I remember the night of November 8, 2016. Just minutes after Trump was announced as the projected winner, I decided to go for a drive to quell my shock and anger at the result. Totally human emotions.
Then, consistently, I was fervent in my belief that Trump won the 2016 election legitimately; not because of Russia’s very real support of him, not because of very real voter suppression, but because (a) it is very hard for a political party to win three elections in a row (considering it’s only happened once since 1948) and (b) Midwestern states had been trending Republican for the four years leading up to it.
But part of me was also relieved by one thing: Trump was never, ever going to get a second term. One cannot take office with half of the country not liking him, doing nothing to alleviate that, then successfully get re-elected.
It has nothing to do with the immense, relentless, and often founded criticism of Trump from the media. It has mostly to do with Trump turning out to be exactly what he sold himself as: a rambunctious and ubiquitous son-of-a-bitch that ran the United States government with the gravitas of Michael Corleone without the intelligence.
Regardless of the toxicity of the mother-fucker-in-chief, Trump’s rise is not his fault. It wasn’t even because of Trump himself. Trump became President because the Republican Party not only misread their own electorate leading up to 2016, the party allowed itself to be left vulnerable to a man like Trump.
I don’t have to regurgitate 40 years of history for you to explain their vulnerability. The conservative movement has been abject bullshit since Ronald Reagan won over Jimmy Carter in 1980. Even George H.W. Bush knew that Reagan’s conservatism was more populist than principled; Reagan only picked Bush because he needed the moderates (and Texas). Lee Atwater’s infamous 1981 interview more or less exposed the entire conservative Republican playbook — keep it abstract, keep it tribal, and ensure explicit prejudices become a lot more genteel.
These conservatives, sometimes called neoconservatives in some circles, waged an endless war against liberals and progressives, creating caricatures of each that increasingly became detached from reality as the years went on. The Republican Party in itself, which began its rightward lurch in the 1960s, became less interested in winning voters over with ideas and became much more engaged with raging against an imaginary boogeyman that voters kept buying into.
Then finally, at long last, in opposing President Barack Obama at every single fucking turn, the Republican Party had someone that they could turn into a cartoon villain for their own voters. Never mind the nuances about policy differences; the Republican Party led by Mitch McConnell gave up any pretense of being a legitimate party of government and just seemingly decide to exist only for the purposes of tax cuts, selfishness, fake budgetary concerns, and riling up voters about Democrats.
But here’s the thing — the wise intelligentsia of the Republican Party thought that they were winning voters because of their promotion of “liberty”, “national defense”, and “personal responsibility”. It only gave them a limited amount of traction — not nearly what most assume. In reality, they were energizing voters that resented the progress of society. These voters were never interested in the Republican Party as a bastion of their collective ideology; they were definitely on board with, however, the Party as their cultural representative. They just needed a charismatic leader.
This conclusion was proven valid when Trump, lacking any meaningful coherence in any policy whatsoever, managed to usurp support among the Republican Party electorate with his fake right-wing populism. Republican voters, who longed to be coddled in a world that was increasingly moving away from their worldview, found their conduit. Republicans, realizing that the writing was on the wall, would soon fall in line; even more so over the past 4 years as the party lifted its genteel veil of foolishness and revealed an aura of wretchedness, authoritarian and fascist in character.
These sorry, scummy bastards are now infected with the disease of Trumpism; a virus that will never go away because of the party’s codependency on the losing incumbent. The Trump family dominates the fortunes of the Republican Party in a way that has never, ever been seen before in American politics. Not even the Bush family ever had the vise grip over the GOP as does the Orange Cabal. I can say the same about the Roosevelt family and the Democrats.
Today, the Republican Party, which more or less now only carries water for the Trump family, is wallowing in a muck of shit. There’s just simply no other way to describe this. While Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, and Susan Collins extended their somewhat tacit congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, they were still more than willing to throw a bone to Trump (they’re Republicans after all), noting that Trump has a legal right to challenge election results if the grievances are legitimate. Some applauded it.
However, I still consider it to be a bit of a mark of cowardice. There was a greater acceptance among Democrats in 2016 when the margins were even tighter. Begrudgingly, I will admit that it is better than others in the Republican Party, such as the crooked Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, who are both sour about the fact that they have to compete in a fucking run-off election in January against Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively.
In fact, I would consider Perdue and Loeffler’s feigned irritation to be amongst the most egregious. They wrote a joint letter to the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, a Trump-endorsed, right-wing nutjob himself, to resign as they accused him of a lack of transparency when the state has probably been the most transparent with its counting process. Raffensperger replied in his own statement that was, honestly, bullshit in itself.
I try to be level-headed, I really do. Opposition parties are a necessary part of a democracy. But I cannot deny that the Republican Party is so bad, so rotten, so disgusting, so divorced from reality, I cannot help but to harbor deep resentment against the party. The party is devoid of reason and just trafficks in utter fucking delusion. I mean, just today as of this writing, the Republican Party was able to win Senate races and House races (including picking up 8 seats), all of which had the Presidential ticket on the same damn ballot.
For years, the Republican Party has gone to great lengths to discredit liberals, progressives, and the Democratic Party period. However, their commitment to their delusions goes beyond being a matter of just politics; it’s a complete and intentional denial of reality itself. It is one thing for a candidate to consider their legal options if they feel wronged; it’s another thing for a candidate to think they have been wronged for simply losing to someone else period.
Those that have left the party over Trump would behoove themselves to either remain independent or remain in a coalition with the Democratic Party. We may not always agree on every single issue, but at least we are allies against toxic right-wing populism, fascism, and authoritarianism.
The Republican Party is simply no longer deserving of my respect; and I am probably not the only Democrat that feels this way. The Republican Party is as rotten and as despicable as it gets, and it’s hard to imagine that it will ever be redeemable again. •