Eight years ago, the Republican Party nominated John McCain as their presidential candidate. He lost, obviously, and the Tea Party, nee the Teabaggers, were formed soon after. Ostensibly, they were for lower taxes and smaller government, but in reality, they were just pissed that a black man had won the election and was going to be the boss of them. The GOP recognized this and decided that the Tea Party would be a useful tool for them, so they (the GOP) sent out a stream of dog whistles that were perfectly obvious to everyone who heard them. Instead of controlling the Tea Party, however, the GOP was slowly taken over by them. When Mitt Romney ran in 2012, he had to skew as far as he could to the right in the primaries before trying to hew back to the middle for the general election. It was an almost Herculean task back then, and it only got worse in the ensuing four years. This is a very brief synopsis of the past eight years, obviously, but it’s why we are where we are today–with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president.
Even as I type out that sentence, I have a hard time believing that this is reality and not just a reality television show. I keep waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and yell, “You got Punk’d!”* But, no. Despite the three-ring circus atmosphere surrounding this shit show, it’s real life. Unfortunately. Republicans are jumping ship left and right, but we cannot let them forget that they are the ones who brought us to this low in our fairly short history. They are they ones who pandered to the lowest common denominator, confident that they could control their base. I don’t know exactly when the base took over the party, but now, the moderates are on the outside looking in.