Over the last several weeks, I have written columns in which I argue that the MAGA ‘movement is nothing more than a digital invention which will shortly follow its leader into his well-earned obscurity and disappear. But the more I think about how the GOP has cynically embraced ultra-white nationalism and hyper-patriotic venom over the years, the more I am coming to believe that I’d rather see the GOP disappear with the MAGA movement picking up the scraps.
Let’s go back to when the GOP first started promoting itself as the party that would protect America’s most sacred traditions and values, which was the 1964 Goldwater campaign. For the first time since the end of World War II, the GOP decided that Blacks were becoming more of a threat than all those home-grown Communists, a.k.a., a Red under every bed.
In 1968, Nixon took the racist argument a little further, primarily to prevent George Wallace from taking Southern electoral votes away from the GOP. So, Nixon had his Vice President, Spiro Agnew, campaign through the old Confederacy telling all the rednecks and racists that the 1965 Civil Rights bill would stay on the books but wouldn’t be enforced.
Incidentally, if you want to read a clever little book about how Agnew’s 1973 resignation was a remarkable harbinger of things to come (i.e., the end of the Trump regime), take a look at Bag Man, by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz. Think history doesn’t repeat itself both as tragedy and as farce? Think again.
Ever since 1968, the GOP has been playing the race card because without the 175 electoral votes from the 13 Confederate states, they would have become a permanent, minority party. But cracks in the racist edifice have started to appear and widen, first Virginia, then Florida, now Georgia, North Carolina and Texas are all slowly but surely moving out of the racist orbit.
So along comes Trump. And what does he do to keep the red states in line? He adopts and promotes the most virulent racist narrative of all time, not only to shore up the Southern states, but maybe to bring the racists out from underneath the rocks in some Northern states as well.
If anyone out there thinks the bedrock of the MAGA movement is anything other than overt racism, please let me know. Let’s remember that it was Trump who referred to a local Republican official (a guy who subsequently quit the GOP) as “my African-American” in a rally held in California of all places in June, 2016. And the line drew big laughs from the crowd.
I’m not saying or implying that someone who voted for Trump is a racist. If anything, I believe that most of Trump’s voters, like most of Biden’s voters (like me), voted for him because he was the GOP candidate, regardless of what he did or said. But when someone gets up in front of a video camera and says he wants to ‘take the country back,’ those are barely disguised code words for making the country White all over again.
The only reason why the MAGA bunch haven’t broken away officially from the GOP is that they know that such a move would make the entire United States, politically speaking, into a blue zone. Don’t believe me? Take a look at how the 2020 election rolled out in a deep-red state like Wyoming or North Dakota. Cut the GOP vote in half and guess who wins those states?
Frankly, I like the idea of Democrats controlling the political apparatus from end to end. The fact that we have a ‘two-party’ system doesn’t mean that we need to let both parties share in governing things.
As far as I’m concerned, the fact that a majority of GOP House and Senate members are unwilling to stand up and condemn Trump for telling the MAGA crew to go to the Capitol and behave like a bunch of jerks, disqualifies them from exercising any political authority at all.
What to get rid of the GOP? Let’s hope (and help) the MAGA movement grow.