Because it already did that to itself in the immediate aftermath of Barack Obama becoming President of the United States. As a response to having a Black president the Tea Party emerged and subsequently, basically all Republicans became Tea Partiers, if not fully in name, in ideology.
Remember these are the people who said President Obama was a Muslim, a foreigner, a murder, secretly gay and transgender, and on and on. Being any of these is perfectly fine (except, of course don’t be a murder – Obama certainly isn’t one), of course, but the Tea Party said these things in an attempt to discredit Obama and people who are not male, heterosexual WASPs. Remember too Republicans promised to block everything he does for eight years becuase of his Blackness.
Donald Trump, we must remember, is not “destroying” the Republican Party, per se, as many have claimed. He is the voice of the Tea Party in its fullest, meanest manifestation, thus far. They tried to run Mitt Romney, who was indeed terrifying, but apparently not extreme enough. Republicans voluntarily destroyed themselves as an institutional political party by their outright hatred and fear of President Obama and his family and his desire, which he has largely fulfilled, to provide more freedom and opportunity for people in the United States.
Political parties regularly realign. The contemporary Democratic Party (dating from the 1930s) has never been fully committed to liberalism and/or progressivism. One article I read yesterday predicted that the Republican Party will become the Democratic Party of the recent past and the Democratic Party will become a progressive party. I don’t see that happening.
I see Trump, Paul Ryan, and politicians like them continually pushing parts of the nation toward totalitarian extremism. How far will they go? How far will White people go? Remember Dr. King said White people will voluntarily give up democracy to prevent Black people from being equal.
For those of us committed to seeing equality manifested and for those of us eager for a more and more diverse, complex nation, we must remember that the GOP already died – roughly eight years ago now. Trump is speaking what Paul Ryan and his fellow fearful, rich buddies think.
We should be very concerned that it is not just Trump and his extremism that currently threaten the nation, but a political movement with millions of dangerous and fearful followers.
We’ll only see more of Trumpism, not less. The Tea Party has hijacked the “Republican Party” as its name to give itself a kind of “legitimacy.” The Democratic Party has become more and more conservative. We truly do need a party that is actually committed to liberalism, progressivism, and even a kind of radicalism. It will take all of us to stand against the White status quo. As diversity increases, so too does their fear.
Andrew Joseph Pegoda
Categories: Thoughts and Perspectives