Kevin Drum has put it so succinctly and well that I will simply reproduce without further comment his post today:
Donald Trump has made plain what’s long lurked barely below the surface of American politics: it’s not so much a contest between liberal and conservative as it is between kindness and meanness. God knows, not every liberal is kind and not every conservative is mean. But that’s sure the way to bet these days.
Republicans are mean and getting meaner. It’s now the foundation of their party, and Trump has decided to make it a selling point, not something to be ashamed of. They’re just plain mean and they’re proud of it.”
On second thought, I think that Drum’s post does require some comment by me, since I think he is just a bit unfair to the Republicans. (He is reacting to the absence of significant Republican opposition to their president’s latest outrages at the border.) Yes, there is plenty of meanness in the GOP, but I suspect that there are a lot of GOP lawmakers who are disturbed if not disgusted by the separations, but will still not criticize Trump for fear of the political costs to them. So, Republican silence reflects both meanness and spinelessness.