From 2008 to Donald Trump

“If the hard right wants the GOP to remain the party of the come to jesus angry white man, well so be it. Liberals want you to do that as well!

This election the GOP became the party of the old, undereducated, rural angry white voter. This group is becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of the electorate. It became the party of the Southern core of the Confederacy and states like Wyoming where nobody lives. It lost in every major metropolitan area. It lost affluent diverse suburbs in Philadelphia, Charlotte, Raleigh, Fairfax and Northern Virginia, Alberquerque and Las Vegas, Miami and Tampa, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Indianapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Boston . It even lost Dallas and Houston.

It lost hispanic voters by 2 to l. It lost virtually 100% of the black vote. It lost the “youth” vote 2 to 1. The Democrats won every growing demographic.

There is no longer a GOP Representative in the House from all of New England, including those bastions of Republicanism, New Hampshire and Maine. There are only 3 GOP House members from New York and only one is urban. The increasing Hispanic vote will put Texas and Arizona in play in coming elections. Any party that starts with California, New York and Texas in its column is in a pretty strong position.

TV Cameras had a hard time finding a black face at the GOP convention. Bigots routinely talked to video cameras while in line and waiting outside.

The GOP needs to decide what it is FOR……calling the opposition names ain’t gonna cut it as “policy”. Being for “family” and “America” ain’t gonna cut it as policy. Calling the Dems “traitors” and marxists, rhetoric not heard in 50 years, revealed the dearth of GOP ideas.

Continuing to emphasize the culture wars will lead to a smaller, waiting for the rapture, lily-white regional Southern party.

Look at the faces of the new America……..the demographics are against you.”


I penned the above in December 2008, about a month after President Obama’s first election.  It got posted in the commentary section of the Washington Post

I followed it up with comments urging the GOP to return to being a true center-right party – fiscally conservative and socially liberal.  I got tons of responses – the Republicans lost because McCain was not a “true conservative”; I got the same responses in 2012; Romney was too “squishy”, too soft.

“We can win”, said these folks, if we nominate a “true conservative.”.

So here we are in 2016 and, with a victory in the Indiana Primary, it is Donald Trump who will be on the verge of locking up the Republican nomination.  How did we get here?

“Tyranny is probably established out of no other regime than democracy.”   The quote is from “Plato’s “Republic’.  What did Plato mean by that?

Democracy, for him, “was a political system of maximal freedom and equality, where every lifestyle is allowed and public offices are filled by a lottery. And the longer a democracy lasted, Plato argued, the more democratic it would become. Its freedoms would multiply; its equality spread. Deference to any sort of authority would wither; tolerance of any kind of inequality would come under intense threat; and multiculturalism and sexual freedom would create a city or a country like “a many-colored cloak decorated in all hues.”

And when all the barriers to equality, formal and informal, have been removed; when everyone is equal; when elites are despised and full license is established to do “whatever one wants,” you arrive at what might Plato called late-stage democracy. There is no kowtowing to authority here, let alone to political experience or expertise.

It is in this late stage democracy that the tyrant seizes the opportunity.

And so we have Trump. a member of the elite, basking with plenty of food, beautiful women, money, sex and the  non-judgement of democracy’s tolerance, seizing control and leading a compliant mob.

His supporters reflect the internet age; feeling, emotion, and narcissism, rather than reason, empiricism, and public-spiritedness as well as the blurring of the lines between entertainment and media.

In in this regard, Obama’s first campaign led the way forward; showed us how it could be done.

“Obama would never have been nominated for the presidency, let alone elected, if he hadn’t harnessed the power of the web and the charisma of his media celebrity. But he was also, paradoxically, a very elite figure, a former state and U.S. senator, a product of Harvard Law School, and, as it turned out, blessed with a preternaturally rational and calm disposition. So he has masked, temporarily, the real risks in the system that his pioneering campaign revealed. Hence many Democrats’ frustration with him. Those who saw in his campaign the seeds of revolutionary change, who were drawn to him by their own messianic delusions, came to be bitterly disappointed by his governing moderation and pragmatism.”  Me included.

The Obama media celebrity campaign showed the way for Sarah Palin as it is doing for  other unrestrained opportunists.

Eric Hoffer in his 1951 “True Believer” attempts to trace to origin of mass movements.  Hoffer’s core insight was to locate the source of all truly mass movements in a collective sense of acute frustration. Not despair, or revolt, or resignation — but frustration simmering with rage.  “It is usually those whose poverty is relatively recent, the ‘new poor,’ who throb with the ferment of frustration,” Hoffer argues.

The decimation o the middle class, the loss of jobs and stagnant wages  has resulted in a more diverse mainstream culture — but also, simultaneously, a subculture that is even more alienated and despised, and ever more infuriated and bloody-minded.

“Much of the newly energized left has come to see the white working class not as allies but primarily as bigots, misogynists, racists, and homophobes, thereby condemning those often at the near-bottom rung of the economy to the bottom rung of the culture as well. A struggling white man in the heartland is now told to “check his privilege” by students at Ivy League colleges. Even if you agree that the privilege exists, it’s hard not to empathize with the object of this disdain. These working-class communities, already alienated, hear — how can they not? — the glib and easy dismissals of “white straight men” as the ultimate source of all our woes. They smell the condescension and the broad generalizations about them — all of which would be repellent if directed at racial minorities — and see themselves, in Hoffer’s words, “disinherited and injured by an unjust order of things.  And so late stage capitalism is creating a righteous revolutionary anger that late stage democracy has precious little ability to moderate or contain.

Trump has played the media game very well.   He did not criticize his opponent’s policies.  He called them names.  He spoke in the language of the white lower classes – the frustrated decimated working white poor.  He has attacked the GOP  elites – those who believed the typical Republican voter was the reincarnation of Bill Buckley.

He has conjured the Roman mob.




For what I consider to be a brilliant article on the Trump phenomenon read:

by Andrew Sullivan

It’s long but it’s worth it

Woman criticizes man using food stamps at Walmart – the poor fighting with each other while standing in a store owned by the richest family in America – a store which pays thousands of it’s full time employees so little they qualify for food stamps. Divide and conquer.







About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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One Response to From 2008 to Donald Trump

  1. beetleypete says:

    Great stuff, Frank. I had to look up GOP, being English, though I had an inkling. The party of Lincoln. The party that betrayed the ‘freed’ slaves. No change there then.
    My own thought on Democracy is that it is an evil waiting to happen. It unfortunately presumes that everyone is intelligent enough to understand politics, and therefore, the best option will be, and should be, voted in. History proves that to be false, and whether we like it or not, the masses do not generally understand politics, only the parts that affect them. So we get the backlash, the instinct, the basest aspects of mankind.
    And they almost always get it wrong.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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