TRUMP IS THE DISTILLED ESSENCE OF THE GOP
Donald Trump is the only honest Republican. The argument from Hillary Clinton and her surrogates, up to and including President Obama, that Trump is not a “typical Republican” and represents some kind of unique malevolence in American politics conveniently overlooks at least 40 years of Republican politics in the United States. The only difference between Trump and the fifteen aspirants he incinerated in the primaries as well as our last five Republican presidents is that he favors the loudspeaker over the dog whistle.
When Trump says to “go down to certain areas” and “make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times,” he’s pushing the same, deeply racist myth that’s been used to justify Voter ID laws in at least seven states. Making it harder to minorities to vote has been a firm goal for the GOP long before Donald J. Trump showed up and will continue long after he has waddled off the political scene.
Last week, we were all shocked! Shocked! That Donald Trump, of all people, made incredibly lewd comments on a hot mic to professional kiss-ass Billy Bush in 2005. A tsunami of bloated, sallow-faced Republican officials, including Trump’s own running mate, rushed to denounce the former beauty pageant CEO’s remarks. Many of them invoked their daughters and granddaughters in their performative disgust. Let us not forget that one of the core tenets of the Party of Lincoln is to deny women agency. The erasure of a woman’s constitutional right to make her own reproductive choices is the Party’s core article of faith. And in many states they have been chillingly successful in achieving that goal. The recently, mercifully departed Phyllis Schlafly made a career of telling other women not to have careers as she fought the Equal Rights Amendment. And we found out over the summer that the leading Republican media outlet, Fox News, was used as a personal bordello for its walking carcass of a founder, Roger Ailes. With this record, Trump is little more than a bohemian corporal in an army waging a war on women.
When Trump says he thinks waterboarding is “absolutely fine, but [that] we should go much stronger than waterboarding,” he needn’t worry. The Bush Administration’s program of extraordinary rendition in the aftermath of 9/11 insured that many people, including many innocent people, faced treatment far worse than waterboarding in foreign prisons and CIA “black sites.” American sanction of inhuman treatment and torture around the world has a storied history. The lavishly violent excesses of CIA backed right-wing movements in Chile, Guatemala and Nicaragua, are but three. Total American disregard for human rights did not spring from the coiffed head of a failed Atlantic City casino owner.
The all-nighters of brooding paranoia found in Trump’s Twitter feed have an undeniably Nixonian texture. His ruminations about “global elites,” the endless conspiracies against him, his encyclopedic memory of slights from his perceived enemies are evidence he shares a similarly cynical worldview as our disgraced 37th president. Consider also Trump’s political tutors. His uncompromising, litigious style came from his lawyer, Roy Cohn who served as counsel to Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy during the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings in the 1950s. HUAC was another banner moment in American history where allegiances and patriotism baselessly assailed by a right-wing demagogue.
The paranoid, nightmarish visions Trump conjures twice daily on the campaign trail are nothing new. They have simply been stripped of the code and gloss used by his Republican antecedents. But the message is the same: The GOP has always been the party of nightmares.