A personality cult is not a political party

Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

The FilAm Editorial

Once upon a time there was a Grand Old Party. Its first president was Abraham Lincoln who famously abolished slavery in America. Its principles were rooted in classical conservatism, espousing free trade and limiting social welfare.

Over the years, the Republican Party veered Right, developed a more defined ideology defending gun rights, opposing abortion, curtailing immigration, and providing tax breaks to the elite. It used to be the party was respectful of science. Today, the same party has raced to the extreme Right. It is currently led by xenophobes who worship at the foot of Donald Trump and embrace the canard that the 2020 elections won by Joe Biden was marred by massive fraud. The party’s prominent leaders include personalities involved in sex trafficking, corruption, treasonous collaboration with the Russians, and conspiracy theorists who reject science especially in their attitudes toward the coronavirus and climate change. The Trump-led faction of the GOP is behind the January 6 insurrection that has caused colossal damage to American democracy.

When one looks at the lineup of potential GOP leaders today, they are increasingly looking like a roster of Mafia mugshots. The GOP is now a house divided with no clear ideology to sustain it. They had no platform in the 2020 elections. The pro-Trumps believe only he can win back the White House and Congress in 2024; the anti-Trumps see him as a disgrace who “betrayed” the office of the president and his oath.

The moderate Eisenhower

There was a time when the GOP represented the best of conservative values in middle America.

Let’s go back to Dwight ‘Ike’ Eisenhower, the general who defeated the Nazis in Europe  and the first Republican in his time to win the presidency after 20 years of Democratic rule. He is the president credited with creating the Interstate highway system, winding down the Korean war, and running a government where corporate tax rates topped 50 percent. Today, those rates are down to 21 percent.

As an aside, he served in Manila as an aide to Douglas MacArthur before the war.

Ike is deemed a moderate, a dirty word in the GOP. If he were around today, he would probably be booted out like Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney who has a fondness for the truth and does not mind saying it like it is. For defending the legitimacy of the 2020 elections, she was ousted as the third-ranking House Republican and replaced by a Donald loyalist, someone who has called the former president “a critical part of our Republican team.”

What does it say about a party when its so-called leaders cower before Trump and, like the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s, lie 24/7, commit atrocities and crimes against humanity by separating children from their parents?

The elements of the GOP who would not stand for this should indeed break away and form their own party. For conservatism to survive as a governing ideology, they need to assert the original vision of the Republican Party as a counterbalance to the liberal outlook of the Democrats. You could debate with the GOP then over policy. These days, they behave like fanatics who consider opposing views like it was an attack on their faith. A personality cult is not a party.

(C) The FilAm 2021

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