Pre-autopsy – Why the Republican Party is Crashing

Things looked dismal in 2010 as Democrats watched the approach of electoral disaster.

It was a season of conservative rage. Pretty much every season is a season of conservative rage. It has been so since President Obama first took office.

But 2010 was also a time of slow, frustratingly slow, economic recovery.

January 20, 2009 had seen the first inauguration of the first African-American President of the most powerful country in the history of the world. January 20, 2009 had also seen the single meeting designed to slow and, if possible, stop the sluggish economic recovery.

Republican legislative leaders gathered at a Washington restaurant and hammered out an agreement. They would oppose, and delay, and, whenever it could be done, kill any proposal that came from the new President. Reform, efficiency, appointments, laws, would all be on the chopping block. Even proposals that had been eagerly advocated by Republicans in previous years would be opposed by Republicans for the next four years.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had organized the meeting. He issued the guiding principle. There would be only one priority. This President will not, must not, have a second term. That meant one mission, one above all others. Anything that might promote economic recovery would be tied up in legislative obstruction.

In the world outside of Washington, the economy was paramount. Senate procedures, the tool by which Republicans worked tirelessly to break the recovery, were an arcane mystery to most most of the public. The glacial recovery looked lost, and voters saw a Democratic majority. Who you gonna blame?

By 2010, the answer to that was clear. Republicans were in the ascendancy, the surge seemed across the board.

In the midst of all that, I rashly predicted the demise of the Republican Party as a national force. Within the next ten years, I said, the death throes would be evident. It hasn’t happened yet, but today it does look plausible. The process has been accelerating just below the surface for a generation. Teutonic shifts that precede massive earthquakes can be unnoticeable on the calm surface of everyday living. But those shifts are sometimes detectable none-the-less.

This shift has been in front of us for decades, hidden in plain sight. The process goes step by step.

  1. If GOP candidates get few enough votes in enough elections, the party will disappear. That seems obvious enough.

  2. If the GOP grows extreme enough, it will attract fewer voters, thus fulfilling the primary condition. Republicans will get fewer and fewer votes in enough elections, and the party will disappear.

  3. If less conservative members continue to leave the party, the party will become increasingly extreme. Thus fulfilling the secondary condition. The GOP will grow extreme enough, attracting fewer and fewer voters, few enough for the party to disappear.

  4. If more conservative members of the party continue to believe intolerance is the key to victory, they will continue to make the GOP a less and less hospitable home for mainstream conservatives. Thus fulfilling the tertiary condition, and making the rest a certainty. When intolerance becomes the only standard, less conservative members will continue to leave the party. The party will become increasingly extreme. When it becomes extreme enough, it will attract fewer and fewer voters, few enough for the party to disappear.

  5. If extreme conservatives listen to what they are being told by conservative media, they will become increasingly certain that any setbacks are caused by a lack of purity. That means those who vote in primaries will continue to believe intolerance is the key to victory. They will make the GOP a less and less hospitable home for mainstream conservatives. Intolerance will become the only standard. Less extreme members will leave the party. The party will become increasingly extreme. When it becomes extreme enough, it will attract fewer and fewer voters, and the party will disappear.

  6. If conservative media stop telling extremists they are right, extreme conservatives now have the easy ability to find other more conservative media alternatives. Thus making it all come together in a very happy, yellow-brick-road ending.

    Extreme conservatives listen to what they are being told by conservative media. They are increasingly certain that all setbacks are caused by a lack of purity. Those who vote in primaries are making the party a hostile party for mainstream conservatives. Less extreme members are leaving the party. The party has become increasingly extreme. When it becomes extreme enough, it will attract fewer and fewer voters, and (all together, now) the party will disappear.

That last step has no precedent.

Through history, political parties have occasionally moved away from the mainstream. In most cases, they have suffered defeat. When defeat has been massive and continuous, the cruel message has been overpowering. Parties must move toward the political center or they will lose again and again.

This time, the message has been lost. Beginning in the early 1990s, Republican victories have been by lower and lower margins. Republican losses have been by more and more. Republicans have lost the majority of voters in 5 of the last 6 Presidential elections, bouncing back in 4 out of the last 7 midterms.

If Donald Trump loses the next election, as seems possible, Republicans will have been rejected by most voters in 6 out of 7 elections for President.

As Hillary Clinton takes office, if she takes office, that newest Republican loss will not demonstrate the Republican death cycle. Losses, even massive losses, come and go, as parties adjust to reality.

The mortality of the Republican Party will instead be demonstrated by the continuing embrace of Trumpism by those Republicans who still remain Republicans.


Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or RSS
to get episodes automatically downloaded.

 

What Republicans’ Obstruction Costs Them

found online by Raymond

 
From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg View June 22, 2016 3:00 PM:

For more than 20 years, Republican politicians have followed one overarching strategy: pursuing maximum opposition to the president when they don’t control the White House.

While liberals may hate this obstruction, they agree with conservatives that it is successful and makes sense from a Republican point of view.

– More –
 

I’m So Sorry, United Kingdom

found online by Raymond

 
From PZ Myers at Pharyngula:
June 24 2016

Or should I say, I’m so sorry, England and Wales? Because it looks like you’re going to have to drop that “United” stuff soon. You might also want to reconsider that “Great” prefixing “Britain”. Brexit won their referendum. The UK is going to begin the process of breaking from the EU. Stock markets are reacting with shock. The people who despise Nigel Farage are also shocked. Other countries in Europe are dismayed.

