The Republican Voter, Again

A couple of days ago, I posted excerpts from an article suggesting that the disasters that define our current civic reality aren’t primarily attributable to Trump, appalling as he is, but to the voters who form the base of whatever it is the Republican Party has become.

Since then, I have continued to encounter evidence confirming the accuracy of that diagnosis.

Exhibit One:  In the run-up to the Republican convention, an event presumably intended to persuade people to support the party, convention planners enlisted the entitled, bigoted St. Louis couple–the ones who brandished guns and threatened Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their mansion– to appear and publicly affirm their support for Trump.

I can’t think of speakers more likely to offend viewers who don’t display Confederate flags or have swastika tattoos.

The choice of the St. Louis couple underscores the point made by an opinion writer in The New York Times, who has concluded that “Trumpism” is the current GOP. As he says, even if  Biden wins and Trump leaves office peacefully — two big ifs — Democrats will still confront a Republican Party that is the party of Donald Trump.

In 2016, Mr. Trump didn’t change the Republican Party; he met it where it was. The party had been ready for him for years: In 2012, the congressional scholars Thomas Mann of the center-left Brookings Institution and Norm Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute wrote, “The G.O.P. has become an insurgent outlier in American politics.” More recent studies, including by Pippa Norris of Harvard, have confirmed this assessment. In a brief summary of her research — which compared the U.S. Republican Party “with other major parties in O.E.C.D. societies” — she found the G.O.P. “near far-right European parties” that flirt with authoritarianism, like the Polish Law and Justice of Poland or the Turkish Justice and Development parties.

This is not a party poised to pivot toward moderation — even in the face of an electoral landslide loss. The inevitable calls for reform (like the party’s abandoned “autopsy” report after the 2012 election) will yield to the inescapable gravitational pull of the party’s own voters and the larger forces dominating our politics.

The author, one Adam Jentleson, says that the GOP is not only unlikely to moderate in the wake of a defeat,  it is likely to turn to reactionary politicians like Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas. (You will remember Cotton for his despicable attempt to sabotage President  Obama’s nuclear negotiations with Iran.)  If Trump loses, Cotton is evidently seen–along with Tucker Carlson(!)– as a leading contender for the 2024 Republican nomination.

Jentleson says the “way forward” is to recognize what the Republican Party has become. That means ignoring them and working to deliver the results Americans want and need.

I agree. Assuming (fingers crossed) the Democrats take the Senate in November, they should focus on restoring checks and balances and passing long-bottled-up legislation. That will require eliminating the mechanisms that have allowed the Senate GOP to stonewall, obstruct and play partisan politics.  As Jentleson writes,

Sure, invite Republicans to participate constructively in the legislative process, but take away their ability to scuttle it.

To this end, it is encouraging to see Mr. Biden shifting from his staunch opposition to reforming the filibuster, whose modern iteration is what has allowed Republicans to raise the bar for passing most bills in the Senate from the majority threshold the framers set to the current 60-vote supermajority.

I have written before about the way the filibuster has been changed over the years; it’s no longer the process depicted in “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.” As Jentleson writes,

The Republican Party is now an even more hopeless tangle of pathologies than it was back then. If Republicans choose to take personal responsibility for unwinding themselves and contributing productively to intelligent solutions, they are welcome to do so. But Democrats cannot bet the future of the country on it.

He’s right, of course. But that leaves us with a far more troubling dilemma: a two-party system in which one party has morphed into a cross between bat-shit-crazy conspiracy theorists and a fascist cult.


  1. And it’s getting worse, not better, as we now have QAnon firmly entrenched as the fringe of the fringe party, and at least one US House candidate in Florida who is likely to be elected and is a follower. She makes Matt Gaetz, Gym Jordan and Jim Lucas look like Nelson Rockefeller.

  2. Considering the coup attempt is well underway, and considering there already has been blood shed in this governmental takeover, it’s going to take an extraordinary effort to overcome what’s already been established! And if this coup attempt is defeated which is very iffy, it’s going to take some very hardhearted conduct towards the perpetrators, no mercy! They gave no mercy they receive no mercy.

