Let’s begin with a tweet.
This is honestly the most delusional thing I’ve ever read pic.twitter.com/H4DBai7xmy
— Matt O’Brien (@ObsoleteDogma) March 2, 2016
Your delusion of the day comes from Republican consultant Rick Wilson.
Wilson is one of the funnier, smarter and more honest Republicans I follow on Twitter — and I say that knowing my compliments can only hurt him.
He’s reporters’ favorite Republican because he spits verbal fire. Using the access to the media this role gives him, he’s been one of the earliest and loudest right-leaning voices declaring war against Trump.
His war is almost lost and has become ours to fight.
But it’s important to unpack how Trump doesn’t represent anything new for the GOP. He’s a continuation of the worst instincts of the Republican party. At the same time, he’s also transgressing the movement’s norms and exposing ugly heart of many of the appeals the right has made since 1964.
Here’s another tweet.
I had forgotten the GOP ads about ISIS smuggling Ebola across the Mexican border. Gee, how did Trump happen? https://t.co/jlfLEtLpc4
— Michael Grunwald (@MikeGrunwald) March 2, 2016
The sort of bigoted scaremongering Trump has mastered is a veritable parody of Republican racial anxiety that have been at the heart of the conservative movement since the National Review was conceived in the notion that the “South Must Prevail.” But Trump has abandoned the extraordinarily effect of “dog whistling.”
Was Rick Wilson aware that “Ebola” sounds like “Obama” and the whole craze around the disease — which killed not one American who contracted it in the United States — stank of xenophobia ginned up by the immigration debate (even though net undocumented immigration has been down for half a decade)?
Probably. But let’s say he was just genuinely concerned about a disease that could have become an epidemic had the government not done its job.
Did anyone on the right wage war against itself when the House decided to vote to deport millions over and over instead of even considering a bipartisan immigration bill?
Lindsey Graham, maybe.
A few Republicans did speak up against birtherism. Wilson said it was a “a sucker bet, and it always played to Obama’s political advantage.”
But did they warn Romney against accepting Trump’s endorsement or refuse to appear at venues like CPAC — which continually offers a platform to white nationalists YEAR AFTER YEAR?
Is there even ONE Republican who spoke up about the party responding to the election of the first black president with a war on the right to vote, mostly targeted at the states that historically worked the hardest to deny African-Americans the ballot?
Andy Kaufman could only become Tony Clifton — an engorged parody of lounge singers — because lounge singers were a fact.
Republican voters only like Trump because his abandonment of dog whistles in favor of outright bigotry feels like the truth compared the rest of the GOP’s winks and nods.
It’s true: In the mid-2000s, Republicans did engage in a brief effort to accept responsibility for the “Southern Strategy,” launched by men who have mostly been driven from the party. And a GOP president along with GOP Congress did renew the Voting Rights Act in the aftermath of Katrina, which is a whole other story.
But how many Republicans have stood up and called for the law to be restored after a conservative Supreme Court gut it?
Here’s another tweet.
Many precedents for Trump in modern GOP: Goldwater ’64, Nixon ’68, Reagan ’80, Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Lee Atwater, Palin, Tea Party
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) March 2, 2016
That’s the legacy that Wilson is trying to erase — and should. And I’ve seen him stand up against his party’s recent attempts to wage Atwater-like attacks.
So Wilson may not be that delusional about his own efforts.
He just doesn’t seem to understand that the movement that powers his party was never on board with his mission to begin with.
[Photo by cometstarmoon | Flickr]