Monday, August 1, 2016

Has Red Donald Finally Gone Too Far For The GOP?

It has become clear that no matter how racist, misogynistic or xenophobic Donald Trump is -- no matter how offensive his statements about Mexicans, Muslims or women are -- the Republican Party establishment will not denounce him and the vast majority of Republicans will continue to support him.  This should not be surprising.  Racism, xenophobia and misogyny, albeit in a more subtle form, have been an essential aspect of the GOP for decades.  It is the special sauce that has kept white working class Americans in the fold ever since the segregationists abandoned the Democratic Party in the wake of LBJ's signing of the Voting Rights Act and Trump forerunner Patrick Buchanan devised Nixon's Southern Strategy a few years later -- a strategy perfected by Reagan (e.g., welfare queens) and advanced by Bush I (e.g., Willie Horton). 

From Birchers to Birthers, Republicans have sought to woo uneducated, socially conservative white men with racist and anti-immigrant appeals.  Throw in attacks on the gays and abortion-seeking women, and you've got the making of a coalition just big enough to make the presidential race competitive, control at least half the Senate and retain a gerrymandered House of Representatives.  Notwithstanding the attempts of the few moderate Republicans still extant to treat Trump as a gross aberration from Republican Party orthodoxy, Trumpism is Republicanism writ large.

But, Trump's Putin fetish and his soft-on-Russia stances are hardly Republican -- they should be an anathema to Republicans who love a good Cold War and hate a good Communist.  Throughout Obama's presidency, Republicans harshly criticized him for having the audacity to negotiate an arms treaty with Putin and for not confronting Russia's aggression more aggressively.

This ever-expanding bill of particulars should be disturbing, indeed disqualifying, for any GOP candidate -- even Donald J. Trump:

1.  Trump has repeatedly praised Putin as a leader, alternatively stating that he knows him, has a relationship with him, and never met him.
2.  Trump has relied on Russian capital to prop up his businesses, the extent of which would likely be revealed by tax returns that Trump refuses to release.
3.  Trump either appears to be unaware of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, given his word salad response on ABC's This Week, or does not oppose it -- with Trump supporters eliminating from the GOP party platform support for providing lethal defensive weapons for Ukraine.
4.  Trump's campaign manager has been a lobbyist for several pro-Putin clients, including a deposed pro-Russian Ukraine president.
5.   Trump appears to have legitimized Russia's seizure of Crimea, contending that the people there actually welcomed it.
6.  Trump has stated that he would not necessarily defend NATO countries if they were attacked by Russia, in direct violation of our heretofore unquestioned security commitments.
7.  After Russia hacked the DNC, Trump invited Russia to intervene in a United States presidential election by "finding" Hillary Clinton's missing emails and disseminating them.

Republicans have little problem with the prospect of an erratic, grossly ill-informed, racist creep, but are they comfortable with an erratic, grossly ill-informed Russian stooge?


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