I am a former Republican. I was born and raised in a Republican household in Atlanta, Ga. While I was growing up “Firing Line,” staring William F. Buckley, would play on our TV every Sunday via the local PBS station. When I was old enough to vote in 1972 I voted for Richard Nixon. I voted for Gerald Ford in 1976, and Ronald Reagan in 1980. It was during Reagan’s first term that I realized what a horrible mistake I’d made voting for Reagan in particular and the Republican party in general. George Carlin produced an incitefully funny and incredibly true monologue from that period (1988) called “The Truth About Republicans.” That’s were I wound up in my view of Republicans and the GOP due to the Reagan administration, and nothing has changed my attitude since.
That doesn’t mean I’ve become an automatic Democrat. I consider myself an Independent, and my politics slightly left of center. Unfortunately Florida is rigged such that you can’t register as an Independent. You belong to a party whether you want to or not, and so I’m an officially registered Democrat because I consider the Democratic party less odious than the Republican party. Fortunately in the general election I can cross party lines as needed to vote based on merit. That’s going to be tough this year because
- I have no great love for Hillary;
- If I vote either Green or Libertarian, I help dilute the vote enough that Trump just might win the election;
- Which means that if I can’t stand Trump and can barely stand Hillary, then the only logical choice for me is to hold my nose while voting Hillary to keep Trump out of the White House.
After watching the Republican National Convention and four days of unabridged hucksterism (along with racism and general social depravity) I’m still stunned that the person absolutely least capable to lead a nation of nearly 400 million was selected as the Republican presidential candidate for the 2016 election.
In hindsight Trump is the product of nearly five decades of deliberate intellectual evisceration of the Republican party by a very select few of very rich conservative donors who are still seeking revenge for what happened to Nixon. They molded the party, and in the process attracted a base, that has absolutely no critical thinking skills, and who are easily swayed by racism, isolationism, and anything that caters to their entitlement mentality; the Republican base feels they’re entitled due to their age and whiteness and false sense of superiority. They wanted a party that was totally controllable, that wouldn’t ask the important embarrassing questions, and after decades of hard work that’s exactly what they got. Then Trump came along, recognized what had been created, and took it all away from them like candy from a bunch of babies.
Trump may be a failure at business, but he has an innate genius for sussing out what it is that will con the week minded such as what passes for a Republican these days. It’s that power that he’s used to win the nomination. It didn’t matter if the “regular” Republicans didn’t show up to the RNC, nor Trump win all their endorsements; the Republican base stopped listening and caring about Rubio, the Bushes, and Cruz years ago. What happened at the RNC this past week just formalized the split that will finally kill the Republican party as it has come to be known by. All we have to do as democracy is find some way to survive the results, and if at all possible, find a way to repair the civic damage that’s been done over the past five decades.