By Bob Dorn
For years now the Republican Party has been the party of death. Now it may itself be dying. More about that later. For now, some numbers.
In 2014, 1,100 of 1359 executions performed by the states were the work of “Republican-dominated states,” according to Republicanviews.org on Oct. 26 of that year. Just more than 508 of those executions were in Texas, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which did the report.
Last May, the Quinnipiac poll taken on attitudes toward the war in Iraq, asked the question, “Do you think going to war with Iraq in 2003 was the right thing to do or the wrong thing?” Overall, 59% of Americans responded that it was wrong and 32% said it was right. Among the Republicans those numbers were more than reversed; 62% of them said it was right to go there and kill, while only 28% said it was wrong.
And despite the fact that polls have shown strong support for the deal with Iran on its nuclear program — two to one in favor according to Reuters last Nov. 26 –the Republicans are basing their franchise on killing the deal in the Senate.
The gun may be Republican. Nearly 90% of the the National Rifle Association’s contributions during the 2014 elections went to Republicans, as first reported by the Center for Responsive Politics, and later by the Washington Post and many, many other news outlets.
And of course, the Republicans remain a party committed to repeal of the Affordable Care Act, even though17 million more Americans were enrolled in coverage during the 18 months it had been in effect. That increase in insured Americans seems to indicate our mortality rates and overall quality of health care (37th in the World, according to the WHO) will be improved under the ACA, but do Republicans find that hopeful or positive?
The negativity of the party, its soul-destroying repetition of propaganda, has now become the key to Donald Trump’s success so far as a campaigner. He is accelerating the approaching death of the party he nominally belongs to. He has taken satire, always the correction for hypocrisy, to the level of performance art.
He’s transformed it into action.
This is what John Stewart might have meant when a few weeks ago he blessed the candidacy of Trump as a godsend to democracy. Trump’s fortune has been estimated at $10 billion. He’s leading all 16 of the assorted anti-abortion and anti-union, trickle-down, anti-immigrant, privatization of education, Christian oligarchs of his party.
And he’s doing it by daring them to go farther to the right to catch up to him, thereby raising the specter of an American version of the corporate state meeting up with Yahoo-Fascism. After all, if all Mexicans become rapists in the Republican language, all Republicans will appear to be freaked-out, fearful Nazis.
That isn’t going to happen.
That’s because there really are decent Republicans. They just don’t have anybody to vote for. Trump seems to know that. And he’s making the 15 other candidates into Trump-lites. His method is, why settle for guys like Christie or Cruz, Carson or Tarzan the Homophobe when you can have the real deal, The Donald.
But the big problem for the Republicans isn’t that Trump has trumped their belligerence and seemingly bottomless well of hatred. It is that he has outdone them at their own game of rat-f..king the opposition. He’s outmaneuvered them strategically.
He now has announced he’ll consider running as an Independent if the Republicans won’t let him be on their ticket.
Think back to Ralph Nader’s candidacy in the year 2000, when Al Gore’s election was so close it was stolen by the conservative Supreme Court and we got Dubya as a corporate surprise. If Nader hadn’t attracted voters we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Think about the 1992 election when Ross Perot won 18% of the presidential vote as an Independent, a percentage roughly equal to Trump’s current figures among the 16 Republicans already declared. When Republicans wouldn’t nominate him, Perot was ahead of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. Clinton won the presidency because Perot took votes away from the party that had rejected him.
In the end it does seem that a party so intent on obstruction, denial, guns over butter, corporations over people and, let’s face it — sending people to their deaths in wars halfway around the world — cannot for very long find its way toward popular approval. It will die of its own negativity, or it will survive and kill its people.