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Friday, March 4, 2016

Watching the Republican's expose themselves

I did not watch the debate last night.  While that's not exactly true.   I watched about 5 or 10 minutes of it and that was enough to watch the lively debate between Cruz, Trump and the moderator Megan Kelly.

Fox news impressed me a bit in that they went after Trump...and Cruz during that segment and for a brief but shining moment looked like a real news organization.

I've been reading the news stories about how the traditional establishment GOP is trying to block Trump for a variety of reasons.   "He's not a real conservative."  "He's not working with the party" or "He's not experienced enough."

If you look past the bullshit however the reason why the "establishment" does not care for the Donald is rather simple.   He's exposing a very simple truth about the Republican party that no one wants to talk about..  A very clever man who is gambling a bit but is playing the establishment and the media like a rare Stradivarius.  I may not like the man but he's smarter than many are giving him credit for.

How so?   Simple.

  1.   Everytime he speaks he gets free press.   Part of this is due to his celebrity but part of this is also do to what he says.  
  2. What he says is a combination of racism, phobia's, and bat shit crazy talk....but contains enough "truth" that many in the Republican base see it as true (more on that in a bit).
  3. Since he's self funding, he does not have to relay on Super Pac money.  Trump himself admitted in the first debate to giving money to politicians to help his position in the business world.   Being self funded he can, and does say what he wants and this is "off message" for the Republicans.  Putting him in the outsider box which works for him.
  4.   Voters are angry, and having a mouthpiece that is angry on the national stage seems almost a role Trump was destined to play.   He recognized that anger well before anyone else did and played into it.
  5. Trump is the master of the soundbite.  Rubio and Cruz simply don't hold a candle to the Donald.  When you speak in soundbites you win the media.  Policy, and facts, don't matter to Donald because he knows that bumper stickers, not policy, wins elections.
The problem is that the Republican party establishment knows that the ground is shifting beneath their feet.   Their base used to be a collection of business leaders, social conservatives (religious people) and whites.

The Republican party played a careful balancing act of serving the business community through a variety of means, being against things like gay marriage and abortion...and although it was not spoken about in public, keeping the black man and other minorities "in their place" so to speak.  Remember this is the party that brought about Nixon's "Southern Strategy" and the "Willie Horton" attack ads (click here to see the ad on youtube).

It was a very subtle type of racism but racism none the less.

And it worked for a long time.

Trump knows how to play into that loose collection.   First off, he is a businessman.   How successful is debatable but most people are familiar with the Trump brand.   For most people the brand is more important than anything.   In my other blog, I write about motorcycles.  I'm amazed how many people will swear up and down that Harley Davidson is the top of the motorcycling world because of the name.   Once your in the motorcycling world however you quickly learn that their are other bikes out that that are simply better.  Brand names matter.

At one time the Republican party could state they were the moral center of America.  That they stood with God and as such were against the sins of homosexulity, abortion and other issues.  However the truth of the matter is that religion no longer plays a large role in the average American's life.  This waning religious belief makes the GOP record on things like gay rights, abortion and prayer in schools dated.

Worse, and the party knows this, they have done little to stop gay rights from gaining ground.  That abortion has been around for 43 years now and any attempt to restrict it further is most likely going to be rejected by the courts.  School prayer has been dropped completely by the GOP.

You do have one candidate running for President that should appeal to the religious right at this time.   Yet he is a distant third in the current polls.

Trump rarely brings up religion, rarely speaks about social conservative issues in general....unless it's in a veiled racist manner....and that appeals to the last block.


I'm white....yet I know in the next 20 years or so that I will be a minority.   I'm okay with that.   After all I work with people from all classes, creeds and colors.   I have worked with gay people and slept with a black woman or two.  America is changing and will continue to change.  That's evolution.

My experiences have been and generally will be good with someone "different" than me.   Sadly however there are those out there that espouse racism for what ever reason.   I've seen it in people that I call family and friends.

Sometimes it's generational.  They were raised certain ways and that way is all they know.   Others I've no idea where it comes from.  My own brother, for example, I would call racist.

Do I believe Trump is a racist and an islamophobe?  No.   Honestly I don't.   He's to smart for that, but again he knows that many whites feel threatened.   It's easier to blame a scapegoat for the failings you have.

Trump understands this.   It's the illegal alien that is making me speak Spanish.  It's the Muslims that are threatening my church, never mind that I've not gone to it in the last 5 years.   I lost my job because some chink will work for $5 a day.

Trump also understands that many of the "entitlements" that Republicans hate are being used by those same white base.   Republicans may spout off about Obamacare and other "welfare" programs but understand that they are needed.  Trump acknowledged that with his supporters and again this goes against the "grain of what Republicans stand for."  

That's the problem for Republicans.  They want to move away from the subtle racism towards a party where blacks, latino's, woman and others are more accepted.  They have to in order to survive as a party.  The powers that be know this....and that means moving away from the racism that has always been part of the Republican party.

Trump is a very ugly reminder of it.   To make matters worse, he has about 30% of the Republican party agreeing with him.  Something exposed to the light that the Republicans wish would go away.

It does not take much research to see why the "Establishment" is against Trump.  It does not take much to see that Trump is dragging the party back towards the center.  Where the "Establishment" does not want to be....but knows it has to get back to.  

We have a very quiet and very subtle civil war going on....between the old guard and the new.   Between where the party needs to be and where it is.   I'm not sure if this will split the Republican party in two...but I feel it just might.

That's not a bad thing.   A little revolution now and again is good for the soul.   Frankly, the Republican soul needs saving....and although Trump is a ugly reminder of something very wrong with the GOP.....he just might save their soul by exposing the sins.  

It's about time we on the left started calling them out on it.....but our own party has issues.   Not as bad...but God knows we have them.   That's for another entry though.

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