Backlash over Ben Carson’s anti-Muslim smears forced the Detroit-born neurosurgeon to twist and spin. But his refusal to apologize is winning him donations and crucial support.
“I wouldn’t expect those remarks would hurt Dr. Carson in Iowa,” Steve King, Iowa congressman and the GOP’s Pope of Xenophobia, said. “I think they help him.”
King is probably right.
Republicans crave exactly the kind of bile that they don’t need and reward their candidates and entertainment complex for squeezing it out for them. Call it Bartlett’s law: “Any Republican who can win the White House can’t win the nomination, and no Republican who can win the nomination can win the White House.”
Of course, this feels like wishful thinking and one thing we can’t afford as we face the most important election of our lifetime is wishful thinking.
But even more “centrist” and Republican voices are echoing these exact thoughts.
The message being sent to voters is this: The Republican Party is led by people who are profoundly uncomfortable with the changing (and inevitable) demographic nature of our nation. The GOP is longing to return to the past and is fearful of the future. It is a party that is characterized by resentments and grievances, by distress and dismay, by the belief that America is irredeemably corrupt and past the point of no return. “The American dream is dead,” in the emphatic words of Mr. Trump.
After decades of using backlash/dog whistle politics to turn white voters against Democrats, there just aren’t enough white votes to go around. And instead of adapting the base is revolting. Well, it was always revolting.
Any hopes of avoiding this sort of public cracking between those who will cling to identity politics and those who want to survive to cut taxes for the rich forever dissipated months ago.
When the party sided with Ted Cruz, choosing deportations over immigration reform in 2013 knowing it would have to do better with Latinos in 2016 than they have since at least 2004, this sort of crackup was predicted by Marco Rubio’s pollster Whit Ayers and others, including your boy LOLGOP:
If Republicans don’t pass a bill that everyone knows has the votes to pass, the result will be a 2016 primary spent pandering to the party’s anti-immigration reform base and a likely 2016 nominee who will be forced to go beyond “self-deportation” to “Get the hell out!” — which is how The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent describes the party’s current stand.
Even though it was clear this was coming, Republicans walking directly into the Trump wall with a tunnel painted on it is beautiful poetic justice. And that was before Scott Walker crumbled so fast I couldn’t savor it.
It’s almost certain that for the third straight election the Republican nominee will have moved to the right on immigration to win the primary.
The candidate with trillions in debt, a financial crisis and two wars of baggage, Jeb Bush has been hemming and hawing about the issue for years now. Marco Rubio said that he wouldn’t even consider it until a decade or so after “border security,” a standard conservatives have never accepted. So the one somewhat likable and acceptable candidate of the bunch has abandoned immigration reform and is against abortion even in cases when it would save the mother’s life, a stance shared by about 2 out of 10 Americans. That leaves Carly Fiorina whose record includes wrecking HP, turning tax breaks into layoffs, and losing in her home state by a million votes.
And then there’s Trump, who veers between genius dog whistling, nervous breakdown-ing, and awkward self-awareness so often that it’s hard to tell if he’s even taking himself seriously anymore. But he is doing us a favor by saving his opponents with arguments that will be validated by a “Republican” should Democrats want to reuse them next year. (He attacked Walker exactly the way a Democrat would and Walker’s only defense — “Those are Democratic talking points!” — was worse than useless.)
Meanwhile, a competitive Democratic primary is bringing out the best in the party, with concrete plans to reduce climate change, control drug prices, and make college inexpensive if not free. I know these are the things we should be talking about.
But it’s so hard to not point out when Republicans get exactly what they deserve. It happens so rarely. And given their proven ability to evade the consequences of their massive failures, we shouldn’t assume it will last long.
[Image by DonkeyHotey | Flickr]