The End Of The Road?

As regular readers of this blog know, I was for 35 years an active member of a political party that no longer exists. I was a Republican. Virtually everyone I worked with in Republican politics during those years has now left the GOP, and none of us recognize what is left.

Recently, Steve Schmidt, the former GOP strategist who ran John McCain’s Presidential Campaign, predicted the demise of the cult that is today’s Republican Party. 

The die is cast for the Republican Party. It will be destroyed on January 6th in much the same way the Whig party was destroyed by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. The act unraveled the Missouri compromise and allowed for the westward expansion of slavery.

“The party could not survive its factionalism. There could be no more accommodation, compromise and partnership between pro-slavery and anti-slavery Whigs. A new political party was born, the Republican Party. That party will divide into irreconcilable factions on January 6th.

Schmidt’s choice of tomorrow–January 6th– followed the announcement that several  Republican Senators plan to object to that chamber’s scheduled acceptance of November’s electoral votes (but before leakage of the taped conversation in which Trump tried to pressure the Georgia Secretary of State to fraudulently change that state’s vote total). 

The poisonous fruit from four years of collaboration and complicity with Trump’s insanity, illiberalism and incompetence are ready for harvest.

It will kill the GOP because its pro-democracy faction and autocratic factions can no more exist together then could the Whig Party hold together the abolitionist with the slave master….Fascism has indeed come to America and as was once predicted. It is wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. 

The question, of course, is how many “pro-democracy” Republicans remain in today’s GOP.

Schmidt’s prediction of a split is buttressed by a lengthy critique issued by Senator Ben Sasse, aimed at dishonorable Senators like Hawley, Cruz and Braun. Sasse explained why he was refusing to participate in that project to overturn the election – and why he was urging his colleagues to reject what he called “this dangerous ploy.”

The letter is a quite long, and I urge readers to click through and read the whole thing. But here is a brief summary of the important points he raises:

  • There is no factual or legal basis for the protest.
  • There is no evidence of voter fraud significant enough to change the results. (Here, he includes a state-by-state analysis of claims and the lawsuits dismissing them.)
  • The claims that Trump’s lawyers make in public don’t match the claims made to courts, because opponents of the results aren’t really conducting a legal challenge–they are fundraising. “Since Election Day, the president and his allied organizations have raised well over half a billion (billion!) dollars from supporters who have been led to believe that they’re contributing to a ferocious legal defense. But in reality, they’re mostly just giving the president and his allies a blank check that can go to their super-PACs, their next plane trip, their next campaign or project.”
  • The Senators participating in this travesty do so despite knowing better. “When we talk in private, I haven’t heard a single Congressional Republican allege that the election results were fraudulent – not one. Instead, I hear them talk about their worries about how they will “look” to President Trump’s most ardent supporters.”

Sasse then points to the damage being done by “ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage.”

But they’re wrong – and this issue is bigger than anyone’s personal ambitions. Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government…

All the clever arguments and rhetorical gymnastics in the world won’t change the fact that this January 6th effort is designed to disenfranchise millions of Americans simply because they voted for someone in a different party. We ought to be better than that. If we normalize this, we’re going to turn American politics into a Hatfields and McCoys endless blood feud – a house hopelessly divided.

Sasse has been one of the very few GOP lawmakers willing to “talk the talk” (although he has often proved unwilling to “walk the walk” with his votes.) Mitt Romney did criticize the arsonists for allowing ambition to eclipse principle, and Sen. Pat Toomey accused Cruz and Hawley– by name– of subverting American democracy. Even Tom Cotton and Liz Cheney have criticized the ploy, but I’m unaware of other current GOP officeholders who have done so.

Following disclosure of Trump’s stunning and illegal phone call, will any other Republican incumbents be willing to disavow the cowards, incompetents, would-be fascists and institutional arsonists who currently control the GOP? 

I guess we’ll find out.


  1. As expected, Indiana’s other senator, Todd Young, is missing in action… hiding as usual.
    Seriously, the biggest tragedy here isn’t that one of the political parties is irrevocably broken; it is that the people are broken. They have been dummied down, misled, economically beaten, lied to, disinfranciesded and stomped on by the rich and powerful who bought their government and then sold it back to them under the slogan “Make America Great Again”.
    Even Shakespeare would weep.

  2. “Following disclosure of Trump’s stunning and illegal phone call, will any other Republican incumbents be willing to disavow the cowards, incompetents, would-be fascists and institutional arsonists who currently control the GOP? ”

    Wow. Deja vu all over again.

