|Mike Pence and the Future of the Republican Party by Steve Jonas|
October 17, 2016
The way things are going both within Donald Trump’s head and the 2016 Presidential election campaign it is unlikely that he will win it.
(Although, hey you never know. He might have turned in a decent performance at the second Presidential debate, or decent in terms of the very low bar that his campaign, the media, and certainly his die-hard supporters set, and turned around the downward polling trend that was clear as the end of the week of October 3 approached (even before the tape of him discussing sexual assault in other than negative terms occurred. Also, the “October Surprise,” in terms of a “terrorist attack” or something similar that in a column back in August I predicted might happen, might indeed happen, and turn the entire election on its head.) And now the third (and last) debate is coming up, on October 19. So hey, you never know.
But let’s say that none of things mentioned just above do happen, and Trump does lose, most likely reasonably badly. Well, the wagons are rapidly circling around the Repubs., well away from Trump, who is a Republican on the racist/economic side, but hardly one on the foreign-policy side, and who only lately has come to the Party’s position on the matter of religious discrimination in matters such as abortion rights.
Of course they are circling around the most reactionary mode of Republicanism — that is the classic Repub. program of tax cuts for the rich, elimination of every regulation of business and the environment that it is possible to eliminate, further expanding the world’s most dominant and expensive military, and so and so forth. Pretty Boy Ryan (who must be getting pains in his fingers from holding his nose, but who still, as of Oct. 17 has not fully left Trump) has already stated very clearly what he would do with Trump in the White House to get around a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, in order to enact in one monster piece of legislation the whole Repub. right-wing economic/anti-regulatory agenda. And then, PLUS for the Repubs., whether or not Trump wins or loses, their ticket is finally coming down hard and openly for Right-wing Christian Fundamentalism, not just in the platform, where it has been since the time of Reagan, but also most firmly in the person of their Presidential candidate, where to date it has never been.
And so, yes, for 2020 here we have Mike Pence (Governor of Indiana), Exhibit One. And Senator Ted Cruz, Exhibit Two (or maybe in the reverse order. But let’s look at Pence.) They have both assumed, it is clear, that Trump will lose and, in different ways, they are positioning themselves to be the early favorites for the 2020 Repub. Presidential nomination. Briefly on Cruz, he could have been modeled on the lead character in my 1996 book, The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the USA 1981-2022, who was the (then future fictional) first, and last, true fascist President of the United States, later of the apartheid state, The New American Republics, one Jefferson Davis Hague.
I wrote a detailed column on this supposition back in March, 2015. Cruz is far-right on every conceivable policy/issue, but further, he is a Dominionist. That is, he places his interpretation of the Bible (one particular version of it, the King James first official English translation) above the Constitution. He has phumphered around with non-endorsement-voting-for-endorsement of Trump. Much more importantly, in looking at 2020 he has placed two top supporters in the leadership of the Trump campaign, and one of his principal moneymen has come along with them. There they will all be gaining valuable experience, while lining up future supporters, on the q.t. for now.
But then we come to Pence. He had thought about running for the current Repub. nomination in 2015. After that didn’t pan out for him he was actually an early Cruz supporter, who then switched to Trump when the former dropped out. As far as I can tell, he has not yet been openly labelled as a Dominionist, but his policies clearly place him in that camp. Not particularly in order of importance:
Consistent with the views of Pence’s Religious Right, after his racism, Trump has run first and foremost on authoritarianism: I, I, I, will do this, that, and the other thing, regardless of the law, let’s say in matters such as the re-institution of torture. That has locked up a certain base among whites and has also helped with the Religious Right, whose first principle is indeed authoritarianism: "Thou shalt do, under the penalty of the criminal law, what I say thou shalt do, based upon my interpretation of a particular English translation of a book called the Bible." But, because of his own, hardly personally spotless, background, Trump certainly has not locked up all of the Religious Right.
Thus, assuming that Trump loses, if the Repubs. want to have a future, they are going to have to further consolidate their base in the Religious Right and get those folks out to vote.
The racism will be there of course, although they will likely go back to the dog-whistle approach. But then, they will have to have a candidate who is the genuine article when it comes to Right-wing religious fundamentalism, put into the law through the Doctrine of Dominionism, authoritarian to its core. In this contest, Ted Cruz leads at this time. But, in that last element of the Vice-Presidential debate, on abortion rights or none, Mike Pence made it clear that, since neither Mike Huckabee nor Rick Santorum, the original Political Dominionists, can be taken seriously, Cruz will have at least one serious rival in that arena, the next time around.
And oh yes, if he wins back the Senate seat he swore he was giving up, Marco Rubio, another Dominionist, will be there too.
*(It should be noted that the particular translation [from Latin and Greek — hardly a unified text to begin with] of the Bible that Pence would like to make the underlying basis of all U.S. law — the “King James” version, was prepared by a committee of 52 scholars and theologians at the time of the accession to the throne of England of James VI of Scotland, I of England.)
September 14, 2012
VISITING RAMALLAH after an absence of several months, I was again amazed by the ongoing building activity. Everywhere new high-rise buildings are going up, and many of them are beautiful. (Arabs seem to have an innate talent for architecture, as any world anthology of architecture affirms.)