If you missed the Earth-shattering news earlier this month, Paul Ryan has overcome his initial objections and has decided to endorse Donald Trump for President. He’ll even go the extra mile and try to minimize some of those nasty deportation rumors!
Well, of course he will! What did you expect him to do, show some principles? Condemn his own party’s nominee as being fundamentally unfit for public office, let alone the nation’s highest office? Resign from his job as Speaker of the House and quit the Republican Party in an act of protest? Do something for the good of the country? Be a voice of reason in a party gone mad? Exhibit the slightest bit of genuine backbone in the face of the worst thing to happen to U.S. politics in 50 years? Come right out and say, “My party’s primary voters are fucking insane; they are racist idiots and they are too stupid to be allowed to vote or exercise other basic responsibilities of citizenship?” (Seriously: Trump voters don’t just vote – they also are allowed to drive cars and own guns and serve on juries where they have the power to determine the guilt of criminal defendants.)
That sort of leader—principled, concerned about the common good, willing to take big risks with his own career to do the right thing—is not the sort of person that Paul Ryan is. Paul Ryan gets depicted as being a sober minded, fresh-faced, policy-minded, Major National Figure and future leader of the Republican Party, but he’s really just a front-running, self-serving, ineffectual weenie. And just because he’s Speaker of the House doesn’t mean he has any actual control over his party—the Republican “establishment” has happily handed the steering wheel to your drunken uncle from Thanksgiving dinner.
Can we all stop pretending that Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney or Bill Kristol or anyone else in the Republican Party is somehow going to step in and save us from Donald Trump? It’s not going to happen. This party of willfully ignorant gun fetishists, unrepentant racists, closeted Ned Flanders-esque Bible thumpers, and gynophobic Ayn Rand fanboys was never going to get its shit together in time to stop Trump. Today’s Republican Party has no reverence for “the establishment!” They don’t give a damn about what Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney or Bill Kristol has to say! There’s no viable, reasonable, electable third-party candidate with charisma and common sense bipartisan ideas who’s waiting in the wings to save us from the next 5 months of Trump vs. Hillary!
That’s been the most hilarious thing about this yearlong shit blizzard of a Republican primary campaign: the lingering idea that there are still responsible, thoughtful grown-ups in the Republican Party who could rally their forces to step in and Stop Trump before it was too late! But no one cares! That’s the big lie of the last 40 years of the Republican Party, that it’s “the party of ideas!” There are all these frilly cravat-wearing “intellectual Republicans” like David Brooks and George Will who act like the Republican Party is based on a consistent foundation of ideas. They act like “the conservative movement” (I love how they use the word “movement,” as if conservative white men are some kind of long-oppressed minority group that’s getting mauled by police dogs and blasted with fire hoses) is all about principled concern for the proper role of government and enhancing individual liberty, and all that elitist William F. Buckley drivel—as if your typical suburban Republican NASCAR dad has ever read a single issue of National Review in his life.
But Trump has blown the lid off of all this bullshit! Because the truth is: the Republican Party isn’t about “ideas” at all—it’s all about race hate! Today’s Republican Party has no organizing principles other than shortsighted fear and reckless hate. By nominating Trump for President, Republican primary voters have sent a powerful message, and that message is: “DURRRRRR! Barack Obama is a poopy-face Muslim fart-butt! DERRRRRRP!”
That’s right: America’s worst white men have decided to throw a temper tantrum and make a mess. Trump is the official candidate of white nationalism and the grossest, tackiest, most mayonnaise-slathered elements of American white culture; even aside from his blatantly racist campaign, Trump got the bulk of his support in the primary from white male voters, and he is going to get a big majority of the white male vote in November; this one really is all our fault, white guys.
Donald Trump is a disaster for democracy, but don’t worry! Just like every other time in our history, America’s going to rely on women and minorities to bail us out of this mess. It doesn’t matter how many lukewarm, reluctant endorsements Trump gets from dweebs like Paul Ryan; as long as women, minorities and millennials show up to vote against him in November, Trump is screwed.
It’s too much to expect a party leader like Paul Ryan to make a grand, defiant, self-sacrificing gesture against Donald Trump—Ryan has no real leverage over Trump, and he was always going to fall in line behind his party’s nominee. Ryan is most likely betting (hoping?) that Trump is going to lose in November, and that it’s in his own best interest to play nice with Trump to avoid alienating Trump’s voter base, and then after the party takes its beating in November, Ryan and other establishment Republicans can pick up the pieces and try to point their party in a more electable direction for the future. I don’t envy them: they’re about to lose this election in a big way that could ruin their party’s image for a generation to come.
And even after Trump loses, we still probably haven’t seen the end of this downward spiral of Republican self-defeating rage. Republicans lost the White House to a Black guy for 8 years, and it made them so mad that they decided to self-destruct. So just imagine how angry they’re going to be in November when they lose the White House to A GIRL.