Donald Trump was the country’s leading birther for a long time. Many perhaps have forgotten because the 2012 election was already four years ago, but for a couple years headed into it, every few months you could count on the Hair That Should Not Be Named to tweet out that he had some new damning piece of evidence in his possession that would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that President Barack Obama was a Kenyan-born usurper of the Oval Office. While it’s true that Hillary Clinton supporters in 2008 might have started the whole birther thing, the reality is that its chief champion for years wasn’t anyone on the left, but instead it was Donald J. Trump, billionaire reality-TV fame whore and real estate mogul, who was the most outspoken mouthpiece of that particular canard.
I bring up Trump’s birtherism for a couple reasons. For starters I find it interesting that mainstream news outlets have for the most part brushed the early part of this decade aside and focused instead on the outlandish shit Trump’s been saying this election season. It makes sense, of course, because the stuff that’s coming out of his mouth is truly horrifying enough in its own right to not have time to focus on what he said a half decade or so ago about Obama’s birth status, but it’s important to note Trump’s birtherism because it’s the most key piece of evidence I can find that he’s not actually just trolling the Republicans, and may actually have earnest, genuine interest in being the President of the United States of America, and a conservative one — at least conservative in the way that Trump identifies with — at that. His birtherism, combined with his crazy Islamaphobic rhetoric, and his mouth-foamy anti-immigrant rhetoric, paints him now and forever as a modern Republican, no matter how much the modern Republican and conservative movement is trying to jettison him from their ranks.
When the National Review put out their issue solely dedicated to ending Trump’s candidacy, you’d get the impression from reading it that Trump is not only not a conservative or Republican, but that he never says anything remotely Republican or conservative. Yet, I ask, if that were the case, then why have the attacks on Trump from his fellow 2016 Republican contenders been more about this tone, and not the substance of his policy suggestions? Why have they taken him to task for being a boorish brute, but not for the nuts and bolts of what he’s saying about Islamic people, or people of non-native status? Sure, they tried to do just that after Obama’s last State of the Union, but after spending years placating and kowtowing to people who believe conspiracy theories are reality, why would they expect their base to start trusting them, the establishment?
Republican leadership fomented this craziness. They encouraged it. When their base would call in to talk shows and confront them at town hall meetings about that Kenyan Communist Anti-American Sharia Lover, they weren’t put in their place. Instead, they were calmly assured that the Republicans they elect would steadfastly block that Communist Socialist in every way possible, only further encouraging their constituents to stay safely secluded from reality.
That’s why I personally find all the hand-wringing the GOP is doing over Trump to be hilarious. They must have genuinely thought the people they were manipulating with red meat stories about FEMA camps, the government buying up all the ammunition in the country, Vince Foster being murdered by Clinton, Obama being secretly gay, his wife being a transsexual, would listen to them if not anyone else. How incredibly naive of them. Fostering distrust in everyone and everything will only create more distrust.
So in the end what Trump represents is a massive middle finger from the Republican base to the Republican Party. He is the result of them being told time and again that they’re policies are fine, but they need a better messenger. He’s what happens when voters are told that the establishment keeps picking RINOS and that’s why they lose, not because average people hear them talk and realize they just want to pretend as if the 20th century never happened. And in the end, I suppose it’s no small irony that the party that denies the reality of climate change, gay marriage, and gun violence would also ignore another reality…
…that the asshole they’re afraid will scare off voters come November is just saying the same things other assholes in their party have said for years, only louder, more often, and without even a soupcon of shame.