The GOP Race To The Bottom

I rarely quote material from sites like Daily Kos–not because I worry about their essential veracity; I don’t. Despite Republicans’ dishonest insistence on equivalence between media spouting right-wing fantasies and those engaging in leftwing spin, factual assertions on sites like Daily Kos are almost all independently verifiable. They do, however, report from a decidedly liberal perspective, and since this site isn’t intended to cheerlead for any particular political perspective other than my own, I rarely cite to them.

I’m breaking that rule today, however, because I was intrigued by a recent post. File this under “be careful what you wish for.”

The article began by tracing GOP conspiracy theories–fluoridated water, Eisenhower as a committed Communist, etc., through QAnon and Jewish Space Lasers (which is evidently a real theory kicking around in wacko circles, and not simply another Marjorie Taylor Greene mental seizure.)

Apparently, however, there’s a political downside to encouraging your base to disdain anything remotely resembling reality. As the post puts it: When you’ve taught your base to believe nothing but the crankiest of crank conspiracies, how do you get them to listen when you need them?

In the last week, Republicans have noticed that the up = down machine has put them in a position where 90% of the people dying from COVID-19 are their people. That’s because 90% of Democrats are already vaccinated and 99.5% of those dying are unvaccinated. Who are those unvaccinated? Oh, right, the Republican base that’s been taught scientists, doctors, and experts can’t be trusted.

Over the course of that week, Republicans who still think of themselves as party leaders have begun to get louder about suggesting to their followers that maybe, just maybe, taking five minutes out of their day to not die would be a good thing.

The post then took a couple of paragraphs to explain the Republican dilemma:

For Republicans who ever actually cared about the traditional Republican agenda, eh. That’s all gone. For those who care about nothing but their own personal power, they’re out of luck as well. Just ask former Rep. Scott Tipton. Tipton was a conservative Republican who checked all the boxes. He voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He frequently angered environmental groups with a push to privatize public lands. He was solidly against reproductive rights as well as gay marriage, supported by wads of cash from the oil and gas industry, and he easily won election for 10 years. Then Tipton was knocked out of his primary by a woman who claimed to have inside knowledge about Hillary Clinton’s upcoming arrest as well as secret documents that would reveal the QAnon truth about the pizza-ordering  cannibals in Congress.

Marjorie Taylor Greene didn’t step into a seat that was formerly held by a Democrat. She ousted Rep. Tom Graves, who had one of the most conservative ratings in the House. Cawthorn took over Mark Meadows’ former seat in a district freshly gerrymandered to make it super Republican safe, but in doing so Cawthorn actually defeated well-funded conservative businesswoman Lynda Bennett, who was the choice of not just Republicans in the state party but also endorsed by Donald Trump. It’s easy to say that Cawthorn won in spite of posting an Instagram photo celebrating his visit to Adolf Hitler’s vacation residence while explaining that a visit to see “the Führer’s” home was on “my bucket list.” But a more truthful framing would be that Cawthorn won because of his unabashed adoption of white supremacist positions.

What most Republicans in leadership positions today are just beginning to discover is that they are the alt-right. The white nationalist agenda that was cautiously courted along the fringe a decade ago is now the mainstream. If there is still a pro-business agenda, it exists only so much as it locks in racism. If there’s still a social conservative agenda, it survives only as a means of tacking a halo onto actions of hate. And the media outlets that Republicans were counting on to keep the base in line have discovered that it’s even more lucrative to feed them to the volcano god who pays Tucker Carlson’s bills.

As the post concludes, “There’s always another Boebert in the weeds.” No matter how obediently crazy the incumbent, no matter how slavishly devoted to Trump and/or the “big Lie,” there’s always someone willing to mount a primary challenge–someone even more anti-reason, anti-science, anti-Black, anti-Semitic–someone even less-tethered to reality.

These days, the crazier the candidate, the more likely s/he is to win a Republican primary–and in most places, the less likely to win a general election. Even with the GOP’s frantic rush to gerrymander everything in sight, there is a limit to how many red crazy districts they can carve out.

Isn’t there?


  1. The reason behind the rights voter suppression effort is that better people with better ideas can no longer survive the GOP primary process. If you can’t run a superior candidate make it harder for those most likely to voter for the other team to vote.

  2. If voting rights are not protected on the Federal level, these crazy bastards will be running the country in the not too distant future.

  3. IF – IF – the GOP is racing to the bottom; how are they currently stalling issues in the House and controlling all progressive votes in the Senate as the minority? Donald Trump announced the obvious yesterday, the Trump Republicans are stopping progress till they can retake control of House and Senate in 2022 which will lead to putting him back in the Oval Office in 2024. Is there a difference between the GOP and the Republican party today; the terms USED TO BE interchangeable but today appear to be a split party with separate foundations.

