2016 — March 8, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Blame the party of personal responsibility for Trump


It deserves it

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Here’s a crazy idea: When your party is on the verge of nominating a white supremacist hero for president, maybe don’t blame the black guy for that.

I understand the urge.

You’re looking at a ballot that has Donald J. Trump’s actual name on it. You’re looking at polls that show him leading your party’s best and brightest. You see a delegate tote-board that shows only he really has a good chance of wrapping up your party’s nomination before the convention.

You’re an adult and you should be embarrassed. It’s an open secret that Trump is a clown that’s racist or pretending to be racist. Rich or pretending to be rich. Brutally oblivious or pretending to be brutally oblivious.

You get that — and much of your party does too.

You look at the brutal poll numbers and feel nauseous:

You know that for Trump to win will require an avalanche of white males coming out to support him that hasn’t been seen in America since before 80s sitcoms invented patronizing tolerance.

But you can’t fool us. If you thought Trump had a chance of winning, most of you’d start doing that Trump salute right away. And many Republicans are already willing to throw their lot in with the billion dollar baby because he’s memorized the names of the Supreme Court Justices you told him to support.

Being a conservative, you’ve been trained that someone is to blame for every problem whether it’s the 47 percent, Bill Clinton, or the all-encompassing epidemic of political correctness.

And of course, there’s Obama. He’s obviously to blame for everything (except the longest private sector job expansion, 20 million gaining health insurance, and the fastest reduction of the deficit since World War II) including the rise of Trump.

The Huffington Post‘s Jason Linkins has tracked 23 entities that have been blamed for Trump. And the best one just came out today — Al Franken.

Read a few paragraphs in and you see the real villian isn’t Franken — who was denied the seat he’d rightfully won for months by Republican legal wrangling — but you guessed it:

The ques­tion then be­comes: Who star­ted the fire? Obama cer­tainly de­serves some of the blame, and he even ad­mit­ted re­cently that one of his biggest re­grets as pres­id­ent was the po­lar­iz­a­tion that he’s leav­ing be­hind. The prob­lem is that he hasn’t con­nec­ted his early ac­tions with what tran­spired.

In his “polit­ic­al self-in­terest” he pushed for crazy things like preventing a Depression, insuring 20 million, reforming Wall St., and ending an insane ban on gays in the military. But he wouldn’t have gotten away with it if Al Franken hadn’t given Democrats the supermajority they needed to keep the government from drowning in Republican obstruction.

Anyone who was paying attention knows this and Mike Grunwald literally wrote a book about it (and how great the Stimulus was — another thing Republicans still won’t admit)

Let’s get a grip.

Trump may not be a native member of the Republican base but, like most of the party, he’s learned its tropes from your media. He gets his conservatism from watching himself on Fox and Friends and listening to himself on the Mark Levin Show.

And his path to winning the GOP nomination — going to the hard right on immigration — isn’t some new magical train station he discovered. It’s the same thing John McCain and Mitt Romney, your last two nominees did to secure the nod.

The subtle, strategic racism encouraged by the Southern Strategy has morphed into bombastic birtherism and belligerent disdain for Latino immigrants.

The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent explains:

Trump’s appeal is rooted in his vow to crush the dark forces that are making a lot of Republican voters feel economically and physically threatened (our poll shows Trump backers support harsh measures against immigrants and Muslims), and in his vow to bash heads among the stupid, weak, corrupt elites who are cheating you blind with wage-depressing trade policies that benefit multinational corporations, China and Mexico (our poll shows Trump backers feel the government and the system are failing them).

The GOP elite’s problem is that it’s not subtle — more George Wallace than Ronald Reagan — and it could have actual policy implications that could limit the corporatist free trade agenda and prevent the shrinking of Medicare and Social Security necessary to sustain tax breaks for the rich.

Does the GOP elite believe that Trump believes anything he’s saying? No.

And that’s the problem. They sense that he has finger on the pulse of his party and will keep pressing there until circulation cuts off and he has to find another pulse party. He’s more weather vane than man, endlessly seeking to prove his domination and appeal to authoritarians, which is why he could be dangerous in a general election.

But he’s already dangerous to the GOP elite because he’s “exposed another, equally deep insecurity among right-wing intellectuals: the fear that their movement appeals to rubes,” New York Magazine‘s Jonathan Chait explains.

That’s the kind of party Republicans have nurtured, one where free-floating anxiety always has a convenient target and the solutions — gutting the institutions and tax base that built the middle class — always make the problem worse.

The first step is admitting that you have a problem. And that problem is that, by making your political movement all about absolute resistance to your enemies in order to restore a fictional past, you’ve made yourself vulnerable to someone who personifies everything you hate about your own voters.