Donald Trump has engendered a level of revulsion previously not thought possible in a presidential candidate. And it’s surprising how so much of this ill will emanates not from the opposition but directly from the Republican party.
One must wonder, what do so many Republicans see in Trump that terrifies them so? Some Republicans will argue that Trump is so flawed that he is unfit to be president. That their love for the country is more important than their allegiance to the party. They might say that Trump is beneath them, that their party is better than that, that they profess to be a party of principle, tolerance and equality. So how could Donald possibly represent them?
When we look at Trump’s rhetoric we see a character who is xenophobic, racist, misogynist, pro-business, uber-capitalist and anti-regulation. But how different are these sentiments from the prevailing Republican world-views of our times? Let’s compare just a few items, just for fun.
THE WALL (xenophobia and racism)
Factions of the Republican coalition have wanted to build the wall for just about forever. It’s just that most of them have been better wordsmiths and called it “border security”. Fear of invasion from the south has been an important Republican niche issue for a long time. And before it was fear of Hispanics, it was fear of other new comers. Certain Republicans have always seemed big on fomenting fear of the “other”, whoever the “others” might be at the time.
We have always been a nation of immigrants, but have also always been a nation of racism. It’s always been easy to get people upset about some other group coming to take away their jobs or change their way of life. Certain Republicans have always been keen to exploit this fear. And have used it effectively as a niche issue to help them cling to power.
So the establishment Republicans who now boo Donald should just give him a pass on “The Wall”. Same message as before, just way more blunt coming from him.
FEAR MONGERING (more xenophobia and racism)
Republicans have succeeded in branding themselves as the party of national security. This strategy has worked hand in hand with exploiting the “fear of the other”.
After 911, it was easy to paint all Muslims as the enemy and this fear undoubtedly became a part of the unspoken rationale for going to war. The lead up to the war in Iraq was particularly troubling because it was entirely based on exploiting the public’s fear. The public was fed fudged intelligence reports hyping the idea that at any moment Saddam was ready to strike with weapons of mass destruction. And an overwhelming percentage of the Americans bought into this idea and agreed that we needed to invade. The fact that Iraq was a Muslim country made these arguments even more persuasive.
Trump is not the first Republican to fan the flames of fear and paint Muslims as the enemy. Since 911, fomenting the fear of all things Muslim might just as well be a part of the official Republican plank.
So the naysayers should give the Donald a pass on “Fear Mongering” too. He may not be as articulate, but essentially he’s saying the same thing that other Republicans have been saying for years.
It’s pretty clear that Trump doesn’t like women much. If you are a woman and you speak out against Trump you can almost rely on him to retaliate by insulting the way you look. According to Donald, women are all basically just gold diggers who can only get ahead with their sex appeal. And nowhere does Trump suggest that women have any other value than their looks andÂ their duty to please men.
This is also the view of a particular niche of the Republican coalition that is comprised of men who actually fear women as equals. These are the same men that oppose women’s rights to control their own bodies even to the extent of putting the interests of an unborn child (read the interests of the father) over the interests of the woman. And here there is an undeniable connection to the notion of an ideal Christian family where men reign supreme and the sole purpose of women is to bear children and please Â men.
So dissenters should give Donald a pass on his brand of “misogyny” too. He’s not that far off from the rest of the Republican flock.
These are just a few of Donald’s core beliefs, some which establishment Republicans seem most keen to distance themselves from. It would seem that Trump shares more similarities than differences with important factions of the Republican coalition. So, why do establishment Republicans fear him so?
I think the obvious answer is simply that they are afraid that he will expose them. By putting some of their core “values” into plain English, Trump has done a huge disservice to the Republican party. In being so blunt, he has exposed much of their worldview to be angry, racist, misogynist, reactionary, plutocratic, not to mention sometimes just damn poorly thought out.
And also (at least in theory) he has done the rest of us a big favor. By putting some aspects of the Republican world view into plain English, some of their ideas just start to sound bat-shit crazy. So no wonder Republicans fear him. He stands to expose the real agendas they have worked so hard to gloss over for so many years.
What they see in the mirror and what scares them most is their own reflection.
And they didn’t even see themselves coming.