Through the dark, shrieking shroud of Donald Trump, what has the Republican Party become in the past four years?
When I arrived in Brazos County on April 15, 1985, to become a felony prosecutor under one of the finest men I have ever known: District Attorney Bill Turner, Brazos County was majority Democrats in the early 1980s and almost all county offices held by Democrats.
I plied my craft, working on felony trials and capital murder appeals, cases leading to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Lynn Elliott, the president of Lometa Oil, and I cofounded the Republican Club, and as a very small group (which grew rapidly) we met at the Ramada Inn in College Station. Fiscal conservative College Station Democrat Phil Gramm recently switched had parties, and the “Big Umbrella” of Ronald Reagan was sweeping the nation.
Fiscal conservatism tied our big umbrella together as we fought to balance the budget and hold down the debt, and we fought against the corrupt power of the national unions such as the Teamsters and others. Reagan was also right on national security, calling out Russia, without bullying our neighbors.
When Paul Ryan and George Will left the party, fiscal conservatism went out the window. So why am I a Republican? Why are you a Republican?
Now, Donald Trump has been a Putin puppet for four years, and only got “talk” and “meetings” from China and North Korea (read John Bolton’s book), and received nothing in return. Trump refused to decry Russia’s recent hacking, but our intelligence agencies did.
As a leader, he got an F in national security. Ask our Defense secretaries.
So have the Republicans left George H.W. Bush and John McCain? I think so.
Importantly, in the 1980s, many Republicans were either pro-life or pro-choice, with George H.W, being nominally pro-choice until 1980, and Barbara remaining so. There was room for us all in the “big umbrella.” In the Republican Club, we sought to have speakers who spoke on issues uniting us, not dividing us. Not today.
Today, we are divided and in shambles, sadly crystallized by the angry, predictable demogogic fall of a man whose thirst for power knew no bounds.
And his followers sadly continue to repeat his “conspiracies” about the election and his lies — yet, only recently decried by Mitch McConnell, who said, “If this election were overturned by mere allegations by the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We would never see the whole nation accept an election again.”
Yet, Mitch was too little, too late — and the august Capital chambers were overrun, an ironic but fitting ending to a lackey majority leader whose rule had ended the night before. As in Hamlet, McConnell was “hoisted on his own petard.” A fitting end.
Today, and for generations, good folks disagree on important issues, but for Republicans today, if you are not on the side wishing to abolish and overturn Roe v. Wade, you are a “Republican in Name Only,” an epithet casually thrown around by Trump against anyone he wishes to smear, and “primary out.” Does this sound close to McCarthyism to anyone? You don’t agree with me, you are a “Communist” — today meaning “you are not a Republican.”
If this is why you are a Republican, then there you are. If not, why are you a Republican? Get out of my party, don’t run if you don’t believe what I believe. Trump has $200 million to run candidates he wants — and he has used a cudgel to curtail anyone who speaks against him in Congress: Fear.
Until the halls of Congress found death ... .
Finally, recently Pete Sessions (whose dad was a fine public servant and federal judge) should resign. Called a “carpetbagger” by now former U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, Sessions is a Trump “coattail” and “waterboy.” In a Fox7 Austin, story on Oct. 11, 2019, he acknowledged being known as “Congressman 1” and, while not indicted in the Lev Parnas/Igor Fruman scandal, he admitted going to Ukraine “with other Republicans because he wanted the ambassador to Ukraine removed because they believed she was disparaging Trump.”
That’s our congressman? A Republican? And that’s after voters threw him out of his seat in North Texas in 2018 — just two years ago.
I will change my registration. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, it will not be because I left the Republican Party, but because the new minority party left me.
If Ronald Reagan were alive today, he would cry tears, (as did George H.W. did, and George W, and John McCain) to see what has become of his beloved adopted party. Ask yourself - why are you a Republican?