That is a normal consequence of years and years of weak leadership.
People tend to get anxious, reject the weak political group and look for a strong leader.
It should surprise no one that Trump is out front in this election year.
Wrong. The reason the GOP has wound up with Trump is the following:
- Goldwater’s opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
- Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” wherein he deliberately sought the votes of the “negrophobes” in a successful effort to swing the Deep South from the Democratic party to the Republican party. The Deep South is now the strongest base of the GOP, and the leaders of the GOP in the Deep South are the children of the very same “negrophobes” whose votes Nixon sought. This is the source of much of the racism that informs Republican policies and political philosophy even today, as is made clear in a 1981 interview with Reagan’s political adviser Lee Atwater, for those policies and political philosophies are now unquestionably part of conservative political dogma.
- Reagan’s repeal of the “Fairness Doctrine”that required the holders of broadcast licences both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was—in the Commission's view—honest, equitable, and balanced.
- The rise of conservative pundits such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter whose influence became such that they - along with the Religious Right - essentially began defining the modern meaning of political and social conservatism. Though the influence of the pundits has waned over the past several years, for almost two decades, they were virtual kingmakers within the GOP.
- The rise of the Religious Right, who were particularly strong in the Deep South - the “Bible Belt” - that had relatively recently shifted allegiance from the Democratic Party to the GOP. Their influence has been and - until the rise of Trump - continued to be such that it almost (and in some cases was literally) seen as a sin to agree with liberals on almost any political or social issue.
- The shift of the GOP from supporting the Voting Rights Act in 2006 almost in lockstep to opposing the Voting Rights Act - again, almost in lockstep - after the election of Barack Obama, the first black man to occupy the White House.
- And the single greatest factor, the one that not only enables but even magnifies the effects of all the above, is the eventual but essentially unstoppable demographic shift of the American population to majority-minority, wherein whites will only comprise a plurality of the population. In all history, I cannot think of a similar demographic shift that did not result in great violence. The more the dominant demographic’s power and influence diminishes, the more they will “circle the wagons” in order to preserve the power and influence they still have.
It is the confluence of the factors above that lead me to believe that the GOP - or at least the majority of the GOP that is so strongly supporting the current presidential nominee Donald Trump - will continue to “circle the wagons”, to become ever more strongly conservative (as they themselves define conservatism). Whether this will result in a true schism within the party or the birth of a new party, I cannot tell. But they will continue to shift further to the right for some time to come. The problem never will totally go away - racism will exist as long as there are different shades of skin - but hopefully, when the GOP suffers a resounding defeat of landslide proportions (which may not happen during this election cycle), the influence of the above factors will diminish, and so we may avoid the violence that has almost always accompanied great demographic shifts in the past.