Historian Heather Cox Richardson, author of To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party, reflects historically on the significance of the Trump “Access Hollywood” tape and the fate of the GOP.
Here is a taste:
And so the release of the Access Hollywood tape was the turning point for many Republican men because it undercut their image of what their ideology meant all along. Trump wasn’t about respecting and defending the traditional family after all; he was a rich thug who felt entitled to grab whatever he wanted.
This has given an opening for establishment Republicans who recognize that Trump is a loose cannon to toss him overboard as they could not when he was simply taking their own narrative about minorities, working women, and organized workers to the extreme. In fact, House speaker Paul Ryan used this contradiction to try to shore up the movement conservative vision when he tweeted after the tape’s release: “Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified.”
Ryan’s tweet, and Trump’s continued free fall, suggests that the movement conservative narrative may finally be dying. The release of the tape may force regular Republican voters to face the reality that the movement conservatives’ demonization of minorities, organized workers, and women who demanded equality was never really about protecting hardworking American families. It was about creating a ruling class whose members could commit crimes against less powerful Americans with impunity. And so the vulgar boasting of a criminal thug may finally force the GOP to confront the ugly fantasy that has dominated its politics for a generation, and shock American politics back to decency.
Read the entire piece here.