A Party's Chickens Come Home to Roost
In a November 25 article, the Boston Globe noted that some of the so-called establishment Republicans are concerned that Donald Trump’s campaign for the Republican nomination is damaging the Republican brand. They are now openly “plotting a full-scale attempt to torpedo his candidacy.”
These establishment Republicans are not just worried about the 2016 Presidential election, but also about vulnerable Senators in purple states. The fear is that the negativity associated with so many of Trump’s shenanigans will affect the eventual nominee and Senators with seats up for reelection in 2016.
Tactics include lawsuits to keep him off of the ballot in certain states and super PACs running ads against him in other states.
The problem with so many of these tactics is that they miss the mark. They assume that Trump is the source of the problem. It is naïve to think all of this began with Trump. He is the manifestation of a larger issue. He is the materialization of too many prejudices, too much xenophobia and countless insensitivities that Republicans – establishment and tea-party alike – have allowed to fester for short-term gains since the 2008 election.
Trump vocalizes what too many GOPers feel and have felt for some time. Instead of working to bring its supporters out of these insensitivities, prejudices and xenophobia, the party has placated these feelings for short term gains.
Joe Wilson's "You lie" (all politicians lie, people) comment was defended. All of the Obama-as-gorrilla posters were brushed aside. The concept of forcibly deporting millions of undocumented immigrants was supported. The Trayvon-Martin-is-a-thug whispers were ignored. Treating the war on terror as a war against Islam, not terrorists, persisted. Categorizing Latinos as “wetbacks” and criminals carrying marijuana across the desert did not start with Trump’s campaign. Too few Republican leaders took a firm stance to say this is not MY party, so here we are. Those skeletons have now formed into Trump, the GOP diversity initiative's worse nightmare.
The party’s proverbial chickens have come home to roost.
It is disheartening. So many minority voters could be wooed to vote for a party that stands for limited taxes, stopping cronyism, balancing the budget and responsible government spending. Instead the party has focused on what divides, not unites. Threatening to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood is not growing the party. Being silent during the Ferguson debates is not growing the party.
Those things have not grown the party, but they have done wonders to fertilize the sentiments that have led to a man named Donald Trump.
Let us just hope the party can self-reflect and learn this lesson.