Well 2015 is marching to a close and soon election season will be fully upon us. And lucky us! What choices we will have!
This past year saw America’s continued march to the right which began under Reagan and has continued now for decades. Supporters of the Trumpster are now an openly anti-government party – they have no interest in governing but do have an interest in power – especially in the power to keep anyone else from governing.
Whatever happens with Donald Trump’s candidacy — whether he rides his durable poll numbers to the Republican nomination, runs as an independent, or withdraws from the race completely — the ideas he’s introduced to the mainstream political dialogue will have a long shelf life.
In the wake of the Paris attacks in November, a lot of politically opportunistic and personally repulsive individuals began using rhetoric against refugees from war-torn Syria to make national security hay.
Ted Cruz was going to allow only Christian refugees into the country while Ben Carson wanted to close the border completely for security reasons.
After San Bernardino , Trump called for a ban on all Muslims in America, registration and wouldn’t rule out “internment camps.”
While mainstream Republican candidates scoffed at these ideas (these candidates currently poll in the single digits – remember they are “establishment” candidates) Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz chose a different route. Realizing that the base of the party they wish to head up in 2016 is terrified and scared of their own shadows while toting guns, both men introduced bills in the Senate to restrict migration.
Cruz’s bill called for moratoriums on the entry to the country by individuals from Syria. Paul’s bill went a little further calling for a cease in immigration from countries with majority Muslim populations, full stop.
But what’s more concerning about Trump’s rhetoric than the short-term legislation proposed by Trump, Rand and Cruz that won’t leave committee are the long-term effects on political discourse.
It may not happen for another four years, but one of these lunatics could eventually win the presidency. If that happens, you can expect a massive paradigm shift in the American political culture, driving an already extremely right-wing country further to the right, even into a unique form of American fascism.
If that seems impossible, keep this in mind. In 1976, a right-wing maniac challenged a sitting president for the GOP presidential nomination. His views were seen as too extreme to win a general election, his appeals to racism too blatant, his views on militarism too frankly insane. Four years later, he won election and defined a political generation.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are today’s political heirs of Ronald Reagan, and they’re seen as the left in today’s politics. That’s the result of a shift that began 40 years ago.
Pretty sad when Obama and Hillary Clinton are the “left!”. Could we find two more corporate Democrats?
Since the time of the Gipper the right has marched on moving ever further to the extreme – to a point where a “serious” Presidential candidate still questions the birth place, and thus whether or not a sitting President, is an “American”.
The vitriol we have heard out of the mouths of candidates – “fat, ugly, schlonged and stupid”, talk of registration of Muslims, internment camps, Mexican rapists and drug dealers, bombing till they glow – these are words which may characterize our election discourse for decades to come.
Once I laughed at Ronald Reagan. I mean, you know, “He’s in show business!”