Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Dogwhistles to bullhorns

Melissa McEwen of Shakesville has, with this campaign season, started a series of posts, of which there will likely be many more. She has done, and will continue to do, one of these posts every time a GOP leader wrings his (definitely his) hands and wails about how Trump and Cruz are ruining the party.

Nope, says McEwen, Trump and Cruz have merely replaced the dogwhistles with bullhorns. So behold your roosting chickens.

In this particular post she explores in detail how the GOP got into this situation. I could quote a deal of this long post. It is that insightful. Alas, I'll settle for a summary.

For a long time the GOP has been selling a dream. It is a dream of what life supposedly was in the 1950s, containing beautiful suburban homes with white picket fences and with men going off to work and wives doting on babies. Dad had a secure job with a pension and a promise of a gold watch after a long career with one company. There was no "disillusionment, dispossession, or a lack of opportunity."

Of course, this little suburban paradise (which never existed) also has deep traditions of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Also of course, the GOP couldn't, and had no intention of trying to, deliver this paradise. What they delivered were jobs moved overseas and a tattered social safety net along with tax reductions for the rich.

So we get to the second half of what the GOP sold: We couldn't deliver that dream to you because of progressives, because of feminists and gays, because of those undocumented immigrants, because of that dark-skinned president.

And a lot of people whose dreams were dashed are now angry. And they quickly blamed who the GOP told them to blame, exploiting prejudices along the way. These people certainly weren't going to exclaim, "I've been misled!"

But now they have candidates who refuse to exploit those prejudices with a wink and a nod, but know their base so well they can do away with niceties. Yes, the chickens have come home to roost.

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