“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
The renowned opening to Charles Dickens’, A Tale of Two Cities, aptly describes the state of the Republican Party. For one candidate, Donald Trump, it appears to be the “best of times”; for the rest of the candidates and the Republican National Committee, the latter.
The party of “NO” has become the party of “STOP!” Stop Trump, Stop the Supreme Court Justice nomination, Stop Obamacare, and little in the way of “GO.”
Trump has captured the imagination of the disgruntled Republican voter and blazed a fiery path through Republican opposition to his candidacy. He is forcing the Republican leadership to see an accurate display of their policies previously hidden in coded statements, nods and whispers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the Republican Party meltdown.
White supremacists, Christian fundamentalists, and Tea Party groups my feel marginalized because Republican politicians promised more than they could deliver. The Donald is willing to articulate and promote their biases openly. He has tapped into the anger of the disenfranchised, neglected, and marginalized American voter.
Voters blame the Republican leadership for a dysfunctional government. There are a lot of them and they are rallying around Trump.
Trump has sidestepped rigid ideological issues like Obamacare, Planned Parenthood denunciations, and the attack on women’s rights. In fact Trump says he loves everybody and all their concerns. Many believe him.
His refusal to condemn the KKK is the most flagrant example of displaying his isolation from the party regulars. White supremacist groups quickly saw this as a sign of a friendly presidential candidate and are encouraging endorsements. No coded message from Trump here. Welcome, David Duke and friends.
So what are my friends saying on the tennis court (public)? Most are Reagan conservatives. The usual assessments: he is his own man; he says it like it is; he doesn’t take money from big business and so forth. They like him. Too many like him.
Some of those folks are very bright but could never vote for a Democrat. Trump’s “angry white” appeal is working with voters who feel the “dole is out of control.” They also feel there’s too much political correctness when politicians discuss Muslims and illegal immigrants.
Of course, they refuse to acknowledge that most terrorist acts in this country have been caused by American extremist groups not immigrants or foreigners. Never let the facts get in the way of the gut!
What are leading anti-Trump Republicans saying? George LeMieux served as a Florida U.S. Senator, governor’s chief of staff and deputy attorney general. He claims Trump’s campaign is not based on ideology; it is based on attitude. He is the chutzpah candidate for Americans frustrated with a broken federal government.
Mitt Romney, a loud voice against Trump, was particularly perturbed at Trump’s refusal to denounce former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, David Duke. He claimed he would not vote for Trump if he became the party’s nominee.
John McCain tweeted his support of Romney’s concerns.
One editor called Trump a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion people – from entering the U.S.
Will the Republican Party stand behind Trump if he is the presidential nominee? Is he really a Democratic donkey in elephant’s clothing who is trying to win the election for Hillary with his bombastic remarks? After all, he has donated to Hillary and other Democrats in past campaigns. Is his pompous demeanor designed to reduce his support and thereby assure defeat?
Stay tuned, as Al Jolson used to say, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
Dr. Marc J. Yacht, MD, MPH is a retired public health physician. Column courtesy of Context Florida.