    Personally I am fed up with the inundation of political announcements and media coverage of the Infrastructure bill. Through how many ADMINISTRATIONS have we witnessed the TALK and the PROMISES of action on our escalating infrastructure destruction through necessary use 24/7? The TALK about protecting voter’s rights runs a close second in nothing but TALK with no action other than SCOTUS repealing much of the Voter and Civil Rights protection of the Amendments. The Republican spread of the Covid-19 Pandemic is less than 2 years old and is escalating again; the term “spiking” is a pitiful term for the rising numbers of case and death tolls.

    If the GOP is racing to the bottom; why doesn’t the Democratic majority succeed in getting our rights returned and protected?

  4. I am forced occasionally to watch a “TV news feed,” and it should be moved into a different category because it’s not palatable. Same as all the other “NEWS AND PPOLITICALCOMMENTARY

    I can remember when blogs weren’t classified as opinions. Many still are, but how is that different than the Kerap on TV or Radio?

  5. The limit would be 435 and I’m sure many Republican legislatures will try to get there.

  6. Smart people on this and many other blogs have been pointing out the damage and stupidity the Republican party has been doing for decades. They are primarily funded by corporate/banking America. What else should we expect? They are paid to do and say ANYTHING that keeps them in power so the richest don’t have to pay the taxes that keeps our nation going. See Maureen Dowd’s alarming column today on the climate. Big oil/gas will have to answer for the destruction of the planet too. Who do they support? Republicans. See: Abbott, Greg, governor of Texas to see the poster boy for corporate/political corruption.

    It’s all very stupid, of course, but the monster of greed and power have tunnel vision. That light at the end of their tunnel is the oncoming train of Marx’s predictions for unregulated capitalism. That train’s coal car (irony) provides the fuel from Reagan/Regan/Friedman’s perverted understanding of… well, everything related to the betterment of the lives of ALL Americans.

    The GOP deserves to be destroyed. Let those 74 million fools have their fun, get COVID and have their last gasping breaths condemn the socialistic aspects of our democracy that made it the envy of the world. Meanwhile, smart, healthy people will soldier on.


  7. New star! Via The Guardian:

    “The author turned Ohio Senate candidate JD Vance has blamed America’s woes on “the childless left”, singling out Vice-President Kamala Harris, transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, Senator Cory Booker and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for their own share of the blame.

    Speaking to a conservative thinktank, the Republican also praised the far-right president of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, for encouraging married couples to have children.”

  8. Ah, JD Vance. Once the symbol of white male perseverance to overcome adversity, now full of monetary success, he embraces the far right and blames the left for the continued failure of the losers of his youth. What a disappointment!

  9. Lester – We are now told that one half the states have more dying than born, up from five, fed by the unnecessary deaths of some perhaps 500,000 Covid victims due to Trump’s criminal negligence. Gotta keep them kids acomin’ to feed the capitalist maw? Nah, there is always immigration and AI to feed any shortages and keep wage inequality alive and well as policy.

    Childless left indeed! I have a cousin who is now a retired federal worker living in Alexandria, Virginia, a childless Catholic lady who has never married and once considered becoming a nun. She is writing me that the current pope (a first time Jesuit) is a socialist and that many Catholics in America are considering starting their own papacy, all of such commentary laced with Fox News propaganda, the Latin Mass, and imaginary claims of Democratic wrongdoing.

    I (not a Catholic) am in the juxtaposed position of defending a Roman pope against one of his own flock, and while I know of the Aristotelian no-no of generalizing from the particular, I’m sure she has company, as do those who reproduce annually while risking bankruptcy.

    Nowhere in this reproduction spat have I heard substantial arguments in re the costs of raising one’s successors, costs which are growing with each passing day. Perhaps if our government joined the rest of the Western world with an expanded social safety net (day care, single payer, an end to wage and wealth inequality) to allay such costs we would see an end to our baby drought. Perhaps, or until the next plague under narcissistic leadership. . .

  10. The poor political cartoonists who try to inject satire into their cartoons are being out done by GOP reality. I have thought of the the GOP as reactionary. Reactionary leaves out the Trump Cult, and the other extreme conspiracy types.

    You have to say one thing for The Trump Cult they are all inclusive of any far fetched disinformation, and out right lies. With few exceptions the Elected and Wanna-Be Elected GOP types must check all the Trump Cult Boxes. Only The Trumpet could get away with rambling on about how Wind Mills could cause cancer, or how if you raked our forests – forest fires could be prevented, or his profound willful ignorance he spouted off about Covid-19. What would have been embarrassing statements 10 or so years ago are accepted and swallowed whole by the GOP.

