If you want to know what the base of the modern Republican Party looks like, sounds like, and acts like requires no more than looking at political events over just the past few days as we ramp up to the mid-term elections. While it is one thing to differ from the GOP on policy matters, be it climate change or tax cuts, or curtailing guns it is the deranged base of the party which underscores how unmoored they have become with the rest of society.
This past weekend Texas Republicans held their state convention, and if there had been a public relations team on hand there is no doubt they quickly left to drown themselves in Lone Star beer. What transpired from the loony delegates not only shows how extreme and far-rightward they are lurching, but how reckless they are with democracy itself.
The party adopted a resolution that rejected President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election. In so doing they threw their arms ever more firmly around Donald Trump. Texan Republicans fully embraced the unfounded claims about election fraud.
Having displayed their zeal to hold onto the mantle of absurdity they then moved on to also proving to be purely preposterous. That was achieved by voting on a platform that criticized homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice.” No need to talk any longer about the ‘big tent’ when it comes to the GOP, and chalk this up as just the latest reason why younger and more diverse voters are dismissive of conservatives. There is also no need to ask why conservatives get tagged as stupid and bigoted.
Meanwhile, in Georgia conservatives have applauded their senate nominee, Herschel Walker, who fathered three previously undisclosed children by multiple women.
This walking disaster of a candidate had the audacity in 2019 to state that Black men needed to go into neighborhoods and become “fathers of those fatherless” children. I guess conservatives have given their old talking point about personal responsibility and family values the heave-ho for this election cycle.
In Missouri, Republican Senate candidate Eric Greitens, the disgraced governor, has an ad running in which he brandishes a shotgun and declares he is on the hunt for so-called RINOS, or Republicans in name only.
Meanwhile, Trump supporters and the vilest of their tribe shouted obscenities and threats at the home of Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers as his daughter, Kacey, was dying inside it. As Bowers stated this week at the Jan 6 House committee hearing, he refused to undermine the election results from his state, and would not budge from his application of law and order.
In the weeks that followed, Bowers’s neighborhood in Mesa, a suburb east of Phoenix, was practically occupied at times by caravans of Trump supporters.
They screamed at Bowers through bullhorns, filmed his home and led parades to ridicule him that featured a civilian military-style truck. At one point, a man showed up with a gun and was threatening Bowers’s neighbor.
“When I saw the gun, I knew I had to get close,” he testified.
Enraged pro-Trump voters unsuccessfully sought to recall Bowers, and Bowers said they distributed fliers accusing him of corruption and pedophilia.
It is truly concerning for the politics of our time, and for the very nature of democracy itself, that a rather staggering number of Trump’s most vociferous, foul, and unbalanced followers are proving to be violent and hostile. Republicans, like Bowers, were at one time the mainstay of the party. That was a time when it could be honestly stated that there were perfectly reasonable conservatives.
They traded away their credibility, first by supporting the Tea Party and airheads like Sarah Palin, and then allowed the party to be hijacked by Trump. Today, no actual conservative party policy idea can surface as the saturation of crazy has dominated every aspect of the GOP. There is no oxygen in the room to talk about ideas as there is a past election outcome to excoriate. And gay people to verbally berate.
As if the delegates at the Texas convention understood what berate even meant.