NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

Republicans deserve to be stuck with Donald Trump, the monster they created

GOP con­sumed by cri­sis as more Repub­li­cans call on Trump to quit.

Pres­sure Mounts on Trump to Step Aside.

Trump Says He Won’t Quit as Repub­li­can Offi­cials Aban­don Him.

These are just some of the head­lines we’re see­ing in big media today fol­low­ing The Wash­ing­ton Post’s pub­li­ca­tion of an extreme­ly lewd, behind the scenes con­ver­sa­tion record­ed ten years ago between Don­ald Trump and Bil­ly Bush pri­or to a tap­ing of a soap opera cameo. Mul­ti­ple high pro­file Repub­li­can elect­ed offi­cials who had grudg­ing­ly or con­di­tion­al­ly endorsed him with­drew their sup­port Sat­ur­day after Trump failed to demon­strate any gen­uine remorse for his comments.

Mean­while, top mem­bers of the Bush admin­is­tra­tion called on Trump to quit the race, which he pro­ceed­ed to angri­ly and loud­ly refuse to do.

“There are no excus­es for Don­ald Trump’s offen­sive and demean­ing com­ments in the just released video; no woman should ever be vic­tim­ized by this kind of inap­pro­pri­ate behav­ior. He alone bears the bur­den of his con­duct and alone should suf­fer the con­se­quences,” said Sen­a­tor John McCain, the par­ty’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, in a state­ment renounc­ing his endorse­ment of Trump.

Sor­ry, Sen­a­tor McCain, but you can­not deny your cul­pa­bil­i­ty here. This is a mess of your par­ty’s mak­ing. The seeds for Don­ald Trump’s nom­i­na­tion were sown long ago. Trump is mere­ly the raw, rep­til­ian man­i­fes­ta­tion of the nasty and destruc­tive pol­i­tics that have come to define the mod­ern Repub­li­can Party.

The Repub­li­can Par­ty began as an anti­slav­ery par­ty in the 1800s; many of its lead­ers were the stal­wart pro­gres­sives of their day who yearned and fought for greater free­dom and equal­i­ty for all Amer­i­cans. Alas, those days are ancient history.

Today, the Repub­li­can Par­ty rep­re­sents the worst of Amer­i­ca. It has been tak­en over by a prej­u­diced, xeno­pho­bic right wing move­ment that can­not even be called con­ser­v­a­tive because its mem­bers are not for con­serv­ing any­thing at all.

Many Repub­li­cans say Don­ald Trump does­n’t speak for them. But he is their nom­i­nee. And not by acci­dent, either. Trump is not a fluke. Trump is, again, the man­i­fes­ta­tion of what Repub­li­can pol­i­tics have mor­phed into.

Trump open­ly espous­es views held by the par­ty’s base. To them, Trump’s raunchy, deroga­to­ry com­men­tary is unfil­tered and refreshing.

The mod­ern base of the Repub­li­can Par­ty con­sists of peo­ple who want to ban an entire reli­gion from this coun­try — some­thing the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States explic­it­ly pro­hibits — deport mil­lions of fam­i­lies who came here seek­ing bet­ter lives, deny women con­trol over their own bod­ies, and exac­er­bate Amer­i­ca’s gun vio­lence epi­dem­ic by allow­ing and encour­ag­ing firearms to be car­ried everywhere.

Giv­en their extreme views and their mil­i­tan­cy, why would the Repub­li­can base find Trump’s hor­rif­ic com­ments about women from 2005 problematic?

Many Repub­li­can vot­ers are fierce­ly loy­al to Trump, as we saw in Wis­con­sin just this week­end, where Paul Ryan faced a crowd angry that he had dis­in­vit­ed Trump from mak­ing a joint cam­paign appear­ance with him.

They’re not unhap­py or dis­gust­ed that Trump gloat­ed about grop­ing women eleven years ago — they’re unhap­py that Paul Ryan is not open­ly embrac­ing Trump in the wake of the pub­li­ca­tion of those com­ments, as they are.

At state­hood, Wash­ing­ton was a Repub­li­can state, and the Repub­li­can Par­ty was home to a strong pro­gres­sive wing for much of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. But those days are long gone now. The gov­er­nor­ship of Dan Evans is a dis­tant mem­o­ry. Today’s Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty is the par­ty of Don­ald Trump and Tim Eyman, not Dan Evans (or even Slade Gorton).

Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair Susan Hutchison’s response to Trump’s lewd com­ments was — and I’m not kid­ding — to claim that Trump “was a Demo­c­rat” when he made his remarks. Even if that were true, it would not excuse what Trump said, nor would it jus­ti­fy Hutchison’s inde­fen­si­ble deci­sion to con­tin­ue sup­port­ing a man who deserves no one’s mon­ey, no one’s time, and no one’s vote.

It’s hard to believe Hutchi­son was once a news­cast­er or a can­di­date for King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive. She’s now a min­ion for the least qual­i­fied per­son ever to be nom­i­nat­ed by a major par­ty for the office of Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. How embarrassing.

The Repub­li­can Par­ty is so hos­tile to pro­gres­sivism and prag­ma­tism now that it would be sure­ly be unrec­og­niz­able to a time trav­el­er from even the 1970s.

The Repub­li­can Par­ty’s extreme right­ward shift has cre­at­ed huge prob­lems in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. When each par­ty had a pro­gres­sive wing and a con­ser­v­a­tive wing (in some regions of the coun­try, not all) they were more bal­anced. Pro­gres­sives and par­tial pro­gres­sives could work with each oth­er across par­ty lines to achieve things. That is increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult and uncom­mon every­where, but espe­cial­ly in Congress.

Now that the Repub­li­can Par­ty has been take over by the extreme right, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is the only option now for any­one who wants to belong to any­thing remote­ly resem­bling a “big tent” polit­i­cal par­ty. That’s not a good thing.

We real­ly need at least two par­ties com­mit­ted to gov­ern­ing prag­mat­i­cal­ly. And we don’t enjoy that now giv­en what’s hap­pened to the Repub­li­can Party.

The two-par­ty sys­tem seems like­ly to endure — it’s already sur­vived a Civ­il War, the Gild­ed Age, two world wars, and a depres­sion — so if that’s what we’re going to con­tin­ue to have, it’d be ide­al for those two par­ties to be a) an unabashed­ly pro­gres­sive par­ty free of neolib­er­al­ism, and b) a loy­al oppo­si­tion par­ty con­tain­ing a mix of par­tial pro­gres­sives and rea­son­able conservatives.

Right now, one of our major par­ties has become a vehi­cle for neo­fas­cism, while the oth­er faces what you could say is some­thing of an iden­ti­ty crisis.

This is a dan­ger­ous devel­op­ment for Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. This is a dan­ger­ous moment in our coun­try’s his­to­ry. Two men who believe in very un-Amer­i­can ideas (Don­ald Trump and Mike Pence) have got­ten unac­cept­ably close to the Pres­i­den­cy and Vice Pres­i­den­cy of the Unit­ed States. And again, not by acci­dent. They had help.

Estab­lished Repub­li­cans like John McCain, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell may not want to admit it or accept it, but they and the Repub­li­can Noise Machine enabled Don­ald Trump’s rise. Trump is their true reflec­tion. They all deserve to go down togeth­er, and be replaced by a new two-par­ty sys­tem that unequiv­o­cal­ly repu­di­ates neo­fas­cism, xeno­pho­bia, and misogyny.

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