In one of the oddest election seasons in recent history, progressives and many conservatives have come to agree on one thing: that the caustic and divisive rhetoric that spews from Donald Trump’s mouth is creating a dark age of overt intolerance. Republicans and Democrats are coming together to renounce his aggressive words and tactics. Some Democrats, ever in pursuit of a cause, have even urged their cohorts to switch party alliance for the primary, voting instead for one of Trump’s opponents.
I don’t support this, and this is why: Though Trump is a bombastic narcissist and a habitual liar, and though his proposed policies would play hell on minorities and the downtrodden, we do not see the other Republican candidates as better. If anything, they are more partisan, more anti-choice, more tied at the hip with big-monied donors, and just as likely to leave a lasting legacy of intolerance by appointing right wing ideologues to the Supreme Court. Trump’s opponents are just as eager to destroy unions, stop gay marriage, and kill even the most meager attempts at gun control and immigration reform. They are just as adamant about reducing government regulations, subverting affirmative action, and ignoring climate change.
|Texas Senator, Ted Cruz at rally|
Even more than Trump, his conservative counterparts never fail to mix a good shot of religion in with their government, and they never miss an opportunity to spout their misguided and dangerous belief that the United States was created by and for Christians. Like Trump, they ignore history. Yes, his competitors talk about having empathy for women, the poor, immigrants and minorities, yet their first policy objectives once they reach office is to kill the Affordable Health Care Act and Planned Parenthood.
Republicans are freaking out because Trump is not one of their own. They want one of their own: someone they can keep on message. Yes, we think it is disgusting what Trump has brought to the surface of the American face. But the pus was there to be pushed out. The question is how do Republicans convince Republicans to start being more rational. The “Party of Lincoln” crossed the Rubicon when, in the 1960’s, they decided to become the party of the status quo — protecting the rights of the white establishment while bowing to the social norms of the Christian right first by attacking abortion, then later, gay rights.
The Republican Party has done some important things in the past. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration were both a product of the Nixon Administration. But those days of rational pro-environment and pro-worker policies are long gone. Today’s brand of Republicans won’t even follow the Constitution they profess to love. If they did, they would hold hearings and vote to replace Justice Atonin Scalia. They would work to find reasonable ways to protect innocents from gun violence. They would not try to subvert women’s reproductive choice. And they would not support the increasing presence of religion in schools and government institutions.
Do we renounce Trump? Yes. He is a cancer, but he is a cancer galvanized by a party which traded its soul to the most radically conservative elements of our society. The voice of the moderate middle has been drowned out by the howling haters. Do I support those who suggest Democrats should shed their party affiliation and help the Republicans maintain this middle ground? No, I don’t.
Republicans need to own this mess, and then clean it up. How do they do that? Moderate Republicans need to define a moderate path and then push for it every single moment of every single day. They need to dump the demagogues and stop pandering to social conservatives. They need to renounce calls by their leadership to implode government for the sake of partisan politics and stop obstructing everything Democrats are working on, and instead work with Democrats to craft middle ground policies which benefits more people than not. They need to stop the fear-based, hate-based, war-based rhetoric, and start treating voters like adults.
For the sake of our republic, Republican’s need to re-create their party into something more reasonable and humane.
-Naseem Rakha, 3/13/2016