How did the mean orange man become pretzel-dent?
You mean president. Well, I’ve been thinking about that ever since the new president took office.
Tell me, grandpa.
OK Billy. Once upon a time, there were people called Republicans. About half the country belonged to the Republican Party or supported its principles.
Ideas. They believed in low taxes and balanced budgets.
I get it. They were cheap. Like mommy with my allowance.
Close. They were fiscal conservatives who believed government should be small and, for better or worse, play a limited role in helping people solve their problems.
I get it. Like mommy plays a limited role in my math homework.
Exactly. They also believed that putting fewer rules on businesses would enable businesses to make more money. And if businesses made more money, they could give their employees more money.
I bet it didn’t work.
Look at you! How did you know?
When mommy got a big fat raise last month, all I got was an Otter Pop and a pat on the head.
You catch on fast. So the Republicans were fiscal conservatives. Some other people, called Democrats, had the opposite ideas about taxes, rules and the role of government in helping people with their problems.
Sounds like me and my sister on the teeter-totter.
That’s right. The teeter-totter went up and down depending on whether a Republican or a Democrat was president. But here’s the deal. The presidents all loved their country and respected our institutions, so we survived the ups and downs without any existential threats to our democracy.
Sorry. We never worried that a president would throw a tantrum about getting off the teeter totter when his turn was over.
That’s what the mean orange man did, right grandpa? Pitched a great big fit. Like mommy when she can’t button her favorite jeans.
Worse. He tried to destroy the teeter totter.
Somebody should spank the mean orange man. Like mommy spanked me when I dipped my sister’s retainer in sriracha sauce.
Yes. But I still haven’t told you exactly how the mean orange man became pretzeldent. I mean president.
I bet it’s a sad story.
Very. When I was about your age the Republican Party adopted the Southern Strategy. It was all about appealing to the fears and prejudices of people in certain states who got mad when a Democratic president signed a law giving black people equal rights.
The Southern Strategy helped Republicans win elections, but planted a poisonous seed of fear, anger and prejudice . Over the years the seed grew and grew. When the mean orange man saw how large the seed was, he used the poison to take over the Republican Party and get elected.
Were all Republicans angry and afraid and pretty-juiced?
You mean prejudiced. No. But most drank the mean orange man’s Kool-Aid. They told themselves God chose him and believed he would make some changes they wanted. Plus they hated the lady running against him.
I like Kool-Aid.
Not this kind. This kind blinds you. You accept lies and reject facts. You ignore the dangerous people the mean orange man attracts. You don’t recognize that the mean orange man cares only about himself. You become intoxicated by the …
I know that word! In-taxi-crated! Like mommy when …
Let’s leave mommy out of this one, OK? The mean orange man created a cult of personality. The price of membership is your integrity, the soul of your party and the survival of our democracy.
Do some people still drink the Kool-Aid?
I don’t know, Billy. You would have to ask them.