The Washington Post points out that the GOP?Republican party of Lincoln isn’t around right now….
It will be very interesting to see what happens with the party when Donald Trump leaves the stage…
President Trump extemporaneously speaks about Abraham Lincoln as if he were his rival. He has boasted that his poll numbers are greater than Lincoln’s, though there were no opinion polls in the 19th century. He has invidiously compared Lincoln with one man he always casts as heroic and whose monuments he defends as sacrosanct: “a great general,” Robert E. Lee.
And yet, to ward off criticisms of Trump’s bursts of racist rhetoric, Republican leaders reflexively play the Lincoln card. “We are the party of Lincoln,” proclaimed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to shield Trump with the icon of the Great Emancipator.
But the party of Trump is the antithesis of the party of Lincoln, the culmination of a long realignment. Beginning in the 1960s, the party embraced a Southern strategy, forsaking the remnants of its Lincolnesque heritage in exchange for the principles of states’ rights and resistance to civil rights for African Americans previously associated with the neo-Confederate Dixiecrat wing of the Democratic Party. As a result, the Republican Party changed its identity and abandoned its original principles, becoming strikingly similar to the very opponents that roused Lincoln to resist in the beginning.
Lincoln created the Republican Party out of the fragments of disintegrating parties amid the political chaos of the 1850s. He had to overcome a powerful tide of anti-immigrant nativism advanced by the Know Nothing Party, which he loathed. He faced a reactionary Supreme Court, which in Dred Scott v. Sandforddeclared that blacks were an “inferior class” who had “no rights the white man is bound to respect,” a decision intended to smash the new Republican Party. He had to confront the most cunning demagogue of his time, Stephen A. Douglas, who hurled every racist trope against him. And he confronted a dysfunctional president, James Buchanan, whose governing incompetence let the country careen to catastrophe….