The GOP Isn’t Dead. It’s Resting.

The GOP, alas, is not going anywhere.

Longtime conservative columnist Kathleen Parker‘s essay “The GOP isn’t doomed. It’s dead.” is atop the Washington Post’s most-read list this morning. Her observations are dead-on.

With the electoral eviction of Donald Trump from the Oval Office, Republicans had a shot at redemption and resurrection.

They missed and failed — and deserve to spend the next several years in political purgatory. The chaos now enveloping what’s left of the Grand Old Party after four years of catering to an unstable president is theirs to own.

In a rational world, yes.

While one can quibble with when this all began, she correctly identifies the point where it became obvious:

The party’s end was inevitable, foreshadowed in 2008 when little-boy Republican males, dazzled by the pretty, born-again, pro-life Alaska governor, thought Sarah Palin should be a heartbeat away from the presidency. The dumbing down of conservatism, in other words, began its terminal-velocity plunge, with a wink and a pair of shiny red shoes. Palin cast a spell as potent as the poppy fields of Oz, but turned the United States into her own moose-poppin,’ gum-smackin’ reality show.

And its natural evolution:

Eight years of Barack Obama added insult to injury and paved the way for Trump — a gaudier, cinematic version of the “thrillah from Wasilla.” Seizing upon our every worst instinct, he turned Palin’s lipsticked pig into a herd of seething, primitive barbarians.

And, potentially, the future:

Suddenly, the “good ones” are worried about their newest member, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a QAnon-promoting female version of Trump — only without the charm. You begin to see how this monster mutates like a certain virus into ever-more-dangerous versions of itself. Among other things, Greene embraces the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and the slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., were staged. One struggles for words, but I’ll settle for “creep.”

So, she concludes,

To those Republicans who can read: You own all of this. The party isn’t doomed; it’s dead. The chance to move away from Trumpism, toward a more respectful, civilized approach to governance that acknowledges the realities of a diverse nation and that doesn’t surrender to the clenched fist, has slipped away. What comes next is anybody’s guess. But anyone who doesn’t speak out against the myths and lies of fringe groups, domestic terrorists and demagogues such as Trump deserves only defeat — and a lengthy exile in infamy. Good riddance.

While the headline is lifted directly from her essay, it only indirectly reflects its thesis. Like myself and others who voted for the party for years, decried its Palinization, and left over Trump, she’s proclaiming the death of that party, not predicting the demise of a corporate entity.

Ten days in, President Biden has gotten off to the smoothest start of any administration in a generation despite the worst handoff in American history. He’s championing immensely popular programs and will almost surely do a much better job handling the COVID pandemic than his predecessor.

Still, history tells us he’s likely to lose Congressional seats in the 2022 midterms. If so, we’ll likely have Republicans in control of one or both Houses of Congress in two years.

And, while there seems no obviously worthy candidate on deck, it’s almost inevitable that we’ll have a Republican again this decade.

As big a debacle as Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign was, Richard Nixon was elected just four years later and then re-elected.

As awful as Watergate was, Republicans came close to winning again in 1976, despite an awful economy and being stuck with a nominee who was an accidental President who had pardoned Nixon.

And, for years later, won the first of three consecutive presidential elections.

Granted, fomenting insurrection over false claims of stolen elections makes Nixon look like George Washington by comparison. And the QAnon people are crazier than the Birchers, much less the Moral Majority.

The Bottom Line, though, is that there are only two parties who can compete for control of the White House and Congress in our system and, like it or not, the GOP is one of them. They’re not going anywhere.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    I’ve been saying all along that Trump was just Palin on steroids.

    8
  2. Arm The Homeless says:

    A very smart book once said, “We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we gotta’ go through it”

    Hopefully we don’t end up hiding under the covers from the bear though.

    2
  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    As awful as Watergate was, Republicans came close to winning again in 1976, despite an awful economy and being stuck with a nominee who was an accidental President who had pardoned Nixon.

