THE END OF THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION AT LAST

REPUBLICANS' TRUMP FEST ENDS ON A DOWN BEAT 


Well that’s over.  Thank God.  The four days of the Republican National Convention was like watching a replay of the Hindenburg crash and burn but in super slow motion.   It was hard to watch especially with all the “side shows” both on and off stage and it resembled nothing more than some confused mosh pit at an acid rock concert but with 70’s pop music blaring from a faulty speaker system.  The crowning moment, The Donald’s acceptance speech last night, was nothing more than a death knell for America, describing a decidedly dark and dire present day America but facing an even more apocalyptic American future if America doesn’t elevate him into the King’s Throne next November.   But even the audience at times wasn’t buying it, sometimes greeting his depressing pronouncements with tepid responses.  Only when Trump mouthed “crooked Hillary” did the crowd seem to come alive.  This was universally acclaimed. 

But Trump’s picture of daily life in America – awash in shootings and crime, drowning under a dead economy, facing imminent and constant danger from immigrants and Muslims and cop killers, violence spreading like a California wildfire across the nation – bears little to no relationship to reality.  It’s not as if we don’t have problems, that there aren’t issues dogging the nation, but to describe such a dark, depressing, and danger filled country in such ominous and menacing terms is not where we are.  Maybe back in the 1970’s such rhetoric would have been on target, but not today.  The whole theme is just off base.  Frankly, I’m wondering about the normal post-convention bounce most Presidential candidates receive.  Will The Donald’s poll numbers rise? 

One of the things I’ve taken away from the Republican National Convention is just how out of touch Republicans are with the reality of the country.  And I’m not talking just about out of touch with the LGBT community, or the left, or Democrats.  No.  What I’m talking about is their own “constituency.”  They don’t seem to have the foggiest notion of why Donald Trump has become their nominee despite the Republican Establishment’s efforts to ensure that it wouldn’t happen.  But it did.  And I have to say that Paul Ryan (R-WI) leads the way in such total blindness if we’re talking Establishment politicians.   His “A Better Way” is just so far and away a horrible slap in the face of the Trumpettes that it’s hard for me to figure out just what the hell he thinks he’s doing.  Maybe all the folks who keep yelling about how isolated Congress is from the people, how much our representatives don’t have a clue about what’s really happening in the country, are simply right.  Otherwise, it’s hard to fathom how Ryan in his “A Better Way” budget proposals could continue the very same policies that have driven so many Americans to latch on to Donald Trump.  Combine “A Better Way” with the truly backward lurching Republican Party’s Convention Platform and one has to wonder if Republicans – the Establishment Republicans, the Party’s leaders – have been living on another planet in another solar system that is not the Earth and not the Milky Way.

The Donald’s supporters feel as if the “system” is rigged against them.  That they have been left out, ignored.  That the American Dream is no longer within their reach for their children and grandchildren.  That as working and middle class Americans they no longer matter in the scheme of all things Americans.   That their needs, their desires, their hopes and dreams have been ignored.  And yet the Republicans – other than The Donald – do not seem to recognize their complaints as either genuine or worthy of consideration.  It’s a remarkable case of blindness in the face of readily discernable reality.  

Trump’s supporters blame Obama for their troubles.  Maybe Clinton too, but in their minds it was the election of Barack Obama that ended what they see as “their America.”  This is the easy route.  This is the short answer.  This is the emotional, nativist, thoughtless and fact-less “blame game” answer that has driven Americans to embrace Trump.  

The longer, more difficult answer – and the one that Paul Ryan and the Republican National Committee Platform folks apparently don’t see – is that the Trumpettes’ plight, their loss of hope, their despair has roots far away from Barack Obama.  It has its roots in Ronald Reagan, our 40th President who was the first President to both promote and adopt the conservative line on both social and economic issues.   And these conservative policies are exactly the ones that caused the Worldwide Economic Collapse of 2008.  These are the polices that have caused working and middle class Americans to fall so far behind in their prosperity and have so widened the gap between rich and poor.  These are the policies that have introduced “dark money” into our political system where no one can figure out who’s actually behind campaign attack ads and billions of campaign contributions.  These are the same policies that have exacerbated the growing numbers of the poor among us. 

And Democrats, from the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, have enabled conservatives by simply acceding to what has been the “prevailing conservative theme” since then.  But when you think about it, it was not conservative policies that rebuilt Europe after World War II since conservative policy would dictate that Europe was on it’s own and the U.S. had no business intervening in the rebuilding effort.  There would be no Social Security and no Medicare if conservative policy had held sway during Franklin Roosevelt’s administration.  There would have been no Civilian Conservation Corps, no rebuilding of Americas infrastructure after the Great Depression, no Interstate Highway System, no Civil Rights Act, no TARP, no Consumer Protection Bureau, no gay rights, virtually none of the accouterments of American society that we all – and “we” includes the Trumpettes – that we all take for granted in 2016.

Now Democrats seem to have understood that a pretty large swath of the American public are pretty damned disgusted with “business as usual” given the Bernie Sanders phenomenon and the leftward lurch we are witnessing as Donald Trump takes his victory lap at the Republican Convention.  But even Democrats have yet to articulate how and why we have come to this point with any great illumination or conviction.  Hopefully from now until the November election they will figure this out.  Figure out that Bill Clinton’s conservative policies and legislative accomplishments were a mistake.  That they did nothing more than embed even deeper than Ronald Reagan the then- and still - prevailing conservative economic and social memes that were ascendant.  

But it seems to me that there really is no hope for Republicans.  While Democrats seem to have heard America’s complaints even though they have not risen fully to respond to the call of the disaffected, Republicans just don’t get it.  And, it seems that they are not going to “get it” until they are utterly destroyed.   

I’m not at all sure that Hillary will be able to embrace the idea that her husband’s policy achievements – GATT, NAFTA, Crime Bill, Welfare Reform, etc. – are a part of the problem; the persistent, long-term problems that have led us to the difficult and divisive state of affairs that we find ourselves in today.  This is what’s necessary.  This is what she must do.  She can deflect all the Whitewater, Vince Foster, Benghazi, and E-mail ginned up scandals as she no doubt will but without a cold, realistic assessment of how and why it is that we’ve come to this point in America, she will fail.  She will open the way for a Donald Trump presidency. 

What’s interesting about Donald Trump’s acceptance speech is how dark he portrayed what we call American society today.  This too is a fiction.  But this is what energizes his White supporters, this “America is falling apart,”  “America is riddled with crime,” “America is being overrun by raping, drug addled illegal immigrants,” “America is no longer the world’s leading nation.”  Each of these proclamations is readily denied by facts.  But it’s not facts, objective information, statistics and data that are driving the Trump candidacy.  It is the “feeling” that his White supporters no longer matter.  And they are not totally wrong in their assessment.  From the nation’s founding 1776, we have been ruled by White people both in the public governance sector and in the private sector.  This predominance is about to change, at least superficially.  It is estimated that by the middle of this century, White people will no longer be America’s majority ethnic group.  And it is this fact, this inexorable and inevitable fact, that is the prime motivation that has driven Trump’s supporters to his call.  He is telling them that he, and he alone can right this colossal wrong, reverse this trend that has left them adrift as lonely White specks in a sea of roiling, rumbling brown, yellow, red and black skins. 

 How he intends to achieve this is not yet clear.  “Big Picture” Donald – maybe “Huuuuge” Donald is more appropriate - is not one to waste his time on mere details or get lost in the weeds over mere facts. 

It’s Been A Remarkable Week.  I doubt that the Democrats will be able to top this affair as they gather in Philadelphia next week.  Me?  Thank God for small graces.


        

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