Want to know how Republicans ended up with Donald Trump? This is how Republicans ended up with Donald Trump:
Sen. Perdue tells Faith and Freedom attendees to pray for Obama. "We should pray like Psalm 109:8 says: Let his days be few"— Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets) June 10, 2016
Sen. David Perdue is the junior senator from Georgia. He's known in the Senate as a nice, modest guy — not one of the bomb throwers, by any means.
Here is how the prayer he encouraged the audience to make for Obama continues:
Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.
Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour.
Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.
Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.
Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the Lord; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.
You don’t have to believe Perdue literally wants Michelle Obama to be a widow to think that invoking this psalm toward the president of the United States is, perhaps, a bit inappropriate. (Perdue isn’t the first to suggest Psalm 109:8 is an appropriate prayer for Obama; it's become a meme in hard-right circles, where you can buy bumper stickers and shirts that say the same thing.)
The Republican Party acts shocked by Trump — like he is some alien parasite who has taken over their party without warning or precedent. They shouldn’t be so shocked.
Comments like Perdue’s are the context in which Trump ran. For years, Republican voters have been told that the president is a Muslim, a Kenyan, a socialist. They have heard Newt Gingrich fret over his "Kenyan anti-colonial mindset," Mitt Romney worry that the United States is "inches away from no longer being a free economy," and, yes, Donald Trump argue that he’s hiding the true circumstances of his birth. They were thrilled when Ben Carson called Obamacare "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery" and pleased when Ted Cruz agreed to look into whether Obama was planning an armed takeover of Texas.
And those examples are limited to national leaders in the Republican Party. The rhetoric coming from state senators, talk radio hosts, and local Tea Party chairs is much worse. Grassroots Republicans have been told for years that the struggle with Obama is existential and civilizational, that the disagreements are fundamental and scary, that the future of the country they love dearly is in doubt.
Republican leaders are not responsible for all of this rhetoric, but they have consistently indulged it and rarely challenged it. Rather than fighting the hysteria, they have sought to harness it for their own ends.
In some ways, the strategy has worked. Republicans control the House and the Senate. But they face a base continually angry over their inability to stop Obama, and one that punishes them severely when they try to compromise. And now the base has lost faith in their quisling leaders and turned to a guy who seems like he really won’t give up, who seems like he really isn’t cowed by the media or Washington elites, who seems like he believes what they believe and recognizes the stakes are high enough that something needs to be done about it.
Or, as Jamelle Bouie wrote:
So, in case you missed it, a sitting U.S. senator just asked an audience to pray a death curse to the president.— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) June 10, 2016
Yeah. Trump fits right in.