How is the Tea Party Able to Escape Taking the Blame for Trump?

image5507293xNew Orleans   It’s hard to avoid the guilty pleasure of reading the “woe-is-me, look what’s happening to the Republican Party” pieces being penned by conservative pundits and party leaders of the newly discredited party “elite.” The main theme has been, “damn, we missed the fact that the white working class was angry about lost jobs, lost income, free trade, immigration, and the featherbedding by the rich!” We still don’t hear enough in the way of mea culpa or “gee, I guess when you play with fire, sometimes you get burned.”

Racism and misogyny are not new problems, but part of the hardwired infrastructure of the Republican Party for more than 40 years. From their much vaunted “Southern strategy” to their embrace of religious pieties and attacks on women’s control of their bodies, these were not inadvertent strategic directions, but calculated paths forward for decades no matter how they are dressed up now.

None of this is current enough to describe the support of Trump by the base. The one thing that is though is the elite’s expedient embrace of the Tea Party movement and its issues within its base and the ham-handed way the party leadership exploited their anger while ignoring their interests. This is interesting to me, because the Tea Party is still not part of the blame-game conversation that is going on about the future of the Republican Party. I think the reason continues to be the Party’s unwillingness to discredit the Tea Party and its Trump-like realities and anger, because the Tea Party as an internal caucus in the Republican Party is still dominant enough to escape both condemnation and accountability.

Obviously it’s tricky for the Republican big whoops to admit to this since Senator Ted Cruz is still a possible option for them, and he’s wearing the Tea Party t-shirt all the way and Senator Marco Rubio, until recently rode the Tea Party to his Senate seat and got caught up in its sleeves when he flirted with a half-step immigration reform plan hoping to have the radicals and the elite backing his bid for the Presidency. But, how long can they get away with this silence? Trump and his phenomenal rise would not have been possible without the Tea Party activists paving the way. Furthermore the fact that too many Republican big whoops flirted with the Tea Party and pretended they were in love with their issues and base in order to get elected, and then left them hurt and crying in the aisle when they went their own way once elected, fuels a vote for Trump “telling it like it is” and kicking the butts of the big wigs.

The Tea Party oriented Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives is another good example of their car driving with the wheels off. Their ideological hero in the Senate is Ted Cruz and they are still out of control and playing with fire, but they are part of the fine line that Speaker Ryan is still walking with his tepid handling of Trump and his reduction to schoolmarm generalizations about manners and good behavior rather than common sense and accountability.

The Republicans have a problem. They can’t win without the radicals and playing with fire, and they don’t have the backbone to face them down and expel them from the party and try and go their own way. They either need to set the tea people free and let them be a separate party or give them the Republican Party and create a new one, because theirs is a house divided and for all of their hand wringing, they still are avoiding dealing with the hard questions and taking the right steps forward.

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Retiring One Halloween Election Boogie Man: ACORN!

cover-boogeymanNew Orleans   With the election here, the voter registration period is pretty much over in most states, except for those favored few who have same day registration, so it’s safe to finally talk about it a bit more and make some notes about some of the things that make 2014’s midterms different from elections over the last half-dozen years.

One difference that has been huge is that the Republican Party’s voter suppression effort has been so successful in some many states that even the fire breathers at Fox News and what’s left of the Tea People and other far right zealots seem to have finally slacked off on their efforts to make ACORN the boogieman for this election.  Google Alerts on ACORN have finally calmed down to a low murmur, rather than the high pitched roar of recent years. Of course James O’Keefe, the video-scammer is still trying to get a free lunch from ACORN and announced that he had set up an election PAC this season, but it was quickly buried in a universal yawn that escaped from the now perpetual sneer which now seems to be the universal response from the American public to his perpetual shenanigans.

This season the big ACORN news from the Google team was the splash made by Ottawa ACORN on their candidates’ forum!  By the way did any of you even realize the Toronto mayor’s election happened and the Ford family finally lost?

Of course it’s not completely over.  Some old reliable sources still take their best shot, but it is more often now on local races.  The New York Post wanted to make sure their readers knew that the “re-branded ACORN” New York Communities for Change was active in setting up a campaign committee in conjunction with New York State unions to impact the election of friendly legislators to implement their programs.  An ACORN-fixated blogger took a stab at trying to link another rebranded ACORN affiliate in Missouri to the Ferguson controversies, but never got traction there either.

Part of this trend is something less than good news.  The progressive forces are now seen more aggressively in local and state campaigns and less on the national arena perhaps where ACORN was a factor, particularly with its massive voter registration efforts. Races like the campaign in Richmond, California where city councils and mayors are trying to forge new public policies and take on corporations, like Chevron, are increasingly important.  Interviewing Tom Butt, a 19-year city councilman and now candidate for Mayor on Wade’s World  on KABF, recently, it was easy to feel the excitement.  Seeing the role of the Working Families Party aligning itself with Mayor de Blasio and a number of progressives and labor unions to remake the state legislature is vital and exciting.  There are a number of state minimum wage campaigns which could play important roles in turnout though no one seems to be watching this as closely as they might.

There’s still a huge gap with the absence of ACORN in the United States, but seeing the action on some of these political struggles and the inability of the right to continue to scare organizers and others by simply calling up the ACORN boogieman this Halloween, gives all of us more hope for the future

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Please enjoy the Song of the Month from Musicians United to Protect Bristol Bay, Si Kahn’s Mount Polley

Si Kahn’s Mount Polley – On August 4, 2014, the containment dam at Mount Polley Mine, British Columbia breached sending 2.64 billion gallons of wastewater and 1.36 billion gallons of solid tailings with a smorgasbord of toxins into local waterways. The facility that failed was designed by the same firm that is working on Pebble’ Mine’s tailings dam. The Mount Polley environmental catastrophe serves as a direct warning to us.

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