I’m afraid I see it in terms of what’s going on in the US today, and that worries me

– More –
 

The Democrats’ Fascist Fangs Exposed in Crusade Against ‘Catastrophic’ Climate Change

found online by Raymond

 
From libertarian Michael A. LaFerrara at Principled Perspectives:
June 24, 2016

The Democrats’ attack on dissenters of the government’s official catastrophic climate change narrative, which started with Exxon, is reaching more and more private citizens for the crime of speaking their minds. Now, the attack has hit Alex Epstein’s Center for Industrial Progress. The Daily Caller published Epstein’s “terse response to a subpoena sent by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey Wednesday.” Michael Bastasch reports:

Healey demanded the oil giant ExxonMobil hand over 40 years of documents, including information pertaining to the company’s dealings with about a dozen think tanks and trade associations, which have been targeted by environmental groups for opposing left-wing global warming policies.

– More –
 

Orlando: Merchants of Hate in a Moment of Crisis

found online by Raymond

 
From (O)CT(O)PUS at The Swash Zone:
June 20, 2016

First reports: Shots fired in an Orlando nightclub. Three hours later, a swat team storms the building. By morning, we learn the scope of the carnage: 49 dead, 53 wounded, and 26 in critical condition. During the siege, the shooter dials 911 and claims allegiance to ISIS. Fragmentary soundbites trigger waves of suspicion and fear.

“This is not the Islam I know,” my Muslim friends and neighbors assure me. An editorial in TcPalm reads: “This is not who we are.”

– More –
 

Gun Control

found online by Raymond

 
From Iron Knee at Political Irony:
June 24 2016

Who’s in charge of our gun laws? Right now we are seeing fights in both houses of Congress over common-sense changes to gun laws. We already require background checks when someone buys a gun from a gun dealer, but that is easy to get around by buying a gun online or from an individual seller (who is probably hanging out in the parking lot of a gun show or other gun-related event). And public support for closing these loopholes is phenomenally high. In a recent poll, 92% supported supported expanded background checks.

A related change is preventing people who are suspected of being terrorists from getting guns.

– More –
 

Pastor Bruce the Moral Crusader and the Exit Two Whore House

found online by Raymond

 
From The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser:
June 25, 2016

During the seven years (1995-2002) I pastored Our Father’s House in West Unity, Ohio, I waged several crusades against those who ran afoul of my Fundamentalist moral code. One such crusade took place in June of 1997.

Williams County is located in the far Northwest corner of Ohio, bordered to north by Michigan and to the west by Indiana. The Ohio Turnpike runs through the northern part of the county. Travelers exiting on Route 15 (Exit Two) find several motels and restaurants. Being a three-hour straight shot from Chicago — with lots of car and truck traffic — Exit Two was an ideal place to locate a house of ill repute.

One day I was out and about and I noticed that there was a new business at Exit Two — The Queen Spa. Owned by Korean families from Chicago and Toledo, the massage parlor featured women of Far Eastern ethnicity. Once I ascertained that this new business was actually a front for prostitution, I morphed into Pastor Bruce the Moral Crusader and set my sights on putting the Exit Two whore house out of business.

– More –
 

Brexit, Pursued by a Bear?

found online by Raymond

 
From Vixen Strangely at Strangely Blogged:
June 25, 2016:

I’m a little bit at a loss as to how to write about the vote of the UK to leave the European Union, because the details of what it meant to the UK economical seemed to be a bit complex and regional and I’m over here on this side of the pond anyway, so it wasn’t a thing I followed especially. What I do know is that the UK did not, as a resut of this vote, leave the UN–which some chyron entry person at FOX Mushroom Farm seems to have thought.

What is a bit concerning, though, is the possibility that people who voted for the UK to leave the EU did so without entirely understanding what they were voting for, and that some seem to, the very morning after, regret their vote.

– More –
 

Don’t Let Mass Shootings Cloud Why We are All Here

found online by Raymond

 
From Jordan Cooper at The Moderate Voice:
June 25, 2016

As soon as you enter this world you are special because God created you. Don’t let anyone make you feel or tell differently than that.

We shouldn’t have to earn the honor to be dealt with as a human being with all inherent rights that come with it.

– More –
 

Netanyahu Tries to Appropriate American Grief over Orlando

found online by Raymond

 
From Jon Perr at PERRspectives:
June 20 2016

A week after the slaughter of 49 people in The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, there is still much we don’t know. Topping the list is Omar Mateen’s motivation for his mass killing. The long-troubled 29 year old American son of Afghan immigrants hardly fits the mold of so-called “radicalization.” Mateen’s lack of religious commitment and his virulent (and possibly self-loathing) anti-gay fury don’t neatly square with his pledge to the Islamic State at the very end of his life. Just what really happened in the dark nexus where religious zealotry, homophobia, mental illness and America’s gun pathology converge remains a mystery.

But this we do know. The highest officials in the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu government would have us believe Orlando is historically part of Greater Israel and The Pulse is its eternal capital.

– More –