By Manifesto Joe
It's hard for me to spell his name with the "T." "Rump" is more descriptive.
For nearly 50 years, the Republican Party has leaned on a "Southern strategy," as it was called during Richard Nixon's successful run for the presidency in 1968. That year the choice for rednecks was between Tricky Dick and George Wallace, and a good many chose the latter. But the strategy was articulated, and it had been there already. Recall that Barry Goldwater had his main electoral success in the Deep South, where he won five states in an otherwise disastrous try for the presidency in 1964. The reason was his overt appeal to segregationists with his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
All through the 1970s, '80s, '90s, and onward, the basic thrust of the Republican Party was to lend as much legitimacy as possible to ignorant xenophobes. And so it should come as no surprise to Republicans that the front-runner for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination is such a person, and a proven liar at that.
It has been no secret in politics that the Republican Party has been systematically and relentlessly pulled toward the right for decades. Voices of liberalism or even moderation -- former Sens. Jacob Javits, Clifford Case, Edward Brooke, Jim Jeffords and others -- were eliminated from the party, one by one. By 1976, even a stolid tory like Jerry Ford was regarded as a moderate. The current second-place hopeful after Trump, Ted Cruz, won election to the U.S. Senate in Texas by portraying sitting Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst as a liberal!
Yeah, Dewhurst is about as liberal as Paul von Hindenburg was in comparison to Hitler.
There's no mistaking where Cruz stands on the issues. His Ivy League professors described him as "brilliant," but that may mean that he's simply that much more dangerous. His difference with Rump, er, Trump, is less on policy than on the fact that Trump is in the way of something that Ted Cruz wants. Cruz, however "brilliant," is still an extreme right-winger, and the fact that he's the party's main alternative to Trump speaks volumes about what's happened to the Republican Party.
True, Rump, er, Trump isn't a "genuine" conservative. There's a lot of angry "populism" there; it's been accurately pointed out that he has borrowed his campaign playbook largely from that of George Wallace decades ago, and that the type of "voter" he appeals to is similar. In other words he appeals to ignorant, xenophobic rednecks who don't care how many lies he tells, those who revel in his bigotry, racism, misogyny and bellicose foolishness, and those who are just more likely to punch perceived foes out as one hears more and more comparisons to the 1934 Nuremberg Rallies.
The remaining question in the 2016 contest appears to be whether Rump, er, Trump, can win on the first ballot at the GOP convention. If he can't, he'll tear the Republican Party apart, and these assholes will ultimately have no one to blame but themselves.
I think it was P.T. Barnum who said something to the effect that nobody ever lost a dime underestimating the intelligence of the American people. A conservative friend of mine once advised that I knock on some doors and ask political questions. I would venture that about 70% of the time, I would get somebody too stupid to have bothered with. And I'd have to make sure I didn't knock on the door while "Wheel of Fortune" was on, so as not to disturb the highlight of their day.
These are the people who, in the absence of Rump, er Trump, would be unlikely to even vote. With Trump in the "race," they will turn out. Let's just hope that we're not being coaxed into Nazi-style salutes before it's over.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.