The last two Republican Presidents aren’t there. The last two Republican presidential candidates aren’t there. The Republican Governor of the state hosting the convention isn’t there. Pat McCrory isn’t there. And former Republican N.C. Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr says he can’t vote for Trump for the nomination or election because “I think he’s singularly unqualified to lead this country.”
What we have here is open warfare between Donald Trump and the Republican Party of the last half-century, from Goldwater to Nixon to Reagan to Bush to Bush to today’s Establishment.
And what karma. Trump won the Republican nomination by shouting out loud the racially charged messages that Republicans have been dog-whistling since Nixon’s Southern Strategy.
From the day he announced and called Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers, Trump’s appeal has been rooted in racism. That’s how he mobilized the peasants to take up pitchforks and torches and storm the Republican Establishment’s castle.
In so doing, he mobilized an army of primary voters who fundamentally reject the true values of the Establishment, which is to serve America’s rich and privileged elite. Exhibit A: Trump’s voters want to rip up the trade deals that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wing of the GOP treasures.
For all the convention talk about making America strong again, Trump also has rejected long-held Republican foreign policy doctrine. He says the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. And it’s the sons and daughters of Trump’s working-class voters who have paid the most for the Republican elite’s mistakes in the Mideast. Europe and America today are bearing the terrorist fallout of that ill-advised invasion.
More karma: If Trump goes down to a historic defeat, he may take the Republican Establishment down with him.
Only one thing might be worse for the Establishment: If Trump wins.
Gary Pearce is a veteran N.C. Democratic strategist. He and Republican strategist Carter Wrenn are writing about the national political conventions for the Observer. They blog at talkingaboutpolitics.com.