‘Make America Great Again’? It never stopped being great

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Why Donald Trump, of all people? Why now?

Because for the last few decades, the Republican Party has preached the utter incompetence of the federal government, the fatal undermining of traditional white Christian values, the distrust of American institutions and the concept that the country is being stolen from those to whom it naturally belongs so it can be handed to the undeserving and the newly arrived. Through that message, the GOP has succeeded in creating an atmosphere of heightened fear and paranoia among its target audience that has produced motivated voters and has proved highly profitable for the hucksters that help to feed it and then feed upon it.

But once you’ve created that atmosphere of desperation and held yourselves up as its salvation, what next? You can’t keep endlessly ramping up the emotions and never provide a resolution to it. If you’ve convinced good, patriotic Americans that the very foundations of our nation and civil society are about to crumble, then at some point in this time of supposed crisis you must be willing to take dramatic actions that are commensurate with that dramatic threat. To cite a specific example, if you’ve convinced your electorate that ObamaCare poses the greatest threat to American freedom and prosperity since Joe Stalin walked the Earth, then surely you will use every weapon in your arsenal to undo it as quickly as possible, right?

Well, no. As Sen. John Thune recently explained the Senate Republican position, “I think if we use reconciliation (to repeal) Obamacare, I don’t know if there’s any particular rush to doing it. You know that’s an issue that’s going to be around for a while. It’s not going away.” So … maybe next year, when the election is closer and the GOP can wring some additional political advantage out of it.

If I were a Republican, and if I honestly believed the things that the Republican Party has asked me to believe, then I too would be angered and amazed at that kind of reaction from my elected leaders, and I too would be looking elsewhere.

Likewise, if illegal immigration endangers the very core of this nation, surely a Republican House and Republican Senate would be able to pass legislation addressing that problem, correct? And if ISIS poses an existential threat to the United States, surely a Republican Congress would at least be able to pass a resolution authorizing the president to take military action against it, right? And if Planned Parenthood is the very embodiment of evil, then surely it is worth shutting down a federal government that is already worthless anyway in order to strip that organization of federal funding.

Yet Republicans leaders say no, no, and no.

In short, Republicans have created an atmosphere of crisis and then demonstrated to their supporters that they either don’t believe their own rhetoric or lack the guts to act upon it. And by selling a diagnosis of impending doom while proving reluctant to do anything, they have opened the door to a charlatan like Donald Trump, who claims that he and only he can “Make America Great Again”.

It doesn’t matter that his “plans” are nonsense. If you scare people sufficiently, they will gravitate toward the man whose plans are nonsense over those who have demonstrated that they have no plans at all. Doing something is better than doing nothing.

Now, I’ll admit that these can be dismissed as the musings of a liberal columnist and blogger, someone looking on as an outsider. But it’s fascinating to watch longtime, stalwart conservatives as they start to come to grips with what is happening and what it might mean. Trump has pushed them to the edge of the abyss, and they are looking down into that abyss and are terrified by it.

For example, Ben Domenech at The Federalist warns that the GOP is now at a dangerous tipping point away from a supposed “freedom” agenda to something much darker.  “What Trump represents is the potential for a significant shift in the Republican Party toward white identity politics for the American right,” he concludes, as if that light just now went off in his head. Charles Krauthammer writes that despite its popularity with the base, Trump’s immigration policy “would all be merely ridiculous if it weren’t morally obscene,” warning that he may be dooming the party’s chances in 2016. And you can almost smell the rising panic from longtime GOP consultant Alex Castellanos, who warns that Trump’s campaign “must now be taken seriously by a stunned Republican establishment,”  pointing out thatdesperate people do desperate things … and the American people despair their country is failing.”

But that’s the thing. Their country — our country — is not failing. We’ve been told it is failing by those invested in that failure, but it is not. Likewise, our government is not some foreign occupying power, nor is it our enemy. Our economy remains the envy of the world.  The challenges that we face, while significant, are no more intimidating than those faced by previous generations of Americans.

But if you’ve built an entire political movement around the notion that none of that is true, then at some point you better be willing to take major, dramatic action. By creating despair but demonstrating that you have no means of alleviating it, you invite somebody else to muscle into your little con game and hijack it for his own entertainment.

Reader Comments 0

1435 comments
Watsuie007
Watsuie007

Great opinion.  The GOP has been bad mouthing government and everyone who is not them since Reagan and now it is coming back to bite them on their behinds.  I love it! 

