Did you notice that for the 2020 presidential election Republicans didn’t bother to formulate a platform? The closest they came, I suppose, was with accused sexual predator Kimberley Guilfoyle’s bizarrely creepy exclamation that “the best is yet to come.” The Republican rank and file were free to fill in the blanks about what the “best” would actually look like. Whatever it happened to be, you can be assured that it was going to be nothing short of perfection, and anybody who said otherwise was a Republican In Name Only, or RINO for short.
But the truth of the matter is Republicans had no platform because Republicans stopped having one some time ago. What’s new is they’ve even stopped pretending to have one. I don’t know why it should be so, but hypocrisy and greed are often accompanied by laziness and malcontent. Whatever is behind it, the party that once claimed to be about fiscal responsibility, family values and capitalism über alles no longer actually even pretends outwardly to care about such things. They just want to bitch — and bitch bitterly. About everything.
The face of the new Republican Party is a face that is perpetually twisted into an angry snarl. Outrage is their watchword and blame is the thing they are constantly looking to assign. They have nothing to sell but hatred and their own victimhood, particularly hatred of liberals in general and Democrats in particular. And they have nothing constructive to offer in its place.
But why? What possible reason can they have to make fractiousness their lingua franca and querulousness their raison d’être? What final purpose does outrage signaling ultimately serve in the great scheme of things?
The answer might even surprise some of them. It turns out anger can be addicting. Psychologists tell us that anger triggers the limbic system in the brain. The limbic system has the most direct links to our fight-or-flight responses, which leads to the release of dopamine and adrenaline. Dopamine is what keeps us transfixed with social media and other mind-seducing activities, and, as any adrenaline junkie will tell you, adrenaline can be the ultimate cocaine-like addictive monkey on the back.
All of which means the angry mobs at the Capitol weren’t necessarily looking for a solution to their problems. If by some bizarre and unlikely machinations they’d managed to achieve everything they were seething about last January the sixth, you can bet they would have quickly found something else to get angry about.
Republicans sell their anger to the MAGA mob in exchange for glassy-eyed fealty, votes and contributions. The ones who know what they are doing and why this manipulation game works so well are cynically dangling their tantalizing bags of dope before a strung-out mob. There is so much to get mad about! Fake news, enemies of the people, cancel-culture, socialism, being “forced” to wear a mask, phantom claims of imminent loss of First and Second Amendment rights, even the right to say “Merry Christmas,” it’s all just a piece of liberal legislation away!
And let’s face it, this anger addiction together with inherent Republican racism and xenophobia is very attractive to hate groups like the KKK, neo-Nazis, Proud Boys, and all the misfits and cretins who love the flag of the defeated and disgraced Confederacy. No one ever looks at groups of such people and wonders what political party they belong to. If they are anything at all they are always Republicans.
These days performance outrage (seasoned with the familiar quantities of racism, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia) is all Republicans have to offer, and the doses are getting stronger and more lethal. For those who need something stronger than what the likes of Jim Jordan, Devin Nunez, Ted Cruz and Matt Gaetz have to offer, we now have a new breed — like Marjorie Taylor Greene. She’s the purest stuff, the new high grade hate, the equivalent of Walter White’s blue methamphetamine from “Breaking Bad.” You might say Greene is the new blue.
As a result, the Republican Party has now become the Whine Party. They have nothing constructive to offer and are in a perpetual state of complaining outrage and bitching indignation. While President Joe Biden is enacting social programs to heal a deeply divided nation and deliver much-needed relief to the COVID-ravaged American infrastructure, Republican Party mavens are hard at work finding ways to make people angry about it. Notice they never have any ideas about what to replace it with. Like Donald Trump’s “beautiful healthcare plan,” the solution is always two weeks away.
Republicans may not fully understand the mechanism they’re using, but they do know instinctively what works, and hate works. When they look at the roiling MAGA mob, they don’t see people they want to serve, they see a bunch of junkies looking for their next bump, their next fix. And like good pushers, Republicans know where to get the best stuff, and they are only too happy to supply it. For a price, of course. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.