I have a friend who has a saying: “Turtle mix-up.” The Republican Party is in the middle of a massive turtle mix-up.
So in the midst of this angst, I once again conversed with my wise older Republican friend who recently shared thoughts about the GOP (see RPV’s ‘loyal traditional Republicans’ paved the way to today’s GOP). She has been keeping a keen eye on the goings-on as one who has been in the Virginia political scene for 50 years, and she has a few thoughts on the current political atmosphere.
During the 1980s, evangelicals became a driving force in the GOP when Mike Farris, Jerry Falwell, and others led the Moral Majority. The presidential election of 2016 has sent a fissure through the religious community with church leaders split between Donald Trump, who is backed by Falwell Jr, and Ted Cruz, who is supported by Farris.
My friend was very active with the Republican Party during those years and has observed the current religious political division.
“I have listened to [Pastor Robert] Jeffress, [Franklin] Graham, and [Jerry] Falwell [Jr.],” she said. “All of them have talked about how bad off our country is. Therefore, they have decided to forget all social issues being involved in politics and work on them in their churches.
“So you see that what has evolved is a huge group of people who vote by the color of the flag, and their leaders are carrying those flags. Right now the evangelicals and most of the tea party are in charge of the Republican Party. Even Ted Cruz is still sticking to the social issues, assisted by Ken Cuccinelli, but it isn’t looking too promising.
“I have waited so long to see the perfect RINO — his name is Donald Trump — he epitomizes the term. Now all those people who called many of us RINOs are supporting him.”
My friend continued, ” Trump certainly has the help of the perfect Crisis Management Team, which I expect is an integral part of his operation — and are kept pretty busy. When something happens that he doesn’t want to talk about, you can be sure there will be something else that happens to take its place — perfect crisis management.
“The thing that really bothers me,” she mused, “is he will do something, or respond to something from the Party which will blow up. He is a person to be very wary of. He has no allegiance to any cause or any political group. I am still waiting for him to act or talk like a presidential candidate, and quit acting like a petulant little boy. This is what really sickens me — this is a grown-up world of politics.”
I paused to take in her words. Trump won — barely, but he still won — Virginia’s GOP vote on Super Tuesday and went on to win six other states to solidify his lead. I had hoped Virginia would be the firewall to stop Trump.
“He is bragging on changing the Republican Party — bringing in all the new people — but we have never stopped doing that — some good, some bad. We brought in a lot of conservative Democrats back when the Byrd Machine was winding down — they became good Republicans and made lots of contributions. But his idea of a different Party is totally unclear to me.”
Her concluding remarks could play out before this is all over. “No matter what [Trump] signs, I could see him running as an Independent candidate, taking his following with him, and everybody loses. There is so much at stake and it all scares me to death.”