Schedule The Funeral

One of the negative aspects of aging–what you might think of as the “flip side” of an otherwise welcome longevity–is the steady loss of friends with whom we shared companionship and memories. Those losses can make it more difficult to cope with the other challenges that come with age, especially the accelerating cultural shifts that require an ability to adapt to new norms.

A void is left when what was familiar is no longer there–whether the loss is of people, social norms, or institutions that have been longstanding parts of our lives. 

Take politics.

Most of us fail to appreciate the role that political activity plays in the socialization of millions of Americans. In cities and small towns alike, people volunteer on campaigns, work at the polls on Election Day, hold or attend “meet and greet” events, and generally see themselves as foot soldiers for a chosen political party.

What do they do when that chosen party dies?

In a recent Substack letter, Robert Hubbell focused me on that question.

Hubbell noted three news items: Trump’s post calling for”death and destruction” if he is indicted (reminiscent of his January 6th “Be there, it will be wild,”); death threats received by Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg; and a delegation led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, to January 6th defendants in pre-trial detention, characterizing them as “political prisoners.” 

He then wrote:

 If the Republican Party was not irretrievably broken, its leadership would have condemned Trump’s statement—and the death threat to Alvin Bragg and Marjorie Taylor Greene’s visit to the January 6th defendants. Instead, they have remained silent.

When a reporter showed Jim Jordan a copy of Trump’s post predicting “potential death and destruction,” Jordan responded that he “can’t read well without his glasses.” Jim Jordan is a craven, depraved coward whose career should have ended with a comprehensive investigation of allegations at Ohio State.

 But here we are. Trump can tease violence and Greene can glorify insurrectionists because there is no Republican Party infrastructure capable of enforcing decorum, decency, or discipline. Instead, grifters and demagogues have appropriated its decaying scaffolding to festoon their campaigns with an aura of respectability they neither have nor deserve. The miscreants who roam the abandoned halls of the house Lincoln built will say and do anything without fear of condemnation or consequence—at least from the Republican Party….

The Republican Party no longer exists in any meaningful sense. It is an empty vessel hijacked by the lowest common denominator of demagogues with the cunning or connections to secure a place on the ballot.

It is simply no longer possible to deny that a mindless, frenzied, hateful mob has replaced a once-respectable political party. Today’s GOP is dominated by the Jim Jordans, Lauren Boeberts,  Marjorie Taylor Greenes and numerous others who don’t understand American government and don’t care to learn.

Actually, if it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny. Following the train derailment in Ohio, twelve GOP Congressmen sent a letter hotly criticizing Transportation Secretary Buttigieg for the performance of  “DOT’s National Transportation Safety Board.” Buttigieg was “alarmed to learn” that those elected officials didn’t know that the NTSB isn’t part of the Transportation Department;  it’s an independent agency.

Republican elected officials don’t feel the need to understand how the government is organized, or how it is supposed to work, because their entire agenda is limited to waging culture war and stirring up fear of the “Other”–attacks on defenseless trans children and civil servants (“deep state” villains), efforts to return LGBTQ citizens to the closet and women to the kitchen,  and constant, vicious assaults on non-Whites and non-Christians as “woke” enemies within.

Last Wednesday, Talking Points Memo published a long look at Mark “Bigg Smoke” Robinson, the sitting lieutenant governor of the Tarheel State, and the likely next Republican candidate for Governor.

Our story focused on his prolific Facebook oeuvre, which includes attacks on the LGBT community, Jews, Blacks, and immigrants. Along with the extremism, Robinson also posted a slew of conspiracy theories about the “Illuminati,” the “New World Order,” and even the moon landing.

Robinson’s digital archive is like a road map of the extremely online modern right-wing radicalization cycle. He was constantly posting, often many times a day. We searched back through several years of his extensive social media presence and saw how he went from Obama-era cable news scandals, to going viral at gun events, and eventually descending into full-on, QAnon-adjacent, pro-Trump rage.

It’s disorienting when we realize that an old friend or familiar acquaintence is gone forever. But the Republican Party we once knew no longer exists.There isn’t even a slight pulse.

It’s past time to schedule the GOP’s funeral–like all decomposing bodies, this one is emitting a putrid smell.


  1. And yet – Putrid smell and all – an R next to your name will all but guarantee victory in Indiana and many other states.

  2. This post is poetry for the woke crowd. However, from a social media perspective, their schtick works. If the government was truly interested in weeding out “disinformation,” they should tell Musk and Zuckerberg to use their algorithms against politicians. Everything they post is lies!!

    However, the lies are spread because SCOTUS calls it free speech. If that’s the truth, why has alternative media been censored?

    The lies are part of the mainstream media…

  3. I am a proud Democrat who truly believes that we need 2 strong parties. Right now, Professor, I agree with you…..the other party no longer exists. Thank you for your thoughts.

  4. I read that McConnell was released from rehab for his physical therapy after he fell earlier in the month. I believe he used to have a strong hold on the party but he’s diminished lately since Rick Scott wanted to be minority leader. Adam Kinzinger said this weekend the silence from his side is sickening. The curse of growing old is seeing your family and friends pass before you except when it comes to having a party that is circling the drain. We need a working government.

