Donald Trump Is the Republican President
The GOP has not been hijacked, bound and gagged, or rebranded by Donald Trump. The Republican Party created Donald Trump out of whole cloth, and he is precisely the President that the Party wanted and enthusiastically supported and defended.
That is not a credit to the GOP or a latter-day excuse for what the Party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Reagan has inflicted upon the Republic. With Trump gone, they argue, the GOP could once again be the party of limited government, equal opportunity through free market opportunities, and a shining city on the hill.
Now that Donald Trump is slipping so badly in the polls*, with his numbers lagging up to 14 points behind Joe Biden nationwide and from 8-to-12 points in the battleground states, GOP loyalists are beginning to speculate on the state of the Republican Party, cataloguing the abuses and misdeeds of Donald John Trump as the immediate, proximate, and singular cause of the perversion of what began as the Party of Lincoln. With Trump gone, they reason, the GOP will be cleansed and will rise to glory in the next election cycle.
I beg to differ.
Donald Trump was a New York City real estate speculator and accused swindler who was born wealthy but went bankrupt five times, defaulting on and cheating creditors, investors, and contractors in the process. His list of victims probably includes the people of the United States, but we will not know that until we see his tax records, which just might never be released.
He was a never-elected wannabe politician who changed his party affiliation five times in 25 years, from Democrat to Reform Party to Republican back to Democrat and then back to Republican. He has changed his political alignment and direction faster than a weathervane in a tornado, always following the prevailing winds in the process.
This is not Fake News. It is all a matter of public record if you care to look it up.
With this raw material, the Republican Party promoted and nominated for President of the United States what they purported to be a populist conservative, a man of the people who would champion the cause of the working man (but not necessarily the working woman), a reformer who would end corruption and malfeasance in government by stopping the illegal invasion of dark-skinned people, by strengthening America’s armed forces from the neglect of that black President, by eliminating endless government interference in free commerce with stifling regulations, by exposing the Chinese exploitation of our free trade system, and all by draining the swamp.
Of course, it turned out that the biggest swamp that would need draining was his own administration, as witnessed by the constant turnovers of White House Chief-of-Staff, cabinet secretaries, press secretaries, watchdog inspectors-general, and the top law enforcement and intelligence officials in the Republic. Some were fired by Trump, usually for some petty slight or perception of disloyalty, and others were investigated and indicted. Either way, Trump brought lots of his own snakes to the swamp.
It turned out that the most secure jobs in the Trump Administration were the breath-taking examples of nepotism enjoyed by family members who were immediately appointed to the highest West Wing counselor positions with direct access to the President, typified by his sweatshop-owning women’s clothing tycoon daughter and her born-wealthy but bankrupt-before-age-30 husband who couldn’t pass a basic security clearance investigation.
Again, this is not Fake News. It is all in the public record.
And we should not overlook the accomplishments of The First Lady whose declared campaign was to end cyberbullying, a memo that Twitter Trump apparently never read, along with his daily intelligence summaries that he received beginning in early January 2020 and continuing through February warning of the approaching coronavirus pandemic. All of this Trump ignored while he alternated among his “Democratic hoax,” “it is under total control,” and, “it will just disappear soon, like a miracle,” denials.
So how did the GOP of Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan descend to Donald Trump? Like any catastrophe, it was years in the making.
By my reckoning, the transition began in 1994 with Newt Gingrich and his Contract With America. Trump didn’t magically appear out of thin air. He has been in the public eye talking about a run for the Presidency since at least 1988; changing his party affiliation along the way five times by most reliable counts.
But I think that his transition from being an arrogant, blow-hard late-night talk show novelty to being a real candidate began with the Gingrich Revolution and his Contract With America.
If you were not politically active in 1994 and familiar with Gingrich’s Contract, go read it. It is a blueprint for Trump’s promise to drain the swamp and solve every problem in the Republic in one hundred days — if it would even take that long — ranging from government that is too big to a Congress that is without accountability. And although it succeeded in gaining the first Republican majority in the U.S. House in 40 years, it didn’t work any better than Trump’s southern wall paid for by Mexico, or his return of six million manufacturing jobs from overseas.
Nevertheless, from Gingrich the GOP pressed on with the Tea Party, the Constitutional Republicans, the Freedom Caucus, and half a dozen other splinter factions all struggling to achieve a single goal: domination and ownership of the GOP by their vision and their vision alone. That vision was essentially Gingrich’s Contract With America.
And then along came Donald Trump who dusted it off, dressed it up, and began Tweeting about it.
The Republican Party will not be a serious partner in the two-party system until a new generation has emerged that did not hitch their fortunes to the Gingrich Revolution and all that followed, culminating with President Trump. Perhaps then, and only then, will conservative former Republicans like me return, but I doubt that I will live long enough to see it.
Like the prodigal, idol-worshipping Israelites in the Book of Exodus, the GOP must wander in the desert until the sinners have been purged. That is going to take quite a while as Trumpster Republicans today insist that the GOP is losing elections now only because their candidates aren’t Trump Republican enough.
Did Donald John Trump hijack, bound and gag, and rebrand the Republican Party? No. Like the Reality Show host that he is, he just answered a casting call.
–Fox News Poll (Biden +12 over Trump)
–New York Times-Siena College (Biden +14 over Trump)
–Real Clear Politics Average (Biden +10 over Trump)