by Brent Budowsky
As Donald Trump continues his domination of political news on television, maintains his suffocation of the message of his opponents, and defines the debate about the sagging state of the GOP brand, the only thing greater than the growing horror of Republicans as the primary debates approach is the barely disguised joy of Democrats. Republicans may soon learn what Scripture teaches: What you sow, you shall reap.
For many years the GOP has planted the seeds of a politics of divisiveness, derision, dog whistles and defamation against its Democratic opponents. From the slanders against Democratic war heroes such as John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election to the preposterous birther attacks against President Obama by Trump and others, the GOP has pioneered new tactics in the aggressive campaign of personal destruction.
In the GOP today, this Frankenstein monster of negative politics that repels so many voters — once the tactic of choice for Republicans against Democrats — has now become the tactic of opportunity for Trump, who has turned this venom against Republican opponents, Hispanic immigrants and even GOP war heroes and American prisoners of war.
Wikipedia describes the story of Frankenstein’s monster as the creation of a “grotesque but sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment,” a hideous being made up of dismembered body parts. The dirty and now discredited body parts of politics, practiced by the Swift Boat attacks against Kerry and birther attacks against Obama, were indeed a hideous invention of Frankenstein politics combining big money, big media and big lies.
As Trump turns media organizations into his public relations arm through brilliant showmanship, he has become the GOP Frankenstein’s monster who escaped from the laboratory to turn against his creators. He offends the vast wave of Hispanic voters by labeling immigrants as criminals and rapists. He insults heroic prisoners of war by stating he prefers troops who do not get captured. He ridicules war heroes such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who, while Trump was enjoying the good life from the safety of draft deferments, refused to be released early as a POW and willfully endured continued torture because he would not accept his release until his buddies joined him.
Has the GOP Frankenstein no decency?
Trump is humiliating his party and drowning out every other candidate, preventing them from reaching voters with any vision or message. The GOP debates will be a reality show freak show dominated by the business mogul, with the other candidates relegated to bit players.
What would Ronald Reagan, who championed POWs throughout his life, say about a Republican who brags that he prefers troops who were not captured?
What would we hear from Barry Goldwater, the father of modern conservatism who chose the Army Air Corps rather than deferments during World War II?
What has happened to modern conservatism when Rush Limbaugh attacks Pope Francis as a Marxist and defends Trump when he demeans POWs? What might Francis, who warns of a cult of money and calls for humane treatment of immigrants, think of a politician who boasts about his money and slanders immigrants?
Hillary Clinton charges, correctly, that Trump is merely the uncostumed version of a Republicanism that most of his opponents more politely agree with.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who wore the uniform with distinction, correctly charges that Trump’s brand of politics is a cancer on conservatism, as opposed to his fellow Texan, Sen. Ted Cruz, who has become Trump’s wimp by lacking the courage to condemn someone who shamefully demeans American POWs.
Any conservative or Republican who cannot condemn the slanders of immigrants as rapists and murderers and boo the billionaire who insults American prisoners of war does not understand the damage done by the GOP Frankenstein’s monster who runs rampant in what is no longer the party of Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln — or even Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.