If Alabama voters on Tuesday elect Roy Moore to the Senate, the Donald Trump-diseased party once known as the Republicans may as well call themselves Roypublicans.
There will be no way to shake the stench of this homophobic, Islamophobic, sexist, racist apologist and accused pedophile. He is them, and they are him. Any pretense of tolerance and egalitarianism, already damaged by a Republican history of words and deeds, will be completely obliterated.
There will be no way to simply say that Moore is the abominable outgrowth of Alabama voters’ anger.
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Moore has been fully endorsed by the Republican “president” of the United States, the leader of his party, and is now fully supported by the Republican National Committee. Last week, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told CNN: “The president has said we want to keep this seat Republican. The RNC is the political arm of the White House, and we want to support the president’s agenda.”
The pre-Trump Republican Party is dead; The zombie Trump party now lives in its stead, devoid of principle, feasting on fear and rage, foreign to moral framing.
Trump was the gateway to the Roypublicans.
When supposedly religious conservatives were able to look past Trump’s bullying, his clear lack of religious conviction, his appearance in pornos, his lying, his provocations to violence, his adultery, his three marriages and his professed – taped – propensity for sexual assault, they became blind to bawdiness. That was when the hands that toted the Bibles stopped towing its line.
Now, unmoored from any fundamental morality, Republicans have a situation where a professed horndog is boosting an accused pied piper.
Republicans have surrendered the moral high ground they thought they held, and dived face-first into the sewer.
The Trump agenda is the Republican agenda: hostility to women and minorities, white supremacy and white nationalism, xenophobia, protectionist trade policies, tax policies that punish the poor and working class and people living in blue states.
Trump is a white man on a white stallion fighting to preserve white culture and white power. People who support this point of view and cheer the Trump charade forgave his failings because they believed so deeply in his mission.
Even the orchestration of Trump’s weekend appearances was replete with the symbolism of racial disdain.
Does Trump not believe that observers register the compounding offense of showing up to deliver a speech at the opening of a civil rights museum – already offensive because of Trump’s history, rhetoric and policies – a day after holding a political rally for a man who holds forth the days of slavery as halcyon days?
When asked by one of the only African-Americans in attendance at a September campaign event in Florence, Alabama, what Trump means when he says “Make America Great Again,” Moore responded in part:
“I think it was great at the time when families were united, even though we had slavery, they cared for one another. People were strong in the family.”
Yes, that’s an actual quote.
United, strong families in which people cared for one another, huh?
As one Southerner to another, Roy Moore, let me tell it to you the way the old folks used to tell it to me: Let me learn you something.
Slavery was no respecter of the family. Mothers were frequently, and without warning, sold away from children and vice versa. When marriage among slaves was allowed it only existed at the masters’ discretion, as partners could easily be sold away from each other.
And sexual harassment, sexual assault and even rape were routine acts of horror visited upon the bodies of enslaved women and girls, often by the masters who were married.
See folks, this is how racism’s reasoning works: It requires a revisionist view of history, with stains removed and facts twisted. It strips away ancestral horror so that the legend of the lineage can be told as hagiography.
The sheer audacity of this historical lie, the depth of the deceit, is galling and yet it is clear that fabulists and folklorists have so thoroughly and consistently assaulted the actual truth, that this bastard truth has replaced it for those searching for an easy way out of racial responsibility.
If you can’t deal with it, lie about it.
Slavery was unfortunate, but tolerable. It was brutal, but people were happy. Enslavers were wrong, but their families were strong. These are all lies racists tell.
The same thing is happening with Roy Moore. These Republicans are willing to sacrifice Moore’s then-teenage accusers, because they believe in his fundamentalist zealotry.
That is a defining feature of these modern Republicans: Contorted moral rationalization.
Polls in Alabama are tight, but Moore is seen to have momentum. The Republican Party is approaching a moment of reckoning, which traditional Republicans are dreading. Other Republican voters remain defiant.
If Roy Moore is elected to the U.S. Senate, Trump will solidify his position as the author of the rewritten conservative. He will have led to the rise of the Roypublicans.