The Grand Old Party of Lincoln, Reagan and Goldwater is now under single ownership: Donald Trump.
With the virtual withdrawal of two of the most influential and committed contributors to the party and specific principles, it is more than money that has walked out the door. It is not as if I think the Koch brothers have been personal favorites of mine. The fact is, however, these men have never hidden their goals and their own favorites behind any walls. Moreover, beyond mere politics, they have contributed generously to the cultural sides and educational institutions of American life.
Conservatives like to toss the name of George Soros in the faces of Democrats as if the billionaire owns the party, simply because he puts his own money where his opinions are in much the same way as the Kochs have done, as members of a hugely wealthy clique of Republican donors.
Now, however, the Kochs have decided that the President no longer has their political affection. And what does Trump do in return? The same as he does almost every day with his tweeting fingers, flashing his smirks and smears at these two gentlemen as if they never really counted in the first place.
It does not stop there, however. Steve Bannon, a guy with no official position in the Republican Party, is on the hustings actually warning all Republicans in any jurisdiction not to even think of disagreeing or otherwise contradicting Trump, with the loudly implied “or else” threat.
These realities with not one single counter argument clearly defines Trump as the singular owner of the Republican Party. After all, he has humbled another branch of the American government, Congress, which has been under Republican control for some years, defined foreign policy as insulting friends and warming to those defined for generations as foes and smearing quite openly public servants whose resumes he could never equal. While doing all these things, he has an unwavering base not unlike that of some others who rose to power in the 1930s both here and abroad. He has even boasted and used similar slogans of those times.
Sadly , and perhaps inexcusably, those who report the news, good, bad and editorially to the American people and the world, have failed utterly to give any historical perspective to current events. Given what some call “cheerleader” presentations by heavily financed public PR and marketing professionals, any attention to historical realities that led to our present circumstances is almost completely ignored….except for those pro’s who know how to repeat them with new polish.
So, with Trump’s tossing aside the impact of the Koch decisions, and in the same ways he campaigned to electoral college success, he defines with insult any opinions that do not praise him. Most forget the amazing televised session soon after the presidential election that installed Trump in the White House, when he assembled many appointees around a large table. Their mission, carried out as if addressing the Crown, one by one: to thank Trump for allowing each to be in his presence and serve his every wish. The problem of course is that so few of those who did their obeisance are still around, as the revolving door has either cast them out a la the Trump television show…or having had enough, they simply escaped back to what poses as the “real world.”
More importantly for the moment is the Koch decision and the Trump response along with the Bannon threats to all other Republicans. One might have thought the Democrat leadership would have seen these events as a wonderful platform for response.
Maybe, just a very distant maybe, Soros and the Kochs could meet and come together to support the people Trump trumpeted as the forgotten he allegedly remembered: ordinary Americans. Except that one Trumpian boast in response to the Kochs said it all: “Why are they complaining? I made them a lot of money!”
Joseph J. Honick is an international consultant to business and government and writes for many publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org