That's the theme of today's editorial in the Daily Star by Leonard Pitts Jr. I've been blogging about the the interaction of GOP campaign rhetoric and the attitudes of Republican voters. Pitts expands on that theme.
... the [Republican] party is panicking. In September, Bobby Jindal called Trump "a madman." About two weeks ago came reports of an attempt to lure Mitt Romney into the race. Candidate Jim Gilmore and advisers to candidates Bush and Marco Rubio have dubbed Trump a fascist. Trump, complains the dwindling coven of grown-ups on the right, is doing serious damage to the Republican "brand."
Which he is. But it is difficult to feel sorry for the GOP. After all, it has brought this upon itself.
Keeping the customer satisfied, giving the people what they want, is the fundament of sound business.
More effectively than anyone in recent memory, Trump has transferred that principle to politics. Problem is, it turns out that what a large portion of the Republican faithful wants is racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, the validation of unrealistic fears and the promise of quick fixes to complex problems.
That’s hardly shocking. This is what the party establishment has trained them to want, what it has fed them for years. But it has done so in measured tones and coded language that preserved the fiction of deniability.
Trump’s innovation is his increasingly-apparent lack of interest in deniability.
The GOPlins are climbing out of their caves. They smell blood and now don't care about who finds them repugnant. Their hunt is fed by religious righteous rhetoric and oodles of cash.
Like other great demagogues — George Wallace, Joe McCarthy, Huey Long, Charles Coughlin — [Trump's] appeal has been in the fact that he is blunt, unfiltered, anti-intellectual, full-throated and unapologetic. And one in three Republicans are eating it up like candy.
Mind you, this is after the so-called 2013 "autopsy" wherein the GOP cautioned itself to turn from its angry, monoracial appeal. Two years later, it doubles down on that appeal instead.
And though candidate Trump would be a disaster for the Republicans, he would also be one for the nation, effectively rendering ours a one-party system. But maybe that’s the wake-up call some of us require to end this dangerous flirtation with extremism.
"You got to give the people what they want," says an old song.
Truth is, sometimes it’s better if you don’t.