It is bigger because what we see now brings into clear relief the nature of the spirit that has driven the political right for a generation.
It's not just that the powers of the political right have been, for years, creating today's unhinged Republican base. The fabric of cause and effect, in the emergence of today's political right, is much more densely interwoven than that.
That fabric discloses a coherent and destructive force that has seized power, and has expressed itself in a variety of forms. This ugly presidential campaign is but the latest expression of the same destructive force that has previously manifested itself:
* In the vitriol of the right-wing media, which systematically misinforms and enrages its followers.
In * In the refusal of the Republican Party to respect the legitimacy of the power that the people give to the other party.
* In the presidency (Bush-Rove-Cheney) that lied the nation into a war, condoned torture, and (e.g. with the torture memo) subverted the rule of law.
* In the advance of an anti-democracy agenda by the Koch Brothers, who have translated private wealth into ownership of government beyond anything seen before in American history.
* In the conduct of an opposition party in Congress that, in an unprecedented way, put making the president fail ahead of doing the people's business.
In the past, the fundamental and systematic thrust of this force -- which is to break down what's best about America -- was more obscured behind the suits and trappings of normal politics. (Mitch McConnell speaking obstructionese expressed the same insistence on conflict and obsession with power as Trump's strutting bellicosity, but it sounded more like normal politics.)
What makes this ugly race for the Republican nomination a teachable moment not that something new has emerged on the right. But rather that something that has been animating the political right for years is now revealed to us in a more flagrant form.
If we can't see it for what it is now, when it stands before us naked, when will we? And if we don't see it, how effectively are we likely to fight and defeat it?
Know thine enemy is important counsel.
This is a teachable moment. Let's seize it.(Showing how such coherent forces of destruction arise, operate, and transmit their patterns through time in civilized systems is the purpose of my new book WHAT WE'RE UP AGAINST: The Destructive Force at Work in Our World--and How We Can Defeat It.)