Sunday, October 16, 2016

Donald Trump: Mitt Romney's Monster

The GOP is falling apart. Rabidly racist Trump rallies, boorish supporters calling for the murder of Secretary Clinton, and the abusive sexist soft core porn that is Trump's personal life are plumbing uncharted depths.

While some conservatives are reacting with horror, most incumbents are cowering, cowtowing rather than standing up to the hateful mobs. Ironically, the Trump Monster is their creation. Trump is merely an extension of the failed policies Mitt Romney brought to his disastrous campaign in 2012. No, Romney's personal life is not the cesspool of sexual assault and juvenile innuendo that characterizes Trump, but there are parallels in both men's policy prescriptions and business dealings that brought us to the mess du jour.

 Neither Romney nor Trump support revisions to the tax and business laws that allow billionaires to pay fewer taxes than farm laborers or crooked mortgage bankers and Wells Fargo execs to retire without punishment after bilking their customers out of tens of millions of dollars.  Mitt Romney gave the working class a patina of "family values" with a vapid main course of business as usual. Trump offers the hard sell: there are evil people out there (Mexicans and Muslims) and I'll destroy them for you (while, like any two bit third world dictator, offering more of the same business policies beneath the populist facade).

 Mitt Romney's call for Mexicans to voluntarily deport themselves and his unbridled support of racist Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio laid the groundwork for Trump's vociferous scapegoating of Mexicans as "job stealers" and "rapists." Both men scapegoat Mexicans, one simply musters more virulent rhetoric.

Romney, toiling at Bain Capitol, helped wealthy incompetent executives grasp golden parachutes for their failed companies, while working class and middle class employees got pink slips. Romney's clients are no different from Trump's gleeful boasts that he beat the system and is too smart to pay taxes. Romney's layoffs aren't quite as morally repellent as Trump's gaming of bankruptcy laws to rip off his small business vendors but ethically they are cut from the same filthy cloth.

Romney supported waterboarding, stereotyped the Islamic world and called for a vast expansion of the Guantanamo Bay prison. Trump wants to ban all Muslim immigrants and indeed, ban all American mosques. Both tactics would, evidence shows, lead to many more terrorists recruits. Where Romney was culturally clueless, Trump is unabashedly racist.

The difference is that in 2016, the white working class are mad as hell, and they are finally wholesale rejecting the worker-be-damned status quo of Romney/Bush/McCain/Carson/Cruz/Rubio. All that remains to appeal to the working class base are the scapegoats and the hate. Without actually changing their policies, the GOP  will be at the whim of a parade of demagogues. Indeed, four years hence, we may all shudder at what rough beast, his hour come round at last, sloughs to New Hampshire to be born.

It can tough for a political party to utter the words "we were wrong," to admit that their policy agenda has faults, and by no means jibes with family values, social justice, or a healthy economy. Longing for the "good old days" can cloud good judgment. This is most symptomatic in the plans of a small rump bunch of Republicans in Utah. These folks hope (and probably pray) that unknown candidate, Evan McMullin,  will win the state, that neither Trump nor Clinton will garner 270 electoral votes, and that House of Representatives will game the system and restore the ancien regime by naming McMullin our Supreme Leader. The scheme is the product of a Republican party elite so sanctimonious and smug they think that, if they lose at the ballot box, they can make an end run and cram their "ideals" down our throats. And, somehow, we'll like that. It's as out of touch with reality as the GOP's business agenda. The same cowards who refuse to pull their endorsements of Trump aren't going to vote for an unknown Mormon if Trump carried their Congressional district by 10 points. They'd find their heads severed and on pikes.

More absurdly, what these reactionaries don't comprehend is that McMlullin is more of the same: lip service to religion and family values camouflaging the same old business first policies. If that's your salvation, you are a very lost soul indeed.