Republicans: From The Party Of Lincoln; To The Party Of Putin, Trump, And David Duke

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Republicans like to refer to themselves as, “The Party of Lincoln.” This typically comes in response to questions about racism in an attempt to deflect any charges of discrimination today by referring to their long-ago stance. When the Republican Party formed, their first platform resisted the expansion of slavery into new states and territories. The Party’s initial founders were abolitionists, an anti-slavery faction of the Whig Party, and the Free-Soil wing of the Democrat Party. Say what you will about Republicans now, they once stood for something positive, not so much today.

Lincoln himself gets all the credit for ending slavery but given his way, he’d have allowed slavery to continue where it already existed. At his first Inauguration Address, he said, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” He also supported the return of slaves to Africa. The Emancipation Proclamation was less about granting freedom to the slaves than it was about hurting the South’s economy and keeping France and Britain from siding with the South whom economically they were inclined to.

Despite Lincoln’s personal ambivalence, the Republican Party was a major factor in the ending of slavery and the environment that led to Reconstruction. Unfortunately, they gave away their claim of moral superiority when in the Compromise of 1877, in trade for winning a disputed Presidential election. They agreed to remove Federal troops from the South which directly let to the end of Reconstruction and the imposition of Jim Crow. The Republican Party’s last claim to be the Party of Lincoln died in 1877.

Fast-forward to the present. The most recent Republican platform includes language changing the previous Republican position favorably to Russia. There has never been a satisfactory explanation as to who, how, and why. The Republicans who controlled oversight in Congress in the House and the Senate have looked away. Their response to a President and Administration who has had multiple secret meetings with Russians and Russian intelligence has been either muted, standing by watching, or a full-throated defense. The more information that becomes public about Trump and associates ties to Russia and private communications, the more the Party that tied itself to national security, at best looks the other way.

Republican legislators have foresworn any priorities other than getting re-elected. This means looking away as he separates children from families, shuts down the government, and destroys the economy with his trade wars and dramatic increase of the national debt. They perhaps console themselves with the tax cuts which benefit them personally and court appointments which protect the class they are part of.

Republicans rage at being portrayed as racist. They don’t mind their Party being racist in their policies but find being called racist offensive. I’m not saying all or even most Republicans are racist. I’m saying they have created an environment where racists are welcome and in fact, pander to them to ensure their continued support at the polls. To avoid the appearance of promoting racism, the Republican House leadership just stripped Rep. Steve King (IA) from his committee assignments after wondering how white nationalism and white supremacy got a bad name? They were shocked, shocked, to find out King harbored racist sentiments, though he’d been expressing them openly for decades. The President makes racist statements all the time, where is the outrage?

Whatever you think of the Republican Party, they have long ceased to be the Party of Lincoln. Depending on the need they now are meeting the needs of Vladimir Putin, Donald J Trump, and David Duke. Parties can and do change. A look at the past of the Democrat Party shows a history of racism, more violent than Republicans have engaged in. When Republicans allowed Jim Crow in 1877, Democrats instituted it. The Democrats changed dramatically in the 1960s when dissatisfaction with the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act caused many (Dixiecrats) to flee to the Republican Party. The “Southern Strategy,” ensured they remained Republicans.

I’d like to believe Republicans can do better. I’m less sure they will. Mitch McConnel is racing to fill the Federal Courts with young, conservative Judges. He and other Republicans hope that they will exert control of the Judiciary for generations, long after demographics have lessened their power to legislate. Outside the Courts, Republicans are using Gerrymandering and Voter Suppression to impose the will of a minority on the rest of us. They have gotten a partisan Supreme Court to support unlimited, undisclosed financial contributions, courtesy of Citizens United. They just experienced historic losses of House seats in the 2018 elections and are facing tough sledding in the Senate in 2020 based on who is up for reelection. When they lose, it will be because they sacrificed the principals they once held as a Party. Telling us, “collusion is not a crime,” is not the cry of an ethical Party. Putin, Trump, and Duke couldn’t be more thrilled.

“Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain,” It Was Just Me!

President Trump read some words to the press this afternoon. It can’t be called a press conference as no questions were allowed. He read from a script, probably written by someone else to keep his own words from the public.

Trump gave a glowing summary of the last week during which he claimed he raised “hundreds of millions” for NATO and everyone was pleased. He didn’t insult anyone like he did Angela Merkel when she was out of the room. He met with the Prime Minister of Great Britain and they got along famously (Trump tried his best to oust her from the government in a newspaper interview with one of Rupert Murdoch’s papers). The closest he came to telling the truth was when he mentioned he and the Queen of England walked in front of her honor guard. More accurately he stepped in front of the 92-year-old Queen, showing he has no respect for anyone or anything.