    The R party of the 70’s had an interest in governing and a plan for moving America forward that was distinct from what the Dems were offering. Today, all that Rs offer is to scream SOCIALISM. The overriding philosophy of the R party for 10 years has been obstruction and grievance, with not a whiff of a plan to move the country forward. Yes, in the 70’s Rs survived Nixon and the unfortunate, but honorable Gerald Ford. They got lucky with the dour Calvinist, Jimmy Carter as pres and then produced a presidential candidate with vision, in Reagan. It is difficult to see who the Reagan figure is in today’s R party.

    5
  4. Kathy says:

    This is why it’s imperative to break the duopoly, not that I expect it to happen until there’s some real disaster (and given over 400 thousand deaths and a collapsed economy don’t seem to qualify as one, I’m afraid to find out what happens next).

    9
  5. SC_Birdflyte says:

    To take a quote from Churchill at a very bad time in World War II: “Let us go on into the storm, and through the storm.” But in the present circumstances, I think the “us” is all Americans.

    1
  6. MarkedMan says:

    I don’t know what happens to the GOP. I just hope we can keep them out of power long enough to tackle some of the immense challenges we are facing. America is a nation of doers and strivers and I firmly believe we can rise to these challenges magnificently. As long as we can keep the whining GOP drama queens out of the control room I feel we can anything.

    8
  7. Michael Cain says:

    Arizona Republicans seem determined to cut off their noses based on some of the election law changes they’ve proposed. One would eliminate vote by mail, which is immensely popular (>80% of Arizona voters choose to get their ballot by mail). HB2720 has gotten a bunch of attention: it would give the legislature the authority to discard popular vote results for president and choose its own slate of electors. Before you roll your eyes, the state legislature’s web site includes lists of legislators who have requested to speak for or against each bill. Lots of requests to speak on HB2720, by eye running about 5:1 against.

    4
  8. DrDaveT says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    It is difficult to see who the Reagan figure is in today’s R party.

    Thank God.

    Reagan’s incredible personal charm made it much harder to see the burning evil at the core of his message and the nihilism of his party’s policies. A Republican with that much charisma today could make us look back on the dysfunction of the Trump “Administration” with nostalgia. But make no mistake — the differences between Reagan and (say) Ted Cruz or Tom Cotton are cosmetic. It’s the same lizard underneath.

    22
  9. JohnMcC says:

    As I read that column I assumed that Ms Parker was saying that the “good” Republican party was dead, that whatever called itself “Republican Party” today does not deserve the title. (Maybe ‘Zombie Repubs’?)

    What she actually did — and in the OP, Dr Joyner concurs — is to show that the R-party has been more like it is now and less like what many voters imagine it was since… forever?

    I suppose there are those who will love Pres Reagan forever. I would disagree. I would argue that the ‘good Republican Party’ of Ms Parker’s imagination goes back to Eisenhower and Rob’t Taft. Except there was that McCarthy guy.
    We remember him, right? The fellow with the list of “more than 200 commies in the State Department”. And before that, there were those original ‘America First’ gentlemen. The ones so friendly to those German-American Bund members.

    Maybe if we go back to Grant. Or TR?

    8
  10. charon says:

    @DrDaveT:

    My understanding of Reagan was very disengaged and stupid. But he was a trained actor and very good at selling what his handlers wanted him to sell. IOW, the country was run by the people around Reagan who was basically a figurehead – a lot of the those people had been around Reagan from the California days, so largely CA plutocrats.

    And Reagan was representing the plutocrats mostly – Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley are more the ascendency of Christian theocrats – the GOP has come a long way since Reagan.

    10
  11. Joe says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: All Americans except the Arizona Republicans – they are the storm – or at least that’s on their t-shirts.

    1
  12. charon says:

    The Bottom Line, though, is that there are only two parties who can compete for control of the White House and Congress in our system and, like it or not, the GOP is one of them. They’re not going anywhere.

    They can be Californicated into a minority controlling the more rural and/or bigoted areas which is where their inability to cast loose from Trump and Trumpists like MTG and Boebert and Tuberville indicates they are headed.

    3
  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    @DrDaveT:

    While I agree with you about Reagan, you are dismissing the reality that Reagan’s actual program was popular. In large part because it was the opposite of what Dems were offering.

