There is an increasing phenomenon in America; “moderate” Republicans coming out and claiming that Trump’s statements and actions go against the spirit of the party and what it stands for. From Mitt Romney criticising his “demagoguery and populism” to other high profile figures and party members, some are expressing alleged discomfort with Trump’s bigotry, saying it doesn’t represent them.
Spare us your tears.
For decades the Republican Party has done nothing but vilify visible foreigners (and non-Caucasian Americans alike) as some sort of inherent menace, with an especially strong focus on Muslims after 9/11. From demanding surveillance of every Arabic speaker to claiming that the small number of Muslim terrorists (Da’esh has 30,000 members out of 1.7 billion Muslims) means there’s an inherent “problem” with the religion.
The party has spent decades whipping-up ill-informed, fearful and prejudiced individuals into a frenzy over the supposed threat posed by anyone not white enough (or simply not racist enough) for their liking; politicians (including George Bush) have been re-elected on the premise of fighting “terrorism” by wiping out whole nations.
Then members of this very same political movement want to turn around and claim that their hysterical attempts to incite hatred (often hiding it just below the surface of respectability) have nothing to do with the rise of Trump?
These people spent decades turning the Republican Party into a mass fascist movement. Then a man comes along who openly says what many of them believe (but hid behind finely-worded statements) and they claim that he has no affiliation to them whatsoever? The reason Trump has had such resounding success is because his open racism, misogyny, xenophobia and intolerance have been party policy and rhetoric all along, as the large majority of their followers have understood for decades.
The reason he’s so popular is because he doesn’t hide his bigotry behind wooden rhetoric and meaningless jargon about “national security”, the supposed “threat to Americans” posed by the Muslim community, and more. He just comes out and spews all the hatred that they’re passionately burning with, and they love it. To them that’s “honesty”.
The American Republican Party has become a fascist organisation with a scope and scale that would have put Corneliu Codreanu’s Iron Guard and Ferenc Szálasi’s Arrow Cross Party to shame. The architects of this horrific degeneration are Republicans themselves. The responsibility lies with the party as a whole, from key party members who stir up hate to those who follow them enthusiastically. You cannot strengthen your party by riding off waves of bigotry that appeal to the lowest common denominator of racism, then pretend to be mortified when the movement radicalises and unleashes a monster beyond your control.
Their issue with Trump is less about his vile statements and more to do with the fact that he’s beyond their control; Trump has hijacked the party from under their noses with his successful populism (denying them the chance to take power) and has ruined what remained of the party’s reputation worldwide. To say nothing of defaming the previous leaders in the most vulgar of ways.
If “most Republicans” (as the “moderate Republican line goes) don’t share Trump’s beliefs, and “most Republicans” want nothing to do with his repulsive record, then why has he become the party’s undisputed leader in such a short space of time? Where are the mass protests calling for his ouster, where are the Republicans who should be splitting the party and forming a “moderate” wing?
Even Mitt Romney, the man who the “moderate” Republicans have been trying to turn to, criticised Trump for populism and acting like a demagogue, and said very little about his hateful statements, refusing to offer an alternative solution to the “phoney“. He sat on the fence instead, claiming to be for neither candidate “at this point”. Criticism from his former running mate Paul Ryan was equally muted, with Ryan also claiming that he couldn’t support Trump “at this point”. Silence is complicity.
Am I saying that Republicans who have a genuine aversion to Donald Trump and his ideals don’t exist? No, because this would be a blatant lie. But are they a meaningful force, and have they been doing enough to confront this menace? The simple answer is also no. Many share his beliefs on women, Muslims, immigrants and Mexico. But they’re simply just uncomfortable with the way Trump expresses them, nostalgic for the days in which you could defame whole communities by switching “Muslims” for “Islamists”.
Cruz (who is by all accounts Trump-lite) managed to get 564 nominations in total during the Republican presidential primaries. Trump has received 1068 and counting. The majority of the huge number of American Republicans and their supporters simply support Trump; millions of conservative Americans are behind him. Standing beside the white supremacists, conspiracy theorists and dictator supporters who also stand by him.
The complete radicalisation of the Republican party is the frightening reality that Americans will have to confront when standing against him.