That trending National Review piece highlights a major problem for the GOP: old school white Republicans spent 50 years courting the "Cletus" vote, welcoming them to the GOP fold with a handshake over shared white supremacist goals, while sneering at them behind their backs.

Just look at how Williamson talks about the folks who comprise the base of the GOP: "Cletus", "studio audience from Hee-Haw", "midnight drunks karaoke-warbling that old Chumbawumba song", "stupid".

The contempt is palpable, and it always has been.
And while a lot of the old school GOP folks thought Cletus was not smart enough to understand the contempt the party leadership held for them, they really AREN'T that stupid.

Enter Trump, wearing a trucker hat and eager to pander to the Cletus vote.
Instead of cloaking the white supremacy which holds the GOP's base together like paperclips and chewing gum in dog whistles and euphemisms with plausible deniability, Trump said what Cletus has been saying to his friends over beers for years.
If the Republican elite come out swinging for the Cletus vote, as Williamson does here, it might feel good to aptly label their party's problem--and this violent, militantly ignorant faction that comprises the GOP's current base IS a problem--it's going to reduce their votership.
The Southern strategy was always making a deal with the devil. It bet the party's long-term survival on a coalition centered around keeping the disenfranchised disenfranchised and building a media ecosphere whose sole purpose was to be the brainwashing arm of the GOP.
Who is surprised that a 50-year project to build a hateful base who exist entirely in a manipulated, party-controlled alternate reality was eventually taken over by a malignant narcissist who directed that hate and indoctrinated rage to ensure permanent power for himself?
While Williamson sneers at Cletus for being stupid and dragging the GOP into the mud, it was elites like Williamson who started the GOP on this path. They chose to make a monster, and now instead of taking responsibility, they ridicule the monster and pretend it was never theirs.
The way out for the Republican party is to abandon the Southern Strategy, white supremacy, brainwashing media, and to attempt to move forward with the rest of us.

Instead, they're hoping they can use the same tactics to create a new monster that will hopefully benefit them more.
I don't know that it will work. Like I said, the Cletuses actually aren't stupid, and will be perfectly cognizant of the contempt of those like Williamson. What's more, the Williamsons of the GOP aren't in control any more. Cletus commands the monster.
And Cletus isn't going to respond well to these old school elites' contempt.

I wish I could muster sympathy for any of them, but I cannot. I can only hope they destroy each other without taking all the rest of us down with them.

More from Cate Eland

I want to break down Lindsey's letter, because it is breathtakingly hypocritical and stoking division with every sentence, despite claiming to be concerned with healing.

1) "But now, in your first act as Majority Leader, rather than begin the national healing that the country so desperately yearns for, you seek vengeance and political retaliation instead."

Trump incited an attack on the Capitol, on Congress, and on a free & fair election.

Trump has yet to concede, to apologize, or to admit he was lying about the outcome of the election. He has done nothing that demonstrates he does not continue to present a danger to our nation.

Trump's supporters continue to conspire to overthrow the government--with Trump's implicit, and quite possibly explicit--support. At this very moment, over 20,000 troops are stationed in our nation's capital to ensure the inauguration of President-Elect Biden can be completed.

It is not "vengeance" or "political retaliation" to insist a man that has fomented and continues to inspire a violent insurrection against the government is unfit ever to hold office again.

This is, in fact, a bare minimum protection for our country against future harm by Trump.

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