I sorta promised myself that I wouldn’t write about Donald Trump. Why give him even the tiny bit of attention my post would give him? But then I read Timothy Egan’s op-ed in today’s New York Times and I had to share it.
The adults patrolling the playpen of Republican politics are appalled that we’ve become a society where it’s O.K. to make fun of veterans, to call anyone who isn’t rich a loser, to cast an entire group of newly arrived strivers as rapists and shiftless criminals.
Somewhere, we crossed a line — from our mothers’ modesty to strutting braggadocio, from dutiful decorum to smashing all the china in the room, from respecting a base set of facts to a trumpeting of willful ignorance.
And the really bad news for the Republicans?
And now that the party can’t control him, Trump threatens to destroy its chances if he doesn’t get his way, running as an independent with unlimited wealth — a political suicide bomb.
The real problem is that Trumpism has been a latent virus in the party for a long time. Egan reminds us
Trump is a byproduct of all the toxic elements Republicans have thrown into their brew over the last decade or so — from birtherism to race-based hatred of immigrants, from nihilists who shut down government to elected officials who shout “You lie!” at their commander in chief.
It was fine when all this crossing-of-the-line was directed at President Obama or other Democrats. But now that the ugliness is intramural, Trump has forced party leaders to decry something they have not only tolerated, but encouraged.
The Republicans might be unhappy about The Donald’s remarks about John McCain not being a war hero, but they encouraged the trashing of John Kerry when he ran for President in 2004 with lies about his service in Vietnam. Remember Swift Boat?
I believe that the Republicans haven’t tackled immigration because at the bottom line they agree with him.
The racism toward Mexicans that Trump has stirred up has been swooshing around the basement of the Republican Party for some time. Representative Steve King of Iowa did Trump one better in 2013 when he said undocumented immigrants had “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Interesting that it is “Oops” Rick Perry who can see the ultimate result.
This week Perry called Trumpism “a toxic mix of demagogy, meanspiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if followed.”
Using the X-ray vision of his new glasses, Perry has correctly diagnosed the problem, and forecast the outcome. But that toxic mix has been just the tonic for his party for years, including Perry’s suggestion that Texas might have to secede. President Obama was barely into his first months in office when Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted “You lie!” at him in a joint session of Congress. For hurling that insult, Wilson was widely praised in conservative media circles.
I wonder if The Donald will ask Ted Cruz for his birth certificate. We remember he was a leading birther against President Obama.
Trump also stoked the humiliating lie about President Obama’s citizenship. He began that crusade, he claimed, because so many Republicans still believe it, and have encouraged him to keep it alive.
If you are on the other side you have to love the infighting in the Republican Party.
I don’t think The Donald will be folding his tent and going away as he has in the past. One way or another, the other candidates will have to deal with him. And if he gets the nomination or runs as an independent, we Democrats will have to deal with him also.
Photograph: from stopabuse.com