Darrell Berkheimer: Trump, GOP callousness foretells decline
In my last column, I vent my spleen about President Donald Trump’s lying and why he can’t be trusted. And I plan to continue emphasizing why he can’t be trusted.
But my biggest objection to President Trump, his administration and the Republican Party leadership is the gross callousness they display in so many issues and actions they take.
Trump and his chief supporters — such as Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — have shown repeatedly that they lack caring, compassion and empathy for the struggles faced by both our citizens and others who want to immigrate.
Many of our citizens are “hurting” because Republicans in Congress not only continue to reject needed reforms, but also strive to cut the very safety net programs that can help to alleviate struggling Americans. That is why I believe Mr. Trump will lose in November to whoever the Democrat Party nominates as its presidential candidate. In addition, I predict Democrats will win control of the Senate. And I make these predictions despite the Democrat Party’s reputation for “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.”
As the basis for my thinking, I’m citing three commentaries published in 2018 as well as some of the current situations that will cause the Republicans to lose. One of those three commentaries was an editorial published by my hometown newspaper, The York Dispatch (Pennsylvania), where I was a reporter and copy editor (1964 to 1971). It’s a rather conservative area; but the editorial on Dec. 29, 2018, made these comments:
“When running for the White House back in 2000, George W. Bush famously styled himself as a ‘compassionate conservative’ – a tacit admission that the general brand of that particular political ideology wasn’t exactly known for its humanity.
“Nearly two decades later, conservatives have not only shed the label of compassion, they’ve forfeited any claim to the sympathies it represents. …
“In fact, it is a distinct lack of compassion that seems to drive the administration’s agenda. It’s handling of the immigration issue is just one glaring example.
“The results of such policies have gone from heart-wrenching to shameful. …
“New and proposed voting restrictions seek to limit the voice of low-income and minority voters. Funding and legislative means are wielded against facilities providing women’s health services. Cuts to Social Security and other programs that benefit low-income Americans are urged to pay for the massive tax cut for the wealthy.
“It’s a depressingly unempathetic worldview, and it seems to be driving much of what is coming out of Republican-ruled Washington.”
Two months earlier, in Culture magazine, writer Steve Bramucci predicted the Republican Party’s “empathy gap” will destroy the GOP. He forewarned of the following month’s “blue wave” that turned control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats.
Bramucci wrote: “The current incarnation of the Republican Party is so aggressively toxic, so gleefully noxious that they can’t even keep a tenuous hold on people who have a vested financial interest in staying apolitical. People like Taylor Swift, who recently endorsed two Democratic candidates in Tennessee; or Eminem, who drew a line in the sand, exiling his pro-Trump fans. … .”
Bramucci forecast the newest generation of voters will make a major difference in election results. He wrote that Trump’s “professional trolls seem confused about what it is that repels young people from Trumpism and the modern Republican Party: It’s the lack of human understanding. The gross callousness.”
He further predicted that this “lack of basic humanity … the empathy gap” will affect millions of young people and … “a few million lifelong Republicans who are repulsed by their leaders. And mostly-dormant Democrats who snap into action to canvas and rally and work call centers.” He concluded that “since the Republican Party has so joyfully basked in their lack of basic humanity, the only thing for a company or musician or athlete who wants to stay relevant with the highly compassionate younger generation to do is to stand up against the GOP.”
The third commentary was written by me and published by The Union (April 14, 2018). In that column, I cited 12 issues: climate change, GOP military hawkishness, inequality, minorities discrimination, immigration, gun control failures, increased women activism, healthcare, trade war, sex scandals, Trump’s lying and congressional inertia.
Today I must add how U.S. rankings in world statistics also go against the GOP’s lack of compassion. Our nation’s child mortality rate is climbing; so is the maternity death rate, especially among Black mothers; and homelessness continues to climb while our longevity rate declines — all of which are affected by more expensive health care and higher drug prices.
In forewarning of the empathy gap destroying the GOP, Bramucci began his commentary this way:
“There was a time in history when both political parties wanted to own the cultural real estate centered around being the ‘good guys.’ Republicans spearheaded the suffrage movement in the early 1900s. Decades later, they outpaced Democrats in voting for the Civil Rights Act. That result was mostly driven by geography, but the fact remains: The GOP was once an active part of the fight for gender and racial equality.”
We can only guess whether the GOP might return to more caring and compassionate postures in the future. But it’s obvious I’m not the only one forecasting Republicans’ irrelevancy if they fail to do so.
I seriously doubt, however, that they will or can change in time to affect this November’s losses to the Democrats.
Darrell Berkheimer, who lives in Grass Valley, is a frequent contributor to The Union. He now has seven books available through Amazon. His sixth, Essays from The Golden Throne, includes 60 columns published by The Union, plus a dozen travel and photo essays. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.