    Today, we’re seeing large numbers of young adults embracing progressive causes and are enthusiastic Dems. That maybe a rational choice, but it is also a reaction to the past decade of obstructionism and lies that they’ve experienced growing up.

    In 1980, I was a supervisor in a residential mental health facility and during the election cycle I was amazed at how enthusiastic my overwhelmingly early 20’s, first job out of college, subordinates were about Reagan. High inflation rates, unemployment in many parts of the country flirting with 10%, they wanted change and Reagan offered it.

    Not only due Cruz, Rubio, Cotton etc lack Reagan’s charm, they also lack a positive agenda for the country. Even if we were to disagree with it, other voters may not.

    6
  14. charon says:

    What secrets were shared by Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who, after blaming Trump for the Jan. 6 mob attack, visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago this week to make amends? It seems that The Don, yet another appropriate nickname, need only purse his button lips and whistle to summon his lap dogs to Palm Beach, there to conspire for the next Big Lie.

    Putting on my tinfoil hat, the Russians did not only penetrate Dem emails so – kompromat?

    2
  15. Barry says:

    @Kathy: “This is why it’s imperative to break the duopoly…”

    Kathy, this has been hashed over many, many times on this blog.
    Ain’t gonna happen.

    3
  16. While there is a very real line, going backwards, from Trump to Palin to Gingrich (a major player in the shaping of the modern GOP) to Reagan to Goldwater, I think that it is important to say that Reagan, and the GOP in general, was willing to actually govern.

    That matters even if one could very reasonably criticize Reagan for what he thought that meant by governing.

    I think, too, as we stroll down memory lane to acknowledge that George H. W. Bush was pretty serious about governing as well.

    Even George W. Bush, who I think was a pretty lousy president, ultimately, took governing more seriously than Palin and certainly than Trump.

    11
  17. Michael Cain says:

    @charon:

    But he was a trained actor and very good at selling what his handlers wanted him to sell.

    An actor friend always said the Reagan was a consummate professional, even late in his second term when (we know now) his dementia was well-advanced. He knew his lines and he hit his marks, every time.

    1
  18. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Palin may have understood a bit more about the mechanics of governing than Trump, given her experience as mayor and governor. Trump, on the other hand, knew absolutely nothing at all and was determined to learn nothing about it. He thought being president was exactly like being head of the Trump Organization, the overlord of a shabby, corrupt fiefdom were everyone else served to carry out his desires.

    He’s the only president I’ve ever heard refer to “my generals,” as if they were minions to do his bidding.

    10
  19. Northerner says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Pierre Trudeau (Canada’s prime minister at the time, known for his intellect and his leftish politics) said that though he hated Reagan’s politics and didn’t think much of his mind, that Reagan was honestly likeable , and that if they were neighbors he’d invite him over for barbeques. I suspect a big part of Reagan’s charm — he liked people and was liked by them, and that let him get away with a lot of things. Politics and intellect aside, the closest recent American politician to that is Obama.

    None of the GOP candidates for 2024 seem to be at all likeable (and especially, they don’t seem to like people).

    3
  20. gVOR08 says:

    Reagan, W Bush, Palin, and Trump were, IMHO, perfect Republican candidates. They possessed a certain rough everyman charisma and were dumb enough to believe the Republican BS.

    2
  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DrDaveT:

    the differences between Reagan and (say) Ted Cruz or Tom Cotton are cosmetic. It’s the same lizard underneath.

    Yep.

    6
  22. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Reagan’s incredible personal charm made it much harder to see the burning evil at the core of his message and the nihilism of his party’s policies

    Nothing to add. Perfectly and succinctly stated.

    4
  23. Scott F. says:

    Of course, the Republican Party isn’t going to die, but it’s positions will change. They will have to.

    As discussed in the Fringes thread, whether it started with Palin or Gingrich or Reagan, the GOP has been on a trajectory away from governance grounded in reality for some time. Whether it started with Palin or Gingrich or Reagan is immaterial, what matters is how far right they’ve come that we’d arrive at Trumpism. Now, Trump is either the end of that trajectory and the pendulum starts to swing back or there are enough Republicans that want to push things further toward an authoritarianism propped up by lies and propaganda. Trump’s defeat in 2020 showed the Republicans can’t sit pat and still hold sufficient power.

