The New York Times reports that the peasants are revolting:
From Michigan to Louisiana to California on Friday, rank-and-file Republicans expressed mystification, dismissal and contempt regarding the instructions that their party’s most high-profile leaders were urgently handing down to them: Reject and defeat Donald J. Trump.
The GOP establishment is particularly upset because the Republican Party itself seems to be in peril:
At the Conservative Political Action Conference, a long-running gathering of traditional conservatives, attendees feared that they were witnessing an event that has not occurred in more than a century: the breaking apart of a major American political party.
They spoke ruefully of “fidelity” lost and “values” forgone.... And they mourned for a 162-year-old party that is starting to seem unrecognizable to them.
But the rebels don't care:
The problem ... is that Mr. Trump’s supporters seem profoundly uninterested at the moment with the image, expectations or traditions of the Republican Party, according to interviews with more than three dozen voters, elected officials and operatives. They are, in many cases, hostile to it.
“I want to see Trump go up there and do damage to the Republican Party,” said Jeff Walls, 53, of Flowood, Miss.
... Steve from Temecula, Calif., said he had a message....
“We know who Donald Trump is,” he [said], “and we’re going to use Donald Trump to either take over the G.O.P. or blow it up.”
How did this happen? Where did the insolent rabble learn such disrespect for the Republican Party?
Oh, right -- it was from the Tea Party movement, back when the GOP establishment was taking full advantage of the movement's ability to rebrand a discredited Republican Party, and back when top GOP funders were bankrolling the movement and giving it a great deal of logistical support.
Do you remember how Tea Partiers were encouraged to say that the movement wasn't Republican? Let's go look at a couple of vintage Tea Party mission statements.
This is from a flyer for the Rockville Center Tea Party Patriots on Long Island (emphasis added):
This is from the Freestone County Tea Party in Fairfield, Texas:
The Freestone County Tea Party is a grassroots, conservative, non-partisan organization dedicated to educating citizens and assisting them to become more informed, involved and active in the political process....
The Freestone County Tea Party does not support or endorse political candidates or political parties.
This is a 2011 statement from one of the founders of the national organization Tea Party Patriots, Inc., Jenny Beth Martin:
“Our folks are dissatisfied with both political parties and are looking for true leaders in Congress,” Ms. Martin said.
And that was backed up by the Tea Party Patriots' national website:
Tea Party Patriots, Inc. ("TPP") is a non-partisan, non-profit social welfare organization.... Tea Party Patriots has not endorsed candidates for public office.
Right above that is this:
Tea Party Patriots, Inc. operates as a social welfare organization organized under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.
So even though the obvious point of the Tea Party movement was to thwart Democrats, the movement loudly proclaimed that it was non-partisan, and that its organizations were "social welfare" organizations. Why do you suppose that was?
United States federal tax law, specifically Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)), exempts certain types of nonprofit organizations from having to pay federal income tax. The statutory language of IRC 501(c)(4) generally requires civic organizations described in that section to be "operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare" ... the IRS traditionally has permitted organizations described in IRC 501(c)(4) to engage in lobbying and political campaign activities if those activities are not the organization's primary activity....
Internal Revenue Service rules also protect groups organized under Section 501(c)(4) as nonprofit organizations dedicated to social welfare from having to reveal the names of their donors or the amount of funds the individual donors have contributed.
And in reality you could engage in partisan activity and retain privileged status according to the IRS. (Ask these folks.)
So in order to game the tax system and conceal contributions, the big donors to the Tea Party movement urged the movement's organizations to claim independence from both parties.
Who knew the dumb proles would actually believe this?
And not just the proles. Here was Tea Party politician Michele Bachmann announcing her presidential candidacy in 2011:
The liberals, and to be clear I’m NOT one of them, want you to think the Tea Party is the Right Wing of the Republican Party. But it’s not. It’s made up of disaffected Democrats, independents, people who’ve never been political a day in their life, libertarians, Republicans. We’re people who simply want America back on the right track again.
Here's Sarah Palin in 2013:
Palin said that if the GOP "continues to back away from the planks in our platform, from the principles that built this party of Lincoln and Reagan," Republicans with a "libertarian streak" might look to form a third party.
"I think there will be a lot of us who start saying, 'GOP, if you abandon us, well, we have nowhere else to go except to become more independent and not enlisted in a one or the other of the private majority parties that rule in our nation,'" said the former Alaska governor.
If you bankroll a movement to gum up the works for majority Democrats and you define the movement as non-partisan for the most cynical of reasons, forgive me if I shed no tears because your followers thought you meant what you were saying, and still believe you long after the movement you bankrolled outlived its usefulness to you.
Reap the whirlwind, you bastards.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog