Clete Wetli, Contributor
As disgusted Americans watch the media label each ensuing week as the ‘worst’ in Trump’s chaotic and destructive fledgling presidency, it’s also worth noting that the GOP has collectively shown that it has sold the last of its conflicted soul to Trump to appease his angry white, immovable base. It began during the campaign when Republican leaders failed to loudly condemn Trump’s incessant racism and sexism, and gleefully ignored his daily tempest of bold, outrageous lies.
The GOP has decided that scrupulous statesmanship only exists in direct proportion to opinion polling. Republicans have abandoned moral principles to cater to the basest of their base.
What strange times these are when Trump’s business advisory council resigns in protest over racist remarks, but Trump’s evangelical advisors remain to announce they are increasingly confident that the Almighty has personally chosen the Orange Duck-tailed One as America’s savior!
This goes beyond AG Jeff Sessions weird explanation of ‘pussy grabbing’ or Speaker Paul Ryan’s observations on the definition of racism during the Judge Curiel fiasco that fell on Republicans deaf ears. This speaks to a horrible truth that Democrats have known for some time. Republicans want to make sure that they keep the bigot vote. They want the sexist vote. They need the votes of craven people who don’t give a shit about anything or anyone so long as they’re making piles of money. Trump was perfectly clear in his intent when he called out to ‘the poorly educated’ because he knew he could buy their votes with a cheap red hat.
This is not only a larger portion of the GOP base than anyone cares to acknowledge, but they desperately want to continue to keep the nation focused on identity politics and endless war against global terrorists predicated on paranoia and exacerbated by xenophobia. In practice, it’s why Trump is fueling this national debate over Confederate statues. We know that it’s monumental stupidity, but while we’re busy fighting this racial nonsense, the Democratic plan for a ‘Better Deal’ has been drowned in the cacophony.
Of course, we should demand that Confederate statues be removed, but we’ve also got to highlight the Democratic plan for economic growth, better education, and ensuring equality through humane policy and good governance. Democrats cannot become the mirror image of Republicans by simply running against the symbolic image of Trump and his delusional, self-centered minions.
We’ve seen the evils of populism in the era of Trump as evidenced by a morally bankrupt Republican party. Democrats, indeed, must stand by their principles and give voters a compelling reason to vote for progress instead of merely rallying oppositional support to obstruct Trump’s regressive agenda.
The now soul-less Republican party will continue to support Trump until it’s physically impossible to lower the bar any further. Yet, Democrats will only be able to take advantage of this if they have a positive, sensible plan expressed with simple, powerful messaging.
The GOP will continue its attack on Democrats with ‘weapons of mass distraction’, but we must resist and not fall into their cynical and twisted traps.
It may sound melodramatic, but this has become a political fight that will redefine the existential meaning of America for generations. Liberals should take a new and detailed look at FDR’s policy and messaging. It’s time to take our Democratic soul back from Wall Street. Liberals should discover ways to control the narrative proactively. Liberals can’t play defense anymore and expect to win. Liberals should own their moniker and lead decisively.
The Republicans have sold their soul to Trump and draw their strength from cynicism, skepticism, deception, and division. Let’s call them out on their bullshit, but more importantly, let’s give America something to believe in again.
Our greatest enemy is apathy borne out of self-imposed defeatism for feeling that nothing can change for the better.