The GOP in Suspended Animation

The latest shot-across-the-bow at the GOP is that instead of Grand Old Party it now means Greed Over Principle. Which I suppose is clever enough, but the fact is that no one knows what the hell is going on and only the brave and foolish will offer an opinion.

I am brave enough, but not so foolish.

And we thought Donald Trump was only damaging himself

Ah, not so my friend. Today’s NPR reports that Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt has announced he will not seek another term next year, making him the latest in a string of long-serving Senate Republicans to decline a reelection bid. Those names include Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio and Richard Shelby of Alabama.

There are fifty Republican Senators, so 10% are voluntarily leaving and we’re twenty months from the next election.

Meanwhile..

…eight Republican Senators (none of those retiring) and 139 Republican members of the House of Representatives officially objected to the result of the 2020 presidential election. No one knows what that means. It’s never happened before. But it’s absolutely connected to Donald Trump’s months-long claim of being fraudulently denied a landslide victory.

That’s never happened either, but it’s no exaggeration to say the Republican Party is in disarray. Christ, its pants are on fire.

Unlike the Senate, all members of the House are up for election every two years. There will be no Trump coattails to ride upon in 2022 and the fallout for those 139 is impossible to tell. But you can bet their Democrat opponents will remind their voters

And then there is the party itself

There are the Romney crowd, who are trying to save what they honored all their lives (and a good deal of mine) but it’s been one constant slide ever since Reagan. Reagan began the destruction of the middle class because he was a racist and most of the middle class was Democrat.

Followed by Newt Gingrich (one should always question a man named after a salamander) with his Contract With America that demonized all Democrats. Newt was a strange bird and has not yet gone to roost. Then we suffered Grover Norquist who, at the request of the Ronald Reagan administration, formed Americans for Tax Reform. They mobilized support for a congressional bill proposing broad revisions to the U.S. tax code.

Reagan signed the bill into law as the Tax Reform Act of 1986—which, among other changes, considerably lowered the top rate of federal income taxation of individuals. In an effort to preserve the enacted tax cuts, Norquist wrote a short pledge that committed Republicans who signed it not to raise taxes. For over two decades, they all signed it.

Try to run a government without tax legislation. But Norquist allowed the raising of taxes as long as they were offset by cuts elsewhere. Of course elsewhere was code for the welfare state and we know how that’s turned out.

So Republicans depended upon three strategies to survive

First, to turn the middle class against Democrats and they did that by racist dog-whistles that turned whites against minorities.

Second, they demonized Democrats as a ‘spend and tax’ party, no matter that history shows Republicans as enormous spenders (most in tax-cuts for the rich) while in office and Democrats as budget balancers. Bill Clinton actually balanced the budget and paid down a portion of the deficit.

Third, Republicans are almost entirely responsible for the online culture-wars, spearheaded by such sites as QAnon and deep state sites.

Two have been discredited and the third is an unknown

Yet if Donald Trump allows his ego to coax him into running as an independent in 2024 it will be the final bell, ringing the GOP into its grave. Donald couldn’t win in 2020, in the most closely watched election in modern history. He surely cannot win by splitting the party.

But Trump’s ego has controlled his life thus far so, if he’s not in or on his way to jail, who knows?


Image Credit: nick-burns-gop-illo-aw-screen

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