  3. “The question, of course, is how many “pro-democracy” Republicans remain in today’s GOP.”

    I can name three Georgia Republicans who seem to fully support “pro democracy”; Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger have stood strong in the outcome of Georgia’s presidential election, refusing to find a way to overturn Trump’s loss there and Trump has declared them both to be his enemies. Yesterday I watched in amazement as Georgia’s Election Official, Gabriel Sterling, tore apart each and every one of Trump’s lies, replacing them with documented facts and told Trump outright, “All due respect, Mr. President, your sources are wrong.” He also stated “We taped Trump’s call out of caution.”; showing they knew his intent of his attempted collusion.

    Last night in Decatur, Georgia, Trump again declared himself to be the winner in Georgia and stated “I hope Vice President Pence will come through for us.” and that he wouldn’t like him as much if he does not. That statement is now being questioned as to what he meant for Pence to do tomorrow at the formal declaration of the 2020 Presidential Election. We here in Indiana know Pence to be a weak man, how much does he want to maintain his surface friendship with Trump? Will tomorrow bring “The End Of The Road?” for Trump and Pence and those Republican Senators who plan to object to that chamber’s scheduled acceptance of November’s electoral votes?

    Decisions will be made today and tomorrow which will deeply affect this government and this nation. As Theresa pointed out, the people in the Republican party are broken; we have watched those who are beyond repair control the Senate and thus control this nation. These two days will live in history, will they save democracy?

  4. I feel bad, but not sorry for, so-called pro-democracy Republicans. I say “so-called” because many of these politicians you say are standing strong against anti-democratic forces in our country are the same ones who have fervently pursued anti-democratic measures to suppress voter registration and voting, as well as pursue levels of data-driven gerrymandering never imagined just a few years ago.

    I also don’t feel sorry for them or their former party because they have largely stood by the last 40+ years and quietly cheered on their radical fundamentalist white Christian colleagues because they were very good at getting out the conservative vote. All Republicans benefitted from the fringe politically – there is no better example of this than the Indiana General Assembly. All they had to do was pass legislation to prevent abortions, prevent gun regulations and privatize public schools. I had to laugh out loud at the comment about GA Governor Kemp – my God, he just stole an election from Stacey Abrams 2 short years ago to get his job!! How SOON we forget and how perfectly NORMALIZED his tactics have become!

    But like most Faustian bargains it wasn’t enough to satisfy the beast. When pre-election measures pursued at the edges of democracy failed to achieve the desired outcome as it did last November then the only option left is to undermine democracy itself and seek to discredit and then overturn the election. And now a very small minority of Republicans are vocally opposing the measure and we’re supposed to feel hopeful? Really? While the vast majority of Republicans remain predictably silent (We’re looking at you Todd Young and Eric Holcomb!)?

    I have been a political independent my whole life (I don’t join clubs of any kind – they’re too peopley) but to remain an independent requires that I be open to the possibility of voting for a Republican. That possibility is gone and forever so call me a Democrat or even a Democratic Socialist. I’ve been called far worse.

  5. Patrick, Exactly!

    And JoAnn, I did not mean just those in the Republican Party. I meant the people…all the people including the rich and the powerful as well as members of the Democrat Party.

  6. No, Rafensberger and Kemp are NOT heroes. As Stacy Abrams said, “They’re just defending the voter suppression policy they invented.

    The Republican party ceased to be pro-democracy when they allowed Donald Regan to work for this trained puppy Ronald Reagan. That “team” embraced Milton Friedman’s disastrous economics idea that tried to define total capitalism. Add to that the Republican appointees on SCOTUS that equated money with speech giving us the anti-democratic Citizens United v. FEC disaster. Heck, even Teddy Roosevelt saw how money corrupted his party and our government.

    Teddy Roosevelt was really the first noted figure to leave the Republican party. Karl Marx was right: capitalists running government will destroy democracy. And here we are. We’ve all listed the names of the current collection of corrupt anti-democracy Republicans, and why should they be anything else since their donors are telling them what to do.

    Except for Ted Cruz. His ambition is only topped by his utter hypocrisy and inferiority complex. Cruz is smart (therefore dangerous) and pliable (supporting the man who publicly humiliated his wife) to the point of absurdity and spends most of his waking hours looking for a TV camera or microphone to lie into.

    It’s a good thing if the Republican party is shattered by its own corruption and stupidity. There really was no other outcome. They denied the premise that the power of government should come from the people. Why anybody votes for or supports Republicans at any level is still a mystery.