He finally came to his closed-door meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming they resolved most of the problems of the world. They jointly stepped in front of press microphones and Trump claimed the Mueller investigation is “a witch hunt,” and of course, “there is no collusion.” Trump let us know Putin “strongly denied” meddling in the US Elections. And that Trump, “didn’t know why they would.”

In today’s “clarification,” Trump tried to say after reviewing the transcript and watching the video, he meant to say he “didn’t know why they wouldn’t.” And added for effect, it’s what you call a double-negative. To believe his new version, we would have to disregard everything he’s both said and failed to say about Putin and Russia since his campaign began. Even when he grudgingly acknowledged Russia did “attempt to meddle” in our elections. He couldn’t help but add, “it could have been others as well.”

When the statement ended, someone shouted three times, “Will you publicly condemn Putin?” Trump thanked everyone for coming and slinked away. It’s increasingly clear, that while Trump is publicly the President, Putin is the man behind the curtain pulling the strings.

I Beg Your Pardon… Dad

“So Dad, if I get indicted for some of the stuff I did for you, will pardon me?”

“It’s not as simple as that Junior. If I pardon you, my lawyers tell me it will almost certainly lead to impeachment against me? It will look like obstruction.”

“But I was doing what you told me to do?”

“I know son… it’s complicated. Just believe I know what’s best.”

“I’ve heard you say the same things to Paul and now he’s in jail?”

“You’re different, you’re my son, I’d never let you down.”

“You once practically disowned me, you didn’t speak to me for a few years.”

“You started it.”

“I was a kid, and you were blasting my mother in the tabloids during your divorce.”

“That was just tough negotiating, I had to get the alimony down.”

“Because your kids might have too much stuff?”

“No, because your mother doesn’t have the head to manage so much money.”

“So it was for her own good?”

“Right”

“So what about my pardon?”

“I told you it’s complicated.”

“You pardoned fucking Joe Arpaio and won’t pardon your own son?”

“Did you do it?”

“I didn’t write that letter you dictated on Air Force One. I just stuck to the story you made up. Now I’m about to be charged with lying to the FBI.”

“You should never lie to the FBI. You should have just done like me and refused to talk to them.”

“All of us don’t have that option.”

“I’ve screwed up my life trying to support you.”

“I didn’t tell you to mess up your marriage by having an affair with that woman from The Apprentice. I told you to ‘cut it out’ as a matter of fact.”

“Oh, do as I say and not as I do! Your whole life has been an example to me.”

“I think you’d better watch your tone, son.”

“Or what? You won’t pardon me?

“Pretty much.”

“Good talk dad.”

 

Trump or Bust!

There is a movement. It’s gotten no publicity but it will affect the future of the Republican Party. And there’s nothing they can do to get out of the way.

Republicans have no one to blame but themselves. They knew who Donald Trump was when they nominated him. They knew he was a con man, totally unfit to be President, a braggart and a liar. Now they’re shocked, shocked to find that he’s a misogynist, a sexual predator, and an adulterer. If they were capable of admitting it they’d be just as shocked to discover he’s a racist, a white supremacist, and a xenophobe. And all the while he’s been letting us pay for the government services he utilizes thru our taxes; something he doesn’t pay.

So what do you do? All the #NeverTrump holdouts that are still in elected office have held their nose and sold their soul to support Trump. Even Ted Cruz, whose wife Trump said was ugly. Whose father Trump accused of being involved in the assassination of JFK. Caved and not only endorsed Trump but worked the phone banks on his behalf.

Now those same politicians are lining up to rescind their endorsements. Some are calling for Trump to step aside. They’re claiming to have rediscovered their moral authority that they demonstrated didn’t exist when they supported him in the first place. They think themselves safe as the polls have suggested they may well retain the Senate and will securely keep the House. What they have failed to account for is “Trump or Bust.”

We’ve seen all along that Trump’s base will support him no matter what. He wasn’t far off when he said, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” His base won’t care about his crass statements. Unlike the rest of you. They always knew who he was. They want him to “Make America Great Again!” When you’re able to handle it I’ll explain to you what “Great Again” means but that can wait. His base isn’t enough to win the election. They are more than sufficient to destroy the Republican Party though. The Trump or Bust people will still come out and vote for Trump in November. But they will despise those of you who turned on their man. They see you for the spineless, sniveling cowards you’ve been and while they’ll vote Trump. They’ll ignore you.

There’s a term called “undervote” that describes when a voter votes for the top of the ticket but ignores many or all of the down ballot races. Because of the Trump or Bust movement, some Republican Senators who expected to win will now lose. Several House seats once thought safe will be flipped to Democrat. It will be close as to whether Democrats take the House as well as the Senate but even if the Republicans hold a majority in the house. Will they still have a united Party?

