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties, in a strictly fiscal sense, is that they simply disagree on how to allocate the hard earned tax dollars they so callously and eagerly confiscate from their unwitting subjects. But I digress; the point I’m trying to make is that, as the republican party began to compromise its core values by adopting more and more big government policies, all of a sudden it became acceptable for any republican (in name only) to champion their own ideas for massive government expansion. By this point the floodgates were open for practically any nut job with a grudge and an authoritative disposition to join in.
Enter the Donald; a perfect storm of antagonistic pugilism. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense why the Donald’s supporters rally to him so fiercely. He has given a voice to people who have felt marginalized for the majority of their entire lives. Be it the bigots, the isolationists, the anti-PC crowd or the star-struck sycophants, the Donald has kept his message just ambiguous enough to allow a great number of people to believe he speaks directly for them, even when he contradicts himself. This wink-and-nod tactic has been incredibly effective at procuring a large amount of support from people who might not otherwise be inclined to vote for anyone at all in the upcoming election. When coupled with the republican establishment’s timorous and lethargic response to the Donald’s rising popularity amongst their former supporters, it no longer remains a great mystery as to how this seemingly incongruous political outsider was able to come virtually out of nowhere to attain the success he has. And so, at the end of the day, the Republican Party and its leadership have no one else to blame but themselves for the disastrous rise of the Donald and the schisms he has elucidated within the GOP.