The Purloined Soul Of A Political Party

The Devil went down to Georgia

He was lookin’ for a soul to steal

Those are the opening lines from The Charlie Daniels Band’s 1979 hit, The Devil Went Down To Georgia.  Why were they constantly going through my mind last Saturday?  Let’s explore. 

Donald Trump went to Valdosta, Georgia supposedly to hold a get out the vote rally for Republican runoff senatorial candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. He spent most of his time telling lies about how he really won the November election and is being treated unfairly including by Georgia Republicans.  He opened his speech with a lie declaring that he won Georgia which he did not.  Loeffler and Perdue were relegated to warm up acts.  In reality it was another stop on Trump’s Coronapalooza tour; perhaps the farewell stop.  Masks and social distancing were as rare as the truth.

Here is the reality as it applies to Trump: he doesn’t care about Loeffler, Perdue, Georgia, America or the Republican Party other than using the latter as a cash cow in his latest scam.  Trump has raised over $200 million since he lost the election supposedly for his “Stop the steal” effort but almost all the funds have either gone to a PAC he controls or the Republican National Committee which he currently controls and is making moves to continue to control.  In other words the money goes to him not any causes.

This is not the first time I have written about my concern for the future of the Republican Party. A legitimate question is: Why?  I’m a progressive and registered Democrat.  I have no intention to join nor do I foresee the day where I will join the Republican Party.  The nation is much bigger than me and not every American holds exactly identical political views.  There is very much a market for a center-right political party in America and for decades the Republican Party was it.  We have over 320 million Americans and only two political parties of consequence.  America is simply too big and democracy cannot be served if that number is reduced to one.

The Republican Party was born in the 1850s and for a bit over the first half century of its existence was actually the more left leaning of the two major parties. Over the course of a few decades and especially after the singing of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 the Republicans took a hard right turn with the Democrats turning to the left almost simultaneously.

The 2008 victory of Barack Obama over John McCain came as a shock to the GOP. It also unleased the underlying racism and xenophobia of much of its base and potential base.  In 2009 the Tea Party sprung forth (with significant help from some extreme right wing money) and a desperate Republican Party fearing the loss of viability at the polls embraced it.  That ended up being a hostile takeover.  The Tea Party didn’t care about Republican principles; it wanted the GOP’s infrastructure for ballot access and the façade of legitimacy.  They also hijacked the word “conservative”.  In fact the Tea Party didn’t care about government; it was inherently an anarchist movement bent on the destruction of government.  (Some of that sentiment was already influential in the GOP, a relic of the Reagan days.  Think Grover Norquist.)

The 2016 Republican Presidential Primary field was huge and wide open when Jeb Bush’s campaign never caught fire despite seemingly having every advantage. Donald Trump entered the race – I’m still convinced as a publicity stunt that backfired on him – and ended up winning the presidency mainly by tapping the racism and desperation of many voters.  The Trump supporter was, and remains, more of a cult member than a Republican loyalist.

Republican elected officials came to fear Trump and the band of lunatics he could unleash on them with a tweet. Therefore they became his enablers.

Late last week the Washington Post surveyed the 249 Republican members of Congress and only 25 of them admitted that Joe Biden had won the 2020 election.  Over the past weekend two more joined their ranks to “swell” the total to 27.  Keep in mind this is approximately a month after the election and still almost 90% will not publically admit the obvious.  That high of a percentage cannot be hiding under a rock or be that stupid.  The answer is the fringe has taken over the Party, its figurehead is Donald Trump and the vast majority of the Republican elected officials are simply afraid of Trump and the voters he controls.

As evidence of both the control that Trump has over the GOP and the lack of courage most other elected Republicans display I offer the 2020 Republican Platform. It doesn’t exist.  The 2020 Republican National Convention simply never issue one.  The GOP literally stands for nothing.  In reality they stand for whatever Trump stands for and if he changes his mind they simultaneously (after getting the tweet) also change.

This once great Party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt (the only two great Republican presidents) has lost its soul and America is suffering in the process. Trump went down to Georgia Saturday not to help Loeffler and Perdue but to complete the steal of the GOP’s soul.

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