My wife recently asked me: “So why aren’t you writing any more of your political screeds for the blog lately?”
Some readers have written in and asked the same thing: When did I stop hating on Republicans, anyways?
I promise you I haven’t, but generally speaking, I get pretty burnt out on politics after an election year. This time, though, I think it goes deeper than that. The main reason I think I care less about politics today than I did only five months ago is that for years I’ve long expected to see a steep decline in the size of the GOP’s voter base and the party’s influence and I think that’s now pretty much a fait accompli. We’ve seen it happen. 2012 was the very last year that the Republicans still had a decent shot at getting in on a national level and cementing the rules of, ahem, “democracy” to favor themselves—but as we all know, that didn’t happen.
I certainly think there were very valid reasons for fearing the rise of the far right—the brief Tea party moment was admittedly not something that I saw coming—but I’m not feeling that so much anymore.
The Tea party foolishness, Glenn Beck, the birthers and the rapid rise and fall of Sarah Palin can already be seen in the rear-view mirror as the frenzied flailing of a dying elephant. By 2016, a pretty good chunk of the Grand Old Party’s aging baby boomer base will have at least one foot in the grave and by 2020 and 2024, well, forget about it.
In the very near future, America will be truly unrecognizable to itself, and this will be especially hard on the folks who don’t even live in the present to begin with. Progress cannot be stopped. Entropy is simply not possible in a country this big and with such a radically changing demographic makeup, no matter how certain personality types—low IQ authoritarians, xenophobes, racists, religious busybodies, I’m talking about the GOP base, here, of course—try to force it on everyone else.
I’m just so over it. Aren’t you?
The dam has burst on a lot of issues: immigration reform, LGBT civil rights, cannabis laws, healthcare, and the water is rushing past the reichwingers and they just got drenched.
This is not to say that I’m not still amused by soaking wet Republicans, it’s just that the 2012 election showed, I think definitively, the hard and fast limits to their influence and that the national brand is truly a spent force, one perhaps best left behind as a relic of another era (like plaid golf pants, Brylcreem, Lawrence Welk… or Jim Crow laws).
To my mind, it all looks pretty downhill from here on out for the Republican Party. Any argument that posits a resurgent national GOP moving forward is an argument made by someone who apparently still thinks that the most recent US Census was just a big ole fat gubmint LIE and who probably voted for Michele Bachmann in the Iowa Caucus.
There simply aren’t enough of them anymore. That’s a demographic fact, Jack. Don’t believe me? Go argue with reality, I don’t care what you think. Get real: The so-called “two party system” is not some immutable law of American political physics that needs to carry on without end, especially not when one of the parties has opted to radically remake itself, taking on the classic features of an extremist fringe group.
Some Republicans kinda got the “voter revulsion” message, but not really. When Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus presented the 97-page report of the RNC’s “Growth and Opportunity Project,” a post-mortem on the GOP’s 2012 losses at the National Press Club on Monday, he said:
“When Republicans lost in November, it was a wake-up call. And in response I initiated the most public and most comprehensive post-election review in the history of any national party. As it makes clear, there’s no one reason we lost. Our message was weak; our ground game was insufficient; we weren’t inclusive; we were behind in both data and digital; our primary and debate process needed improvement.”
In short, a sizable majority of the American electorate thinks the Republicans suck eggs and their own internal polling backs that up to the extent that they don’t even try to spin it anymore! (Something remarkable in and of itself).
The report is actually pretty brutal, acknowledging that women, gays, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, college-educated Caucasians and the mainstream media basically hate Republicans. These, er, “special interest groups” are, for all intents and purposes, immune to the GOP’s charms. They’re not going to just suddenly jump on the Republican train for any reason, this much seems assured.
Not to mention:
“Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents…”
Yeah, the young people. They simply aren’t that into inheriting a country with insane wealth inequality, the 1% elite owning half of everything and keeping the productive capital within their own families, tainted meat, bad air and undrinkable water. Try rounding up an electoral majority when women, gays, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, college-educated Caucasians and young people of all races think you’re shit!.
‘Nuff said, eh GOP?
“We sound increasingly out of touch.”
That’s putting it mildly. The GOP talk about minority outreach, and then they introduce voter ID bills in their statehouses! It’s even a matter of Republicans appearing not to be able to differentiate fiction from reality anymore, let alone shit from shinola.
I mean, they’re exactly what Bobby Jindal said they—and by extension he, himself—are: “the stupid party.” Many Americans simply perceive the GOP as being closely synonymous with idiocy and they have no trouble articulating this to the GOP’s own pollsters. And like, this somehow appears to be NEWS to them! The stench of stupid is so thick on the modern Republican party brand that it’s going to be a really difficult odor to wash off.
Hands up, who wants to be a member of the stupid party? How about you?
“At our core, Republicans have comfortably remained the Party of Reagan without figuring out what comes next. Ronald Reagan is a Republican hero and role model who was first elected 33 years ago—meaning no one under the age of 51 today was old enough to vote for Reagan when he first ran for President.”
OUCH, OUCH AND DOUBLE OUCH! A knife thrust deep into the Republican heart! Why it’s conservative treason… even if it’s true!
They’ve had no new ideas since the Reagan era, either. Since before most people owned a personal computer. Since there were just three TV networks and PBS for most of America! Why would the smartest, most capable young conservatives of the up and coming generation want to make a career investment in the GOP instead of someplace… you know, not so dumb? How will the party attract talent?
And furthermore, how will the party raise money when they’ve proven to be such a shitty investment for their deep-pockets donors. Even the Koch brothers seem to be turning their back on the GOP. Who could blame them, they’re ruthless businessmen? They know the score. The ROI the GOP offer blows. Expect them to act accordingly. If Rand Paul would bolt the party for the Libertarians (as his father once did) the Kochs would be right there behind him.