    The current numbers favor pushing toward greater authoritarianism. There are signs of this Republican inclination with voter suppression legislation in numerous states and the census cycle will allow for even greater gerrymandering in some cases. Hawley, Cruz, and others are showing they believe further right is the path forward as they work so hard to whitewash Trump’s malfeasance and downplay the Capitol insurrection. Nevertheless, competent authoritarianism strikes me as a tough sell in such a diverse country.

    Rather, reality is a stubborn thing and, I believe, it will reassert itself. The pandemic with its associated economic collapse has shown that good governance matters. If Biden is even half as successful as he’s aiming for with addressing these national challenges, when the dust settles at least some tribalist Republicans won’t be able to help seeing the difference between competence and petulance. At least some tribalists will also notice that “America as they know it” didn’t end, so Democratic rule maybe isn’t the existential threat they’d been led to believe. Finally, climate change, multi-cultural demographic trends, and growing income inequality are real, so they are going to magically resolve themselves. Grounded in reality will come back into style.

    Now, I don’t see these now enlightened people becoming Democrats, but I also don’t see them as willing to continue to buy the lies they’re being sold. They’ll demand at least some semblance of evidence based problem-solving from their party. It will be slow, but surely the Republican Party will find they need to reverse trajectory. There no future going the same direction.

    4
  24. Nightcrawler says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’m terrified that these lunatics are going to seize power back in 2024, and that will be the end of it all.

    I’m going to enjoy the next four years of relative peace and quiet, while hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Once again, I’m glad I didn’t have children.

    3
  25. Nightcrawler says:

    @Scott F.:

    I sincerely hope that you’re 100% right, and I’m 100% wrong.

    2
  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think that it is important to say that Reagan, and the GOP in general, was willing to actually govern.

    I agreed with everything in your comment, except this. More specifically the “Reagan” part. Reagan was elected in the first presidential race I voted in and so I was hyperaware of that era. I honestly never saw any indication that Reagan understood anything at more than the slogan level, or had any interest in doing so. I sometimes hear people assert that Reagan was more engaged and intelligent than people give him credit for but I’ve never seen any evidence of it. I’d be interested in hearing of examples.

    4
  27. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think that it is important to say that Reagan, and the GOP in general, was willing to actually govern. That matters even if one could very reasonably criticize Reagan for what he thought that meant by governing.

    I understand the point you are making, and if you restrict your attention to foreign policy and national security I even agree. Domestically, though, what Reagan’s GOP meant by “governing” was “dismantling and discrediting government”. They pursued that agenda relentlessly and successfully, to the point where it is not clear whether it is even possible to restore effective federal governance with the confidence of the nation in my lifetime.

    6
  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Scott F.:
    The problem is not the party but the people. They want what cannot be – a return to the most primitive iterations of Christianity, a return to un-questioned paternalism, a return to an economy that never existed for more than a couple decades, the revival of myths, gays in the closet, trans in denial, women barefoot and pregnant.

    There is no way to satisfy that desire. The closest they can come is an authoritarian state united with a powerful propaganda machine to tell them all the lies that make them happy. Implementing the conservative/Republican/Trumpist cosmology would require the end of democracy, the end of liberty. That’s why there is no Republican reckoning with January 6 – they wanted that. They wanted Nancy Pelosi shot in the House chamber. They are millennialists, they want the Second Coming, and since that ain’t happening, they want to jump start it by ending our civilization.

    6
  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott F.:

    Of course, the Republican Party isn’t going to die, but it’s positions will change. They will have to.

    But “have to” implies there is some kind of force acting for that change, and I just don’t see it. In this era the Republican Party (and Democratic, for that matter) is historically weak as an organization. It has remarkably little influence in selecting their candidates for national offices, since they are chosen by voters in party runoffs . In many states those voters don’t even have to be Republicans. And while the candidates would like to have GOP money, there are so many alternative sources of funding that once a candidate has won the primary they can safely ignore any policy or platform suggestions from the Party.

