It is curious that after Donald Trump won a couple of primaries, everywhere one turns there are stories about the Republican establishment’s anguished fits over the hotel magnate taking control of the party. However “concerned” the party elite and their donors may be, it is more likely they are upset that Trump swooped in and took advantage of the establishment’s eight year propaganda and conditioning campaign; the one that created the Donald’s passionate supporters.
What is a mystery, really, is why the Party elite and establishment are not wholeheartedly embracing Trump as the RNC’s natural standard bearer. He is, by any measure, the epitome of a neo-conservative hero and the perfect representation of everything Republicans have promised the base they would deliver for at least the past four years; likely the past eight years since Barack Obama became a national figure.
The only thing Trump is doing that bothers the GOP establishment is repeating on the national stage, at rallies and on the campaign trail what the party has preached for eight years and what every other Republican has said in semi-isolated environs. Remember, since Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, the Republican establishment and their powerful money machine have fostered and exploited hate, white-rage, and paranoia to incite its base and subsequently set the stage for a Trump-like character’s rise to power.
Oh it is true that virtually all of the GOP presidential candidates embrace the nasty rhetoric the Republican base is lapping up from Trump, they are just too timid to say out loud what the base craves, yes craves, to hear. It is worth noting that in 2012 at the RNC convention Senator Lindsey Graham warned the Party elite that “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.” Graham’s remark was likely right “for the long term;” but the party’s crusade over seven-and-a-half years has generated more than enough of the “angry white” base the Donald is riding toward the Republican nomination.
It may be true that the establishment reserved any blatant hate-mongering for non-white, non-Christian, and non-conservatives for its closest insiders and private meetings, but it did use Barack Obama as a surrogate for everything the GOP base was conditioned to hate. In fact, the hate-mongering began in earnest during the 2008 general election campaign when Senator John McCain unleashed Sarah Palin on the country to launch the now-notorious “explosion of right-wing loathing and crusade of animosity” towards anything and anyone not white and not conservative.
Palin, like Trump, was unafraid to say in public what the party establishment and base sincerely believed, and although they lost the election, they found an effective tool to incite a virulent base ready to answer the call to action against the rest of the nation they considered “un-American;” minorities, immigrants, and non-conservatives; something the party elite embraced to take control of Congress and the majority of states in just a few short years.
It was not just Palin; the entire party was, and still are, using mean-spirited attempts to delegitimize President Obama and his supporters as not real Americans because they are Americans who are not rich and not white. When the President took office, that hate-mongering intensified to epic proportions and the party elite that is now anguished over Trump were instrumental in fueling support for Republican obstruction that has always been enabled by sheer hatred for “the other.” It is why Trump’s promise to excise “the other,” no matter what kind of other, from America sounds reasonable to the GOP base that support Trump in droves.
It is reasonable to assume that the people supporting Trump do so in part because he promises to “make America great again” by clearing America of anyone the GOP claims is not American. Those particular “anyones,” immigrants, Muslims and minorities are surrogates for President Obama that the Republicans spent the past seven years claiming hates America, is not American, and wants to destroy the nation. In fact, Republican elites claim that “the President does not love America,” he wants “to take America down,” and has worked tirelessly to “deliberately weaken the United States;” a claim Marco Rubio has been making on the campaign trail.
Republicans have not just accepted the uncivil discourse Trump uses to great effect, they have “encouraged and exploited it;” they cannot now claim it is out-of-bounds or untoward just because it is not their candidate of choice using it to great success. As one journalist noted, “the GOP raised the expectations of its Obama-detesting base and primed the pump for Trump leaving little wonder that a xenophobic and misogynistic bigot and bully who bashes immigrants and calls for a Muslim ban should now find a receptive audience within the GOP’s electorate.”
The Republican establishment, including its wealthy donor base, have no legitimate right to ever complain about Donald Trump’s rise to power any more than they would complain about Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or any other candidate for the presidency. Every last one of the GOP candidates embrace the hate, anger, and paranoia the establishment cultivated toward whomever they claim is “not American,” but Trump is unafraid to use it to his own advantage.
It is just as likely that Republicans are angry that Trump is reaping the benefits of all their hard work as they are worried he is tarnishing the Republican brand. A brand that is already so dirty and nasty that it is a major mystery why they are terrified of, and oppose, the man who best represents the Republican brand the party elite and their wealthy donors created.