    There needs to be a reining in on religious activism in secular government. To the point of dismantling some of it if not all. The empirical evidence is, religion does not increase empathy, civility, cohesiveness, compassion, nor Christ like qualities to secular government. It does the complete opposite due to it being hijacked by men for political purposes. This is what happens when you tear down the division between church and state! Religion is meant to be private in the home, not brandished around like a battle ax!

    Romans the 13th chapter talks about every person should be in subjection to the superior authorities, but, why have evangelicals not been in subjection to their superior authorities all of these years? They don’t believe in their own belief! They never have, they really don’t believe in a burning hell, but they do believe in idolatry, worshiping their God of gold and riches. So, what would you call someone who claims to believe in a particular ideal, but actually believes in something completely antithetical to that ideal?

    You can’t negotiate with hypocrites because they stand for nothing! So, day one, Joe Biden needs to get out his executive order reversal quill, and get busy with his own executive orders! Firstly reversing every one of trumps executive orders, and then issuing immediate and enforceable executive orders to get the ball rolling! Because one thing the Republican Party did, they’ve assigned a tremendous of amount of power to the executive! This needs to be used quickly and wisely before finding ways to permanently muzzle some of its far-reaching powers! A lot needs to be accomplish in an extremely short period of time, like the Paris Accords, like the trade agreements, like restoring ecological sanity, like voting rights, like healthcare, and, take your pick on whatever else! The GOP will howl to the mountain tops, but, if they attempt to use the Supreme Court as a backstop against a new administration, then an executive order to increase the number of Supreme Court justices to prevent that very scenario. There also should be a purging of trumps unqualified appointments to the appellate courts and federal benches.

    This should be done rather quickly, within the 1st week I would say. All the while having committees prosecuting the criminality of the previous administration, including but not limited to arresting the former president and any of his cronies including those in Congress!

    After all, you’ve got to take out the trash before you can clean your house!

    In Matthew 26:52, Jesus Christ himself said all of those who pick up work take a hold of the sword, will perish by the sword!

    And, I am willing to go out on a limb here and say, the GOP has and is still planning on using the sword to propagate their ideals in a free society, including intimidating people’s rights to conduct themselves in civil rights and activities! So, as a result, they have signed their own indictment against mercy for them and their followers.

  3. “The Republican Party is now an even more hopeless tangle of pathologies…”

    And in addition to Trump’s followers, each of those pathologies has its own group of followers and add the staunch Republicans who would vote for anyone claiming to be a member of the party and we are facing vast numbers of a conglomerate of groups of supporters. Their numbers are frightening, I doubt all support Trump but will vote for him. We are now aware of QAnon, considered to be a home-grown terrorist group which is supported by Trump because “they like him”, with its followers. How many others and who in the current administration also support this group?

    Those gun totin’ speakers scheduled at the Republican National Convention are the tip of the iceberg; remember it was the iceberg beneath the surface which caused the Titanic to sink. Who is behind scheduling the speakers next week and will there be any requirements to attend the live rallies, for I believe the Convention will be a collection of Trump rallies which have never ended since 2015. Trump has refused any form of responsibility regarding the Covid-19 Pandemic; source tracing is as vital as qualified testing and this country has neither in place. I would suggest you write to your Congressman and Congresswoman but now the mail may not go through. Trump and DeJoy have accomplished what “neither rain, nor sleet nor dark of night” couldn’t do; they are “staying the couriers from their appointed rounds.”

  4. Irvin–and others. who have asked–she’s still in NICU, where she will evidently be until my granddaughter-in-law’s original due date (early November!).But she’s hanging in there, and each day, no news is good news.

    Thank you for asking.

  5. Sheila, I am keeping your granddaughter in my prayers.

    Now that the Dems have had their show, the contrast between the two parties will certainly be interesting. 45 has been pretty much focused on gloom and doom. I suspect they will talk positively only about a new round of tax cuts. Just what we need.

  6. Sheila and I have mentioned countless times on this blog about the fascist memo written by Lewis Powell in 1971. That memo to the U.S. Chambering of commerce was merely the supercharger placed on the engine of the Republican party beginning with the abortive Reconstruction after the Civil War.

