I’m not as inspired as most Republicans, but like them, I now have an enemies list. By comparison my list of enemies is rather new and shamefully modest. The Republican Party on the other hand has a great and grand old tradition of ‘enemies’.

The revered and traditional enemies list of the G.O.P has grown into a sophisticated and polished tradition. At will, the modern Republican Party can now create enemies to satisfy every passing political need.  Epitomized at first by President, Richard Nixon and succeeding wildly in the1960’s, the G.O.P.’s enemy’s list has since become the fundamental force behind the Republican Party’s political energy and its growing political prowess.

Today, the modern Republican Party is at its best when it is at war with an enemy. Thanks to wildly successful ‘enemy’ pioneers like Lee Atwater, Republican ‘enemy’ politics is thriving, soaring and successful – and the aspirational variety of Republicanism has all but gone extinct.

Since the long ago days of George H.W. Bush’s Willie Horton and Ronald Reagan’s Welfare Queens, Republicans have successfully utilized an ‘enemy’ to herd American political opinion and their own political fortunes. Always on the hunt and always in need, the  G.O.P. can create an enemy whenever it chooses. They vilify and write large someone or a select minority or an idea until it is seen as a viable threat to a susceptible sector of their political base. From there the party cultivates and grows that enemy. By degrees, the enemy is slowly sent up until it is seen as suspiciously un-American. Then they depict it as a growing, spreading, insidious, imminent threat to the well-being of the entire political base. Once so identified, the G.O.P. patriotically, habitually, mindlessly and relentlessly hammers that enemy until it becomes dark, objectified, dehumanized and luridly un-American. The G.O.P. then helps us all, like paranoia patients, see that threat everywhere – in our schools, our churches, work, our neighborhoods, our neighbors, our hospitals, abroad and in elected office. Finally the G.O.P. then presents fellow Republicans as the only patriotic and reliable political force willing to save the base from the enemy.

For good measure the G.O.P. also makes good use of effete Democrats in rousing and growing their political base. Democrats are successfully and uniformly portrayed as polite or politically correct ineffectual dupes of the enemy – not its manly foe – not Republican stalwarts or hawks. All in all, it is a blue ribbon recipe for success in modern American politics.

While Republicans have long deemed it politically astute to always have one or more enemies on the political front burner, since Trump’s election in 2016 the need for G.O.P. enemies has become something like an opioid addiction. In the Trump era, enemies are coming and going very quickly. Each new enemy is like a fix which doesn’t last. The hunt for the next fix begins immediately after the last. Hot old favorite ‘enemies’ quickly fade to room temperature.

That is especially true now that the modern Republican Party recently lost their all-time favorite, number one, unifying, ‘go to’ enemy – Barack Hussein Obama, their illegal, black, Muslim, Kenyan, dictator, socialist president of the United States enemy. With Obama gone, the Republican enemies list right now is in a state of super agitation. Changes are coming and going on the enemies list at a furious pace.

Muslims,  added by the energetic Donald Trump, are the new#1 enemy; not Romney’s Russians. Fake news is a new and rising enemy force – but not Fox news. Liberals of course, remain a reliable powerful enemy. Not Wingnuts and racists. Obamacare is now a prime modern enemy. McCarthyism and wiretapping, as of today’s date are also very useful – they too are atop the charts. Public schools thanks to the sanctification of school vouchers by Betsy Devos, Trumps Education Secretary is a headliner enemy. Thanks to Trump’s special advisor, Steve Bannon, the E.P.A. and all U.S. regulatory agencies will also rise to new heights as enemies of the people; not sludge in our waterways, poisonous air, tap water or global warming. And of course now that Republicans own the presidency, U.S. government debt will recede on the G.O.P. ‘enemy’ list. U.S. debt is not our enemy when we have a Republican president. Debt is our enemy only when Democrats control the presidency and congress.

Notwithstanding the pop star status of Trump’s new ‘enemies’, old G.O.P. favorite enemies will hang tough; they will lurk stubbornly and reliably in the political background until needed. The oldies have deep roots, name recognition, staying power and pedigree: abortion, blacks, black lives matter, gays, gun control, unions, minimum wage, Mexicans, women’s rights, Social Security, Medicare, corporate taxes, prayer in schools, communists, socialists, Mexicans, immigrants, ebola, voter fraud, Cuba, state’s rights, death taxes, socialized medicine, Planned Parenthood, same sex marriage, I.R.S., mainstream media and ad nauseam are the classic enemies that have made the G.O.P.  the great success it is today.  Since one never knows what the future will bring – the oldies will be  allowed to fade – but never die.

Under Trump, unusual new additions will grow the enemy list. Watch for special surprises. Watch for wayward Republicans who suddenly find themselves on the enemy list. Should an ethical Republican senator or congressman deviate from Trump policy, up he or she will go on a very special un-American enemy list. Republican politicians do not want to be on that list. Senator John McCain found himself on the list because he got himself captured in the Vietnam War.

For lesser reasons, “little” Marco Rubio and  Governor ‘low energy’ Jeb Bush also made the list and all lost or feared a loss in their political primaries or the general election. Republicans, ethical or not, do not want to be on that list.  It will hurt.  But, put in a place, with no place to hide, they may not be able to protect themselves in the coming overdose of Trump’s new enemies.  The list will grow as needed and according to Trump’s  big tastes.  Independent Republican must be especially alert for enemy changes that put them on the outside looking in.

Over the next few years it will probably be safest for all of us to watch for changes.  Check often – see if you made the list. 

As for my own list of enemies; it has also grown. It is up to two: LIES AND LIARS.

  

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