America is on ‘Child Hell Flight’
“I’ve got the next big reality show: We put a bunch of people on a plane, fly them over the Atlantic, then Tom Bergeron comes out and reveals … that the pilot is a six-year-old boy. We call it ‘Child Hell Flight.’” — Jack Donaghy, “30 Rock,” “Reaganing” episode
Mainstream political pundits: If you’re troubled that Trumpism is destroying America, our democracy and our decency, stop blaming the Republican Party.
Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley and even the treasonous Congressional Sedition Caucus aren’t the problem. Nor are the awful Texas and Florida governors Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis, or other terrible GOP governors and state legislators.
Also forget Tucker Carlson and other Fox political entertainers who cheerfully lie to their easily riled and duped fans, the OANN and Newsmax wannabees, right-wing radio bloviators and “news” websites, or Facebook or other “social” media.
Don’t even blame Donald Trump for Trumpism.
Trump, GOP leaders and their official state media do what they do, no matter how horrible, reckless, wrong, dishonest or damaging — and they know it — because they have no choice:
The Deplorables make them do it.
These are, as Hillary Clinton coined five years ago, Trump supporters who hold “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic [and] Islamophobic” views.
They’re people Barack Obama said “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them … as a way to explain their frustrations.”
A Salon columnist recently wrote that seeing the damage the Deplorables have done to America since Clinton’s “gaffe” (defined as accidentally telling the truth), she was going easy on the haters. She actually inspired them.
“Deplorable” is now a badge of honor for the ugliest Americans.
The Deplorables are proud to be contrary, ornery and uneducated because college makes you liberal and stupid, and Trump said he loves the uneducated.
The Deplorables get nasty righteous pleasure sneering at anything their Deplorable media spins that the “Democrat Socialist coastal liberal elites” say or do, even if it’s good and right. For example:
— Distance, mask or vaccinate against Covid-19 to end the pandemic, reopen America once and for all, and save lives, including their own? Hells no.
— Fight climate change that’s wrecking America with historically violent storms, wild fires, flooding, and droughts that are hitting Deplorable families and communities hardest? F*ck that lib sh*t.
— Adopt sensible gun laws to address senseless mass shootings and urban gun crimes? Over my dead body.
— Swallow, spread and act on ridiculous hoaxes, alt-facts, fake studies and conspiracy theories trafficked by internet bottom feeders suckering the stupid for views and money? Duh! Do your research!
— Still believe the “Big Lie” that Democrat voter fraud robbed Trump of reelection, in spite of overwhelmingly confirmed evidence to the contrary? Yep. There’s something fishy that Trump didn’t win.
If Nancy Pelosi said over and over again, “I like beer,” the Deplorables would protest and boycott the liberal beer.
Who are these powerful Deplorables controlling and dictating to the once respectable Grand Old Party?
They’re easy to spot.
— We saw the Deplorables at Trump rallies screaming racist hate, like “Send them back!”
— We saw the Deplorables on J6 beating Blue Lives, waving racist Confederate flags, hanging a noose, swarming and breaking into the U.S. Capitol, desecrating our hallowed halls, and chasing down duly elected lawmakers, and even Trump’s vice president.
— We saw fewer Deplorables at the “Justice for J6” rally because for all their sound and fury, they’re pretty much cowards cosplaying Patrick Henry but unlike Patrick Henry, anonymously hiding behind patriot avatars. Like the Capitol terrorists, they bully but when challenged they play victim, like bullies do.
— You see Deplorables at anti-mask and -vax rallies, protesting for more people and even children to sicken and die for freedom.
— You see Deplorables attacking airline workers because they refuse to mask to protect other people in the cause of freedom.
— You see Deplorables in hospitals on ventilators clinging to life as their families weep because they refused to vax and like Patrick Henry patriotically believed, “Give me liberty or give me death!” And then regretted their choice.
— You hear Deplorables accusing the libs of erasing American heritage by removing Confederate statues and renaming buildings, while also demanding that we erase the American heritage slavery the Confederates fought for. Slavery was a long time ago, let it go, harping on it victimizes innocent White children.
— On a related note, you see Deplorables screaming at school board meetings about “critical race theory” without a damned clue what it means, they’re just parroting their right-wing media that riles them.
— You hear Deplorables getting huffy that they’re not racist, or whatabout defensive that the libs are worse racists, which is a tacit endorsement of racism.
Bless their hearts. The Deplorables mean well. They don’t know any better.
The Republican establishment does know better.
Party leaders are highly educated, elite, wealthy and many are coastal.
They rarely encounter Deplorables in their mansion communities, tucking into tenderloin at $1,000/plate Chamber of Commerce fundraising dinners, sending their kids to elite private schools, or golfing at their exclusive country clubs.
Most Republican elites don’t know many, if any, Deplorables. Except maybe their plumbers, poor cousins, or constituents they sucker to elect them.
But have pity on the party. The GOP’s in a jam.
To borrow from Colonel Jessup in “A Few Good Men,” deep down in places they don’t talk about at parties, elite Republicans want the Deplorables. They need the Deplorables.
As America becomes less White and conservative, the GOP faces extinction like the dinosaurs that gave us fossil fuel companies that enrich the party.
Republicans know they’re barely clinging to power. They lost every presidential popular vote over the past 20 years except for 2004. They recognize they’re only competitive from cheating, whether by gerrymandering, voter suppression, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision lifting the lid from political spending, the Senate filibuster, or various other undemocratic hooks and crooks.
The GOP is also aware it doesn’t have a winning platform, policies or messages that resonate or rally America beyond the shopworn opposition to government and taxes.
This doesn’t work so well anymore as America —including poor Whites — have depended on government to pull them and the country through the pandemic.
Little wonder America is turning away from Republicans.
According to a Gallup survey earlier this year, as explained by MarketWatch:
The number of Americans identifying as Republicans or as independents who lean toward the GOP dropped to 40% in the first quarter of 2021, compared with the number of Democrats or independents leaning toward the Democratic party hitting 49%.
And that nine-percentage-point lead is the greatest Democratic advantage that Gallup has measured since the fourth quarter of 2012, when former President Barack Obama was re-elected.
This explains why Republicans need their Deplorable base way more than the Democrats need their Bernie-AOC-Progressive base.
Under Biden-Pelosi-Schumer, Democrats unlike Republicans have been governing from the sensible center, while reflecting policies that help all working people no matter their politics.
Given this political reality, the GOP inter-party battle between the Decent wing and the Deplorable wing has come to a rough armistice.
Republican Party elites indeed have struck a grand bargain: The Deplorables get to dictate the GOP agenda, and the Decents get to leverage their useful idiots to stay in power and please their wealthy donor class.
With Deplorables dominating the GOP, and the GOP wielding inordinate power in Congress without a majority while dominating states across the country, it’s clear why so many forehead-smacking, dumb, mean, hateful, false, regressive, and mal-informed issues are driving American politics and GOP politicians today.
But let’s not dump on the Deplorables.
It’s not their fault that the Republican Party has put them in the cockpit to fly the country into a mountain.
Have some empathy. The Deplorables have never governed. They don’t know how to govern. They hate government. Most barely know high school civics, how our democratic republic works. They’re classic rebels without a clue. They destroy what they misunderstand with no idea how to build something better. Then they relinquish responsibility for their actions and blame the Democrat liberals.
The Founders never intended the Deplorables to govern. Quite the opposite — they worried about mob rule and put elites in charge. What they didn’t envision is that 244 years later, Republican elites would be so crassly craven as to use the mob for power, and put party and selfishness above country.
So, ok, sorry — I’m wrong. Go ahead and blame the Republican Party. They should know better.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.