    The Republican party hasn’t morphed into anything other that fulfilling their destiny as the tool of capitalists who intend for a fascist government to keep the masses in line while they gut every social and rational institution including those required in our Constitution. Trump is merely their latest tool to fulfill Marx prophesy for capitalism.

    In other news: Did you see Rachel’s show last night? Her “C” block highlighted a new book by Brian Stetler, “HOAX”. It describes the inner workings of Fox News and how they help destroy the nation by supporting Trump at every turn, indeed they feed the orange hairball his policy lines. The best part is the controlling pundits at Fox openly think Trump is “batshit crazy”. So, why do they keep sowing the seeds for our destruction by duping the weakest minds among us into ignoring anything else but their daily fiction shows? Ratings. Money. The Murdoch family has been totally corrupt and evil forever. No wonder Australia kicked them and their communications networks out decades ago. What better political entity for the Murdochs and Fox than the Republican party.

  7. In the U.S. the bottom line isn’t democracy, it’s racial competition. And an election can’t change that. At this point, it will only intensify the animosity.

  8. There is already a great video floating around Twitter of Senators Graham, Rubio, and Cruz before Donny got elected. They were slamming Donny hard. The hashtag used is #TheyKnew and #TheyAllKnew.

    Both hashtags were trending yesterday.

    What’s interesting is the Koch’s supposedly stopped supporting Trump, but since they are the kings of dark money, who knows. While the family claims they are only supporting down-ballot candidates, they are still a significant contributor to the GOP.

    If the DNC controls the presidency and both chambers in January 2021, they need to push through campaign finance reform as a symbol to all voters that they want to check the power of our oligarchy.

    If they do not check that power than everything else will be a token gesture to voters. Not taking action against Citizens United means they still have their wagon hitched to Wall Street, and all policies and laws will be written by Wall Street lawyers and lobbyists to favor themselves over the working class.

    However, both parties have made their allegiance to the oligarchy extremely clear during this pandemic. Their (both political parties) oath to capitalism and capitalists has been evident to anyone with their basic senses during this pandemic.

  9. Todd,

    “If they do not check that power than everything else will be a token gesture to voters. Not taking action against Citizens United means they still have their wagon hitched to Wall Street, and all policies and laws will be written by Wall Street lawyers and lobbyists to favor themselves over the working class.”

    You’re absolutely right, if you don’t deal with the oligarchy, the socio-political environment will only continue to get worse and worse, which appears that will be the case, since nothing fundamental appears to be changing on the Democratic Party side.

    TRUTH is such a miserable feeling concept. Who needs it?

  10. Adam Jentleson’s comments about the filibuster are a bit odd. The filibuster rule in the Senate helps out the minority party, which right now is the Democrats. For most legislation to pass the Senate, Republicans have to reach out and convince at least 7 Democrats to go along.

    Of course, President Trump has never shown any ability to get his legislative agenda passed by Congress, not that he actually has a legislative agenda. He thinks he can do everything he wants to by executive order, even though many times his executive orders, even if they are constitutional, amount to little more than press releases.

    As far as the Republican Party, I’m not sure it survives in its current form. If the GOP can’t win national elections, it will become a regional party and eventually fade away. I think that even if Trump loses, Trumpism will continue to strangle the GOP. I’m in the “burn it down” camp. Getting rid of Trump does nothing. We real conservatives need to kill Trumpism. Maybe the GOP will go the way of the Whig Party.

  11. My concern with attempting to marginalize the current Republican party is that 40% of the country either wholeheartedly or reluctantly agrees with it. The Democratic coalition currently spans the balance of political alignments, from socialists to Lincoln Project Republicans. It can come together long enough to kick out trump but spans too much ideological ground to be a stable governing majority once the election is over and the Lincoln Project Republicans and Bernie supporters leave. The Lincoln Project Republicans will resume their “loyal opposition” role, the socialists will let the perfect be the enemy of the good enough, the trump Republicans will reflexively stymie any and all attempts to commit responsible governance, and the remaining Democrats won’t be able to get enough votes to accomplish anything big.

