There are a lot of recriminations being aimed at the Republican Party these days about allowing a narcissistic, sexist bigot to be their presidential nominee. But there was little they could do once Trump began his march toward the primary. After spending decades laying the groundwork for his faux populist candidacy, demonizing liberals, Democrats, immigrants, women, and all the other groups Trump continues to malign (including Hillary Clinton, of course), they ended up with a candidate who exploited their years-long efforts to his own benefit.
And, unlike Democrats, Republicans don’t have anything similar to the Democrats’ “super delegates” to step in and save them from the stupidity of their voters. So they are stuck with a candidate who is going down and taking the entire party with him. To use my favorite mixed metaphor, they have hitched their horses to a sinking ship.
I think you can all but count on something like super delegates being created by the GOP after the election to help them save their party in the future.
Here in Michigan, the Michigan Republican Party claimed to have no way to rid themselves of the odious Dave Agema who held his spot on the Republican National Committee even after his xenophobia and racism stained them with its rancid filth. Their rules simply didn’t allow them to shake him off like a dog shakes off fleas.
And now we have further evidence that the MRP’s own rules are creating civil war inside the state party. Yesterday MRP Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel ousted tea party activist Wendy Day from her position as grassroots vice chair:
The Michigan Republican Party ousted one of its state leaders Monday for her refusal to support presidential candidate Donald Trump, in a move that shone a brighter spotlight on party divisions over the controversial nominee.
Late Monday, party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel removed tea party activist Wendy Day of Howell as grassroots vice chair, a party officer post she was elected to at a state convention last year.
Day, a Michigan leader of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, has refused to back Trump and has criticized him in media interviews.
“Upon seeking advice from our legal counsel, and recognizing that our Grassroots Vice Chair is unable to fulfill the duties of her office, I am declaring the position … vacant,” McDaniel said in an e-mail to state committee members.
The MRP’s choice of Wendy Day was always fraught with a certain amount of peril. She has quite a history. Here’s what I wrote about her earlier this year:
Wendy Day [is] a Howell-based tea partier who is best known, at least to me, as the woman claimed, after failing to derail the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) in Michigan with a ballot initiative petition drve, that “We didn’t fail. We just didn’t succeed enough.”
Day has a long history of failures. She was elected to the Howell Board of Education while she was homeschooling her own kids. She was busted for blogging about the school board during meetings, supported efforts to have others on the Board recalled, and was widely reviled for her efforts to throw sand in the gears of a school system. In 2014, Day ran for State Representative with the support of the Koch brothers front group Americans For Prosperity but never made it past the GOP primary. Last June, the campaign of Texas tea party Senator Ted Cruz picked her to head up his campaign in Michigan, a campaign that fizzled out by late spring of this year.
The firing Day from her position shows very plainly that the GOP’s efforts to reach across the divide to embrace the tea party activists who threatened to take over their party did nothing to truly assimilate them. While a large number of Trump’s supporters are very likely tea partiers to begin with, Day is such a purist that when her choice of a tea party leader like Cruz did not receive the nomination, she had no interest in falling in line.
It’ll be interesting to see what rises from the ashes of the Republican civil war that Trump has created or at least exacerbated. Will the Republicans who don’t see compromise as an anathema find a way back to power? Will the tea partiers finally take them over entirely? Will corporatists exploit the division and rush in to fill the vacuum, armed with bank accounts full of corporate cash? Or will the white nationalist wing of the party rise to the top and usurp the part once and for all?
Unless the grownups remaining in the Republican Party can somehow take back the reins of power, it’s hard to see them remaining relevant for too many more election cycles.