Two things are going to happen in 2018: The Republican Party is going to get annihilated in the midterms and the media is going to insist that Trumpism is the reason.
It's not hard to understand the dynamic at play here. Trump is a lightning rod for controversy and his constant need to be in the spotlight has ostensibly allowed Republicans to pursue their extremist agenda unnoticed. They've been filling the courts with radicals, scrapping basic protections to prevent the next Wall Street meltdown, giving leave to corporations to poison our food, air, and water, and more. The media has been so focused on Trump (not entirely unreasonably), that the voters can't possibly be paying attention to what the GOP is doing.
But that's not really true, is it?
While Trump's popularity is the lowest of any modern president, the GOP's is just as low and dropping. Part of that is their refusal to do their job and reign in Trump's abuse of executive power but most of it is their pro-corporate, anti-everyone else agenda. People hate it, including Republican voters. Remember, the two biggest things they did last year, trying to repeal Obamacare and passing tax cuts for billionaires, were massively unpopular. The tax bill was literally the most unpopular legislation in 30 years. And that was before we know all the scummy little giveaways to the rich that were slipped in or how the rich are going to abuse it. Once that information gets out, and it will, no amount of spin from the Republican propaganda machine will save Republicans from their actions.
The "liberal" media is going to try very very hard to sell us the narrative that the midterm massacre that's coming is solely about Trump and "Trumpism" but Trumpism is just conservatism writ large. The racism, the politics of personal destruction, the rage against the media, the dismantling of the government, the attack on our democratic norms and the pillars of civil society, none of that originated with Trump.
"Trumpism" is the natural end result of 50 years of conservative politics. Starting with the Southern Strategy, the right built a base of racists and with each election cycle, they made racism more central to their platform. They did the same with "alternative facts" as the wealthy conservative elite spent millions on think tanks that generated propaganda instead of legitimate research.
The Mercers and Kochs of the world spent even more to take over AM Hate Radio, build Fox News, and fund dozens (hundreds?) of right wing hate sites to seal Republican voters in a bubble of pure bullshit they couldn't escape from. With their voters sufficiently brain dead, Republicans could elect people who would put the needs of the donors ahead of the needs of the people, even to the point of defending a literal traitor in the Oval Office as long as he signed their trillion dollar tax cut for the rich.
What part of that required Trump or Trumpism? None if it. The only thing Trump did was play the hatemongering game better than Republicans so the base is more loyal to him than to the party. When he's gone, they'll go right back to supporting the GOP as long as Republicans continue to tell them the same lies about defending white America from Those People like they have been for 50 years.
Meanwhile, the "liberal" media is very concerned about allegedly how fractured the left is and can't stop interviewing Trump voters. They need to believe that the blue tidal wave isn't really happening because of how horrible Republicans are; they want to blame it all on Trump. But the entire party is going to be punished for everything they've done, including not standing up to Trump.
And this extends beyond just elected Republicans. Republican voters have stopped pretending that they are anything but hate-filled savages and the country is disgusted. It's not that the Republican base now includes literal Nazis, violent theocratic lunatics, and other assorted fascists, it's that they're accepted by the majority of Republican voters. Hundreds of thousands of Alabama Republicans eagerly voted for a child molester because he hated the right people. Millions of Republicans eagerly voted for a white nationalist platform in 2016; endorsing a man that stood against every single moral principle they claimed to stand for because he spewed the racist hate they wanted to hear.
By exposing their moral depravity, Republican voters have made it impossible to blame "both sides" for the state of the country and still be taken seriously. When one side has people demanding free healthcare and the other is saluting Hitler, only professional liars like David Brooks and Chris Cillizza can even contemplate trying to draw any kind of equivalence.
And so the lie known as "Trumpism" will die as the nation comes to understand that this is just who the right wing is and has been for decades. Trump did not break or pollute "real" conservatism; he simply got them to admit that they're the soulless monsters we've always known they are.
There are 308 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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