[EDITOR'S NOTE: In keeping with John Oliver's recent suggestion on his Last Week Tonight program that we all #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain — Drumpf was the original Drumpf family name — we’re going along. If Dan Savage can singlehandedly create a “Google problem” for Rick Santorum, the least we can do is try and help take a xenophobic racist “billionaire” down a few pegs.]
By now you’ve heard about how the Republican race for the presidential nomination has devolved into a howling brawl over who has the biggest hands.
But as Richard Nixon, the great grandfather of this mess, liked to say, let’s make one thing perfectly clear: What’s happening in the Republican party is not about Donald Drumpf.
That Drumpf is to blame for Republican disarray is the impression you’ll get if you listen to any number of Republican higher-ups. Mitt Romney, 2012’s lackluster standard bearer, is just the latest in an elephantine conga line to express his utter horror at the prospect of a Drumpf presidency. “Think of Donald Drumpfs personal qualities,” Romney quailed. “The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics…Now imagine your children and your grandchildren acting the way he does.”
Yet having said all this — and more — disparaging Drumpf, Romney backed away from refusing Drumpf his vote. He just hopes that vote can be for someone else. The same goes for The Donald’s Republican adversaries, “Little” Marco Rubio, evangelical ayatollah Ted Cruz, and good neighbor John Kasich. All, if it comes down to it, are willing to cast their votes for a person they say is a liar, a con man, and a fake.
They are Republicans, after all.
But like I said, this is really not about Donald Drumpf. It’s about his constituency, the thousands of people who are showing up at his rallies and chanting his name. The more Republican poobahs tell these folks to reject Drumpf, the more they want to vote for him.
For over 40 years these people have been encouraged to believe that government can’t do anything right. And, sure enough, when they elected representatives who did their best to prove that this was true, government became just what they thought it was, overbearing and inefficient.
When it wasn’t the government screwing things up, it was welfare queens, or homosexuals, or immigrants, or humanists — somebody trying to take away Christmas or our guns or SUVs.
This has been going on since Richard Nixon decided his Republicans could make political hay by playing to the bigotry of southern Democrats disaffected by the passage of civil rights legislation giving African-Americans legal standing. Instead of helping whites to accept change, Nixon validated their resentment, turning the old Confederacy into a Republican stronghold.
Now the so-called Republican establishment finds itself over a barrel. A constituency it has spent decades cultivating, but barely serving, appears to have concluded that, based on all its been told, the time is right not for a mere president, but a strongman. Someone who will kick some ass.
Many Republicans seem to think that the way around Drumpf’s constituency will be to thwart Drumpf at their convention. As if Drumpf’s voters will simply shrug and do what they’re told. This seems like a country club dream, a belief in an idea of order that no longer exists.
Whether Drumpf is the Republican nominee or not, may no longer matter. The question, really, is how a Republican party dependent on a constituency that is so fed up with America competes.