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Do you remember when GOP stood for Grand Old Party instead of Getting Optimum Payola? You know, when our elected representatives actually represented the people instead of only the richest corporate fat cats? I know it seems as if it has been the way it is now forever, but it wasn't all that long ago that things were different. And they were not just a little different, they were VERY different.
A Different GOP
Politics stays the same in some ways, but in others it just keeps getting worse. The most obvious way in which it is getting much worse really fast, is the amount of Big Money controlling politics. Not that Democrats have clean hands on this issue, but one party far more than the other, aligns itself willingly and unabashedly with the controlling interests of Big Money. As a result, the GOP has changed, and changed radically in a fairly short amount of time.
Republicans used to stand for fiscal conservatism, strong military, the primacy of individual liberty and unalienable rights, the sovereignty of the people, and the rejection of a ruling aristocratic social class. Looking at that short list, we can say, yes, things have definitely changed.
Oh, they still usually talk the talk, but when it comes time to walk the walk, today's GOP knows exactly who is pulling the puppet strings (and lining their pockets).
Support for a strong military has deteriorated into support for strong corporations supplying the military. Support for liberty and personal freedoms has degenerated into support for the particular bigotry of extremists found in one religion. In almost any other context, personal freedom has become a pariah, to be summarily rejected as opposing the overarching goal of further wealth generation for the wealthy. For the GOP, your personal freedom has become the freedom to contribute to their agenda, or shut up and go away.
Being owned by the interests of the wealthy, they no longer fully reject the principle of aristocracy, and blatantly support the elite oligarchy that has developed in place of our once proud democracy. The principle of sovereignty of the people has been largely swept under the rug and effectively handed over to the Democrats for whatever use that party can make of this obsolete proposition. And with the exception of Bernie Sanders, it appears few on the left are interested in making use of this gift.
Finally, the old GOP pillar of fiscal responsibility has given way to the weak strut of economic constipation, where any expenditure that does not strengthen their financial supporters' corporate bottom line, is in line to be cut. Period. Because it would be "fiscally irresponsible" to keep spending good money on things that fail to line the right pockets. This economic constipation is the key to understanding today's Republican Party, holding back any expenditures that don't benefit their benefactors.
Talking the Talk
So, it may be obvious why they no longer walk the walk. But why, you might ask, do they even bother talking the talk? Well, indeed, some of them no longer believe they have to. That is why we are seeing so many rogue Republican fringe representatives getting extremely mouthy and insulting to just about anybody they happen to dislike. And although he clearly has the biggest mouth, it isn't just Donald Trump.
So, why has the GOP become the party of economic constipation? The reason is they have been in a slow but steady decline in popular support for years. They have been forced to rely on a demographic that is shrinking. And they are now forced to ally themselves individually and as a party, primarily with Big Money. As individuals, Big Money is their primary means achieving power by supporting ALEC policies through Tea Party extremism. And as a party they maintain that political power through the same vehicle of Big Money. Big Money buys their ticket in. Big Money pays the campaign costs. Big Money owns the politician. Whatever Big Money wants, Big Money gets. So, we see attacks on unions, and education funding (we can't have voters being too educated), on science (Big Fossil Fuel says so), and a host of other targets. But why do we see this vehement reaction to immigrants? What can Big Money have against many more low-wage workers? As Rachel Maddow might say, that is an interesting question.
Trumpification: Are Immigrants Really This Big a Problem?
You see, as limited as the GOP's voter base is, the party desperately needs to pick up more individual voters, but most of all, they can't afford to lose any that they already have. And the ones they have a lock on are an aging, increasingly grumpy, largely bigoted group of old white males. So, one of the more common battle cries to rouse the troops is to rail heartily against illegal aliens. After all, it is only a skip and a jump from illegals to citizens who look in any way different from the old, white male demographic. So, they pander to the bigots to keep everyone's blood pressure up. Thus, we have even Bobby Jindal, who was one, railing against "anchor babies." Donald Trump, on the heels of a racist rant, surges in the polls, and all of the many GOP tribe of candidates echo his bigotry as quickly as their fat tongues can wag.
Trump calls them names with racial slurs included. Bobby Jindal advocates the arrest of mayors over designated "sanctuary cities" when immigrants commit crimes there. Santorum, Jindal, Graham, and Trump all loudly proclaim their support for ditching the 14th amendment to the Constitution, and ending birthright citizenship. Ben Carson says he is willing to accept drone strikes, of all things, against undocumented immigrants. A right-wing radio host even called for slavery, saying the illegal immigrants should become "the property of the sate." This is certainly interesting coming from the party that used to represent individual liberty and unalienable rights.
If this all seems a little insane, like it has suddenly emerged out of nowhere here in the Twilight Zone, you need to remember how crazy the GOP has become, these days. They welcomed the Tea Party and all their radicals into the party to secure the radical base. Now they are paying the price for that short-sighted decision with a knee-jerk radicalism that seemingly has no bounds. I thought when Trump went psychotic over immigrants, the party had finally found the previously unknown limits beyond which their insane extremism would not go.