One could make the case the Party has only been able to unite the last eight years in their opposition to President Barack Obama. The Tea Party will now find themselves in the middle, between the few remaining moderates and the Trump or Bust group. They will still be the “Party of No” but there will be defections. Work in the Congress just might get done.

When it’s over. Republicans will do another self-evaluation like the one they` ignored last time. They’ll say they need to appeal to those outside the Party while they cling to that which appeals mostly to old white men. They’ll watch the Supreme Court move left with the Hillary Clinton appointments. Eventually, Voter Rights will be secured, and Citizen’s United will be overturned. Lastly, ever so slowly, Republicans will come to the realization they brought it on themselves.

I Talked To a Republican Today

Actually, there were four people in the room. The Republican, with whom I have occasional conversations about politics, has come to avoid these conversations with me as he never gets the outcome he hopes for. He happens to be white, so was a woman in the room who claims no political alliance. Lastly, there was a black female who seems to be a Democrat but it never came up in conversation.

I confess I goad him into talking politics and today I must have hit his last nerve.

Me: “Your boy Trump wants Hillary DEAD!”

Republican: “What are you talking about?”

Me: “He said if she wins the election and gets to appoint Supreme Court Justices, she’ll take away your guns unless 2nd Amendment people take action”.

Republican:”I hate Hillary”

Me: “Why?”

Republican:”Because she’s a liar!”

Me: “If that’s the standard, how can you support Trump? Have you ever heard a Trump speech? He lies at least every other sentence. Then he lies about the lies!”

Republican: She should be in jail!

Me: Why?

Republican: “She broke the law!”

Me: “What law?”

Republican: “National security.”

Me: “National security is not a law. What law did she break?”

Republican: “She had a separate E-mail account, that’s against the law.”

Me: “No it wasn’t, and Colin Powell and Condi Rice had separate accounts also.”

Republican: “She was hacked!”

Me: “The FBI said there was no evidence of that.”

Republican: “What about Benghazi?”

Me: “What about Benghazi?”

Republican: “She lied and said it was about a video.”

Me: “The one terrorist in custody said the video was a factor in the timing. They were motivated by the video.”

Republican: “I don’t have time to discuss this with you right now, one thing I do know. There are four families that control everything in America and we don’t really have any say in anything anyway.”

Me: (Laughter)

Republican: “And another thing, America’s going to come under a major terrorist attack and it won’t be bombs or anything we’ve seen before. It will be some kind of dirty bomb of an EMP attack.”

Me: (Laughter)

Black woman: “What’s an EMP attack”

Republican: “An Electro Magnetic Pulse wave that will knock out all electronics in the country. They’ll target the three major power grids that run everything and we’ll be back to the stone age. Everyone will have to grow their own food. It will be horrible.”

Me: “Hysterical Laughter”

Black woman: “Have you started growing food for your family yet?”

Republican: “No…”

Black woman: “Don’t you think you better start?”

Republican: (Undecipherable mumbling)

Me: “Where do you get your news?”

Republican: “I make it my business to stay informed.”

Me: “What’s your opinion?” (directed to the white woman)

White Woman: “I don’t like either of the candidates.”

Me: “Why don’t you like Hillary?”

White woman: Well, for one thing, there’s Benghazi…

 

 

I Am Reminded, Republicans Love America Too!

I was watching an interview with KhizrKhan and his wife Ghazala, whose son Captain Humayun Khan died a hero in the Iraq War. Beyond what he said in his amazing speech at the Democratic National Convention, he added something I often fail to give enough consideration. Republicans are Patriots as well and love America too.

I’m going to attempt to walk a thin line in criticizing them without the mockery and hyperbole that I have admittedly engaged in. I think it not unfair to say that the majority of the members of the Republican Party are White, with 89% self-identifying as Non-Hispanic Whites in 2012. They have made occasional attempts to embrace Hispanics which is offset by their vitriolic language and proposed laws, some of which are in no way Constitutional (papers please). It is only natural  they represent the interests of White people, much like the Democrats are expected to represent it’s various constituencies whether it be Black, Hispanic, LGBT, Asian-American, Native-American, and of course the White People that still make up the majority of their Party. Republicans still love their country when they represent the interests of White people, but they go too far.

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The method chosen by their leaders is to protect White interests by keeping down the others. The primary mechanisms used have been what they refer to as the “rule of law” and by rigging elections. These tactics are not the sole province of the Republican Party. Democrats have either originated or participated in policy decisions that kept power and decision making in the hands of White people and it is likely that their relatively newfound desire for equality for all American’s is based in a desire to maintain the viability of its own party. The changing demographics of our nation, where Whites will soon become a majority minority, is fearful to both parties, where power and control is threatened. Republicans have control of the House of Representatives and most State Governments, aided greatly by Gerrymandering and District realignment. They lost the popular vote for the House in the last Presidential election but have a strong control of the House due to those factors. Republican’s love their country. They just love a few things more.

