This is projection. Pure projection. And I don't mean that as an insult.
I think the hardest part of 2016 was wrapping our minds around the brutal reality that, by virtually every conceivable metric, Americans are worse people than we thought.
And we never saw ourselves as naive, sheltered, or uninformed. We keep up with current events. We've watched a whole bunch of depressing Al Jazeera and Journeyman documentaries about blood diamonds and iPhone factories and suicide nets. We thought we had a pretty good handle on the scope and severity of the problem.
Then Trump happened.
Over the next four years, like Sideshow Bob stepping on rake after rake, we deluded ourselves into thinking Trump was some anomaly, a quirk, a fleeting moment of poor judgment. Republicans would soon see the clear, undeniable proof they'd made a mistake, come to their senses, and come in from the cold, cap in hand and ready to apologize for....pretty much everything.
We believed this because we needed it. Most people of even average intelligence are deeply uncomfortable making blanket statements about other people, especially in such a way that creates a hierarchy that elevates ourselves above them. We know what a cheap, lazy worldview that is.
Most of the time.
Yet not only did Republicans refuse the 5,286 opportunities they had to abandon Trump, a man to whom they owed no allegiance and would gladly hurl them under a bus without logging out of Twitter, they got worse. They failed every single test of their moral and intellectual fiber.
We wanted to believe in them because that's who we are. We get pissed at them (for very good reason), but they're still our fellow Americans. We want to get along and solve problems together because our worldviews are sufficiently complex to accept ambiguity and nuance.
They don't see us as equals worthy of respect because their preschool-caliber propaganda machine, where angry white people stare into the camera and repeatedly chant the slogan of the week, has sufficiently dehumanized us in their eyes.
This is not hypothetical. We already saw how they'd respond in a crisis with the LaFayette Square travesty, or the BLM protests, or Trump's naked attempts to steal our votes, or even an armed attack on our seat of government.
They would kill us.
So when I say this is projection, that's most likely because you're a decent human being with above-average intelligence that feels deeply uncomfortable treating the other side the way they treat us.
And I get it. I really, really do. It hurts.
But let's be real here: Trump has absolutely zero leverage and is ripping the party's flesh from its bones by doing nothing more than vaguely threatening to run for President again in four years.
When he's pushing 80. After losing reelection by more than twice as many votes as he lost his first election. And getting permabanned from Twitter. And letting half a million Americans die for no fucking reason.
At a certain point, you have to know when to cut someone loose.