According to Catherine Rampell at the Washington Post, we now live in a “poisonous, increasingly violent political atmosphere.” She must be correct because each morning this week when I’ve turned on CNN during the six o’clock block, their hosts have been repeating the same thing ad nauseam, stopping only to bring on roundtable guests who also say the same thing. Of course, it’s no fun having such a breathless topic to discuss unless you have someone to blame, right?
The usual pattern on cable news is for the various hosts to begin by saying, “I’m not saying this is directly President Trump’s fault, but…” before going on to explain why it’s totally President Trump’s fault. Rampell, however, offers a refreshingly different take on the subject. She insists that you actually shouldn’t blame Donald Trump. You should blame the entire Republican Party.
The White House says it’s unfair to blame President Trump for our poisonous, increasingly violent political atmosphere. And you know what? They’re right.
Trump isn’t to blame. His entire party is. Because it never had the reckoning it needed after the 2016 election…
But in focusing our anger and debate on Trump, we let so many other Republicans off the hook.
The president is hardly the only elected official who has played footsie with neo-Nazis, far-right thugs and xenophobic conspiracy theorists.
Rampell proceeds to cherry pick a handful of vile acts of violence ascribed to “supporters” of Trump and/or the Republican Party. And to be sure, there have been some despicable cases where criminal psychopaths have chosen to drape their venom in the cloak of some perceived conservative cause taken to a preposterous extreme. (Being concerned about illegal immigration does not equate to wanting to murder every person with a Hispanic sounding last name.)
But since we clearly can’t have this discussion without a dueling chorus of whataboutism, remind me again which conservative cause was being represented by the guy who shot up the practice baseball game? Which Republican platform planks are being championed by the mobs of Antifa thugs terrorizing the streets of many cities? And since the most recent indecency – that being the attack on Tree of Life Synagogue – was committed by a murderous thug who hates Jews, clue me in as to which party defends Israel and which one constantly calls for boycotts and divestments against them while cheering on Palestinian terrorists as freedom fighters. Enough said.
It’s Rampell’s diagnosis of why the GOP is so “wrong” these days which is the real kicker. She claims that Republicans, “learned all the wrong lessons from the 2016 election.” How so? Because in victory, the conservatives were supposed to read the tea leaves and see that “they could no longer exclusively cater to old, white, racially anxious men.”
If this is what passes for political analysis at the Washington Post these days, there are places that require more housecleaning than the GOP. You can’t make everything “racist” by using terms like dog whistle every time someone expresses an opinion you don’t care for. Complaining about George Soros and his deep pocket efforts to promote socialism doesn’t make you an antisemite just because he’s Jewish. It just means your anti-socialist, and if that’s the tag you want to hang around my neck I’ll wear it proudly.
Republicans took the same message from the 2016 elections that Barack Obama shared with us after he took office. “I won.” And to the winner goes the policy-making, at least until a new winner comes along. Spare me the soliloquies about toxic and violent political environments until you’ve cleaned your own house, lady.