The Republican Congress is staring at a monster through a keyhole. As this monster rampages through our halls of Democracy, Republican leaders cower in self-imposed exile wondering who will be the first among them with enough political fortitude to open the door and do battle with this spurious leviathan whose only true power is its innate ability to cause anger and chaos all across social media and far right news cycles.
How did such a creature not only come to fruition but somehow ultimately bamboozle itself into the highest office in the land? The short answer is American Exceptionalism. The long answer is way too complex and convoluted to tackle in one mere article. So let’s just go with what we know.
In June of 2015, when Donald J. Trump came riding down that shiny chrome escalator in Trump Tower as if he descended from the stained glass corporate heavens themselves, middle America was in the throes of a great awakening. Not an awakening from a dream, more like an awakening into one.
For 8 long years, many Conservative Christians and working class whites felt like they were being pushed out and that their way of life was being annexed and replaced with a sinister form of political correctness and socialism that was so debased it would make Caligula blush. Over those 8 short years, resentment metastasized into fear which eventually morphed into outright delusion as hate, division, and conspiracy became symbols of moral righteousness instead of the enemies of intellectual thought that once propelled us into the dark ages.
During the Obama years, this shift in perspective served as a catalyst whose outcome was twofold. First, as Republicans on the Hill for the first time in America’s history worked to delegitimize the very Government they were sent to Washington to fix, trust in Government, Media, and other longstanding institutions rapidly eroded throughout middle America. Next, due to years of unchecked and misdirected anxiety and frustration and with the advent of social media, America jumped on the banana boat to crazy town (for lack of a more academic metaphor). These two overwhelming forces, along with a strong strain of American Exceptionalism that has been encoded in our collective DNA since our inception, turned the once “Party Of Responsibility” into a warped reflection of itself as the GOP quickly became the party of political factions, backbiting, buck passing, chicanery, fear mongering, and what my illustrious co-host Fern Hart calls “Political Cannibalism”.
Today, just 7 months into the Trump regime, America is coming to grips with not only a new identity but with a new reality. Die hard Trump supporters, who have no issue with strongman tactics, state run media, the quelling of protest and free speech, and the locking up of reporters, have made it clear that they are all in. If fact, in a recent survey by The Washington Post, a majority of Trump supporters would be okay with a suspension of the 2020 elections to keep Trump in power until he can solve the imaginary election fraud epidemic. These die hard supporters are so embedded, indoctrinated, and fervently loyal, they are already looking to Trump’s children to carry on his Presidential legacy for the next 40 years to come.
I believe that many Americans are making political and moral concessions they had never thought possible before based on one underlying factor- revenge! See, for 8 years Republicans have felt oppressed and browbeaten by what they consider to be unscrupulous liberals and their illegitimate President. But now that the threats of FEMA death camps, mandatory chipping, Sharia Law and gun confiscation have been removed, where does all that sweet sweet self-victimization go? If the victim card being played by Republicans during the Obama administration was tedious, it is downright absurd now that Republicans hold absolute power.
Unfortunately for Trump’s base, the power Trump holds is an illusion. A cheap parlor trick performed by a master of political prestidigitation. An anecdotal puppet show to keep rubes and suckers so distracted they never notice the ship is sinking beneath their dimwitted feet as they sing “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow” from the rafters while their captain exits state left onto the only remaining life boat.
But honestly what else can a Trump supporter do at this point? What other option does a voting bloc have that has burned bridges, compromised values, changed positions and spewed hate, going all in on a reality show huckster who can’t even keep a casino open, truly have? How does a group of people who are so invested do anything else but blame Democrats, the courts, the intel community, the media, the protesters, and whatever other imaginary foes that have aligned against their divine crusade while using deep state plots and media propaganda to explain away all their embarrassing un-winning? Delusion is their only exit strategy. After all, when life hands you lemons, scream lemons are fake news and make Kool-Aid.