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Slippery GOP Maneuver: Lump Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump

I’ve been spending some extra time working my way through Senator Ben Sasse’s open letter declaring his opposition to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, because it’s an interesting historical artifact of the present historical moment, when the Republican Party appears to be splitting in two.

There are many problems with Sasse’s letter, but one that’s especially curious to me is the way that Sasse attempts to lump Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton together. He chooses to speak of them as a common problem, writing, “If you are one of those rare souls who genuinely believe Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are honorable people…” and “We now have the two most unpopular candidates ever…” and “With Clinton and Trump, the fix is in. Heads, they win; tails, you lose.”

It’s a slippery maneuver to try to recast the Trump disaster as part of a larger problem – one that taints the Democrats as well. Even as they distance themselves from Donald Trump, Republicans like Sasse also try to disassociate the Republican Party from Donald Trump. They try to suggest that, actually, Donald Trump is just one manifestation of a bigger political crisis – one that can be blamed on liberals.

Crazy as it seems, they’re actually trying to blame Democrats and liberals for Donald Trump. The reason Republicans like Ben Sasse are attempting this extravagant political maneuver is plain. Donald Trump has exposed everything that is ugly within the Republican Party, and made its presence undeniable.

Donald Trump has spoken the hateful ideas that have rested at the heart of the Republican Party for generations. Confronted with this exposure, it’s natural that some Republican politicians want to blame somebody else, but the record is clear.

Before Trump, which political party aroused xenophobic hatred against Mexicans to win elections? The Republicans.

Before Trump, which political party exploited fear of Muslims to win elections? The Republicans.

Before Trump, which political party came up with travel bans against non-Europeans as a tool with which to win elections? The Republicans.

Before Trump, which political party came up with schemes for religious discrimination against non-Christians? The Republicans.

Before Trump, which political party made headway with male voters by insulting women? The Republicans.

Before Trump, which political party promoted torture? The Republicans.

Before Trump, which political party encouraged wild conspiracy theories about its opponents, including urban legends that Barack Obama was born in Kenya? The Republicans.

Ben Sasse calls Donald Trump a “dishonest liberal”, but that’s absurd. Donald Trump is dishonest, certainly, but he’s is all Republican. Trump couldn’t win the Democratic nomination, because Democrats, especially liberal Democrats, would laugh him off the stage. It has been liberals, not Republicans, who have turned up at Trump rallies to protest against him. It’s Republican voters who have chosen him as their nominee – yes, Donald Trump has won states with closed Republican primaries. It’s the Republican Party establishment that is now propelling Trump forward to the White House. The Democratic Party and liberals are opposing Trump, not supporting him.

Yes, there are some Republicans who are refusing to support Donald Trump, but they’re in the minority within their political party. In a national poll taken just before Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropped out, Trump was the favorite candidate of 56 percent of Republican voters. With Cruz and Kasich gone, that number is even higher. Republicans haven’t completely closed ranks around Trump, but most Republicans are willing to support him.

The fact that the Republican Party appears to be splintering is mostly a consequence of the disgust of Republican Party leaders. The Republican rank and file is eagerly applauding Trump’s racism, sexism, nationalism, militarism, and crude bullying of anyone who stands in his way. They’re supporting Donald Trump’s fascist campaign because, really, that same enthusiasm for fascist ideology is what motivated them to support more conventional Republican candidates in the past. The only difference is that before, Republican Party politicians had to put on a smiling mask over the hate. Donald Trump, as a billionaire candidate, can afford to simply dispense with the facade and go straight for the Republican amygdala.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not a fan of Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party. They have both proven to be too far to the right, politically, to suit me, willing to go along with Republican ideology far too often. Democrats like Hillary Clinton have not led the liberal shift in America’s political identity. They have followed it, 5 to 10 years behind public opinion, depending on the issue.

However, one thing about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats is clear. They don’t support the wild, careening right wing extremism that has made Donald Trump so popular among Republican voters. Clinton and the Democrats have supported a steady, somewhat moderated right wing ideology: Pro-corporate, pro-war, and opposed to liberal policies on the environment and economy.

The distinction between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is obvious to most Americans. The idea that Clinton and Trump are cast from the same mold is ridiculous, though convenient to establishment Republicans who are trying to scramble to save themselves from being dragged down by Trump.

4 thoughts on “Slippery GOP Maneuver: Lump Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump”

  1. Stephen Kent Gray says:

    Hillary Clinton is establishment which is why people don’t like her.

    The anti-establishment wave, or global populism, is a phenomenon which arose between 2015 to 2016 in global politics that led to the rise of anti-establishment populist political leaders, especially in established democracies.

    This trend has led to the rise of controversial politicians such as Norbert Hofer in Austria, Marine Le Pen in France, Jimmy Morales in Guatemala, Geert Wilders in The Netherlands, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, Nigel Farage in the United Kingdom, and Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the United States.

