***WARNING*** The following post contains spoilers for both the film Despicable Me 2 and the Republican Party.
In the new animated film Despicable Me 2, audiences worldwide are entertained by a new villain to our beloved protagonist Gru: a washed-up supervillain named El Macho. However, the audience initially believes that El Macho is not a supervillain but rather a mild-mannered restaurant owner named Eduardo. Eduardo has a family-owned and operated Mexican restaurant in the mall and is doing his best as a single parent to support his son, Antonio. Eduardo is also a showman as he entertains his patrons with not only food but also devilishly deft dance moves that make the women of the audience swoon and faint. It appears that our friend Gru is way off base in accusing poor working-class Eduardo of being an ex-supervillain.
However, as the film progresses we see Gru’s assertion come to fruition. At a Cinco de Mayo party at Eduardo’s home, Gru follows Eduardo into a secret layer, only to discover that Eduardo is, in fact, El Macho. We learn that El Macho faked his own death and despite his outward appearance and actions, he still yearns to take over the world. Even now with a child and a successful family business, El Macho still reverts back to what makes him happiest: causing havoc. Having had power once before, El Macho knows know addicting it can be and he cannot help but want to get back into power again, no matter what the cost.
Republican Party, does any of this sound familiar?
Obviously, Despicable Me 2 was not written with political undertones. Not even Alex Jones could successfully spin that one. However, the film gets to a storyline that is at the heart of the Republican Party today: re-branding its image. After their historic trouncing in the 2012 elections, Republicans have been scratching their heads to determine the cause of their historic beating. Those “in the bubble” honestly had no idea that their candidate would even lose and had zero idea that their candidate would lose by such a wide margin. Once Karl Rove’s jaw was taken off the Fox Newsroom floor and placed back in his mouth, the Republican party was charged with delving deep into the election results to figure out what exactly went wrong.
Their answer was simple: They needed to re-brand their image. They did not want to be seen as the party of old, White people. Instead, they wanted to branch out and tap into the ever-changing electorate that the nation had in the year 2012. They would become more appealing to women. They would begin a dialogue with Hispanic voters to try and tap into their base. They would address college students and try to convert them to their ideas and beliefs. On paper, it seemed like the GOP was ready to swallow its pride and begin an honest and earnest look at what it would take to once again be successful in national elections.
However, like El Macho, the power and control was just too tempting to pass up.
In recent weeks, the Republicans have done everything in their power to revert to their old, nefarious ways. They have once again revved up the anti-woman engine in states like Texas and Ohio. They have put John Boehner in a corner as he tries to negotiate with the un-negotiable radical Tea Party members in the house to try and pass immigration reform that passed the Senate with 68 votes. They have allowed student loan rates to double, essentially losing out on the support of the majority of recent college grads. At, last but not least, they have twisted and turned in all manners possible to decry and defy the Supreme Court’s recent same-sex marriage rulings.
What Republicans fail to realize is that this re-branding effort isn’t gaining them any new voters. This anti-women, anti-immigration, anti-gay stance might appeal to the radical Tea Party wing, but it isn’t doing anything to help them in the immediate future. Think about the millennial generation that is approaching voting age. These are people who support women’s rights, who support the DREAM act and immigration reform, who want to be able to start their lives with affordable student loans, and who overwhelmingly support gay marriage. Nothing the Republican Party has done since November has helped this generation. The oldest millennials are reaching their early 30s and are starting their own families. The Republican Party is on a track that will not only alienate this generation but the one that follows as well.
For our friend El Macho, eventually his pride leads to his ultimate demise. If Republicans aren’t careful, the exact same fate will await them.