BooMan has a very good post on the current state of carnage that is today’s Republican Party and why someone like Donald Trump is leading in the polls.
What needs to be understood, first and foremost, is that we’re nearing the logical conclusion of a sequence of decisions that the right has made over the last several decades to delegitimize our core institutions. In this I include most obviously the political chattering class, but also the federal government (the presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court), the Republican leadership, academia, and more recently even the scientific community. The result is that a huge swath of the right-leaning electorate can no longer be reached. The only messengers who still have credibility with these folks are the ones who are willing to call bullshit on the whole enchilada.
Keep a couple of important concepts in mind. First, the right hasn’t just been sold a bill of goods on things like voter fraud and Benghazi and Obamacare. They’ve also been promised a bunch of things that the Republican politicians either had no ability or no intention to fulfill. The Republican bigwigs don’t want to ban abortion. This isn’t Falangist Spain or Paraguay or Saudi Arabia. This isn’t Greece, either, and the GOP leaders have no desire to abolish the IRS. When the Republicans last had a man in the Oval Office, he vastly increased the power of the Department of Education and created a huge new prescription drug entitlement program for the elderly. This wasn’t some aberration. The Republicans who hold federal office aren’t nearly as opposed to federal power as they’d like their base of supporters to believe. They also have the ability to jettison their own bullshit when the bullshit hits the fan, which is why they pay our debts and why they gave the banks a huge bailout despite it contradicting their previously declared ideology. What we’re seeing now is a growing realization that nominating another Bush and expecting these promises to be kept is Einstein’s definition of insanity.
The second thing to keep in mind is that the right has been enduring a string of brutal defeats which have only been mitigated somewhat by their successes in the last two midterm elections. The Supreme Court just legalized gay marriage in all 50 states, which wasn’t what the right had in mind when they went to polls in droves in 2004 to pass anti-gay marriage initiatives and referendums. We just normalized relations with Cuba and are talking about making an historic agreement with Iran. The Confederate Flag just lost its last semblance of official respectability. The Affordable Care Act survived its last serious legal challenge and is here to stay.
And they’ve been badly discredited, too. Iraq didn’t go as planned. Gitmo didn’t go as planned. Torturing folks didn’t go as planned. Massive tax cuts and deregulation didn’t go as planned.
So, when you add all of this up, you have a movement that is completely lost at sea with terrible morale.
It’s no wonder, then, that someone like Donald Trump could come along and distract the crowds and the media with his Roman Candle vocal eruptions and attacks on his fellow candidates. It’s no wonder that sixteen other people who in the normal world of political reality would stand as much a chance of being elected President of the United States as Kim Jong-un of North Korea has of winning the Nobel Peace Prize are running for the office anyway. Desperate people do truly desperate things and the GOP has been watching the air run out of their tires for about fifteen years now.
So when the GOP floats the possibility of someone like Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Jim Gilmore, Ted Cruz, or Rand Paul as being a viable candidate, you know how, as BooMan says, they are “truly, finally, totally fucked up.”