    Bottom line – in any Presidential or Congressional election where Republicans have a chance of winning there will be a plethora of candidates, many of which will be from the extremes. They don’t need the party to win the primary, in fact, the party officials usually pledge to stay neutral unless there is an incumbent. And once they have won the primary there is such value in having even a Rep in your pocket that there is no shortage of funding outside the official party.

    About the only place the party officials significantly affect the choice of candidate is in cases where the Republican is going to lose. Then the party officials go out to all the rich donors and convince one of them to spend their own money chasing windmills.

    So yes, to prosper the Republican Party needs to change. But where does the “have to actually come from?

    1
  30. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DrDaveT:
    Doctors Joyner and Taylor believed in Reagan. Liberals told them it would come to this, but they sneered at us, and dismissed us and looked away from the authoritarianism, the racism, the misogyny, the cruelty disguised as libertarianism. They’re ready to acknowledge that the GOP is bad now. . . not so willing to face the fact that we were right all along, and they were wrong all along, and that they actively participated in bringing on this disaster.

    For practical political purposes I of course welcome the Never Trumpers, but at the same time I’m a Never Forgetter. Nixon, Reagan and both Bushes laid the foundations of Trumpism.

    6
  31. charon says:

    https://twitter.com/joshtpm/status/1355545249658101760

    Trump gives public vote of support to pro-insurrection Rep who thinks “Jewish lasers” in space are starting wildfires out west. Not only won’t be purged from GOP caucus but be a de facto leader. McCarthy will fall in line. GOP increasingly explicit in support for insurrection.

    6
  32. M. Python says:

    It’s pining for the fjords.

  33. Gustopher says:

    Quoting Ms. Parker:

    The party’s end was inevitable, foreshadowed in 2008 when little-boy Republican males, dazzled by the pretty, born-again, pro-life Alaska governor, thought Sarah Palin should be a heartbeat away from the presidency. The dumbing down of conservatism, in other words, began its terminal-velocity plunge, with a wink and a pair of shiny red shoes. Palin cast a spell as potent as the poppy fields of Oz, but turned the United States into her own moose-poppin,’ gum-smackin’ reality show.

    This is the legacy of John McCain — He invited the fringe to the adult table.

    He either thought he could control the beast, or he just didn’t care so long as he became President. I don’t think he was dumb enough to not recognize Palin for what she was.

    There were a few moments where he tried to shove the genie back into the bottle. when he explained to someone on the campaign trail that Obama wasn’t a Muslim but that he was a good man, for instance, or when he spitefully and performatively tried to contain the damage by voting to not repeal ObamaCare (he could have stayed in Arizona and they wouldn’t have had the votes, but on his deathbed he flew to Washington DC to actively vote against repeal — that was a performance, not that performances are bad things)

    But, mostly, he stayed quiet. He never criticized Palin. He never tried to contain the Tea Party. He never spoke out against people bringing guns to rallies. He watched the party begin to embrace authoritarianism and he did nothing. He watched crowds embrace Palin’s “Real America” claims and the othering of half the country, and he did nothing.

    And he had the fucking gall to use “Country First” as his campaign slogan. And people believed he meant it.

    When someone says that they are a patriot, there’s something wrong with them. It’s like saying “I’m a good person” or “I’m trying to be fair” or “I don’t use Tor to download child pornography from the dark web” — these are things that a good, fair, not-disgusting person doesn’t need to say.

    Maverick my ass. Moral coward is more like it.

    5
  34. Scott F. says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The problem is not the party but the people…
    …There is no way to satisfy that desire. The closest they can come is an authoritarian state united with a powerful propaganda machine to tell them all the lies that make them happy.

    I don’t disagree with any of that. “The people” you describe won’t ever be satisfied, because what they want isn’t possible – even with an authoritarian state. Ultimately, you can’t strong arm climate change, demographic trends, or societal evolution and even the most powerful propaganda has it’s limits in the face of cold, hard reality. So, it’s really is “ending our civilization” or changing course.

