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Congratulations, GOP. It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Party

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Dear Republicans:

We as a nation owe a debt of gratitude to Donald Trump for ripping the scab off the bloody mess you once called a political party. Trump was always a heel. He just turned out to be your Achilles. But you guys were already living on borrowed time, and you probably sensed as much.

The modern version of the Republican Party was born one fine morning in the early 2000s when Charles and David Koch woke up in a cold sweat and decided that getting to keep only $850 million out of every fresh billion was just too much to bear. So they started spending tiny fractions of the massive sums in tax cuts awarded them during the Reagan, Bush 41, and Clinton administrations on what amounted to a no-holds-barred save the unendangered fat cat campaign.

Chuck and Dave funded Americans for Prosperity, which sounded like fun until you realized they were talking about eliminating collective bargaining, minimum wage laws, the SEC, the FBI, OSHA, and the EPA. But you took their money anyway and rolled the dice for a dozen years. And you paid for insufferable hacks like Ann Coulter and Dinesh D'Souza to tour campuses, boardrooms, and cable networks preaching small government, states rights, trickle down economics, flat tax and any other recycled empirically discredited pseudo-conservative mantra they could get their hands on that would allow their sponsors to keep more of their hard-inherited money.

But then things got really out of hand. Chuck and Dave started spending a billion dollars here and a billion dollars there buying up Congress. This game of Monopoly was facilitated by the political windfall of a lifetime, otherwise known as the Citizens United decision, which provided nearly complete immunity for the burgeoning plutocracy.

Then Chuck and Dave corralled a bunch of marginalized middle-aged white guys--i.e., the Tea Party--who espoused the sort of draconian fiscal austerity for others they themselves couldn't survive for the length of a WWE cage match. By 2015 Chuck and Dave had lured in every man, woman, and child who felt uncool, thought Christmas had been cancelled, and believed with all his heart and soul the President was born in Kenya.

And now the whole jerry-built coalition is unraveling like a flat tire on an eighteen-wheeler sailing down the freeway at 95 mph. Who's driving? Clue--he has orange hair.

Earth to GOP--the average Republican couch potato recreational voter does not spend Sundays in a Cato Institute think tank developing strategies to shrink government. The unemployed Ford-150 drivers punching out people of color at Trump rallies don't even know who Grover Norquist is. If they saw him at a Trump rally they would probably punch him out, too.

Earth to GOP--no one cares about your secluded ten-thousand-dollar-a-pop conservative retreats and the position papers on starving the beast. Folks just want to scrape together lunch money. No one gives a damn about strict constructionist interpretations of the Constitution. They just want their missing teeth back. Ninety-five percent of the people riled up about Benghazi don't know where it is. When it comes to identifying key players in the Middle East, how many rednecks really give a Shiite? How many trailer parks are abuzz at 1 AM with talk of repealing Dodd-Frank?

Does Trump's promise to build a wall make you uncomfortable? You've been building a wall for years--between the folks making billions taking free money from the Federal Reserve and the folks sifting through boxes of assorted slightly used razors at the Goodwill.

Why should we feel sorry for you? You did this to yourselves. That's the elephant in the room. You spent the past six years compensating for your vanishing numerical base by fashioning congressional districts shaped like strings of Reddi-wip shot out of an exploding can and hitting the ceiling. You spent the past six years dreaming up ways to make it harder to get into a voting booth than an Adele concert.

Now you're looking at the Brownshirts in your midst and you're thinking why stop now? Having worked so hard for so long to develop such a vast array of antidemocratic weapons, why not disenfranchise your embarrassing first cousins? Yes, go ahead--swift-boat the cast of Duck Dynasty and see how it works out. You've been trickling down on others for decades, and any day now they'll be trickling down on you.

The party has talked a good game over the years about having a big umbrella. Big enough to include folks who hate Mexicans, folks who hate gays, folks who hate Jews, folks who hate Muslims, folks who hate African-Americans, and folks who hate metrosexuals. It's huge. What could possibly have gone wrong?

You hate big government unless it's dropping big bombs, issuing multi-billion dollar military contracts to Dick Cheney's friends, imprisoning millions of young black men for selling weed, or reaching into millions of wombs to secure clumps of cells. But other than that . . .

While insinuating ad nauseam that your gang is the only patriotic one on the block, your party is currently spearheaded by a draft dodger who counts adolescent military school in upstate New York as serving his county. The chicken hawks are coming home to roost.

Mindlessly you scream "Starve the beast," where the beast is anyone not of your own race, color, economic, or social standing. Sam Brownback and Bobby Jindal just got through using the states of Kansas and Louisiana as guinea pigs in their electroshock starvation fiscal experiments. Both states are now on life support. Jindal watches from afar as Democrats and a few sane Republicans clean up the carnage. Brownback gets to clean it up himself before forced retirement from public life. But the science experiment gone haywire has just begun. Coming soon to a legislative body near you--the GOP puts your state before the same revenue death panel.

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Rich Herschlag's most recent book, "Punk Rock Blitzkrieg" (Touchstone, 2015), was written with Marky Ramone and is the legendary drummer's outrageous ultimate inside look at the beginnings of punk rock and the evolution of the seminal band that (more...)

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