Michael Mordarski: Things that go "boom"

Sunday, March 5, 2017 - 5:14pm

The term “supernova” is used to describe the extremely dramatic destruction of massive stars within our universe. This occurs in the final stages of stellar life as a star burns its last amounts of helium and hydrogen, expanding to an incomprehensible size and increasing the temperature of its core to billions of degrees. The outer layers of the expanded star eventually collapse in on themselves, producing a final, absolutely massive and catastrophic explosion that destroys the star completely. Things go out with a boom.

The Republican Party has permanently chained itself to the side of the Make America Great Again Space Shuttle™, hurtling our country out of earth’s reality.

The GOP decided at its 2016 national convention that the party of fiscal conservatism and anti-slavery would now be dominated by isolationism and ethnonationalism. The party of the pragmatic, wise, morally just words of Abraham Lincoln would now be replaced by the scattershot, misinformed, misspelled tweets of Donald Trump.

This was a transformation that was years in the making. From the adoption of Barry Goldwater’s radical nationalist positions in 1964 to President Reagan’s fiscally insane “voodoo economics,” irresponsible defense spending and military misadventures, the party grew to include the more fringe right-wing ideologies, normalizing them in the process. With the acceptance of the anti-Obama Tea Party, the GOP further incorporated beliefs of science denial, xenophobia, blind nationalism and a tribal mentality that has a pathological hatred of the U.S. government.

Yet as E.J. Dionne says in his book, “Why the Right Went Wrong,” “no conservative administration — not Nixon, not Reagan, not the two Bushes — could live up to the rhetoric rooted in the Goldwater movement that began to reshape American politics fifty years ago.”

Now, the consequences of elevating right-wing extremism to normal political discourse have finally come to head. The effects of the new Tea Party’s Freedom Caucus in Congress, and the constant commentary of furious conservative pundits, who, through cable news and talk radio peddled pure nonsense of the evils of Democrats and Obama, leveled a further validation and embracement of factually inept beliefs. Millions truly believed the Democrats were going to establish death panelstake away all of our guns and transform the country into a “neo-socialist Europe.”

This dramatically culminated in the election of the physical manifestation of an angry Facebook comment, President Trump. His emergence was condemned as racist, xenophobic and not true to conservative values. The “Never Trump” movement desperately tried to reign in his campaign that had infected the party — or as our secretary for the Department of Energy, also known as the man who wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy, Rick Perry said, Trump’s candidacy was a “cancer on conservatism.”

Yet this cancer had metastasized and infected the members of the party who decided to place power ahead of country. They nominated Trump and adopted his ludicrous platform, heading toward an election they believed they would lose. And when the Access Hollywood tape emerged in which the nominee of the party of traditional family values bragged about sexually assaulting women, many political pundits began discussing the death of the GOP — that this bubble of insanity had grown to its limit with the doomed candidacy of Trump.

While many Republicans began jumping ship and preparing to rebuild their party — the world was stunned by Trump’s “massive” electoral college victory. Suddenly, these spineless Republican politicians immediately flipped their condemnations and came scurrying back, blinded by the thoughts of pursuing their own personal agendas.

Cue Speaker Paul “This is not conservatism” Ryan, who pathetically defends the administration's insane proposal for an ineffective $14 billion border wall, all in the hopes of also fulfilling his nighttime fantasies of slashing upper marginal tax rates.

Cue Senate Majority leader Mitch “I’m not a fan of the daily tweets” McConnell, who, despite getting screamed at during his town hall events, plans his total dismantlement of Obamacare.

And cue the countless other Republicans who condemned the lunacy of the xenophobic, racist and ignorant Trump campaign, only to defend and cozy up to the new administration like pathetic dogs. From Rep. Jason “can’t look his daughter in the eye if he votes for Trump,”  Chaffetz, to Senator Marco “Donald Trump is a con artistDonald Trump will never be the nominee of the party of Lincoln,” Rubio —  these congressmen, senators, pundits, all now have capitulated to the monster they helped create that is Donald Trump’s GOP.  

And now, chained to this administration, the GOP is a bubble growing ever larger — a star becoming all the more unstable. The problems that the nomination of Trump exemplified have been swept under the rug by a smiling Paul Ryan and a sweating Reince Priebus.

And the ever-increasing temperatures seen before a supernova in the death of a star mirror the inner chaos within the Trump administration and the defense mounted by the GOP. In one month the 45th president of the United States has managed to attempt an unconstitutional travel ban, dismissed federal “so-called judges,” called the press the enemy of people, appointed a right-wing political hack as a permanent member of the NSC and had to force the resignation of his national security adviser because of an ongoing scandal. 

And as Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and the GOP dance in goddamn circles attempting to put out these endless fires, a dotty old racist continues to wander around the White House in a bathrobe, tweeting about his crowd sizes and “The Celebrity Apprentice” — allowing his sycophant white nationalist advisers, such as Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, to draft ludicrous executive orders further engulfing the GOP in a fiery hell.

This is what happens when you normalize such fringe movements of ethnonationalism. This is what happens when a reality TV celebrity capitalizes on free media and your party lacks the constitution to dismiss his populist rhetoric.

This is a bubble that was supposed to pop in November — a star destined to explode with the defeat of Trump — that now, is growing ever hotter, its stability becoming all the weaker.

This is something that will go “boom.” 

Michael Mordarski can be reached at mmordars@umich.edu.