With Trump’s nomination for president, the Republican party has been de-moralized. That’s a word I, and others, learned from Gertrude Himmelfarb, the historian. Societies sometimes become de-moralized. The moral element is undermined or evicted. Societies have to be re-moralized.
Over and over, Trump called Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” and Marco Rubio “Little Marco.” His fans thrilled to that kind of thing. Yet Trump is a person who lies with ease. And though he may be tall, he often acts like a moral midget.
His rivals never called him “Demented Donald,” or “Disgusting Donald,” or “Dangerous Donald,” or something similar. How would that have gone over? Should you resist going low, when there is lowness around you?
Yes, of course. But you may not come up a winner (in the vote-getting sense). What if Ted Cruz had accused Trump’s father of being connected to the Kennedy assassination? Would that have won him votes in key Indiana counties?
Trump is an expression of the tabloid culture. The Kardashian culture. The professional-wrestling culture. I think these are fine subcultures, to a degree — they add to the pageant of America. But the Republican party has put them at the center of politics: presidential politics.
I remember something from the Clinton/Lewinsky era. A Hollywood actor — I don’t recall which one — said (roughly), “That’s the way I behave. That’s what my buddies and I here do. I don’t want the president to do it.”
Donald Trump is now the face of the Republican party. He represents the party across America and on the world stage. He is now the “brand” of the GOP. You can always disown, so to speak, a congressman or governor. Every party has its clowns. But a presidential nominee is the human emblem of the party.