Listen, we can discuss the Republican National Convention so far, dissecting all the blatant lies, delusional boasts, and vague threats. We can even talk about how some Latinas, unsure if they’re immigrants or not, will wail like soul-hungry demons in praise of white supremacy.
But one thing that we cannot discuss is the GOP agenda. Because there isn’t one. There is only Trump and his kids/minions. As many commenters have noted, there really is no coherent Republican Party anymore.
Indeed, “for the first time in its 166-year history, the GOP didn’t bother to issue a new platform for its national convention.” Instead, Republicans simply reaffirmed their allegiance to their homegrown Il Duce, effectively saying that “the party supports whatever Donald Trump wants.”
This is problematic, in that Trump strives for nothing except improving his finances and pursuing an insatiable need for adulation.
But that doesn’t mean that Republicans exist only to please Trump… Ok, that’s mostly true. However, the GOP still has goals, even if the people executing those priorities—the intellectual leaders of the Republican Party—“are the paranoids, kooks, know-nothings, and bigots who once could be heard only on late-night talk shows.”
For example, conservatives don’t like diversity, immigration, and women having control over their own bodies. All that has been true for a while.
But there are still a few holdovers from the fabled “small-government” movement, who insist that Washington is so corrupt and incompetent that the only solution is to cut services, throw money at billionaires, and hope for the best.
Of course, no White House has tried to do as little as the Trump Administration. So if this limited-government approach was ever “going to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity, it should be now.”
However, I’m pretty sure these are not peaceful or prosperous times.
So how can Republicans persuade Americans that a collapsed economy, horrific pandemic, and unrest in the streets are not the fault of their guy, who has been in charge for almost four years now?
Well, the GOP often wins “by selling a narrative in which ‘liberals’ are trying to undermine the country by stealing the tax dollars of hardworking Americans—quietly understood to be white men—and redistributing them to lazy people who want handouts, not-so-quietly understood to be people of color and feminist women.”
And that, ultimately, is the guiding light of the modern conservative movement.
You see, Trump “has stripped the veneer from familiar Republican themes concerning social order, values and economic policy.” Most of that was bullshit and just code for racism all along. But even if “they once represented principled ideological arguments, they’ve now curdled into content-free bludgeons to preserve power for the dwindling ranks of white conservatives in a rapidly diversifying America.”
Once lauded as the party of ideas, the GOP’s sole motivations now consist of pleasing Trump, amassing power for its own sake, and maintaining the privilege of white men.
No, those are not catchy slogans that resonate with swing voters. But they are all that conservatives have left.