The debate rages on as to whether Donald Trump has remodeled or vandalized the Republican party. In any event, left-wing pundits spent the week gaping at, and writing about, what they viewed as the grotesque spectacle of the RNC. For example, Daily Kos’s Hunter opined that the convention was "was barely one step up from an internet-peddled snuff film,” and Salon’s Heather Digby Parton declared that “all that’s left of the ‘three-legged stool’ of conservatism is the seat — racism, nativism and xenophobia.”
In September 1987, Joe Biden quit the race for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination, in large part because he’d been caught plagiarizing a speech by British politician Neil Kinnock. A Tuesday Daily Kos post seemed to suggest that Biden should have dropped out back then even if it’d been his wife, Jill, exposed as a high-profile plagiarist…or maybe David Nir has a different standard for Republicans. “Melania Trump’s stunning plagiarism at the Republican National Convention should by all rights be fatal to her husband’s campaign for president, not merely because she plagiarized but because of who she plagiarized from,” declared Nir, who noted that Melania “stole from none other than Michelle Obama, whose family has been the target of the right’s most bitter hatred and ridicule for a decade now.”
Plenty of liberals who detest Donald Trump nonetheless thought Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent blasts at Trump were “ill-advised,” as Ginsburg herself eventually admitted they were. Some left-wingers, however, were down with RBG and believed that it was ridiculous to criticize her for getting political. Daily Kos writer Armando asserted that the SCOTUS “has acted politically through out [sic] its history, and particularly since the conservative Republican branch of the Court gained ascendancy in the last 30 years." Esquire’s Charles Pierce commented, "We are now at the end of a 30-year process in which a well-financed conservative infrastructure restructured the federal court system from top to bottom, seeding it with reliable judges who supported dubious interpretations of laws…[Ginsburg has] seen what's happened to the courts first-hand, and she is right to warn us that a Trump administration is just as likely to put the gardener at Mar-A-Lago on the bench as not."
In a Monday piece, the writer who goes by Doctor RJ dismissed opponents of the PC agenda as “white conservatives” who believe they’re being victimized by “a thought-policing left,” whereas in reality “this is not a situation where people are being silenced from expressing an opinion.” As the Doctor sees it, “When we break the political correctness argument down, it’s really about idiots wanting to say stupid things and do it without anyone pointing out their stupidity.”
The right’s widely varied response to Donald Trump’s presidential bid may be the political story of the year so far, but many liberals have ignored it in favor of arguing that Trump’s worldview is a pure product of conservatism. For example, in a Sunday article, Chauncey DeVega claimed that Trump is “the logical result of at least five decades of Republican political strategy” and defined Trumpmania as “a mass political temper tantrum on the Right caused by a potent mix of authoritarianism and racism.”
“Much of the rhetoric, policies, and goals of the Republican Party and Donald Trump in 2016 are disturbingly similar to those of…the Ku Klux Klan,” declared DeVega. “This should be no surprise. The Republican Party is the United States’ largest de facto white identity organization. Conservatism and racism is now one and the same thing in the American post civil rights era.”
George H. W. Bush pooh-poohed “the vision thing.” Bernie Sanders wouldn’t have a presidential campaign without it. True, the Vermont senator is not known for his grasp of policy minutiae, to which Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas says, in effect, so what?
Kos implied that Sanders has caught a lot more flak for his vague answers than Republicans do when they routinely “promis[e] the world to their voters, like banning abortion, getting rid of The Gays, liberating the oppressed from the Obamacare FEMA concentration camps, finding Barack Obama’s true birth certificate, etc. No one asks those assholes how they’re going to accomplish any of it.”
During Barack Obama’s presidency, Republicans have greatly increased their power at the state level, enabling governments in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas, and other locales to enact legislation that Daily Kos blogger Hunter has called, among other things, “straight-up crooked” and that has caused, among other things, a “financial clusterfuck.”
In a Friday post, Hunter theorized that one reason GOP bigwigs detest Ted Cruz is that “by bringing Republican extremism national, [Cruz has] stripped them of plausible deniability of all those bizarre and hostile and really not-working-out-all-that-great ideas.” According to Hunter, “It's rampant Ted Cruzism, aka tea partyism, that's been shredding [state] budgets and sending companies running.”
Plenty of conservatives would concur with Daily Kos writer Mark Sumner that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is a fascist. They certainly would not agree with Sumner’s belief that the GOP as a whole has become increasingly aligned with fascism “since at least 1994.”
Sumner contended in a Sunday article that beginning in “the time of the Gingrich,” Republicans “realized they could simultaneously weaken the government, complain about the failure of programs they had just sabotaged, and create a perpetual-motion machine of government destruction…Republicans [would] take on anything, no matter how insane, so long as it kept dragging the conversation ever rightward.”
Daily Kos writer Hunter is amazed at the ongoing failure of supposedly influential Republicans to understand that as far as the party base is concerned, Donald Trump’s “racism and sexism and conspiracy theories” are features, not bugs. The peg for Hunter’s Monday post was a new TV ad from the GOP-friendly Our Principles PAC which quotes a slew of the degrading comments Trump has made about women.
“This fine group of Republican party stalwarts does deserve some kudos for their late-in-the-day attempts to walk the party back from the brink of Trumpism so they can snuggle back into the warm embrace of a Ted Cruz theocracy or a Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan-style feeding of the poor into wood chippers,” allowed Hunter. “But that doesn’t mean any of it is going to work. Trump has given the conservative base a taste of what they could have…and who knows if they'll settle for merely shutting down the government in Cruzian tantrums.”
White nationalist and anti-Semite David Duke recently urged listeners to his radio show to vote for Donald Trump and to volunteer for Trump’s campaign. For Republicans, that’s pretty much business as usual, argued Chauncey DeVega in a Sunday article for Daily Kos.
“In the post-civil rights era conservatism and racism are one and the same thing. Because of that dynamic, the Republican Party is the United States’ largest white identity organization,” DeVega claimed. “Donald Trump is the hell spawn of decades of Republican racism and white supremacy. They can try to deny their bastard child…but the world will still know his parentage.”
Daily Kos writer Mark E Andersen makes political correctness sound healthy and utterly bland -- the ideological equivalent of plain oatmeal. “Political correctness is nothing evil,” declared Andersen in a Sunday post. “It is not a liberal plot…It is about being a decent human being—period.”
Andersen hinted that some non-decent, anti-PC human beings (i.e., conservatives) are concealing racist and sexist agendas: “Why is it that so many on the right have a problem with this? Is it because they think ‘bimbo,’ ‘nigger,’ ‘kike,’ ‘wop,’ ‘beaner,’ and other slurs are appropriate for everyday conversation?”
Left-leaning pundits worth their salt know that Donald Trump isn’t a movement conservative, but many of them believe nonetheless that his candidacy is, in some social/cultural/emotional sense, a fundamentally righty phenomenon.
That said, Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas, whose lefty credentials are hardly in question, argued in a Friday post that while Trump “happened to land on the Republican side because of Hillary Clinton’s dominance…he could actually [have made] a stronger case for running as a Democrat.” Kos observed that Trump “has no ideological mooring or conviction” and noted that he “advocated for single-payer healthcare…has called for higher taxes on the wealthy…mocked Mitt Romney’s attacks on immigrants…was pro-choice…Oh, and he was a registered Democrat until 2009.”