    So long as the US has a first-past-the-post electoral system this will continue to be the case. In extreme cases we get Paul LePage, an unpopular governor who won (twice!) because two other candidates split the opposition vote. It is the basis of the Republican attempt to get Kanye West on selected states’ ballots to siphon off votes from voters who don’t want either trump or a Democrat, and the Democrat’s attempt to win in Kansas by getting Kris Kobach as their opponent. At the the national level, that’s how we got trump, Bush 43 (2000), Clinton (’92 and ’96), and others.

    I believe it is within the power of Congress to change this, perhaps by ranked-choice balloting but certainly by establishing a 50%-to-win requirement; the US Constitution says “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations” (Presidents are chosen by the so-called Electoral College, and the Constitution appears to be mute on how the Electors are chosen. I suppose Congress could weigh in on that too).

  12. I have been predicting the return of the Republican Party to the Whigdom from which it arose in 1854 for years, and the advent of Trump has only solidified my prediction. That party has been doomed for years due to its narrow base of dying conservatives and now fascists such as Trump who took power under the various pretenses Republicans offer their members. Wall Street, the Koch network, Citizens United, and propaganda have their limitations.

    Some perhaps newly named party will emerge from the reunion of present day Republicans with nineteenth century Whigs, say, the New Republican Party, and we Democrats may have a more robust competitor to deal with since, after all, the only six year old Republican Party in 1860 elected a former Whig to the presidency, a guy named Lincoln. The lesson? Don’t build your own party on the ruins and weaknesses of your adversary; instead provide good goverance on your own in search of doing “the bestest for the mostest,” aka the common good.

    Poowell’s infamous 1971 memo set the stage for the election of Reagan, who destroyed the remnants of FDR’s New Deal, unionism and the (till then) unison of the Dow and median wages, and while it’s hard to imagine today, he may have done as much long-lasting damage to our economy and trust in government as Trump is doing today (but unlike Trump, with a smile for cover).

    I frequently disagree with Todd on how we got here and what we should do about it but he is right on today in pointing out campaign finance reform as the electoral culprit. If we removed money from politics (and kept an amendatory eye out for attempts to circumvent such change) much of the pecuniary chicanery that elects Wall Street favorites would be absent, and imagine! We would finally live up to one of the linchpins of democracy and small d idealism, to wit: “That the governors rule by the consent of the governed.” With truly informed rather than propagandized consent, that’s a yes!

  13. One thing that these times leave us with knowledge of are the holes in the dike of democracy that holds back the natural instinct for power that we always thought was not a worry here. We have, like with all of our infrastructure, much work to do before our rights are safe once again.

    How Democrats will fix that infrastructure are specified on page 55 of the 2020 DNC Party Platform, an under read document for sure.

    First we have to do our part. Vote blue no matter who. Without both the Presidency and Congress Republicans will block all of these efforts because they need the holes in the dike to flood us with their power.

  14. The Democrats must tell the American People what all the Democratic Party has stood for in the past. I posted the below on my Face Book Page as I became somewhat fed up, with some of these stupid Memes my Reactionary “Friends” post about never voting for a Democrat:

    The last time I voted for a Republican for national office was for Gerald Ford. I do not understand the fear and terror of the Republicans 4 Democrats.

    Democrats, while not perfect have brought YOU:

    Social Security from FDR, The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a voluntary public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men ages 18–25, it was eventually expanded to ages 17–28. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States. (Side Bar one of my uncles was in the CCC).

    The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill, was a law that provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as G.I.s). By 1956, 7.8 million veterans had used the G.I. Bill education benefits, some 2.2 million to attend colleges or universities and an additional 5.6 million for some kind of training program.

    >>. Truman integrated the military,

    JFK called for a moon landing (Mission Accomplished), Cuban Missile Crisis No Nuclear War;

    LBJ, Civil Rights Act, In July 1965, under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson, Congress enacted Medicare under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide health insurance to people age 65 and older, regardless of income or medical history. Medicare spurred the racial integration of thousands of waiting rooms, hospital floors, and physician practices by making payments to health care providers conditional on desegregation.

