The biggest political story of 2015 will also be the biggest political story of 2016: The Republican base has divorced the Republican establishment.The rupture has paralyzed Congress and polarized voters, both inside and outside GOP ranks.And no one knows how to fix this broken political party.The year’s top example of GOP dysfunction was the far right coup by — at most — 40 Republican members of the Freedom Caucus that ended John Boehner’s tenure as Speaker. Even with a GOP majority, the Ohio Republican could not get his team to move in the direction of constructive solutions to the nation’s biggest problems.
Few seem immune to the billionaire’s insults.
Something snapped in American commentary on Donald Trump in the past week or so. Until now, mainstream media discussions of the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination have not spared the billionaire real-estate mogul, pouncing on every vulgar expression of his mendacious, bullying, race-bating, bellicose, ignorant, narcissistic demagogy.Commentators with a historical bent have deployed analogies from the American past: the Know Nothing movement that swept Congress in the lead-up to the Civil War; Huey Long; George Wallace; Joe McCarthy; Ross Perot. But the F-word, fascism, has been sparingly used until now.One of the first occasions, by Jeffrey Tucker in last July’s Newsweek, came under the headline “Is Donald Trump a Fascist?” Mr. Tucker was nevertheless cautious. The core of candidate’s message, he said, was business. Together with nativist jingoism, to be sure. Says whatever comes into his mind, of course. Recklessly anti-establishment, no doubt. Somewhat racist, okay. But Mr. Tucker was optimistic: “The political exotica he represents will not last. It’s a moment in time.”Fast-forward to the past couple of weeks. Mainstream Republicans were sounding the alarm.
Business Mogul, reality TV star, and presidential candidate, Donald Trump recently mocked Serge Kovaleski, a New York Times investigative reporter with a disability, at a rally in South Carolina. This contemptuous reference to Kovaleski’s physical disability was morally odious and painful to observe, but not to comprehend, at least not politically. Trump is a hate-monger, and spreads his message without apology in almost every public encounter in which he finds himself.
THE presidential candidate who has most harmed American politics this year is Donald Trump, a bully who has prospered by inciting rage. Yet from the narrower perspective of the Republican Party, the most dangerous candidate of the 2016 pack may just be Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who is rising in the polls by telling conservative activists a seductive but misleading story about how their party wins elections.
Under the presidency of George W. Bush, the so-called “Daddy Party” failed spectacularly on all major adult-male-gender-stereotyped fronts.On the economic front, its record was terrible, even before it brought us the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression; on the military/national security front, its failure to prevent 9/11—the worst foreign attack on American soil since the War of 1812—was only compounded by its fighting-fire-with-gasoline response, turning both Iraq and Afghanistan into incubators for new generations of jihadists. On the science front, it presided over a widening war on science. In short, the entire framework of the “Daddy Party” construct fell into disrepute by the time Bush left office in 2008.