The GOP has gone to POT

But what I see now, where I have a president who acknowledges the racism on the other side is okay, who refers to the homeland that my family came from as a “shithole,” I know that’s not my party. I know that’s not conservatism. I know that’s not Republicanism. And so that, for me, engages up for me the fight. I just think it’s worth the fight to prove that that’s not who we are. – Michael Steele, former chair of the national Republican Party

The question for Steele and like-minded Republicans: Is it too late to save the Republican Party, which has gone from the GOP to POT: Party of Trump?

The bill of particulars is lengthy:

The Republican Party has become a party of moral relativism, populated by religious leaders who’ve abandoned morality and propriety by excusing and defending a sexual predator, and a party of moral equivalence by holding that white supremacists are as righteous as those resisting them.

It’s become home for scoundrels, unhinged, tin-hat wearers engaged in conspiracy theories about a fantastical construct they’ve dubbed Deep State and other fantasies created and promulgated by a whacko shock-jock who insists the massacre of the children at Sandy Hook Elementary did not happen.

Republicans have forfeited the law-and-order mantle with their attacks on the FBI and courts—our independent judiciary—a pillar of our constitutional republic. The Party is compromising national security and helping to corrupt our democratic process by minimizing the meddling in our 2016 election by a hostile power, even as that power works to manipulate the upcoming 2018 and 2020 elections. Compounding that, it is aiding and abetting the cover up of the interference.

The Republican Party is undermining our democracy with incessant attacks on the free press, the second pillar of the republic, by labeling news contrary to its leader as “fake”; with its fine-tuned gerrymandering, so to guarantee its majority even when it’s the minority vis-à-vis the general population; and with its efforts to repress the right to vote, a third pillar of the republic, by the poor and citizens of color.

Finally, the Party is led by profligates who thought nothing of laying another 1.5 trillion dollars in debt on their children so to fatten their wealthy and corporate donors.

While these are damning charges made out of serious concern for our country, I stand with good company. Michael Steele conservatives, ones with whom I often disagree but who provide thoughtful, constructive points of view on policy that help progressives and others see issues from another perspective, have eloquently spoken out. Among them: Michael Gerson, Joe Scarborough, George Will, Senator Jeff Flake, Jennifer Rubin, and of late, the Denver Post’s Mario Nicolais, who has brought a much-needed authentic conservative voice to Colorado.

I can hear detractors howling it’s unfair to broad-brush the Republican Party and, by inference, every Republican, because of their leader’s behavior. The problem is that unless individuals like the aforementioned speak out and condemn his and his acolytes’ behaviors, they implicitly are stating they condone and approve their leader’s behavior.

Now, I can hear the what-about argument given Bill Clinton’s behavior. But there is a sizeable difference between Democrats then and Republicans now.

As Joe Scarborough points out: “The number of Republicans back then saying Clinton did not provide good moral leadership, 91 percent, was similar to the 96 percent of Democrats who say Trump does not provide moral leadership today. The difference: Democrats disapproved of Clinton’s morality by 2 to 1 (65 to 33 percent), even as they overwhelmingly approved of his job performance. Only 16 percent of Republicans today say Trump does not provide moral leadership.”

The numbers don’t lie. They’re not fake news.

A fault line between traditional and new-day conservatives is growing within the Party. If it continues, the Party could go the way of the Whigs, its predecessor. And politics, like nature, abhors a void.

Yesterday was Ronald Reagan’s birthday and Monday will be Abraham Lincoln’s. One wonders what the Gipper and Honest Abe would say to the serial liar who is their heir and to their Republican posterity.

Note: This the first in a series on the state of our politics.

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