“When you dance with the devil….” you get burnt; you have to pay the piper; you don’t change him, he changes you. Finish it how you like, the Republicans have been dancing with hot issues and colorful characters for years. They have enticed their base with pipe dreams of a tax free country with a tiny efficient government, an all powerful military to which all countries and terrorist groups submit, and a return to a 19th century morality that never existed in which the Preacher in Chief ushers in an era of peace, prosperity, good health, and world dominance, and there’s no need to pay for any of it….”the shining city on the hill.”
The flip side of these fantasy images assigns blame to anything they claim is preventing us from living their dream: Evil Empires, abortion as holocaust (even to save a woman’s life), a government that should be starved and shrunk until they can “drown it in the bathtub,” a “Muslim” President “born in Africa” who “hates America”, and encourages illegal immigration and “entitlements” to pad the Democratic voting roles. Their list of imagined grievances is endless, but it starts and ends with their political opposition who, like the rest of the world, are either evil Socialists or the Gestapo.
Their dance with the devil, during which they have abandoned facts, reason, caution, and evidence of anything that counters their Bible thumping, demagoguing, conspiracy theorizing, tax revolting, tea partying, war mongering, immigrant hating, gay bashing platform has won a loyal following. Their constituency no longer trusts government, and the horde of Republican Congressmen, Senators, and Governors who seek the presidency are one face of the reviled government. An ever increasing number of Republican voters are not interested in facts, just claims, like those the front runner comedian, I mean candidate, Donald Trump makes that America is losing because, “We are led by very, very stupid people,” and, "We will have so much winning when I get elected that you will get bored with winning.”
The only other Republican candidate even reaching double digits in the polls is Ben Carson, a skilled neurosurgeon who also has no experience in government and has said Obamacare is “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.” Is it possible many Republicans support him because he is black and they want to prove they are not racist? At least he’s not saying life may have been better for enslaved African American families than it is today as a pledge once signed by Republican candidate Rick Santorum suggested.
I, like many liberal or progressive Democrats, are quietly waiting for the dance to end. Trump is such a wild card—a multi-billionaire who is entertaining, media savvy, and so totally disdainful of politicians, even of his own party, that voting for him is the biggest gamble voters could make. They are willing to trust our nation and the world to a carnival barker who has absolutely no discernible platform or policy—an amazingly brutal competitor who has proven himself by becoming rich, very, very rich!
After losing the 2012 presidential election, Republican strategists saw the writing on the wall: if they didn’t abandon some of their most radical right platforms and reach out to a wider audience, they were doomed to a shrinking Party comprised mostly of angry white men. Trump represents the devil they tried to spurn. After thirty years of listening to the devil’s enticements, at least half of Republican voters will not face reality, they will not listen to reason, they want someone who tells them what they want to hear—that they, too, can be rich winners who take back their country and return it to the good old days: government of white men, by white men, and for white men.