Yesterday’s post dealt with Roy Moore’s decisive, ten-point victory over Luther Strange in this week’s Alabama GOP primary. Moore won although Strange had the (mostly) full-throated support of Donald Trump.
Moore’s win suggests that– although Trump’s election may have “unleashed” the party’s rabid base– “the Donald” cannot control it.
The GOP’s Congressional leadership is similarly unable to control the members of what has been called the “lunatic caucus”–Representatives sent to Washington from deep-red gerrymandered districts controlled by that same base.
It’s hard for many of us to wrap our heads around the reality of today’s Republican Party. For those of us who once worked for a very different GOP, the current iteration is nothing short of tragic. All political parties have their fringe crazies–the Democrats are certainly not immune–but in the GOP, the crazies have taken control; sane, moderate, fiscally prudent and socially tolerant Republicans have retreated or departed– or been ejected to taunts of “RINO.”
The number of American voters who identify as Republicans has diminished–in 2016, Gallup put it at 26%– but most of those who remain are dramatically different from even their most conservative antecedents. To the extent they have actual policy preferences, rather than the free-floating animus and overt racism that found its champion in Trump, those preferences are represented by Moore and his ilk.
Roy Moore embodies what the majority of today’s GOP–its most reliable voters, its “base”–support. And that reality is absolutely terrifying, not just because our democratic system requires two sane, adult parties in order to function, but because Moore’s beliefs aren’t just the ravings of a lunatic (although they certainly are that), they’re incompatible with every principle of the American Constitution and legal system.
Think I’m exaggerating?
Before the primary election, The Daily Beast dug out statements Moore has made over the years. During a speech he gave to a fundamentalist Christian political organization, Operation Save America, he said
He has frequently charged that Islam is a “false religion” that goes “against the American way of life.”
“[Islam is] a faith that conflicts with the First Amendment of the Constitution,” Moore said during a 2007 radio interview with Michelangelo Signorile, “The Constitution and Declaration of Independence has a direct reference to the Holy Scriptures.”
His homophobia is notorious. In a custody decision, he wrote that homosexuality is “an inherent evil against which children must be protected.”
CNN also uncovered a 2005 interview between Moore and Bill Press during C-SPAN2’s After Words where he compared homosexuality to bestiality.
“Just because it’s done behind closed doors, it can still be prohibited by state law. Do you know that bestiality, the relationship between man and beast is prohibited in every state?” Moore told Press. When asked if Moore was comparing homosexuality to bestiality, he replied, “It’s the same thing.”
Moore rejects evolution. He attributes the 9/11 attacks to “God’s retribution” for our national “immorality,” and insists (against all historical evidence and the text of the Constitution) that the Founders established America as a “Christian Nation.”
These and similar sentiments–including a deep commitment to White Supremacy– are the banners under which today’s Republicans march. The GOP is now the party of Donald Trump and Roy Moore and Mike Pence–proud racists dismissive of history, ignorant of science and political philosophy, disinterested in actual governance, and obsessed with their own self-importance.
This is what is left of a once Grand Old Party.
Abraham Lincoln weeps.