Yesterday I was making the point that Donald Trump and the other Republicans really have been feeding “red meat” to their electorate. I have, in the past, used the analogy that the Republicans have drunk too much of their own Kool Aid, and I still believe that’s true. But I’m liking the red meat analogy more and more.
Historically, the metaphor of “red meat” symbolizes the use of raw emotions on important issues. The Republicans really learned the value of using red meat from President Reagan, the “Great Communicator” – Reagan really did know how to simplify issues and talk to voters emotions – and then upped the ante with things such as Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America,” which enabled the Republicans to win back the House for the first time in half a century.
With the arrival of right wing talk radio and Fox News, pundits really honed the practice of tossing red meat to the American public into a fine art. The more and more red meat you toss to people, the more and more red meat they want. And now the Republican electorate is largely a group of very hungry and very angry carnivores, ready to devour whatever red meat is tossed to them.
Enter Donald Trump and his increasingly outrageous assertions.
People have been waiting for Trump to falter, but he’s not faltering.
Of course, this isn’t a healthy diet, and the Republicans, once the party of Lincoln, is on the verge of cannibalizing itself. People think it doesn’t matter when you feed a willing electorate a steady diet of red meat. But it matters. What you end up with is large groups of very angry people whose rage is largely unfocused and incoherent. All they know is that they don’t like “big” government, and “lazy niggers” on welfare, and the illegal “spics” who are supposedly taking their jobs away.
And gays. They hate gays.
But as all the cognoscenti will tell you, to win elections you have to win the soft and non-political middle of America, the people who never turn out for anything other than a Presidential election, the large mass of indifferent omnivores who vote mostly with their sixth sense – do they like somebody or don’t they, do they get a good feeling from them or don’t they – and that group is probably not going to vote for an unabashed carnivore with blood still dripping from their fangs.
Which is kind of what Donald Trump is turning out to be.
So good luck, Republicans. Let ye reap what ye have sown. I think that’s Biblical, is it not?