    The questions then become: How long will it take for this truth to be confronted because such truth is inevitable? And, once this inevitable truth is finally confronted, how many Republicans “gamers” (the tribalists, the big money donors, country-clubbers, Big Business types, etc.) will choose to stay the course with the “breakers” to the end of civilization? The Dominion law suits against Giuliani, the advertisers dropping the MyPillow guy, the big donors sidling away from the Sedition Caucus – all these would indicated that the smart money sees there is no profit in civilization’s end.

    The true-believers have their “faith” and faith is intransigent and powerful. But in the end The Man has gots to get paid and even the long con has to end at some point.

    4
  35. Gustopher says:

    To subject a metaphor to enhanced interrogation techniques, the far right crazies are like the Mujahideen — embraced because they were fighting a common enemy.

    The fabled “Flight 93 Election” was 2008, and McCain helped open the cockpit door for the terrorists because he thought they were on his side. And then the terrorists flew the plane into the RNC.

    And John McCain has an amazing ability to survive plane crashes.

  36. @Michael Reynolds: I am so very sorry, Michael, that I have not lived up to your standards in all things throughout time and space. Kudos, also, for knowing my mind so very well.

    17
  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    The party’s end was inevitable, foreshadowed in 2008 when little-boy Republican males, dazzled by the pretty, born-again, pro-life Alaska governor, thought Sarah Palin should be a heartbeat away from the presidency. The dumbing down of conservatism, in other words, began its terminal-velocity plunge, with a wink and a pair of shiny red shoes.

    I’ll only note two additional things to what our friend cranky Gus has said above (much better than I could have, btw):
    1) The tone of her argument seems a little petulant to me. Sort of as if she’s just a touch envious that it wasn’t her wink and shiny red shoes up on the stage.
    2) Kathleen Parker is a year older than I am (born sometime in 1951). Isn’t it time that she stepped down to give somebody’s granddaughter a chance at the gold brass ring?

  38. Northerner says:

    @gVOR08:

    Reagan, W Bush, Palin, and Trump were, IMHO, perfect Republican candidates. They possessed a certain rough everyman charisma and were dumb enough to believe the Republican BS.

    Reagan was liked even by people who disliked his politics — he was a likeable individual who should never have been given more public responsibility than dog-catcher.

    Did anyone but Republicans like any of the others you mentioned?

  39. Scott F. says:

    @MarkedMan:

    So yes, to prosper the Republican Party needs to change. But where does the “have to actually come from?

    I guess I’m arguing that Shakespeare had it right and “the truth will out.” As you note, it won’t be an internal choice within the party organization. But, as real world problems (pandemics, economic instability, climate change, geo-political strife, etc.) continue to emerge, when “the party officials go out to all the rich donors” they’ll find it harder and harder to convince the rich donors to pay for windmill tilting. Diminishing returns on investment for the donor class will force the change because those folks can’t afford to ignore all evidence.

  40. DrDaveT says:

    @Scott F.:

    But, as real world problems (pandemics, economic instability, climate change, geo-political strife, etc.) continue to emerge, when “the party officials go out to all the rich donors” they’ll find it harder and harder to convince the rich donors to pay for windmill tilting.

    History teaches us that by the time the wealthy enablers figure out that the tax cuts and deregulation aren’t worth the side effects, it will be too late to prevent an… immoderate correction.

  41. Robert McClellan says:

    The Bottom Line, though, is that there are only two parties who can compete for control of the White House and Congress in our system…

    Article is well written but the idea that we must have two political parties is fatally flawed. The two major parties have run America into the brick wall of ruin, not to mention the brink of revolution.

    For over a century Democrats and Republicans have put forth the sleaziest, most superficial effort to uphold the laws and provide for the common good, failing miserably. Both parties have unstintingly displayed their amorality, greed, deception, and utter indifference to average Americans through their actions and their inaction on matters of importance to the public. Things such as safe streets, clean water, modern infrastructure, trustworthy financial markets, and so forth — almost everything the Promise Monkeys put forth goes unfulfilled, regardless of which party controls the White House, the Congress, and the Courts.

