Another Memo to the Late Party of Reagan

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Donald Trump speaks to South Carolina voters in North Charleston, 19 February 2016. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


To: Republican voters

re: What now? (Follow-up)

So it turns out we weren’t the only ones who noticed. Or, as Steve Benen put it today:

In the same interview, Moore added, “Reagan ran as an ideological conservative. Trump ran as an economic populist. Trump’s victory turned it into the Trump party.”

One of these days, conservatives are going to have to come to terms with the fact that they have no idea what “populism” means.

Indeed, not long after Moore’s remarks, the Republican president-elect, leading the newly transformed “populist working-class party,” indicated a variety of far-right billionaires would join his cabinet, including vulture capitalist Wilbur Ross for the Department of Commerce.

Which was right around the time Republicans celebrated a court ruling blocking President Obama’s policy expanding access to overtime pay for millions of working-class Americans.

Which was right around the time the Associated Press reported―about a month too late―that Trump’s tax plan would actually raise taxes on many middle-class Americans while delivering a windfall to those at the top.

This. Is. Not. Populism.

You’re welcome to try to explain how he’s wrong. And that’s the thing: Whatever else, this is what you voted for. This isn’t about “draining the swamp”, or “making America great”. Mr. Trump isn’t bringing back jobs that aren’t coming back. He isn’t replacing the PPACA with “something terrific”. The only thing you get out of this is supremacism and bigotry, and, you know, that’s the thing about the “alt-Right”; they’re not really so “alt”. That is to say, yeah, we kind of knew the whole time. And you put up a pretty good façade for a long time. But as the president-elect betrays, more and more, campaign rhetoric and supporters alike, what are Republicans going to do?

The rest of us are expecting you to make excuses and fall in line. It would be really, really nice if, just this once, you could defy expectations by moving toward decency.


Image note: Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Benen, Steve. “Meaning of ‘populism’ continues to confound many on the right”. msnbc. 28 November 2016.

Swan, Jonathan. “Trump adviser tells House Republicans: You’re no longer Reagan’s party”. The Hill. 23 November 2016.

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