    Despite this populist wave, I will support Gary Johnson and the Libertarians in November. Libertarians prefer the Nolan Chart about the traditional left-right spectrum as radical centrism isn’t that descriptive. Being center wing because half of your policy positions negates the other half on average to get a center positions between left and right doesn’t give the message of loving liberty like the Nolan Chart does.

    1. J Clifford says:

      Hillary Clinton is establishment. Donald Trump is establishment.

      They represent different establishments.

      There is some overlap, I’ll admit: They both support the interests of the rich and powerful.

      So does Gary Johnson’s libertarian campaign.

      1. Stephen Kent Gray says:

        With the exceptions of Bernie Sanders and Rodrigo Duerte, all the anti-establishment wave has been either conservative or libertarian. Nigel Farage is the libertarian listed while Marine Le Pen is a much more conservative nationalist. The current establishment represent the interests of government and bureaucrats.

        Libertarian writer David Boaz argued that terms left and right are used to spin a particular point of view rather than as simple descriptors, with those on the “left” typically emphasizing their support for working people and accusing the right of supporting the interests of the upper class, and those on the “right” usually emphasizing their support for individualism and accusing the Left of supporting collectivism. Boaz asserts that arguments about the way the words should be used often displaces arguments about policy by raising emotional prejudice against a preconceived notion of what the terms mean. David Boaz, The Politics of Freedom: Taking on The Left, the Right, and Threats to our Liberties, Cato Institute, 2008, ISBN 978-1-933995-14-4

        The basic building block of society is the individual, not the class. People who talk about class interests, projects a political platform onto a specific platform, while ignoring no class or group has any uniform or monolithic idea of what their interests are. You have champagne socialists and red neck Tea Parties which dispels the idea of class being the determining factor in one’s political interests.

      2. Stephen Kent Gray says:

        Right-wing populism is a political ideology that rejects existing political consensus and often combines laissez-faire liberalism and anti-elitism. It is considered populism because of its appeal to the “common man” as opposed to the elites. In Europe right-wing populism is also a description used to describe groups and political parties generally known for their opposition to immigration, mostly from the Islamic world, and the European Union. Traditional right wing views such as opposition to an increasing support for the welfare state and a “more lavish, but also more restrictive, domestic social spending” scheme is also described under right wing populism and is sometimes called “welfare chauvinism”.

        From the 1990s right-wing populist parties became established in the legislatures of various democracies including Canada, Norway, France, Israel, Poland, Russia, Romania and Chile, and entered coalition governments in Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Italy. Although extreme right-wing movements in the US have been studied separately, where they are normally called “radical right”, some writers consider them to be the same phenomenon. Right-wing populism is distinct from the historic right, which had been concerned with preserving the “status quo”, and mostly do not have roots in their political parties.

        Moore (1996) argues that “populist opposition to the growing power of political, economic, and cultural elites” helped shape “conservative and right-wing movements” since the 1920s.[66] The Tea Party movement has been characterized as “a right-wing anti-systemic populist movement” by Rasmussen and Schoen (2010). They add, “Today our country is in the midst of a…new populist revolt that has emerged overwhelmingly from the right — manifesting itself as the Tea Party movement.” The New York Times asserts, “The Tea Party movement has become a platform for conservative populist discontent”. Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States for the 2016 election, he has been viewed as a major figure of modern American right-wing populism.

        Laissez-faire meets anti-elitism is a thing and is supported by these parties.

        Canada – Action démocratique du Québec, Reform Party of Canada, Canadian Alliance, Social Credit Party
        Denmark – Progress Party
        Iceland – Citizens’ Party
        Italy – National Alliance
        Netherlands Centre Democrats, Pim Fortuyn List
        Sweden – New Democrats

        More so with these parties

        Austria – Freedom Party of Austria, Alliance for the Future of Austria
        Belgium – Flemish Interest
        Denmark – Danish People’s Party
        Finland – True Finns
        France – National Front
        Germany – Alternative for Germany
        Greece – Independent Greeks, Popular Orthodox Rally
        Hungary – Fidesz
        Italy – Lega Nord
        Netherlands – Party for Freedom
        Norway – Progress Party
        Russia – Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
        Serbia – Serbian Radical Party
        Slovakia – Slovak National Party
        Sweden – Sweden Democrats
        Switzerland – Swiss People’s Party
        Ukraine – Svoboda
        United Kingdom – UK Independence Party

        Populism is a political outlook or disposition that appeals to the interests and conceptions (such as hopes and fears) of the general population, especially when contrasting any new collective consciousness push against the prevailing status quo interests of any predominant political sector.

        Political parties and politicians often use the terms populist and populism as pejoratives against their opponents. Such a view sees populism as merely empathising with the public, (usually through rhetoric or unrealistic proposals) in order to increase appeal across the political spectrum (cf. demagogy).

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