    These two political machines treat the American people the way someone would treat a farm animal or an insect. They have usurped power to the point where our country is slowly crumbling into the dust bin of history. Our enemies are laughing and our allies are disgusted.

    Don’t tell me that Democrats and Republicans care about anything but their re-election, their campaign war chest, and voting themselves to receive enhanced health care and generous pensions.

    They are a cabal of entitled party hacks mooching off the public dole and studiously ignoring the pain, distress, and anger of their constituency as they watch the country burn.

    Why can’t America enjoy the freedom to choose from several political parties instead of only two? Thank the two major parties for blocking all third party efforts. Why can’t America take the money out of political campaigns? The party lobbyists wouldn’t stand for it. Folks, the FIX is IN to keep the status quo.

    Please correct the title to read “The End of America, Thanks to Our Terminally Corrupted and Utterly Useless Two-Party Political System.”
    THAT’S the “bottom line”.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott F.:

    Now, I don’t see these now enlightened people becoming Democrats, but I also don’t see them as willing to continue to buy the lies they’re being sold. They’ll demand at least some semblance of evidence based problem-solving from their party. It will be slow, but surely the Republican Party will find they need to reverse trajectory. There no future going the same direction.

    I have to say I don’t see this happening unless they start to lose elections across the board and continue to thru 2 or 3 cycles. They won’t abandon the crazy as long as they are winning elections. And they will continue to win elections, no matter how crazy they get, in places like Alabama, Wyoming, Idaho, Ohio, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri…. etc. Losing Georgia and Arizona as they did this cycle has scared them, but not enough to change, only enough to double down on the voter suppression.

    Losing Texas would be enough to make them change, but they have been on the verge of losing Texas for a long time now and it just refuses to happen. Besides, looking thru the roll call of arrestees from 1/6, it is obvious that the crazy is very well represented in Texas.

    2
  43. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Gustopher:

    People didn’t know Palin was a wack job till she got a taste of celebrity. Months before the convention when there was speculation as to who the eventual R candidate would choose as VP, Palin’s name was on the long list. She was viewed as well liked and competent in Alaska, but the conventional wisdom was that she was too young and inexperienced, less than 2 years as governor, to go on the ticket, but was definitely a future potential candidate.

    The VP’s job in a campaign is to say all the things that the campaign doesn’t want the candidate saying and to beat up on the opponent. Palin took to that role with relish and she felt she had found her calling as a celebrity rather than a politician. Recall that she resigned the governors mansion shortly after the election to pursue fame and fortune as a carnival barker and freak show exhibit.

    I’m pretty sure that McCain and his people didn’t understand what they were getting in Palin, either because they hadn’t done the research or a side of her was loosed that she had kept under wraps. Either way, they released a plague on the body politic that undermined the R party and led to Trump.

    1
  44. dazedandconfused says:

    Agree it’s not dead, disagree it’s resting. They’ve did OK in the last election even with the WOAT POTUS as their standard. We shouldn’t dismiss the power of demagoguery, even from the get-go IDed as an aspect of the system and it’s greatest danger.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLJBzhcSWTk&feature=emb_logo

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  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    the WOAT POTUS

    ???

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  46. Kylopod says:

    I agree that the GOP is going nowhere.

    However, bringing up 1964-1988 requires some historical context that doesn’t exactly apply to today. That was around the time the South started to flee the Dems in droves during presidential elections. In the 1990s, Dems would eventually make up for these losses by turning much of the once-Republican Northeast and states like Illinois and California into Dem strongholds. But in the 1968-88 period they were trapped in a worst-of-both-worlds situation, where the South was turning away from the Dems but the traditionally Republican states mostly stayed Republican. The only election Dems won in that period, 1976, involved Carter temporarily reconstructing the old Democratic map in which he won almost the entire South, including states like Mississippi and Alabama, while losing states like CA, IL, NJ, and most of New England.

