This is not a new story. It's actually one that has been developing for decades. As the Republican party has gradually ceded territory to extremist views, with each concession they have shifted further out of touch. To try to wrestle back control, the party's establishment has said "Next time we'll go more toward the middle. "Next time we'll be more conciliatory to those with different options." "Next time we'll open ourselves to a more diverse base."
But they can't deliver and as each hold on their party line slips, their anchor drops deeper and deeper into an abyss of intolerance, bigotry, elitism, and self-importance.
Good Republicans are clearly wondering what happened to their rich heritage. The answer rests largely in strategies gone awry. The Republican middle became polarized against the Democratic middle and pushed itself further to the right in an attempt to stand up to the progressive movement.
The more centrist the Democrats, the more repulsion from the Republicans. This led to the Republicans creating a monster, and now they are shocked that their Frankenstein, one they gave birth to and parented, wants the keys to the car. Truthfully, the party has nobody to blame but itself. By not having shown the courage and fortitude to compromise in the middle with progressives, they now must pay the consequences.
This refusal to treat opposition with respect says a lot about the Republican establishment. It speaks to their sense of entitlement, their "my way or the highway," their governance by obstruction, and their thirst for power superseding what is in the best interests of the country. Indeed, what is best for any democracy where good people with differing views can still get along.
Call it the Tea Party, call it Trump, call it what you want. It still comes down to insecure people afraid to mix with others who are different from them. Rich, middle class, poor; white, black, Latino; man, woman, child--we are each deserving of respect. We are each equal to one another as human beings. Good Republicans know this. Unfortunately for them though, they have hitched their wagons to those for whom being respectful is too difficult to maintain. Each of us can learn from their mistakes and stay vigilant in knowing that the lofty phrase "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" in everyday language means nobody is better than anyone else.
The shortcomings of the present Republican party are bad for everyone. In a democracy, we need to hear from all sides. But this is not meant to be a brawl. Hopefully good Republicans can regain control of their cause or perhaps break away from the extremists who have tarnished the party of Lincoln. When they assert themselves to take the high road, to embrace the art of civil discourse in addressing opposing views, and display more compassion to replace hatefulness, then they will see their position improve.