Trump, the GOP, and the Fork in the Road
By Shaun Lewis
A few days ago, it became apparent that Donald Trump is all but the GOP candidate for the Office of President of the United States of America.
So, like any other good commentator, I asked 2 important questions:
- How did it happen?
- What is Social Media Saying?
The answer to the first question is a much longer and antiquated answer, so I start with the latter. I opened up Twitter and Facebook to see an explosion of emotions from conservatives. The “Pro-Trump” and the “Never-Trump” people were attacking each other viciously. It was like the last scene of the Mel Brooks comedy “Blazing Saddles” where EVERYONE was fighting, and sometimes even friends were accidentally hitting each other.
This brought me back to the first question “How did it happen?”
We got to this situation well before Donald Trump formed an exploratory committee or Gov. Mike Huckabee had a book to sell (seriously, the only reason he ran). The GOP has been screwing with voters for the last few elections, and the voters were getting fed up with the Grand Old Party.
Let’s go back to the 2014 midterms where the GOP was touting “true conservatives” and winning the house and the senate to have full control of Congress. The country was weary of the Obama Administation and Congress. Conservatives were seeing their rights under attack daily. People were worried about their Religious Freedoms, their right to bear arms, health care and more. They were nervous, scared and on edge. The incident in Ferguson Missouri was front and center in the news, the economy wasn’t recovering, we were starting to hear about ISIS more and Bruce Jenner was still, well, Bruce Jenner. The country was in a dismal position, and here comes the GOP.
With Reince Priebus at the helm, the GOP was seemingly trying to become the stabilizing force. The GOP attacks on the Tea Party candidates had lessened (slightly) and the party was seemingly embracing more “traditional” conservatives who were running for congress. Fresh off the “We have to fight Obamacare and stand up to the Left” soap box speeches, we ushered in some new blood and changed the tune of some of the older blood. It was November 2014, and the country appeared to be heading in the right direction. Hell, even John Boehner and Mitch McConnell sounded like actual conservatives.
Then January 2015 came around, and the changes were all but ripe to make some headway in government. The champions of smaller government and individual liberty were poised to take charge. We were told “no more politics as usual,” the dependable people were going to start the good fight and take it to Washington on behalf of the voters.
I think it was sometime in April 2014 that most conservatives realized we had been duped again. Boehner was back to giving back rubs to President Obama, Mitch McConnell was back to suppressing the “junior senators” and only pushing whatever the hell he felt like, which was usually a pork filled bill for his state. Most conservatives felt betrayed and suckered yet again.
We did have a few that kept swinging for the fence; Sen. Ted Cruz along with others did keep trying to do what they campaigned on. But, alas, the leadership in congress and the party in general were the same feckless, power hungry, do nothing politicians that we had come to loathe. The likes of Rep. Peter King of New York talking more like a leftist than a Republican. It was, in my opinion, the last slap to the face of the conservatives in this country, and I wasn’t alone in this thought process.
For months we all took to social media, calling them out on stupid votes or spineless speeches. Railed against John Boehner and demanded his resignation. We were furious, and we were letting the do nothing politicians and GOP leadership know it!
Once again, they did NOTHING.
Then, the beginning of the presidential election cycle began. We all knew Hillary was jumping in. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rick Perry and others were sharpening their debate skills. A few, otherwise “not serious” candidates also tossed their hats in the ring, including Donald Trump, Rick Santorum and a few others. Candidates who would make some noise, but not really do a lot of “damage,” per se.
Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. John Kasich, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Marco Rubio jumped in the race as the “leading potentials” as far as the well-known, Republican Candidates who had a chance at winning the nomination. If you asked me back in November 2015, I would have said that Sen. Cruz and Rubio would probably be the President and Vice President Republican ticket and I was fairly “ok” with that ticket. But, there were 17 candidates and a long, long way to go.
As time progressed, the field lessened, it became obvious that this wasn’t going to be a “normal” election. Candidates who should have been doing well based on their past performance were polling dismally, minus Cruz and Rubio. Kasich never really HAD good numbers, Jindal never really caught on. It was, however, apparent that Donald Trump was doing much better than expected and hanging in with Cruz and Rubio. Why?
The answer was fairly easy: the party was fractured into 3 separate categories. The Right Center – Rubio, The traditional conservative – Cruz, and the pissed off at the GOP/Politicians – Trump. Then, the primaries started and so did the fight.
Cruz supporters attacking Trump, Rubio attacking Trump, the GOP attacking Trump. Hell, THEY DUSTED OFF MITT ROMNEY IN A LAST DITCH EFFORT, but to no avail. Trump was gaining delegates and supporters in a pace that wasn’t being matched by the other candidates (there is a reason I am not mentioning Kasich)
WHY? Well, Rubio has become more of a rank and file Republican, and seeing how the GOP screwed us after the midterms, his campaign’s demise was all but obvious, and just to prove it, he held on longer than he should have.
The Cruz Campaign was going along well, and he was debating well, but he wasn’t reaching a core group, the “I am sick of politicians and pissed off segment.” After the GOP went semi-nuclear trying to drop Trump with Romney, it became obvious to many that the GOP was starting to warm up to Cruz, or at least willing to give him a bump by trying to take down Trump, and that struck a chord with a lot of people. Was the Tea Party candidate, and evangelical conservative Sen. Ted Cruz working with (*gasp) the GOP elite? We may never know, but many assumed they were. WHY??
TRUMP! The GOP Elite was afraid of Trump. You see, the GOP ducked a party take over with the Tea Party Movement a few years back. The Tea Party had some steam and was gaining, however small, seats and power in the GOP and congress, the GOP knew it and HATED It. Now, you have Trump running around talking about building walls, standing up to other countries and “Making America Great” and people are listening and responding, fairly rapidly.
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