Written by Jill Chapin. Posted in Opinion, Politics

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Published on October 15, 2016 with 3 Comments


By Jill Chapin

October 15, 2016

I can’t decide whether to describe the stunning demise of a once respected party as an explosion or an implosion.  It is likely a combination of these two seismic events.

I believe their obituary began to be written at the onset of their fatal diagnosis just after President Obama won the 2008 election.  Republicans immediately went for the jugular, much as a rabid dog might, in declaring they will become the party of NO, by refusing to support anything Obama did, even ideas and legislation heretofore supported by Republicans themselves.

Of course, I can see this in hindsight; at the time it was happening, I couldn’t foretell the unintended consequences of their strategy.  In the beginning, their plan seemed to be working.  Americans slowly came to believe President Obama couldn’t work across the aisle with them.  The Republican project of making the President appear stubborn and uncompromising was working its way into Obama’s sinking approval ratings.  When the Republicans won back the House and Senate in the midterm 2010 election, it was evident to anyone watching that they were masterful magicians in pulling off this stunning coup.

But what they didn’t see coming was the adage about being careful what you wish for because you just might get it.  Voter dissatisfaction toward Washington slowly began to shift away from Obama, glomming onto the Republicans who eventually earned the distinction of disabling the functioning of our government.  Although Obama’s approval rankings were sinking into the low forties, they looked meteoric compared to Congress’ nine percent approval ratings.

As the election cycle approached, Republicans stood by Donald Trump throughout the primaries, even while becoming increasingly uneasy about this demonic mouthpiece they created.  They were frozen as to whether they should speak up or forever hold their peace, or stand by silently and watch their own inevitable downfall.  They chose the latter.

But this is what happens when good people do nothing.  Did Republicans refute Trump’s claims of the President not being a U.S. citizen or did they fan the flames of doubt?   Climate change deniers in Republican controlled Congress essentially denied science, exposing their willful ignorance.  Voter repression laws popping up around the country did not spark an outcry – or even a whisper – about this going against everything for which our republic stands.

Further fanning the flames about our economy being in a nosedive well into the President’s second term, even though it was wildly untrue, did nothing to enhance their reputations.  Either the party in charge had to own up to having legislated incompetently, or they had to admit to being powerless as a counterpoint to the President.  So as Trump continued to denounce the state of our country, he was effectively condemning Republicans, yet remarkably, no one rose to their own defense.

How could Republicans who have always carried the mantle for unconditionally supporting our military remain silent and allow Donald Trump’s words about them being weak and ineffective go unchallenged?  Who among them spoke out to defend those who put their lives on the line every day?

But nothing trumps Trump when it comes to his horrific bragging of sexual predatory assaults.   Making no sense, too many Republicans still straddle the fence over finding his comments abhorrent while still endorsing him.  This will be the final nail in their coffin.  Autopsy reports will likely find that having it both ways on this incendiary character flaw will suck out any life left in the party, necessitating the unplugging of life support.

It was supremely naïve for Republicans to believe Donald Trump was ever one of them.  His loyalty to their values and to those in their party disintegrated before their eyes as he dropped them like they were the basket of deplorables if they should say anything that might offend this thin-skinned candidate.

Republicans believed they could use him anyway if they could only harness his outrageous mouth, but they miscalculated on an epic level.  In a way, it was understandable because most of us have never encountered such a brazen model of misogyny, prejudice, and mean-spiritedness who wears the worst of human nature proudly on his sleeve.

In one way, both Mr. Trump and the Republican Party are more in sync with each other than we realize.  Neither one has a loyalty to the other.  But Donald Trump was the first to go on the offensive, ripping the party to shreds, and they chose not to defend themselves with a muscular rhetorical response that would demonstrate to the electorate that the Grand Ole Party was still viable.

The vitriol spewing forth from Mr. Trump is beyond appalling.  People from any party can grasp how decency and kindness reveal themselves through the words and deeds of all of us.  Like pornography, we may not always be able to define indecency but we know it when we see it.

Someone said that kindness is a language blind people see and deaf people hear.  Trump may dismiss these impaired people, disparagingly writing off the need for their support.  Hopefully, his hate-mongering will soon follow the same fate that drove the Republicans into their political graves, but only when the voices of reason overpower the venomous noise that currently engulfs us.

Jill Chapin

Jill Chapin has been a guest writer and columnist in several Los Angeles area papers for over fifteen years. She has written a bilingual parenting book titled, "If You Have Kids, Then Be a Parent!" and a children's book entitled, "My Magic Bubble."

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Comments for RIP, GOP are now closed.

  1. Man, this absolutely GLORIOUS to read.


  3. Jill, knowing this to be political, even oppositional, I would read your work. We are classmates and friends.