You can't blame Trump for everything. Trump can't do much without the active enabling of Mitch McConnell and the other Republican senators, in particular, and the Republican Party apparatus and major donors. They would have worked just as effectively toward the same ends with any Republican president.
You may have supposed that the Republican Party was founded by Lincoln, but it was already six years old by the time Lincoln became its presidential candidate. After less than two decades of progressive change, however, the Republican party untethered itself from progressive change in 1877 with the Corrupt Bargain, except for a brief period of Theodore Roosevelt's trust-busting. But it did not fully embrace feudalism until it adopted the Southern Strategy in the 1960's. Strom Thurmond led the way, first breaking with the Democrats in 1948 by running against Truman on the segregationist States Rights Party, then aligning with Goldwater Republicans over the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The rest of the Dixiecrats soon followed, and eventually consumed the Republican Party. The Southern feudalism thinking of the Dixiecrats profoundly resonates within the modern Dixiecrat-Republican Party.
Feudalism as practiced in the South from 1619 was based on a small hereditary nobility of landowners and two classes of serfs, free whites and slave blacks. The key to minority rule at that time was to keep the serfs struggling with each other to prevent them from uniting against the nobility. To that end, there is always an enemy that always escapes defeat - if it were defeated, then the serfs might think about who their true enemy is that keeps them miserable.
You can read all about Southern feudalism - it's thoroughly documented by Southern writers -
Although it's tempting to blame much of the modern Dixiecrat-Republican Party's behavior on Trump, its current course was set by Goldwater, Nixon, Gingrich, and the Tea Party, then brought to full flowering by the Freedom Caucus and Trump, united in recent years by racist hatred for and opposition to Obama and all his works, especially the ACA.
Obama and McConnell had a fundamental disconnect - Obama couldn't understand why McConnell wasn't convinced when Obama showed McConnell that his logic was wrong - McConnell couldn't understand why Obama wasn't convinced with McConnell showed Obama that his politics was wrong. Obama got ACA but McConnell got most of what he wanted - stymieing Obama until a malleable Republican, Trump was elected.
Obama must have assumed that McConnell's publicly-stated positions were supposed to follow logically from his publicly-state principles. This was mistaken; a pillar of minority rule is to say one thing and do the opposite, always concealing your true motives and goals.
So the modern Dixiecrat-Republican Party has come full circle back to 1619 by aspiring to and often achieving minority rule based on several principles:
The modern Dixiecrat-Republican Party does not even try to build a persistent national majority, because it can still win presidential elections by exploiting the rural bias of the Electoral College, and can still control the Senate by winning in a majority of rural states with a minority of population, and block everything by filibuster when a minority in the Senate. They're not the least bit ashamed of their minority rule.
With minority rule firmly in place,
The Dixiecrat-Republican Party could mount a sincere effort to widen its tent to achieve a persistent national majority. But Trumpists have purged the party organization of centrists in favor of a cult of personality. Preserving minority rule against a changing demographic will require increasingly authoritarian measures. It does not appear that Trump is competent and focused enough to really take charge, but by establishing a cult-of-personality ethos, he paves the way for his more able successor. Trump is everybody's useful idiot on the way to the ultimate feudal reality underneath a Potemkin-democracy facade, as envisioned by Putin, Bannon, Barr, and the rest.
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