  7. It’s interesting today!

    Last night, talking with Marv, he’s come to an epiphany, and, I have to agree with him. Marv is of the opinion, take no prisoners! Again, if you’re going down this road, I would have to agree with that epiphany. One thing I found fascinating about his remarks to me last night, were his thoughts about strength. That if a person is not willing to fight physically, they are not willing to fight verbosely. Fear prevents some from standing up for their rights. And fear promotes the image of all hat and no cattle.

    Abraham Lincoln famously spoke about the house divided against itself cannot stand! Again, he was quoting Scripture in Mark 3:24-25! It reads very quickly, “And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”

    The reason why I bring this up, is that if the present conservative batch continues to swim against the current, eventually, that current will wear you out. And you’re going to get washed away. That happened with the 1850 Whig party, and more than likely is going to happen to the current incarnation of the Whigs. They claim to be religious but fail to heed the warning signs then and now! The Whig party and its dismantling directly corresponded with the Civil War. So, there was blood associated with their demise. And, there will be blood associated with the demise of the current Whig incarnation in Congress.

    Again, history is cyclical, although you would think a little more time would’ve passed before it cycled again towards this particular precipice.

    So then, going back around to the beginning of this comment, there’s going to be a physicality involved here, are you willing to do the dirty work? Are there those willing to sacrifice? Are there those who are willing to bleed? Or, is it a sign of liberal and progressive weakness to capitulate like Neville Chamberlain, to quake with fear instead of standing up for human dignity and human rights? I guess we’re going to find out real quick, Nazi Germany was an example of those who capitulated with fear, and it brought the Holocaust!

  8. There’s a biblical quote that comes to mind today, “As you sow, so shall you reap.” (Galatians VI) We have reached the culmination of forty years of anti-democratic moves by a party that deems only its own members to be legally elected officials, regardless of vote totals or objective reality.

  9. Yes Peggy,

    And, the warning was in Hosea also!

    For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

    In other words when you go against the truth, when you go against the law, there is no hiding place, it eventually will catch up with you.

  10. In support of Sheila(doesn’t need me, supports her comments with learned opinions and facts) three examples of Old Republicans:
    1. Personal, Dad immigrated to USA by himself(orphan) in 1910, disabled WWI vet, could not get SS benefits in 1958 as he had no birth certificate/family bible/etc. except his US entry via Ellis Island, WWI draft/discharge, all other US documents had same birth date. Rep C. Halleck came to his rescue via DAV with a personal scathing letter to SSA chief-within 2 weeks, Dad had a letter of apology and 6 months back benefits.
    2. Union Veep, local Dem. activist could not get information regarding his son who had been injured in Vietnam. He contacted Congressman W. Bray/received personal letter stating family is more important than politics/provided direct contact with both his chief of staff and a US Army General. His son had been seriously injured by ‘friendly fire’
    3. Via news media of the time: Sen.Sam Irvin-N C was in charge of Nixon/Watergate scandal. Sen Goldwater at that time basically stated that ‘maybe Sam is being too hasty’. Nothing besmirching his character.

  11. Vernon,

    Right on point!

    They all bring up Stacy Abrams but it’s like comparing apples to oranges in their attempt to softserve Trump.

  12. Oh what a tangled web we weave…
    This comes to mind as I watch the hell that Hoosier Republican politician have designed for themselves.
    Just read a few comments on their Twitter feed and you’ll find them squirming to keep the magas and phoney Xhristians happy and answering to the rest of us who are holding their feet to the constitutional fire.
    As my old Granny used to say, “They don’t know whether to spit or to go blind!”

  13. It’s fun to flog the outrageous GOP. But, let’s all keep in mind that what we are seeing in DC (aside from the Cult across the country) is what both parties at the national level are mostly populated with self-centered folks who mostly put Party, ideology, special interests, personal power and/or personal wealth above country. Where are the servant leaders?

  14. The law of unintended consequences may just bite Gov. Kemp’s behind, today. Having stolen that election from Stacey Abrams, he allowed her to be able to be openly partisan in such a way that if the Dems win today, it will change the complexion of the senate, putting McTurtle off to the side, a bit.
    Trump’s one actual valid statement, in recent memory, claiming that if Biden were to win the recent election it would mean that no Republican would/will ever win the presidency again, may turn out nicely; not that Trump came up with the concept on his own.
    I am heartened, though not surprised, to find others here laying the blame for the shredding of the GOP, and Democracy, squarely in St. Reagan’s lap. He opened the door, widely, for the religious right, played with Newt the Gingrich, and together they severely wounded the concept of
    mutually acceptable fact. Newt “knew” there was nonsuch thing as acid rain, until lakes began to die because of such rain, and Ronnie was the “Facts are annoyances” man. Of course, it is not good to forget that he got to the presidency by way of a traitorous agreement with the Govt’t of Iran.

