The founders recognized that ignorance and despotism are made for each other. They understood that an uninformed electorate can succumb to arbitrary governments, political opportunists and inequality. Therefore, they sought a republic of well informed citizens to distinguish the worthy from the treacherous and to defend against reckless demagogues. In spite of this, the Republican party has become an instrument for despots. A sideshow of social dropouts and extremist who once lurked exclusively at the fringes of American politics. For the past thirty-five years’ Republicans have been promoting the virtues of perpetual war, trickle-down economics, corporate welfare and wealthy tax cuts to an uninformed middleclass. Their reckless pandering to self-affirming white prejudices and blue-collar fears has separated their constituents from reality. The result is a cul-de-sac of disenfranchised, angry voters let out of their cages to pursue a charlatan with a cocktail of appalling fantasies on a rampage of political arson.
The question is will the party of Lincoln rediscover its principles and values and free themselves from the irons of extremism in enough time to avoid this doomsday scenario. Or will they once again squander the opportunity, clinging to unrealistic expectations that support the costliest healthcare and the largest military in the world with the lowest taxation rates in history while peddling antiquated notions of immigrants, minorities, public sector employees and welfare recipients as shirkers and cheats.
The Republican party will need to determine if they are willing to accept responsibility for the policies which sold-out their constituency while dismantling the middle-class and ultimately cast this deplorable candidate back to the political swamp from which he rose.