    From 1972-88, except for 1976, the Republicans didn’t just win–they won in massive landslides that neither party has been able to repeat since. Their ability to make comebacks after Goldwater and Watergate (Goldwatergate?) had to do with their being able to take advantage of growing weaknesses within the traditional Democratic coalition. There really isn’t anything comparable today. There are, to be sure, realignments happening that are causing problems for both parties to a degree (rural and white working-class voters becoming increasingly R, suburban voters becoming increasingly D and the share of the already D-leaning nonwhite population increasing), but the changes are only happening around the edges; we aren’t at the point of the kind of giant defections during the Nixon and Reagan eras.

    The result is that the GOP is indeed in reasonably good shape for taking power again in the near future, but it won’t be massive, and it will require their doubling-down on voter suppression. They can prevent Dems from winning not by convincing the masses to vote R, but by making it harder for Dems to vote. Their greatest weapon isn’t so much realignment as unalignment.

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  47. Scott O says:

    I see no signs of the death of the Republican party or of Trumpism. Without covid, or if Twitter had banned him 3 weeks before the election, he probably would have won. They barely lost the White House but did better than expected in the house and senate. Why would they abandon a mostly winning strategy?

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  48. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    WOAT = Worst of All Time

  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Thank you. I am not fluent in Acronyms.

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  50. dazedandconfused says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    NTTAWWT.

  51. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog: You’re assuming that he never spoke to her for any length of time — because that’s a crazy that seeps out around the edges. Before too long she was known for going rogue, going way past “The VP’s job in a campaign is to say all the things that the campaign doesn’t want the candidate saying and to beat up on the opponent.”

    But, let’s just say he was completely surprised that she was a wack-job loon who would try to divide the country and dabble in birtherism and all that.

    He should have dumped her from the ticket when it became clear. Yes, that might have had some consequences, but leaving her on the ticket had worse consequences for America and for the vision of the Republican Party that McCain alleged to hold. It would have been a hard choice to make, but the man was running for fucking President — the whole job is making hard choices.

    (And, he could have done the interview circuit and spun it as “being a maverick” recognizing a decision wasn’t working out for the country and changing course)

    He could have, at the least, spoken out against that brand of divisive stupidity in last six years of his life, after he lost his bid for the presidency.

    He could have taken some responsibility.

    But, no, he was always the gentleman who would never criticize her, because that wouldn’t be proper, and it was so much easier not to.

  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: Now you’re just being mean.

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  53. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Snark all you like, Steven, if you’re honest – and I believe you are – maybe it’s time you faced your own culpability. Because you knew what ‘welfare queen’ meant. You knew what Willy Horton was about. You knew about the Southern Strategy and Lee Atwater. You stayed in a party you knew damned well was racist, a party that relied on racist’s votes.

    I own my crimes and failures. I don’t criticize from a position of innocence, but from an awareness of my errors.

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  54. Andy says:

    The metaphor I’ve come up with to explain the current state of the GoP is that it is a ghost ship. It can’t be sunk (decades of collusion between the two parties have ensured that no competitor can replace them) but it is adrift. The direction it heads is determined by political winds and currents as well as which faction manages to control the wheelhouse. Other factions may still be on the ship fighting for control of the wheelhouse or just using the ship as the base for their own ends. Or they’re on the ship because there’s no other place for them to go because Hic sunt dracones and the only other ship on the ocean (controlled by Democrats) is hostile to their interests.

    There are a lot of Republicans who aren’t happy with what Trump has done to the party. I personally know several who have vowed to vote straight-line Democrat out of spite. But how long can that actually last?

    At some point, the center-right, #nevertrump conservatives, and other moderate Republicans (and former Republicans) need to make a play to take the wheelhouse – or at least get a hand on the wheel. This will require them to show up for primaries.

    The Democratic coalition (which has no central leadership either) is not offering safe harbor or any political space in their coalition for disaffected former Republicans, so what other alternative do they have?

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  55. @Michael Reynolds skrev:

    They’re ready to acknowledge that the GOP is bad now. . . not so willing to face the fact that we were right all along, and they were wrong all along, and that they actively participated in bringing on this disaster.

    For practical political purposes I of course welcome the Never Trumpers, but at the same time I’m a Never Forgetter.

    Your willingness to welcome them before the necessary soul-searching is the only reason I pull back, at the very zero moment, from proclaiming that you are driftglass and I claim my five pounds.