    The Social Security Amendments of 1965 created Medicaid. The objective is to help states provide medical assistance to residents whose incomes and resources are insufficient to meet the costs of necessary medical services. Medicaid serves as the nation’s primary source of health insurance coverage for low-income populations.

    Obama brought YOU ACA, while not perfect, it provided health care for millions. Tell Me what is the Trump – Republican Plan for Healthcare??? A BIG ZERO.

    Republicans in the past may have voted for some of these bills to become Law. However, it took a Democratic President to move forward on these ideas, which has made America a better place.

  15. Pete,

    The DEMS have prepared a wish list for Americans in their platform which progressives don’t support because they stop short of Medicare4All. I’ve read much of it and have heard those words spouted in 2008, but Obama and his Citibank owners had other plans.

    Also, I see nothing in their platform about who is going to pay for their wishlist. After this year is accounted for, the pandemic related economic packages gifted to the oligarchs will result in trillions of dollars of new debt. Who will pay for this debt since many corporations have written IRS loopholes to avoid taxation?

    Furthermore, the FED has printed trillions more to support capitalism and capitalists. They’re even buying back corporate debt from the capitalists who pay very little in taxes. Will that spigot be turned off? Will the spigot be redirected to pay off consumer debt in all its forms – student loans, credit card debt, mortgages, rent, etc.?

    I don’t mind giving the DEMS another chance, but I don’t expect them to follow through on their promises. Biden was VP when they promised the moon, yet barely made it to the treetops. What’s different this time? Kamala? LOL

  16. Todd brings up an important point. Republicans can, will and do prevent progress. The only way to have progress is by not giving Republicans the power that they are addicted to. Every blue vote is also a vote that could have been red. Both factors count.

    Vote blue and not red no matter who.

  17. Two quick things…nada big will happen unless DEMs win the Senate…at best, a long shot. The GOP knows this and will put MUCH MORE effort there than to support Trump (and you won’t see it as it will be disinformation and voter suppression in those key Senate election states.

    The other….let’s not forget the lovely Jim Jordan as the Trump heir…he is all-Right and a reality star…

  18. Pete and Todd,

    Obviously you didn’t read the comment above?

    Because the Republican Party has already allocated and on believable amount of power to the executive! So, that power will still be available if a Biden administration comes to reality. That means executive orders! In 2010, the Democrats lost control of the Senate, and Mitch McConnell said he would not cooperate one iota with Barack Obama. Therefore, there could be no moon, nor treetops, because complacency shot Pres. Obama in the foot.

    So, this time, if lessons were learned, and times have changed concerning power from the executive branch, Biden can use his pen and bypass any sort of opposition of the GOP! And, I’m willing to bet that he will!

  19. Reverend Barber and Thomas Franks made a strong case (on Bill Maher last night) that the Democratic Party is leaving countless votes lying on the table because they are reluctant to appeal to to the working poor – once upon a time a key constituency. “How much did you hear about income inequality and wage increases during the convention,” they asked. They argued that Dems ignore these people in the belief that they don’t vote. But would they vote if they believed (or could be convinced) that our party had their interests at heart? Barber backed up his contention with what was achieved in Kentucky by the Poor People’s Campaign in electing a Democratic governor.

    Bernie’s supporters are concerned with these kinds of issues, and they have shown that progressives are great in number and deserve to be listened to. It appears we’ve persuaded them to buy in to Biden, but we thought the same in 2016. If we leave millions out of our calculations, can we blame them for staying home? If we ignore the people that the Democratic Party used to represent, then our only difference with the Republicans is how the country will go down the tubes and who deserves to lead that march. Democracy needs to represent the people – all the people – or it will prove itself as perishable as Trump has shown it to be. The richest country in the world can find ways to provide food, shelter, housing and medical care to all of its citizens. I will never feel good again about my country as long as a million people sleep on the streets each night. If we can’t fix that, then what is the point of claiming that we offer more than Trumpism?

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