What “normal” will the GOP return to after Trump? The Mitch McConnell normal that kept Merrick Garland off the court? The normal of the Georgia or Alabama GOP attacks on a woman’s right to choose? The normal of the Republicans who defended Trump’s racism and crimes? The normal of the GOP that was compromised by Russia and chose party over American national security? The normal of the GOP that is the pocket of a gun lobby that results in tens of thousands of innocent deaths a year?
The normal of the GOP that has sought to gerrymander American states to ensure permanent GOP rule despite Constitutional prohibitions? The normal of the GOP that has sought to pack ideologues onto courts for decades?Is it the normal of McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, Louis Gohmert, Matt Gaetz or Dana Rohrabacher? The normal of the GOP establishment that has embraced, defended and enabled Trump, making him the leader of their party?
Of Barr or Sessions? Of Adelson or the Kochs? Maybe it’s the normal of Sarah Palin or of the Tea Party. Maybe it’s the normal of Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, or even Tom DeLay? Could it be the normal of David Duke who sees Trump as advancing white supremacists long campaign?
Pat Buchanan? Jerry Falwell and Jerry Falwell Jr. and the Christian right? Of James Dobson? Wait, maybe it’s the “normal” of neocon wars and torture? The normal of 40 years of special deals for the rich and big companies, tax cuts and budget deficits?
Is it the normal of some of the GOP leaders that were in the early lead before Trump took off in 2015 and 16–of Ben Carson, of Ted Cruz, of Rand Paul and others? Or Pat Robertson or Pat Buchanan back in the day? Of the 62 million Americans who voted for Trump?
The normal of Trump is the normal of the GOP before him and the normal of the GOP after him. Trump is grotesque and egregious and corrupt and has betrayed his country as no American traitor as before him or after him. But so too can we describe his enablers and defenders.
No one has done more to undermine US democracy or the stature of our legislative institutions than Mitch McConnell. Misguided ideologues like Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Thomas will be with us for years, maybe decades.
The American Taliban, evangelical religious zealots of the hard right, have made common cause with the compromised, GOP for decades and will for decades to come. The conservative establishment engineered where we are, funded it with dark money and won’t stop when Trump is gone.
Would it be better if we were not so divided? If compromise or ideals or genuine patriotism were still part of the GOP vocabulary? It would. Should we focus on the ideas that the majority of Americans support that can bring us back together–like health care for all reasonable gun restrictions, a clean environment, investing in jobs and education, and security? Yes, we should. But any Democrat who thinks that Trump is more than a symptom of a disease that has been spreading through the GOP and America for decades makes a terrible mistake.
Anyone anywhere in the world who thinks America will “snap back” to its pre-Trump self the day he is gone is in error. The only true alternative, the only way to reverse what has happened requires real leadership and commitment in order to fuel a Democratic victory that wins not just the White House but also the Senate and the House. One that they implements policies that work, that are based on principle and vision, that bring benefits to all and that refutes the GOP arguments with performance and facts.
But we should make no mistake, we cannot expect that to happen by sweet talking post-Trump Republicans. That would misread who they are and how they work. And it would also miscalculate the costs of compromises that dilute outcomes or prolong and preserve bad policies.
A unified Democratic Party is key to this, but so to is one with leadership that is clear about where we and those who oppose us and what’s good for the country stand and committed to the changes that are desperately required to ensure America’s success in the future.