To the Editor: Kudos to the author of a letter appearing in the 11/22 edition of the Chief-Leader calling out GOP leaders for their spineless acquiescence to President Trump. However, there was one thing this letter failed to touch upon—the source of the fear driving Republican elected officials to abdicate their sworn responsibilities.
To paraphrase Meghan Trainor, it’s all about that base—the 40 percent of the American electorate that stands by the President regardless of whatever atrocity he has most recently committed, and without which, no GOP candidate or incumbent can hope to win office.
As far as I can tell, this base consists of three components. The smallest one is a contingent of very greedy businessmen and wealthy investors who want no rules constraining them, wish to pay little or no taxes and care for no one other than themselves; in other words, kindred spirits of Mr. Trump.
The next group is quite larger and is made up of hypocrites posing as ultra-religious Christians. They tolerate a very un-Christian, twice-divorced serial philanderer who bribes his mistresses into silence, steals from charity, worships money and lies about, well, everything. They do so because Mr. Trump appoints judges who they believe will overturn abortion and LGBT rights. These folks are kindred spirits of Vice President Pence, a man who also overlooks Mr. Trump’s sins in pursuance of the greater good—in this case the political advancement of Mike Pence.
The final and largest contingent comprising the Trump base are people who often self-identify as “real” Americans. This part of the base fears an imaginary dystopian America where shifting demographics threatens their very existence. As such, their support is largely tied to immigration or more precisely, non-immigration.
To deflect criticism that racism underlies this world view, cover stories have been used over the years. One popular theme was a patriotic appeal; foreign workers take jobs away and depress wages. However, with unemployment rates at or below 5 percent since 2015, the level economists consider “full employment” where anyone who wants a job can find the hours they want at fair wages, this argument has become irrelevant. So, the “real” Americans have pivoted to the rationale of “the rule of law,” often saying they have no problem with immigrants, providing they come here legally.
But this position, also, no longer holds water as Mr. Trump is re-writing the rules—halving immigration quotas, denying work visas, eliminating asylum seekers, raising immigration fees, imposing English-language and financial requirements—effectively making legal migration to the U.S. so difficult as to be practically impossible. All with the full support of his base.
The sad truth is that unless and until the base stands up to Mr. Trump, GOP lawmakers are unlikely to do so and their party will continue to rot away. Let’s all pray our democracy can survive the process.
Retired 28-year DOT Employee
We depend on the support of readers like you to help keep our publication strong and independent. Join us.