The Party of Wall Street Sustained On A Base OF Bigotry Is In Trouble

There came a time many years ago when Wall Street realized that its self interest could no longer be sustained by the moneyed class alone. So when the Democrats began backing civil rights, Republicans immediately began pandering to fundamentalists of various persuasions — Dixiecrats, evangelical Christians, etc.

In time conservative talk radio and Fox News was devised as the GOP’s propaganda machine to convince millions to support political shills whom actually represented Wall Interests and not their own (See the book What’s the Matter with Kansas).

But then somewhere along the line Texas Representative Dick Armey noticed that the Wall Street element of the GOP was far exceeded by its know-nothing, fundamentalist base. Thus Mr. Army and his ilk invented the Tea Party in order to wrestler power from the Eastern establishment.

Almost before they knew what hit them Tea Party crazies, via gerrymandered districts mainly in the nation’s interior, were running off establishment moderates. These Tea Party extremists represented folks who hated government as a general principal. Thus when the crazies came to Washington they understood that gridlock was their mandate. And so they proceeded to gum up the works to no real end except for killing off government. Initially Wall Street interests figured that they could steer the Tea Party movement to their advantage. Not so.

All the while one Donald J. Trump, kind of a hybrid Wall Streeter and rogue outsider, was looking for an opportunity to pounce. He first tested the waters by beating the drums that that Black Guy in the White House, Barack Obama, was not really an American citizen — the birther ploy.

Once again the establishment all-around was caught off-guard when Trump finally made his move to hijack the Republican Party. Like all demagogues, Trump understood that emotions “trump” reason every time, and so he made little effort to learn about real foreign policy or domestic issues. He simply had his underlings listen 24/7 to what the overtly hostile callers into conservative talk radio were bitter complaining about. He instinctively saw that his amplifying of their fears and hatreds could be his ticket for a takeover of the Republican Party — projecting himself as the strong man who could “Make America Great Again.”

Nothing new here as a political tactic, but his timing is particularly good and he has a terrific knack for playing the strongman part. So how this takeover will end is anybody’s guess. Unfortunate things don’t look good for the continuation of a free nation, because a discredited government in the hands of a talented demagogue is usually a prescription for turning democracies into dictatorships. And for many feeling that they have nothing to lose in their lives such a prospect seems to offer them a twisted form of pleasurable excitement.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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