  15. 74 million people cast an affirmative vote for Trump. That’s our real problem. What the hell are we going to do with the Moron Majority, literally the majority of white people in the U.S. who are so mentally deficient as to think Trump was the best choice.

  16. Mitch D,
    Don’t forget Ronnie’s part in the AIDS crisis and the deaths of thousands. Oh yeah, what a guy!

  17. Well said. There is an excellent article by Yuval Levin in the National Review that delves into this topic in some depth. I recommend reading it in full, but I will copy the paragraph that summarizes it here:
    “To knowingly pretend a lie is true is, simply put, to lie. Doing that carefully enough to let you claim you’re only raising questions only makes it even clearer that you know you’re lying. Lying to people is no way to speak for them or represent them. It is a way of showing contempt for them, and of using them rather than being useful to them. This is what too many Republican politicians have chosen to do in the wake of the election. They have decided to feign anger at a problem that cannot be solved because it does not exist, and this cannot help but make them less capable of taking up real problems on behalf of their voters. And in any case, it makes them cynical liars.”

  18. The past is in a race with the future here. Do we join the world moving into whatever is coming at us, or do we separate and stay in the past which was so comfortable for us even if it has no future.

    That’s a tough decision apparently.

  19. Sasse, Mitt and others who on occasion speak truth are no friends of ours. Their voting efforts belie their sometimes flirtation with truth, but all of these Republicans today have their own fish to fry with their PR games, and representation of the true needs of their constituents is secondary to their perceived political future. Hawley and Cruz are good examples of Ivy Leaguers who clerk for appellate judges and then step out into their party’s wonderful world of lies and the dark money world of the Koch/Mitch regime, selling their souls for money and political futures under the pretense of representing the best interests of their constituents. (Note not a peep from such stalwart defenders of the common good with nearly 400,000 dead Americans for fear of offending an insane overseer – since not going along with the morally depraved might complicate their political future.) I attribute such shortcomings to moral cowardice – perhaps the worse kind of cowardice there is.

    I have been predicting for years that the Republican Party is headed back to the Whigdom from which it arose in 1854 when the bigger argument among the Whigs (Lincoln was one) was not slavery per se but whether newly admitted territories to statehood could come into the Union slave or free. Abolitionists weren’t having it one way or the other, plantation owners were unhappy, and political war was the order of the day, barely six years before the Civil War began at Fort Sumter. Personally, had I lived in that day I would have been a Republican and not a right wing slave-holding Democrat. The parties have since done 180s in a total change of positions, so I am now a Democrat.

    Mike Pence is not in charge of naming the next president; that chore in a democracy is left up to the people, and the people have spoken in near landslide fashion. Trump is trying to reincarnate a dead horse in a rule or ruin fashion with his threats, lies and intimidation. None will work. Biden will become president in a couple of weeks, and that’s it. End of story.

  20. Do the Trump-supporting politicians have some glorious goal in mind? Let’s hope so, because here is a non-prioritized short list of what they are sacrificing to get there:
    1. Honest-to-God patriotism
    2. Allegiance to truth
    3. Character
    4. Self-respect and the respect of their peers
    5. Integrity
    6. All achievements except those promoting the causes of oligarchs
    7. Defense against America’s enemies
    8. The welfare of their constituents
    9. Respect for science, the only discipline that makes progress possible
    10. Respect of their peers
    11. Adherence to the rule of law
    12. Election integrity
    13. Democracy
    14. The ability to fight the coronavirus, one of America’s most challenging problems
    15. Honest government which fights corruption
    16. The independence of Congress
    17. Transparency of government actions/policies
    18. Opposition to conspiracy theories
    19. Reverence for education and knowledge
    20. Love of children and families (except their own)
    21. Opposition to dictatorship
    22. Respect for human life
    23. Protection of government secret s from foreign enemies
    24. Protection of women and minorities
    25. Opposition to white supremacy
    26. Self-dealing
    27. A livable environment
    28. Opposition to racism
    29. Respect for long-standing allies and mutual sacrifices
    30. Rational approaches to problem solving
    31. Notions of how cause and effect work

    That’s a lot to give up in order to reach an apparently undefined goal! This brief list captures qualities, all of which Republicans have declared to be expendable, that historically made our country a shining example of what good government could accomplish. If you feel America is a wasteland or that it doesn’t offer you the opportunity to excel at what you are good at, this list includes a lot of attitudes/positions/character traits you may want to consider adopting. But please, before doing so, give the rest of us a description of the country you envision will better meet your needs. We’d also appreciate an opportunity to explain our disagreement.

