If You Play With Fire, You’ll Get Burned

Over the past month and change, I’ve watched various factions within the Republican Party have a meltdown over Donald Trump’s success in the Republican primaries.  While he was once seen as a fringe candidate, someone who was running for to stroke their own ego and gain publicity, his winning primaries and delegates to the point where he is likely to be the party’s nominee is causing real panic.   There’s now talk of a brokered convention, or massaging the rules to deny him the top  spot on the ballot.   The party establishment is horrified by him, not just because they think he’s not a “true conservative,” but because he’s saying things that are outrageous.  In “normal years” those would be a campaign killer, but instead it only builds his popularity with primary voters.   They shouldn’t have been surprised by that.

Why not?  Because they’ve been saying and condoning for decades everything Trump has been saying.   While you can say that it goes back to Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” and it does, it really kicked into overdrive in 2008.  That’s when a black politician with a funny name won the Presidency.  It threw everything they believed “should be” into chaos.  For the past 7 years, we’ve had them blatantly obstruct any legislation,  encourage birthers, use fear of terrorism to enact blatantly discriminatory state laws, and do everything they can to deny the legitimacy of this presidency.   I said several years ago that the only apparent differences between the KKK and the Republican Party was that Republicans weren’t dressing up in white robes and hoods, and burning crosses on people’s lawns.  Just look at any Donald Trump rally today, and despite the pious hand wringing by “respectable” conservative pundits, it’s increasingly obvious I wasn’t off the mark.  It’s not just Trump, though.  Listen to any of the Republican candidates, and you’ll find them railing against immigrants, suggesting a ban on a religion, and in general playing to the bigotry of the Republican voters.

The only “shock” is that he’s not using the usual code words and dog whistles to say it.  He’s stripped their “plausible deniability” from them, and dragged it out into the open.    There’s nothing subtle about it, and his supporters are now openly saying things that they used to just say with their friends and family.   The Republican Party establishment has been playing on the for years, in order to keep what remains of their base demographic voting for them.  They’ve been playing with fire, and thinking it’s a controlled burn.  Well, it no longer is, and they’re learning a lesson that most of us learned in childhood:  If you play with fire, sooner or later you’re going to get burned.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “If You Play With Fire, You’ll Get Burned

  1. dbtheonly

    Agree pretty much along the way. But it didn’t start with Obama. Shutting down the government? 1995. Promoting fear of Muslims/terrorism? 2002. President Obama has his own, personally fitted, Republican attacks, but President Clinton or Sanders will have an equivalent set. Fox Business will continue to preach doom and gloom until a Republican returns to live in the White House and then their coverage will return to it’s 2001-2009 standard.

    Read a book, Frankenstein, that seemed to touch on the subject, too.

    • I did say it goes back to Nixon’s 1968 “Southern Strategy,” but the point is that they shifted it into overdrive when Obama was elected.

      • dbtheonly

        Certainly don’t mean to be pedantic, but there is another factor involved. If it started with Obama, or went into overdrive, or is simple racism, then we have an expectation that it’ll end or be scaled back next year.

        I submit there’s no reason to expect Republicans to be any less obstructionist with the next President. They have sworn undying enmity to, just about, everything I hold dear. I don’t want to see my friends holding out false hopes for a better day.

        • The reason I said was it went into overdrive was that the inherent racism on the part of many of the Republican base had been muted by the assumption that at least white people were in charge. The obvious shock of having a black man as the President, and with quite a bit of dog-whistling by the Republicans helped bring that not just out into the open, but gave them something to point to as “a reason” for their fears, and justifying their bigotry. I don’t expect that to go away, but on the other hand, I do expect that a good whacking at the polls will at least get some movement towards sanity in Congress.

  2. If you consider yourself a republican, but not as conservative as some you may like my new blog: The Political Punk Dude. I’ll be covering a litany of things surrounding being a non-conservative republican in the 21st century, and I’ll be doing it with a lot less PC crap than most. If you don’t quite fit with either party and aren’t afraid to be unapologetically anti-PC without being a vulgar shock doctor than come check it out

  3. “Kedia:: Before Obama, it’s like there was some sort of barrier, and everybody was stuck under it. Only certain people could get through that barrier. When Obama became president, suddenly people thought, “Oh, the barrier is gone. Now we can climb.” That’s what his presidency meant to me. It’s like I have a chance now.”

    This is what they are afraid of. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/03/obama-and-the-kids/474462/?utm_source=SFTwitter

  4. Reblogged this on New NY 23rd and commented:
    The demise of the GOP (and why)