Peachs
Peachs

I actually find great entertainment in Trump.  He takes everything wrong with the GOP and makes a cartoon character of it. I listened to him as long as I could stand it last night in some surreal press conference and thought i had a HBO comic doing his stuff on the air.  Trump could take this to the up state NY circuit he has that machine gun delivery so common with Jewish NY comics, "take my wife...please". You want God out of government, well who knew the Republican Party would be the ones doing it. God is off the ticket on the right but being considered on the left which at least understands the morality cause of using God's name. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Peachs He rambled for 40 or 50 minutes while the stepford crowd cheered him on.  He was all over the place with no policy or substance in anything he was saying.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

Anyone else amused by the conventional GOP wisdom about the 1992 elections, that they got beaten 370-168 mostly on account of Ross Flippin' Perot?


Not nearly as amused as we were when, after winning the presidency with 38% of the vote, President Bill Dingus said he had a "mandate"  to do the work of the American people. 

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Yes_Jesus_Can 

"winning the presidency with 38% of the vote"

Not meant as a factual statement

TicTacs
TicTacs

Trump 3rd party republican.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

The GOP's womenfolk say, "My hero!" 


Biden and Sanders say, "Look, a squirrel."


The Republican womenfolk love their squirrel.  "He's so refreshing," they say.  If only the Donald could shake his hips for them.  Bwah hahahahahaha!

Peachs
Peachs

@td1234 @Numbers_R_Us he doesn't have to try to say anything, it is like saying the sewer smells, no effort needed, the rightwing woman is a bimbo who puts up with this crap. The blacks are storefront and bought tokens and the followers are either the rich or the suckers of the rich. 

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

Some Americans resent having to go to a doctor who has a foreign accent, for example, or having their kids compete with talented foreign-born (and second generation Asian-American) students for college admissions or jobs.""

I love the slight/subtle jabs made to classes.  How brilliant-  some Hispanics resent...., some elderly blacks resent.......  some Indians resent.....

The "journalism" bar has gone so low- it actually rewards those who recklessly stir things up.  

How about most Americans- white, brown, black, green, yellow- are good hard working caring folks.

skydog12
skydog12

@Cupofjoe


I can agree with most of what you said joe, but I still am leery of those green Americans. Maybe it`s that one eye in the middle of their foreheads? It`s probably just me?

JKToole
JKToole

@Cupofjoe How about "American" started being code for "white" and everyone else is hyphenated.

td1234
td1234

Interesting thing I ran across reading about Perot. Per the exit polls, 20% of his voters came from self described Liberals. 


Trump is running the exact same type campaign so what would happen if he received 20% of the Liberal vote?  

td1234
td1234

@PaulinNH That is not what I said. I said 20% of the votes he received came from self described liberals. They claimed not to be moderates (53% of his vote came from this self described group) but liberals. 


Just think what would happen if Trump received 20% of his vote in a general election form liberals? 

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

@td1234 @PaulinNH Paul's point is valid, TD.  If Trump got 20% of his vote from liberals, but only got 1% of the electorate, that 20% would be meaningless. 

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@td1234 @PaulinNH 

"Just think what would happen if Trump received 20% of his vote in a general election form liberals?"


Ah - you have changed from Trump receiving 20% of the liberal vote.  If 20% of his votes came from liberals that would mean he took 80% of his vote from non-liberals.  I think the Democratic Party would be ecstatic.

Let's say Trump polled at 20% (slightly higher than Perot) and 20% of that was from liberals - that's 4% of the electorate who swing from D to T.  On the other hand you'd have at least 50% of his vote coming from conservatives - which is 10% of the electorate swinging from R to T

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@td1234 

"20% of his voters came from self described Liberals. 


Trump is running the exact same type campaign so what would happen if he received 20% of the Liberal vote?"

-----

You realize Perot did not get 20% of the liberal vote, right?

Peachs
Peachs

@td1234 @PaulinNH why would a liberal vote for this idiot? Then why would a Christian or a conservative who knows the guy has bankrupted several times.  Anything is possible and it only underlines the problems the country causes for itself. 

straker
straker

Visual - "you didn't play well with others"


Now that its past 9:00, time for you to start another home schooled day.


Off you go now.


There's a good boy.


Don't let that 8th grade reading assignment scare you.

lvg
lvg

A woman caller on Hannity last night says as she is crying that she has waited all her life for a strong leader like the Donald. And you wonder why the Germans loved and obeued  Hitler?????????????

