Just last fall, the percentage of Americans identifying as Republicans and Democrats was essentially the same. Now, after months of the party being represented in the media by ugly, boorish, violent, dumb, name-calling Donald Trump, and the necessarily messy GOP debates that were the direct result of a major participant whose modus operandi consisted of mockery, lies and ad hominem attacks, this is the current split:
You see, it doesn’t matter that the Middle East is unraveling under U.S. fecklessness, or that the economy is stagnant, or that race relations have deteriorated, or that Obamacare has not lived up to its promises, or that support for autocracy and censorship is flourishing, or that the agencies and Cabinet departments have been mismanaged without accountability, or that more Americans than ever before are on public assistance, or that the Democrats have manipulated their nomination process into a horrible choice between a venal, conflicted, compulsive liar and a superannuated, deluded Marx-loving Socialist, or that the national debt has exploded, or that the current Democratic President shows all the leadership competence of Franklin Pierce on a bad day. A significant number of Americans still would prefer to be aligned with any and all of this than be identified with a party whose face is that of a toxic asshole. Compared to Trump, the Democrats look good, and in relative terms, they are good….that is, they seem that way to many people who don’t really understand how their belief system is manipulated by cognitive dissonance.
You see, cognitive dissonance requires that disparities on that scale above must be resolved. If Donald Trump rates a negative 1000, and the Republican Party is a positive 50, and Trump is strongly linked to the GOP, that difference between 1000 and 50 is unsustainable. To resolve it requires dropping the Republican Party deeply below the line, into negative territory. Meanwhile, even though the miserable policy results identified with Democrats have negative values on the scale, they don’t approach the depth of Trump’s miserable rating. That means Trump is enough, all by himself, to pull the Republican Party beneath the Democrats in national support.
This is why, months ago, I wrote that it was imperative for the GOP to reject Trump, repudiate him, and refuse to allow him to run for the nomination.