The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.—Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
A visitor to the Republican National Convention of 2004, 2008 or even 2012 would scarcely recognize the blind bacchanal of conspiracy theory and race baiting that 2016’s RNC is already shaping up to be. As Alex Jones—famous for decrying via right wing radio that “Bush Did 9/11” and that it was the goal of the U.S. government to abolish itself and create a single state with Canada and Mexico under a currency called the Amero—took the stage to thundering applause, it was clear that the Republican party has gone completely through the looking glass. No more is the conservative party in the U.S.’s system concerned with fiscal responsibility and eliminating the barriers between church and state. The Republican Party of 2016 has made it abundantly clear on the first day of their gathering that they are concerned with only one thing—lowering the common denominator.
By focusing on barely-concealed hate speech like their candidate’s suggestion that “Something was going on” between President Obama and cop killers and citation of his “body language” as sole proof of this supposed criminal link, by focusing on underhanded use of worn-out neo-fascist catchphrases like “America First,” by ignoring policy to the point that their candidate is unable to give the same answer twice to any political question, the Republican party is alienating itself from all but the most out-of-touch and extremist—whether politically or religiously—of its base.
One only needs to look at the face of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as Donald Trump “introduces” his new running mate by blabbering on about himself—Oh god, the face says, what have I done?—to understand what any thinking Republican must be feeling as he or she watches live footage from Cleveland of the Republican Party devouring its chances of survival like Cronos munching on baby Zeus. Hell, they even named the beginning portion of the convention “An America First Unity Rally,” as though “America First” needed “Rally” added to it to be sinister.