Who’d A Thunk It?

I commence today’s article with a question and will conclude with an answer. The fact that today is Halloween only adds a bit of ironic humor to a long held hypothesis of mine which may well be coming true. Let’s explore.

On Saturday October 14th while speaking at the Value Voters Summit, Steve Bannon reiterated his recent declaration of war on the Republican establishment with the following lines. “Right now, it’s a season of war against the GOP establishment.” And, “It’s not my war, this is our war and y’all didn’t start it, the establishment started it.” Wow! There is a lot there; let me analyze a bit of it.

In the early days of the Tea Party I predicted they would eventually be an asterisk – much like the Know Nothings – a moniker that would be appropriate for this group – in American history. In 2010 this group of mainly politically and economically ignorant, largely motivated by their racist reaction to the election of an African-American president in 2008, showed up at the polls and elected a bunch of unqualified radicals to Congress and state offices across the land. In the process they began the takeover of the Republican Party. In 2016 they were the true base of Donald Trump’s victory.

With a nominal Republican in the Oval Office in addition to Republican control of both chambers of Congress they have been unable to enact a single piece of significant legislation to date. The radical right wing base is restless and Bannon is pouncing on the opportunity to exploit the situation.

Let’s go back a bit to the days after the 2008 election. The Republicans had run the candidate with the best chance of winning (John McCain) and lost rather handily to a black man. I’m not saying that all Republicans are racists and certainly not the entire Republican establishment in November of 2008 was; but we have to remember which political party all the racist southern Democrats of years gone by had migrated to. I was living in Florida in early 2009 and often used the analogy of a drowning man in a lake that saw what he thought was a tree limb floating on the surface. In desperation he grabbed out for it. However it turned out to be an alligator. Sooner or later that gator was going to turn on him with serious if not fatal consequences.

The gator of my analogy turned out to be the Tea Party. The Republicans rode it to a great 2010, a 2012 that delivered almost everything they wanted except the presidency, a fabulous 2014 and a presidential victory in 2016. Now the gator wants to be fed and it is turning on the GOP.

I often caution against reading too much into the results of a lone or small number of special elections. However, Bannon and those he is attempting to lead are supercharged by the recent success of Roy Moore in Alabama. It will not surprise me if Bannon endorsed candidates knock off some legitimate Republicans in 2018 GOP primaries only to go on to become upset losers in the general election.

Ironically, (honestly I didn’t plan it this way) today is Halloween. A day when people dress up as things they are not; like Tea Party people pretending they are real Republicans and true conservatives. In another bit of irony the phrase which serves as today’s title was made famous during the 1930’s by the vaudeville dummy Edgar Bergen.

In proper English, “Who’d a thunk it” translates to “Who would have thought that would happen.” My answer is anyone who knew politics, history and was actually thinking.

This article was written well in advance of publishing to accommodate my travel schedule,

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