EDITOR’S LETTER

Dazzle ’em with bullshit

To the utter horror of the party establishment, it appears a narcissistic billionaire whose entire message has been equal parts misogyny, bigotry, racism, xenophobia, and empty platitudes will almost certainly be the GOP nominee. Although watching the punditry and media mavens behave like a circus contortionist while trying to wrap their brains around the rise of Donald Trump has made for some one-of-akind political theater, from here on out things get very real.
     I’m not interested in dancing on the grave of the GOP or gleefully throwing rocks at its existential dilemma. Our system of government is built on the tension between individual liberty and the common good. Our strength is in our ability to bend without breaking and adapt to change while staying rooted in these core principles. Without strong, educated voices advocating for each side of this duality from factually based viewpoints, we run the risk of bringing the adage “democracy is the ultimate form of tyranny” into reality.
     What I am interested in seeing is where the voices on both the right and the left go from here. To pronounce the GOP dead and a Trump presidency a nonstarter at this point would be a mistake, although I do believe Movement Conservatism is a dead man walking. The great bloviator shot its sacred cows with a smirk on his face while his base cheered. Meanwhile, Cryin’ Glen Beck suggested Lyin’ Ted Cruz was ordained by God. Ted’s demise further supports mounting evidence that God just might be a black woman. Leave no doubt Trump will gladly put this theory to a test. What this should point out to Movement Conservatives is the fragile coalition created by Reagan has fractured, and the chickens have come home to roost, although Tennessee’s Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey’s recent endorsement of Trump suggests they might not go gentle into to that good night.
     Having grown up in Mississippi during the civil rights era, the post-Southern Strategy has always come off latently racist to me. I’ve never been able to square the often heard “well … I’m a fiscal conservative” with voting for a party that continually seeks to marginalize anyone that isn’t a straight WASP. It’s all by design, of course, because Nixon knew the GOP wouldn’t be able to pull in the white working class voter without demonizing “The Other.” Throw in tax cuts for the wealthy and sprinkle some Evangelical moral outrage on top and you’ve more or less got the formula they’ve used for 40-plus years, often with spectacular results. It’s a shame fear is more successful than principle at getting out the vote.
     And now there’s Trump. He’s done away with the dog whistles and innuendo, driving straight to heart of the base the GOP has been cultivating and lying to for decades. For the beltway operatives whose gravy train is threatened, this amounts to apostasy. Their incredulity at “how this could have happened” is cognitive dissonance at its finest. They created Frankenstein’s monster and, like Frankenstein, can’t control him.