Crackpots, conspiracy theorists and racists killed the Republican Party?
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Back in the 80s, before the internet and social media, crazies were considered just that — crazy. 

I once worked on a loading dock with a guy who was hooked on the prophecy of Edgar Cayce. All day long he talked about Atlantis, Armageddon and other weird stuff. It was mildly entertaining, but even the pot smokers on the job knew old Walter was loony tunes. 

A few years later, in one of Los Angeles’ vast suburbs I worked as a salesman for a patio contractor. The landlord, Mr. Bradford, believed that black and brown people were ruining the country.

He was old, liver spots on his face and head, wrinkly skin below the biceps kind of old. I wondered if he tried to hide his weirdness in an attempt to stay forever young. The hair on his pointy head was combed over from right-to-left and very unnatural shades of brown. He wore lots of copper and turquoise on his gizzard of a neck.

One time he told me how peach pits could cure cancer, but the medical system was rigged to keep the cure, a chemical called laetrile off the market. Another time he led me into his basement. It was basically a cement and lead-lined bunker loaded with canned goods, guns and safe full of gold.

Mr. Bradford was a survivalist. He had a subscription to a white supremacist newspaper, which explained how the Rothchilds, the Trilateral Commission and Jewish banks wielded power over the globe. The old coot was dangerously nuts.

About that same time, I occasionally borrowed money from a guy named Paul. Usually I got a sermon with a ten-spot. See, Paul believed that many prophecies in the New Testament Book of Revelations had come to pass and it would be only a matter of time before the four horsemen were riding down the Hollywood Freeway wreaking havoc on our modern Sodom and Gomorrah. Most people never listened to this guy. I had to, I needed the dough.

Walter, Paul and Mr. Bradford all have a platform now — its called social media. All day and night they can spew their ignorance on Facebook and Twitter, and their reach goes well beyond the loading dock or a lead-lined bunker. In fact they've taken over the party of Abraham Lincoln.

The combination of superstitions, hate and doomsday prophecy has destroyed the Republican Party. But the likes of Walter, Paul and Mr. Bradford don't see it. Instead these people see themselves as the agents of a universal plan. 

In fact their ascendancy has exposed the GOP’s weaknesses like the iceberg that ripped through the Titanic’s design flaws. 

And just like the Titanic, the Republican Party is done. It's sinking to the bottom of history's garbage dump while Sean Hannity and Roger Ailes are doing all they can to rearrange the deck chairs. 

My advice? Jump ship now if you aren't caught below deck with the haters and the ignorant.

Girardot is a former editor and columnist with the Southern California News Group. He is co-author of true crime tales "A Taste For Murder." Follow him on Twitter @FrankGirardot


 

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