  21. The Trumpet’s phone call to Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger to “find the votes”, confirms what we already knew about The Trumpet, which includes a nod and wink to commit fraud. The Trumpet has plausible denial – He did not say commit fraud, just find a way to make 2 plus 2 equal 3. It would be Raffensperger who would be on the hook for the fraudulent act.

    This is the method The Trumpet has used all his life – find someone to the dirty work for him.

    After listening to parts of that phone conversation I see no reason to believe his discussions with World Leaders were any different – disjointed ramblings, interspersed with lies.

  22. 74,223,744 people voted for The Trumpet-Pastor Pence ticket, that is almost 47% of the votes cast in 2020. The states were split 25 for Biden and 25 for The Trumpet.

    Here in Indiana 57% of the people voted for The Trumpet-Pastor Pence ticket, KY 62% for Trump.

    The idea that the GOP is destroying itself and destined for Whiggdom is bogus and wishful thinking at least at the state level. Even at the national level given the electoral college Biden’s wins in AZ, PA, GA, and WI were razor thin.

    Any hope that the GOP will return to a Jerry Ford Republicanism is not going to happen. Decades of Reactionary Right Wing toxicity has resulted in an alliance with Bible Thumper’s, anti government types and racists. The old GOP elite like Richard Lugar here in Indiana ran into the brick wall of the New GOP.

  23. Monotonous – I agree that the Republican Party will not go down in one fell swoop and that it will take some time to filter down to state and local levels, but is has been going down, is going down now and will go down entirely in the relatively near future. Demographics don’t lie, as old white Protestants meet their maker(s) and the younger and more liberal voters who are unafraid of the dreaded word “socialism” take over their political futures (and that of us surviving). More Democrats versus fewer and fewer Republicans bodes well for a liberal democracy and, hopefully, a more just and and equitable sharing of the fruits of our economy based on the examples of the Nordic states.

    I think the only way the Republican Party can survive is to adopt policies that look to genuine representation of their constituencies and a retreat from representation of the rich and corporate class, and I don’t see that happening among a political class mired in the politics of greed and lust for power, hence my prediction.

  24. With the Citizens United decision, I think there is too much money coming in for those in the party to decide it is time to split. When you can fund raise half a billion dollars all based on lies, that is a powerful incentive to keep doing what you are doing. On Jan 6th we may see the beginnings of a split, but I am not holding my breath.

  25. Stephen,

    Excellent find on that article in the guardian, that will be a sight to see! The word “Decorum” is not in Trump’s lexicon!

  26. Tomorrow’s certification of the vote in Congress is a stage for Some Republicans to vie for the next leader of the trump base, if the attempted coup doesn’t work. Also, comforting the mad King is a factor in that they don’t want to be demonized by trump’s influence/ tweets. Certification is going to be a long drawn out tedious process, with trump supporters contesting the results State by State. Congress will debate, argue and then vote again. Could this be why Jordon & Nunes got Freedom Medals from trump yesterday? This is the fresh hell that the Evil Presence is putting US through.

  27. Thank you, Theresa, I had forgotten about Ronnie and the AIDS crisis. Yeah, what a guy!
    A cousin and her husband are long-time Republicans. During the GWB years, he made a point of saying that “We are not Bush republicans, but Reagan republicans.” I was aghast, and voiced some points about Ronnie. Now, they are Trumpsters. Sigh.
    Nice list, Terry!

  28. I can imagine the birth of a replacement party, which would be good for the country, but I have to join those who have reminded us that the “newly pro-democracy” Republicans were MIA for four years — and even longer. Some spent the Obama administration under the theory that only a Republican could be President and appoint Justices.

    If a new party forms, it will be “former Republicans” who form its base. I just don’t know how long it might take for the Trump “heirs” to fight against each other and lose the enthusiasm of their base — if ever.

    Lester – sorry – I have been know to drive faster than the speed limit – Ted Bundy was a serial killer – we both broke the law – Really? Democrats may not be perfect, but they are a far cry from the Republicans. This kind of “a pox on both parties” is how we got to Trump, with both parties rushing to the right and people saying “no difference”.

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