Waterloo? The apocalypse? The Titanic? These are just some of the terms that observers are employing as they describe the current state of the Republican Party. Indeed, for many, there is a deep-seated sentiment that the party of Abraham Lincoln is coming apart at the seams and is imploding at Armageddon-like speed.

The fact is that talk of political parties facing impending doom is nothing new. Similar rhetoric was levied toward the Democratic Party in the mid-1980s after the party had endured multiple consecutive losses at the presidential level, including a massive 49-state rout in 1984. Such a misguided prediction failed to reach fruition as the Democrats recaptured the White House several years later in 1992 under the leadership of Bill Clinton and managed to occupy a sizable number of congressional seats for much of the decade.

That being said, it does appear that at this moment that the Republican Party does seem to be engaging in a level of infighting and dysfunction that has even the most cynical observers stepping back and taking notice.

What is even more striking - or amusing, depending on your point of view - is the fact that, rather than looking inward to find the root of such problems, many members of the party establishment seem to be looking for scapegoats. President Biden, radical leftists, Darth Vader, Frankenstein, the Grinch that stole Christmas, you name it. In their eyes, the rapid unraveling of the party is the fault of everyone else but the GOP itself.

Of all the supposed suspects, Trump is the nauseating symptom that arouses the ire of many loyal GOP establishment voters. To this largely Reaganite segment of voters, the former president has managed to arrogantly and deviously, manipulate, infiltrate and regressively transform the party, thus  creating unprecedented havoc within its ranks.

While Trump has served as a sort of ruthless, callous villain causing the traditional, establishment segment of the Republican Party to either cry out in blood curling pain or curl up in the fetal position out of fear and despair, the cold, hard reality is that the current dilemma that Republicans are facing is that the problem lies within the party itself. Period.

Republican lawmakers have significantly contributed to the less than stellar public image of the party. Recent elections occurred at a moment when House Republicans have behaved in a manner that has caused considerable apprehension among much of the larger public in the party’s ability to effectively govern. Such Hemingway levels of drama have affected perceptions of Republicans in the House and put their already minute majority at risk.

By now, several years after his ascendancy to the presidency, it comes as no surprise many of whom harbor very conservative, indeed, reactionary views on many social and cultural issues, find the vehemently racist, sexist, and xenophobic rhetoric routinely hurling from the habitually wayward mouth of Donald Trump very appealing.

Neo liberalism, unchecked globalization, outsourcing, stagnant wages and limited economic mobility have had a dramatic effect on the livelihood of these men and women. However, the fact is that such undeniable factors have affected many of the same groups of people they blame for their current predicament. Rather than being cognizant of this fact, it appears to be easier to revert to an “it’s their fault, not mine” mentality.

This is due to the fact that Trump is speaking their language. He generously throws out the fresh red meat and employs the not-so-subtle dog whistles (some would argue bullhorns) to a disaffected base of voters who harbor anger, resentment and frustration due to the fact that they largely feel politically, socially and culturally threatened and marginalized. It is a sad commentary, but it is the truth.

The misguided commonality that these voters share with the larger GOP base is the belief that they are under the illusion or rather delusion that their problems have been caused by non-Whites, feminists, immigrants, gays and lesbians, in some cases, Jews, Muslims and all others who don’t fall within a White, Christian conservative category of what they believe to be “real Americans.”

In their minds, such groups are the supposed “others” who are the cause of America’s decline. They are seen as problematic and must be taken care of in one manner or another. This is the demographic of men and women who continue to embrace Trump as their savior as he consistently promises to “get them to the promised land.” As the old saying goes, “old habits can be hard to break.”

BlackCommentator.com Guest

Commentator, Dr. Elwood Watson,

Historian, public speaker, and cultural

critic is a professor at East Tennessee

State University and author of the recent

book, Keepin' It Real: Essays on Race in

Contemporary America (University of

Chicago Press), which is available in

paperback and on Kindle via Amazon and

other major book retailers. Cotnact

Dr.Watson and BC.

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