“If Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.”
Hahahaha. No shit. Well, then someone had better essplain that to the loudmouthed lamebrain from Texas, Rep. Louie “anchor babies” Gohmert, who insists that the GOP must never give into immigration reform because “they” will never vote for Republicans if offered a pathway to citizenship. It’s a “trap” Democrats have laid for the GOP, in Gohmert’s eyes.
Look, Louie Gohmert’s a fucking idiot, that’s glaringly obvious to everyone but him and his fellow idiots, but if you think about it, he’s actually quite right in this instance. It’s a real damned if they do, damned if they don’t sort of situation these Republicans have put themselves in regarding immigration reform, isn’t it? But they’ve insisted upon it, the Democrats didn’t trap them with anything. This is a giving them an awful lot of credit for what amounts to a Catch 22 that’s been hatching under their noses and in their own districts, literally for DECADES, don’tcha think?
As New York’s Jonathan Chait wrote about the RNC’s seemingly intractable woes:
The report determinedly avoids confronting the party’s most fundamental problem: Its attachment to an economic agenda that most voters correctly identify as serving the needs of a wealthy minority. Rather than confront the problem, the report is a detailed and generally shrewd plan for working around.
Yup. Tuesday on MSNBC, RNC chair Reince Priebus told Luke Russert that the party’s platform on gay marriage has not changed despite efforts to make the party appear more inclusive:
“I know our party believes marriage is between one man and one woman.”
That’s some “effort,” Reince (if that is, in fact, your real name).
Paul Ryan, the GOP’s pathetic idea of an intellectual…
Obviously there’s a gigantic problem with this entire RNC re-branding enterprise: It’s dead on arrival and anyone with a brain capable of critical thought on the level of, say, a peanut, can see the fatal flaw that’s got a flashing neon sign and a bunch of old coots in Revolutionary War uniforms pointing their replica muskets right at it. Republican voters, especially the ones who never went to college, the cranky old farts who are to varying degrees racist, close-minded Christianists, anti-immigrant homophobes and just angry, disapproving people, en générale, will have none of this shit!
And these troglodytes make up about half the party’s registration rolls and everyone knows it. Good luck with the fucking rebranding, boys.
Writing about the RNC autopsy at the NY Times, Thomas B. Edsall had this to say:
The highly visible presence of the candidates these voters prefer – recall the party’s Senate nominees in Missouri and Indiana, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, and their bizarre views on rape and abortion — suggests that the Republican Party has a severe, if not toxic, problem: a septic electorate that, in the words of the Mayo Clinic, “can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.”
But let’s leave these trifling inconveniences aside for now, shall we? Suffice to say, there’s a major split occurring in the GOP that’s going to seriously impact their ability to ever get back to a place of national influence. This was already obvious at the start of the primary season. As a national party, they’re no-hopers within a decade, splintering into factions (Tea party and social conservatives, RNC establishment and the wealthy elites, “Ron/Rand Paul Libertarians,” etc) and facing an increasingly insurmountable demographic irrelevancy that will grow by leaps and bounds every four years.
I don’t think the Republicans can do that much—or at least as much—damage to the country moving forward. It’s clear that there are (at least) two factions of the party who are locked in a civil war. The endgame of everyone taking their toys and going home seems like a forgone conclusion. They’re just not going to be able to work together anymore. You’ve got the wealthy elites who would like the game to stay rigged vs. the Rick Santorum “stupid” folks. They desperately need one another to add up to a nationally viable party. Divided they don’t really amount to much anymore.
They’ve been humbled, their electoral impotency was on full display for the entire country to see on election night.
Furthermore. there are boundaries now that they know they can’t cross. Those boundaries weren’t there before, but they are now. Public opinion can be employed much easier as a prophylactic against the worst Republican power grabs (like this talk of changing Electoral College rules, something that everyone is already wise to). Of course, I’m not suggesting completely ignoring what the GOP gets up to—I’m not usually someone to underestimate the power of stupid people in a group—but their best days are behind them, and I think that’s a pretty uncontroversial thing to say at this point, without any caveats coming readily to mind.
I’m noticing that this attitude is increasingly, and I think correctly, becoming the default position of the mainstream media, that the uh… I guess threat of low IQ authoritarian Republicanism has diminished considerably. Bill Maher touched on this topic on his Real Time program on HBO last week when he mocked Christian bluenose group One Million Moms (the churchladies who protest the Skittles and Geico commercials for promoting bestiality) who have not one million Twitter followers, but fewer than 3000.
When Bill Maher is brushing off silly reichwingers as a source of comedy, like a canary flying out of a coalmine, hey, he’s probably onto something: They’re a joke.
It’s a pretty steep fall from Andrew Breitbart to Ben Shapiro to put it a different way.
The 2012 election was a real “man behind the curtain” moment for the Grand OLD Party and its increasingly tenuous relationship to modern America and the up and coming generation. The slow, agonizing death of the Republican Party seems all but certain, done in by hubris, idiocy, greed, hypocrisy, terrible ideas, loathsome shit-for-brains politicians, moronic uninformed voters, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, the list can go on and on and on. They suck, but fuck ‘em, they’re not really worth nearly as much energy being expended in their direction.
Maybe it’s simply time to push past them and leave these nitwits behind to play in their sandbox of stupidity. The zeitgeist is not with the Republican Party and I think the big story of American politics in 2013 is that most people are starting to realize this.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The nightmare (free market) scenario the GOP faces: THEY’RE A VERY BAD INVESTMENT