The Trump experiment is finally over. In the dust and debris left in the wake of this experiment, we are starting to see a more clear picture of what the long-term effects of Donald Trump will be on this country, and it isn’t pretty. There is a lot of work to do, and there has been a lot of damage done, however the damage he has done isn’t just to one “side”. Trump’s greatest gift to this country will be his destruction of the Republican Party for many years to come.
Trump didn’t start the hyper-partisan wave that is currently endemic among the right wing, he simply recognized it, and surfed that wave to the White House. For many years, the growing sentiment on the right-wing revolved around a single opposition platform ideal; if you weren’t with them, you were against them. The right-wing needs an enemy to fight, and in times of peace, they look within to find that enemy. Right now, there are few among the right-wing that do not believe that liberals are their enemy. The problem with this is expounded when we consider the black-and-white fallacy with which they frame their ideals causing them to label anyone who doesn’t agree with their specific politics as a liberal or a “traitor”. Just ask Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, and Dennis Kucinich. Any Independent, moderate or centrist who doesn’t support Trump is also an enemy. Anyone who protests on the left is “antifa”. This rhetoric has been building for decades.
While this rhetoric is not over, it’s been exploited and made public for all to see. Domestic terror in the United States is overwhelmingly dominated by the right-wing. Internal need to self-identify as a zealot publicly has caused most all of them to declare their intentions on Facebook, Reddit, Parler, and etc. – giving the US government a detailed record of whom all these people are. When the insurrectionists stormed the capitol, they did so mostly to grab their selfies so that they could prove to their right-wing peers that they truly believed the escalating conspiracy theory and QAnon garbage that has been fed to them.
Trump emboldened them to do this. So now, out of the shadows, scurry the rats at the behest of the rat king. And indeed, supporting that metaphor, the Trump political school of thought developed under the tutelage and mentorship of Roy Cohn in the 70’s, and Roger Stone + Paul Manafort in the 80’s revolved around “ratfucking” as a primary tool in their opposition arsenal. Well, when one engages in ratfucking, they make a hoard of little rat babies, and thus is born the modern Republican Party. Now liberals are “fair game” to slander and libel, if not outright attack and murder. To Republicans, it is ok to support the lies of a political figure so long as they are on the same political sports-team. Meanwhile, the left still hold their own accountable for even the most minor of infractions.
Under Trump, the GOP sacked this country. They showed the world what they were all about. Their first act as a part was to enact permanent tax cuts for the wealthy, feeding table scraps to the middle class and less-affluent in the form of a reduced and temporary tax cut (one that ended up raising the taxes on most American’s making less than $250,000 per year). His pick for the EPA oversaw the most corrupt EPA in this history of this country, only to be replaced by an oil lobbyist who reaped untold fortunes carving up regulation at the behest of his corporate clients. His head of interior, Ryan Zinke, resigned amid scandal and investigation after leading what is called the most corrupt Dept. of Interior reign in this history of this country. He too was replaced by an Oil lobbyist who used his predecessor as a smokescreen to carve up our lands, and sell them to his clients for oil production. His secretary of education was a billionaire heiress looking to privatize our school system and take away protections for students, teachers, etc. – and this list can go on and on.
The idiom “a broken clock is right twice a day” often rings true about even the worst people, but it is hard to find much of any positive that came from this administration except for this: The Republican Party will need to be reformed now. As it splinters into fringe groups, Democratic unity will prevail on the left for years to come. The threat of Republican radicalization is not over, and it is very likely that the worst is yet to come, but if nothing else, at least there is this: Donald Trump, by emboldening the worst of us, exposed the worst of us for all to see. He exposed the cracks in our democracy, the ways with which it can be exploited, and the dangers of putting faux-nationalist reality-show fascist wannabe demagogue’s in positions of power.
So thank you, President Trump. Your greatest action as President will have been the destruction of the modern GOP.