    The vast majority of us marveled at and were repelled by the hold a Jim Jones had over his followers to drink the Kool-Aid. Today, the GOP Base seems equally committed to not getting the vaccine.

  11. Nearly everyone seems to fall for the notion that “voter suppression” measures are going to stop Democratic-leaning voters from voting, thus propelling Republicans to victory. In fact, almost all the measures by GOP dominated legislatures are minor changes that will have little impact on turnout. I would also say they are likely to backfire by handing Democrats (you’re trying to stop me from voting!) a good issue for 2022.

    Instead of being overly concerned over minor changes to voting procedures that won’t make a dime’s bit of difference, people need to be a lot more concerned about changes to rules and personnel COUNTING the votes. That’s where the next election will be stolen.

    Along those same lines, state legislatures are maneuvering to give themselves the power to override the popular vote in their state in presidential elections. Also, because we haven’t corrected the flaws in the Electoral Count Act, even if states provide honest results, Congress can still throw out the results of the presidential election. That didn’t happen in 2020 because we had GOP members of Congress who were willing to stand up to Trump. Those people are fading fast. What happens in 2024 if Trump once again claims victory and demands the state electoral votes be thrown out by Congress? He is much more likely to be successful.

    You have two things. The casting of votes and the counting of votes. People need to be much, much more concerned about the latter. A corruption in the vote counting will be how the next election is stolen.

  12. What would bring an end to a democracy? I have heard that severe divisiveness is usually a sign that a democracy is beginning to fail.

    It’s a terrible tragedy that the GOP has gone so far to the right and that Congress has become extremely dysfunctional, unwilling to compromise. I, too, am tired of all the debate around the infrastructure bill. Since corporations use our roads, bridges, railways etc., they should be taxed more than they already are.

    Facebook is paying a little more than half of the required funds to build a sea wall. With their billions in profits, they should pay for it all and move to protect most if not all of San Francisco. What Facebook and corporate America and the insanely wealthy do not understand is that their well being is very dependent on the well being of their employees and those who work for the supply lines, the essential workers.

    The people who are refusing the vaccine have significant paranoia toward medical science and yes, the government. Somehow they have infected the GOP with their virulent animosity toward science and a government that serves the people. Those who refused to take the vaccine are now in ICU’s and many are dying. Their paranoia has created self-destruction.This simply supports the theories of social Darwinism.

    I am certain that the world is overpopulated and that this contributes to global warming. I sometimes wonder if there are forces that are decreasing the overpopulation i.e pandemic, fires, floods so that the earth is not destroyed. We are like over crowded baboons who fight with one another for insufficient resources.

    We need charismatic leaders who can lead people into sanity. We need leaders who are as powerful and articulate as Martin Luther King and Susan B Anthony. We need scientific leaders who know how to meet rural people where they are. Scientists who can bridge the religious-scientific divide in language that is readily understandable. Who are they? Where are they?

  13. Paul – I completely agree with you that the important issues center around who counts the votes, but you seem to believe that any inconvenience in voting is just fine. Maybe for you.
    Does it matter statistically? Maybe not. Does it matter? Yes

    My brother recently worked on a recount for a local office that had a ten vote difference.
    Bringing it home –
    Christine Hale won her State Rep seat by 51 votes in 2010. I was with her for part of that emotional rollercoaster.
    Christine Scales won her Council seat by 39 votes in 2011.
    Frank McCloskey won his Congressional seat by 4 votes in 1984.

    A vote here and a vote there. Pretty soon you change an outcome.

  14. What’s the best economic system ever devised? Capitalism!
    What’s the worst economic system ever devise? Capitalism!
    How is that possible? Unregulated, Capitalism is destructive, in deed, self destructive. Capitalism, regulated by a well balanced government whose job is to protect its people from foreign and domestic threats and which takes that job seriously, can produce great wealth, distribute it equitably, and replace what it extracts from mother earth so the bounty will be there for future generations, is, as of today, the best system we’ve devise. I’m not clairvoyant enough to envision one better, although there may be one.

    Now all we have to do is to figure out how to do it instead of fucking around with power politics, white guys with small dicks trying to figure out out to keep well paying jobs without doing anything, as they keep the people who keep voting them into their jobs that doing nothing is worth paying for. They keep telling us that we should run the government like a successful business, but I’ve yet to find a business that survives by paying it’s most costly employees high compensation to do nothing.

  15. Sorry. A few typos there that I missed on the re-read, but you, no doubt, get the message.

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