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That they put Party over Country was evident during the emergence of the Tea Party and the lack of will of the leadership to confront them lest they lose control. They shut down the government rather than tell them, “You’re being ridiculous.” The individual fear of losing their seats caused them to take positions not their own, allow Cruz’s and Gohmert’s and Bachman’s to rise to power. Republicans spent eight years obstructing as they colluded to do on President Barack Obama’s inauguration day. They voted over 50 times to repeal Obamacare. They even stopped talking about replacing it. They became the Party of “No”! I have to remind myself, they love America too!

And now we have Trump. Among the things his eventual supporters once called him were “ignorant, offensive, racist,” One said “his domestic and foreign policy is gibberish.” Another, “He’s a threat to national security.” They kept calling for a pivot that never came. Trump never changed. Republicans put Party over the Country they still love. They just love themselves more.

Republican 2016 presidential candidates pose at the start of the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland

One of the tactics they’ve embraced is voter suppression under the guise of battling voter fraud that is almost non-existent. North Carolina’s recent laws were not only found to be Unconstitutional but specifically designed to target minority voters. Lawmakers there, started by accumulating all the race-based voter data before designing a plan to weaken the impact of Black voters in particular. The same people that have lost billions in revenue by standing by their law targeting Transsexual’s, have vowed to appeal. They would tell you they love their country. But they have lost their way.

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I would like to remind Republicans that love their country, to act accordingly. Trump is a mistake that you are now eternally linked to. While he only recently joined you. You are now he, and all that he stands for. The “Party of Lincoln” and “The Party of Trump” are not reconcilable. You are one or the other. If you support a racist, stay silent about his racist views, you are at best an enabler. At worst you become one yourself. If you stay silent about his misogyny, if you shout about building a wall. If you knowingly ignore lie after lie after lie. And call her “Dishonest Hillary.” You would be a hypocrite. You might still love America, but you love something else more.

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Republicans, get your act together! Your survival as a party depends on it because your numbers are steadily declining. Call out your leaders when they’re wrong. Demand accountability. Reward bipartisan efforts and become a party that values accomplishment above obstruction. I don’t doubt you love America. It’s time to show it.

Donald Trump We Heard You Loud and Clear!

 

 

During his exceedingly long acceptance speech which closed out the Republican Convention. Donald Trump made a number of points, designed to coalesce the Republican Party around him in support of his Presidential run. It was clear he was mostly talking to his base which is generally white men without college degrees. He spoke often about what his plan would do without ever hinting at what his plan might be. His goal was to scare the populace by claiming we currently live in some dystopian society that is only getting worse. He offers up that he… and only he is the solution.

His base apparently never asks how? Content to have an outlet to spew their anger at gradually losing their privileged position in this country. The Republican Party is doing their best to help them maintain their edge. They gerrymander districts, suppress votes, attack affirmative action and make sure you know that black lives do not matter. In that last regard, Donald Trump is their champion.

In his speech the truth was often nowhere to be found. He twisted statistics and when that wasn’t sufficient simply made them up. He claimed President Obama and Hillary Clinton were jointly responsible for all the alleged failures of City, State and Federal Government. He blamed them for the failures of the Republican Congress to do anything. Blamed them for the airports and roads and failing infrastructure that Republicans have kept from receiving funding. Blamed those two for a racial divide in this country despite the fact that he and his ilk stoke the flames on a daily basis. Blamed them for companies (apparently including his own) that choose to manufacture goods in other countries.

He promised that everything he touched would be bigger, greater, smarter. He would hire the best people. They all must have been gathering elsewhere preparing because none of the best people were visible during the four days of the convention. He threw in eliminating the separation between Church and State for good measure.

The one thing he made sure his base knew. Was that he was the “Law and Order” candidate. He came back to that theme multiple times in case they somehow missed it the first several. He promised to make them safer. He would support the police 100% and made no mention of those they kill without reason. He will crack down. He will ensure that “people” (Black and Hispanic people) will show the proper respect to the police or face the consequences.

Lee Atwater who invented the “Southern Strategy” which helped the first Bush rise to power is no longer alive. His widow was at the convention and when interviewed was beaming because her husband’s strategy is alive and well in the Republican Party. Instead of Willie Horton, their scapegoat is Black Lives Matter. Donald Trump made sure you knew that in his administration, they absolutely won’t.

Donald Trump, we heard you, and because we heard you we will vote against you. We recognize that America is not nearly as dark a place as you made it seem in your speech. Given the opportunity, there is no doubt you could make it happen.