The worst characteristic of many physical ailments is that they can be long-term with no apparent remedy. Such is the case with the Republican Party's Acute Electile Dysfunction. It appeared initially in 2012, and wreaked havoc on the party faithful. The condition evidently persists into 2016. It's changed in how it manifests itself, but it's apparently as debilitating and incurable as when it first appeared.
When acute ED initially struck in the 2012 primary election, a majority of Republican primary voters and caucus-goers just couldn't get up for their presidential candidates. Party faithful had a devil of a time determining which of the very "interesting" presidential candidates to unite behind: Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney. There was a problem working up hard support for any of the would-be nominees. Even after their convention, there were three major camps and several smaller groups of outliers. The condition ultimately proved fatal and Romney lost the election by 5-million votes.
And now, in the 2016 election, with a single presumptive nominee to rally behind, Electile Dysfunction has re-emerged.
This condition didn't just pop up. It's rooted in decisions made and actions taken many years ago. In fact, the epidemiology leads back to a political strategy developed by Republican leaders half a century ago:
1. We win by dividing groups of Americans against other groups of Americans.
2. At every opportunity, we blame every problem on the national government.
3. And then we recruit our alienated voters to put Republicans in power."
It worked. Over time, and repeated again and again, the message took root. The number of Americans who felt alienated from their government and fed up with everything in Washington grew. And when the alienated began to back Republican candidates, Republicans began to win elections.
But not much changed for the alienated. Republicans used them to win elections, but then blew them off and turned to advancing the same flaccid agenda they'd always pushed -- trickle down economics: more tax cuts; less regulation; protecting the privileged. Republicans became the Washington establishment.
The alienated finally realized they were only pawns and rebelled in 2009-2010. Hordes of angry citizens miraculously and spontaneously appeared around the U.S. Capitol Building to protest Obamacare in particular and government in general. And in the ensuing elections, and despite the GOP's pandering language, the angry and alienated began to elect their own candidates to office, sometimes at the expense of establishment Republicans.
Over time, they have become a power to be reckoned with; an obstacle to Republican orthodoxy; a threat to the Republican establishment, yet a full-fledged wing of the Republican Party.
In the 2015-2016 Republican Presidential Primary Election, one of the most visible and audible hucksters in the history of ever jumped into the race, giving loud and obnoxious voice to the fears and dissatisfaction of the alienated. At first, Republican leaders laughed at Donald Trump's candidacy. But with months of wall-to-wall news media exposure, including live television coverage of rally after rally after rally, his following expanded.
Republican leaders have stopped laughing. And after Trump bullied, bludgeoned and insulted his way over and through 16 opponents to become the apparent nominee, party leaders are now desperately trying to figure out their next move.
They see support for Trump growing among the ranks of the disaffected. They realize that, while this support may be very loud, it actually represents less than a majority of the American public; in fact, not even a majority of the Republican party. They see a growing number of party stalwarts once again exhibiting the signs of chronic electile dysfunction. They realize that this could mean, not only another Democrat in the White House, but an end to the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.
And they realize that it may be way too late for a little blue pill.