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

I saw a clip of a lady being interviewed on teevee and she was really getting into the Donald.  It was like she had found her new Elvis.  The antiqued white males in the GOP better watch out.  Their womenfolk have done found themselves a real man.  Bwah hahahahahaha!

lvg
lvg

Make America Great by favoring Chinese and Asian illegals over the brown folks from Latin and Central America says the future fascist:


"Once singled out for exclusion by law from the U.S., Chinese immigrants now make up the largest single group of arrivals a year into this country. The Census Bureau says China replaced Mexico as the top country of origin for immigrants to the U.S. in 2013.

Given the history, this growth—and the fact that Chinese immigrants are considered part of the Asian-American “model minority”—seems improbable. But the story of Chinese immigration, past and present reminds how fickle our attitudes about immigrants can prove.

Although many of today’s Chinese immigrants are students and investors, earlier Chinese immigrants were considered the lowest of the low-skilled. 

In 1960, there were just under 100,000 Chinese-born immigrants in the United States. In 2010, the Census reported over 3.3 million adult Chinese-Americans. As of that year, Chinese Americans had higher median annual personal earnings than the general U.S. population.

While Chinese immigrants may not be scrutinized in the same way that undocumented low-skilled Mexican immigrants are, it would be wrong to assume that America has fully embraced Chinese and other Asian immigrants. Some Americans resent having to go to a doctor who has a foreign accent, for example, or having their kids compete with talented foreign-born (and second generation Asian-American) students for college admissions or jobs.""

Time July 8, 2015 


Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

LT/Progressives- you may truly hate him but we, the great American workers, need more honesty at what is going on-


Asked if Koch Industries benefits from federal subsidies, the CEO replied: “Oh, tremendously. … The whole economy is so rife with cronyism and corporate welfare. I mean, take a look at all the import tariffs. We would do away with them all — and, believe me, a lot of our products are protected by it.”


TBS
TBS

VC

Did you notice ITM did not post any data regarding polls leading up to the election nor any exit polling data?

He probably is busy and didn't have time. Orherwise he would have done so

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@TBS

He had YJC and td carrying his water at that point...


/headin' upstairs.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

What's this?  More than 24 hours on the same post. 

Is Jay thinking retirement?

Cherokee51
Cherokee51

@fiftythreepercenter @Yes_Jesus_Can 

I know several people have asked this, so you won't answer me either, but why would someone spend valuable time on a beautiful day, visiting a blog written by someone they so obviously scorn? I would never, for example, hang out at Kyle's blog and make snooty remarks about him. 

Life is too short.

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@fiftythreepercenter @CherokeeCounty @Yes_Jesus_Can And how, exactly, is bitching about how long a blog is open keeping the "
blogger from having free reign over the biased and half-truth filled versions of news he presents."?

Oh, yeah, and how about refuting said biases and half-truths?  If you can.

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@fiftythreepercenter @Doggone_GA @CherokeeCounty @Yes_Jesus_Can Original post was: "

What's this?  More than 24 hours on the same post. 

Is Jay thinking retirement?"

So again, " how, exactly, is bitching about how long a blog is open keeping the "blogger from having free reign over the biased and half-truth filled versions of news he presents."?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@CherokeeCounty @fiftythreepercenter @Yes_Jesus_Can

I would never, for example, hang out at Kyle's blog and make snooty remarks about him.

Remember the Conservative Prime Directive--

Irritate Liberals. (Even when you're not actually irritating them--so long as you BELIEVE you're doing so, you're doing God's work. Or something akin to that.)

I will add, I never went to Kyle's and insulted him even when he had an open-admissions policy for commenting, and I still see no point in doing so.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@TBS

Isn't it remarkable how the partisan loyalists just cling something fierce to those excuses?

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@TBS 

Absolute partisan nonsense. 

Besides Clinton never came even close to 50% of the vote--in EITHER election.  The Perot voters busted Bush for breaking his pledge, plain and simple--this was the nascent Tea Party sentiment right then. 

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

@Visual_Cortex @TBS Perhaps they will be able to move on to using Trump as their excuse for being failures after the next election..

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

Poor Carson.  If only he had not used aborted fetal tissue in his research, he could have been a darling of the evangelical Republicans.  So sad.  Now those voters will have to settle for Trump too.  Unless of course, they prefer Jeb!