National Commentary

Can the GOP Learn Anything?

It’s as if the Republicans are simply incapable of learning anything.

Do they have no endgame other than being boxed into corners more and more and, proverbially speaking, lighting themselves on fire?

Hey, followers of David Koresh, it may be time for you to pack a bag and slip out at night. Hey, followers of the Hale-Bopp cult, it may be that you should substitute your own can of Red Bull for what your chief is telling you to drink.

The cultists of the GOP are being led over a cliff by the worst president in the history of the U.S., and their blinders are preventing them from seeing the many warning signs.

This Tuesday’s elections are just the latest example. The gross failure of the Republicans stems from the decision they made over a decade ago, based on a false and immoral assessment, with Obama in the White House, to tie their fortunes to racial bigotry, xenophobia and hatred.

They were faced with the dilemma of a growing Hispanic electorate in Texas that in just one or two more election cycles would eclipse the majority in that state and turn it, like it did in California, completely away from its white, Anglo-Saxon male dominance.

The internal debate on this had to do with the choice between embracing this new demographic with a welcoming big tent and to win it over that way, or to bash it and drive it out with hatred and disenfranchisement.

Whomever in the party pushed it to the latter option is to blame for everything that Trump now represents and is doing to their party. They chose to deploy their radio talk show flunkies, their disgusting shock-jock TV and radio hate mongers that included the hateful principal of “The Apprentice,” to incite bigotry and the diminution of women, in particular, and to make that into the means to forge a new paradigm for their party.

Many traditional Republicans were simply unaware of the implications of this, and without a lot of enthusiasm, allowed the Washington masterminds of “grasstops” organizing, like Dick Armey of Freedom Works, to advance this approach. They reached into the Alt-Right counterculture of freaks, into the pro-Russian cults that Moscow had been cultivating on a low level on the fringes of U.S. culture since the “detente” influx of the Russian mob into the U.S. in the early 1970s, and the networks of blackmail and intimidation they cultivated, like lowlife real estate landlords in Queens and Manhattan.

Infused with hatred for an African-American in the White House, they morphed first into the so-called Tea Party and then into its successor, the Cult of Trump, an electorate led by lies and a resolution to buy them no matter what.

Now, having elected a small-time crook and ridiculous petty thug into the White House, the GOP is faced with either taking this to its inevitably unhappy outcome, or to break away from the madness, admit the error, and try to rebuild from some other premise.

They’re being held in place for now on the promise of all the GOP-backed judges and others they’re planting into the fabric of the national culture, thanks they think to Trump. But this is wholly misguided because the consequences of Trump, going forward, has been foretold by the results of this Tuesday’s election, and by the passion behind the negative feedback (it’s called “booing”) he encountered during the World Series (“lock him up!”) and even at a kickboxing event in Madison Square Garden, where he was promised a favorable reception.

As much as he fondles from behind the chest of a Nationals baseball player at the White House, or begs voters in Kentucky to win the gubernatorial race for him (which they didn’t), under the growing pressure of a now public Congressional impeachment inquiry, Trump is becoming a hated laughing stock.

Republicans seeking election in 2020 will be ruing the day they’d ever put their stock in this rat-fink. Sadly for them, they’ve doomed their brand to decades if not more of deserved marginalization and as the butt of humiliating nighttime TV jokes. There’s nothing redeeming in this path they’ve chosen.

Nicholas Benton may be emailed at