While progressives and moderates battle for the soul of the Democratic Party, the Republican Party has become the walking dead, the life blood sucked out of it by the vain vampire Trump. The only thing that unites the new Republicans, both here in Maine and nationally, is their sheer mean-spiritedness.

You want to believe that politicians seek elected office in order to serve the people, but the Trump administration has shown no evidence of that. They serve themselves and their nationalist, isolationist, authoritarian agenda supported by various malevolent Christians and white supremacists.

Two weeks ago Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen was canned because President Trump’s own get-tough, close-the-borders, cage-the-kids immigration policies have failed, creating a surge of migrants desperate to get to freedom before Trump turns America into an internment camp.

Trump’s crime-and-punishment approach to a humanitarian crisis is bad enough, but the architect of that hateful immigration policy, one that has some Democrats calling for the abolition of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, is a young man named Stephen Miller. 

If Miller had his way, not only would children be taken away from illegal immigrants, families of legal immigrants would not be granted preference for admittance and migrants would be dumped in so-called sanctuary cities as retribution against people who demand real immigration reform. Talk about mean and petty.

Currently, Trump’s Circus of Chaos has temporary acting heads of Homeland Security, Defense, Interior, UN ambassador, Office of Management & Budget, Small Business Administration, FAA, OSHA, FDA, FEMA, Secret Service, ICE and chief of staff. Who in their right mind would want to work for an unstable bully?

The Republican Party once stood for things like balanced budgets, limited government, free trade, family values and patriotism. Now it stands for none of these things.

The new Republicans ballooned the national debt in order to pay for tax breaks for the rich and famous. To pay down that debt, they are threatening to cut Social Security and Medicare.

Unless you are independently wealthy, voting Republican is just not in your financial best interest. How anyone who needs health insurance can fall for a con man who wants to take the Affordable Care Act away without replacing it with anything is beyond me.

Limiting executive powers? Republicans stared blankly while Trump declared a national emergency to get money for a wall that won’t work but will make his red-meat MAGA millions feel better about themselves. If a Democrat had done that, Republicans would be apoplectic. Now they are just catatonic.

Former GOP free marketeers stand by in shock and awe as Trump tweets his protectionist tariffs and incites trade wars, costing Americans an estimated $3 billion a month in higher taxes.

The party of good moral character backs a man who brags about molesting women, pays hush money to whores, and commits adultery while his third wife is giving birth.

And, thanks to Trump and dirty trickster Sen. Mitch McConnell, we now have a conservative majority on the Supreme Court that has no qualms whatsoever about articulating the new Republican heartlessness.

In a case in which a convicted murderer asked to be executed by some means other than lethal injection because a medical condition would make that method extremely painful, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote coldly, “The Eighth Amendment forbids ‘cruel and unusual’ methods of capital punishment but does not guarantee a prisoner a painless death.”

Republicans. Just plain mean. Also cruel, unusual and the greatest threat this country faces.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him