I remember sitting with a friend watching the first election of Barack Obama. We were excited, but on that night, as most election nights go, nothing is in the bag until past midnight and anxiety is the order of the day until a victor is crowned. My friend kept explaining that counting out McCain was a mistake. “The GOP is a well oiled machine,” he said. Oh, those were the days.
Fast forward eight years and one of what I consider the biggest presidential election upsets in history occurred, putting the orange madman in office. These are not Republicans. This is not the GOP. This is a fringe, as polling has continued to show in the months since Trump’s inauguration.
The Republican party began to split in the 2000s with the advent of the Tea Party, got weirder with Sarah Palin, and stranger yet as the Tea Party platform became normative behavior for old guard Republicans in congress. The moderate middle shifted a bit. And thus, here we are. Trump is not necessarily an anomaly. Trump is not the problem. Trump, and his ilk, are a symptom.
But what of the GOP that we remember? That well oiled machine? Well I guess we will all have to be spectators in this circus, as the Republican party in congress keeps us on our toes. Mitch McConnell, on the one hand, is leading the charge for Trump on the health care front, while others are moving toward the middle once again. Is this going to be the criminal’s legacy? Will Trump be remembered as bringing the parties back to the center because the extremes became too extreme?
White nationalists protested Saturday morning with tiki torches and the situation became violent in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump’s response? Bigotry and hatred on “many sides.” No sir, it was pretty one sided. But hey, what can you expect from the man that didn’t publicly admonish the endorsement he got from David Duke?
GOP Senator Cory Gardner took to twitter to say “Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.” I particularly like his use of the word terrorism; a word too often associated with Arabs or Muslims and left out of the lexicon when it comes to white “lone wolves.”
But there we have it; an example at least. A GOP senator stepping up, in his own small way. But this is on the back of John McCain, who himself has shifted toward the extreme since his heyday, most recently standing up against the rest of the Republicans to ensure that the healthcare bill as proposed does not go through. The investigator of Trump’s Russia ties is Republican, appointed by a Republican, and there is in fact a Republican controlled congress. There is no liberal conspiracy. Crimes were committed and the GOP maybe, just maybe, be ready to come back to reality and help us all out before things get worse.