  5. I am fantasizing a mass grave, such as we have seen in films of the Holocaust, with no markings of who is there or where. Then plant tree saplings to finally make some use of the bullshit the GOP party has become.

    Trump’s MAGA White Nationalist, evangelicals haven’t taken away all of my dreams of a return to the American way of life.

  6. The Republican party started dying right after the Citizens United v. FEC idiot level decision came down. What you see today is the result of how cheaply Republicans can be bought by corporate America. Hey. Those cost accountants have to keep a healthy bottom line and can’t afford to pay these Republican political whores too much. Maybe just $130,000 per seat in the House. Gotta love the Stormy Daniels metaphor here.

    Creatures like Boebert and Greene really aren’t very smart, pathetically ignorant and hopelessly corrupt. And they’re just the loudmouths of the dead party. What about all the silent members? Their silence defines their complicity to the ravings of the loudmouths or the incredible stupidity of Jim Jordan.

    The Republican party started dying the day after Lincoln was shot. After Citizens United, they went downhill in a hurry. One can see the rate of decline in direct proportion to the amount of corporate money being spent on these pathetic wretches.

  7. Sheila, another wonderful, truthful column. When a problem came up in our house I always wanted the whole, ugly truth. ( Usually a problem with small children disagreements)Me daughter asked why I always wanted the WHOLE UGLY TRUTH! It is the only way we can solve a problem. I am truly saddened by the bubble Republicans who seem not to know what truth is, preventing any solution to ANY of our many issues which is weakening us daily as a major power.

  8. I don’t know about anyone else, but Trump’s innuendo regarding what should happen if he is indicted scares the hell out of me.
    What has happened to our country? All of these “wonderful” christian believers of the Republican party really have no connection with the teachings of Jesus, which they claim to have. Jesus never taught hate about anyone or anything, he always preached love. We are all human and need to be treated as such without idolizing anyone. No one human being is better than any other.

  9. Having been deemed Human Scum by the Traitor Trump 5 years back I couldn’t agree more. I don’t speak with 5 of the guys I formed Fiscal Conservatives of Hamilton County with. We used to gather regularly to drink bourbon and smoke cigars and talk all things politics.

    I don’t know how this cancer is cured but I doubt if it will be in my lifetime.

  10. Susan M. I disagree with your last sentence but do believe every individual should be equal in the eyes of the law.

  11. Susan; I’m with you regarding what amounts to Trump’s call to arms, just as his words prior to and on January 6, 2021 and pointing them in the correct direction was a call to arms. I believe the only reason the hundreds of animals battering their way into the capitol building and crawling up the front did not use assault weapons was because they couldn’t recognize the majority of their leader Republicans from their enemy the Democrats. Their targets were easily recognizable Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence who they sought out by name; prepared to hang one and kidnap the other.

    My comments about the mass grave is self defense due to the warning that January 6th would be repeated in other locations and Trump’s current threats and warnings of death and destruction also scares the hell out of me.

  12. Susan,

    Not to worry. If the Trump loonies show up with guns, one wonders how well they’ll stand up to the U.S. Army. These people are so crazed, ignorant and suckered, that they’ll start shooting and that will be their end. If they want a civil war because their cult leader gets arrested for breaking a variety of laws, it should last about a half hour.

  13. Excellent comments to an excellent posting!
    I studied the trumpet for a few years, a good while ago,
    but would be happy to have the opportunity to play “Taps”
    for the GOP, except that “Taps” is played for someone who
    is respected.
    It is ironic that Citizens United sounded the death knell for
    the party which most applauded it.

  14. “In cities and small towns alike, people volunteer on campaigns, work at the polls on Election Day, hold or attend “meet and greet” events, and generally see themselves as foot soldiers for a chosen political party.” Yes, but…to a materially less degree per actual data. What such folks used to do is now often done by paid people. This is one of the most terrible measures of our loss of community.

    Regarding the threat of Lt. Governor Robinson in NC, should he become governor in 2024, the state goes “trifecta” – all 3 branches run by extremist GOPers.

  15. I have been writing for some time that the Republican Party is not now a political party by definition. Political parties govern, either from a majority or minority stance. They debate; they compromise; as did their forefathers. There has been no Republican Party by that definition for some time, and especially lately when such “party” has no platform or set of guiding principles. The captors of that party continue to use its name to keep traditional Republicans in the voting fold, but the only governing by its captors are tax cuts for their wealthy contributors; the rest is culture wars, pretense, threats to domestic tranquility and individuals, insurrection real and promised, and in the case of Trump, Kushner, Mnuchin, and others of which I am unaware – blatant corruption.

    The once proud Republican Party in general once favored policies I did not, but at least they had a platform and arguable positions on the issues, whereas their captors are not into governing in its traditional sense at all. Apparently that party’s captors have decided to redo society rather than legislate away its problems in common, and are willing to adopt dictatorship rather than democracy as a means to achieve their goal. Whether the design chosen involves the use of government to achieve a White Male Christian state, an atheist state, or any other such state under the guise of government is in my opinion unconstitutional (if that means anything to such as the Boeberts, MTGs, and other such culture warriors). These captors masquerading as Republican legislators were elected to legislate, not play village sociologists for the devout, a taxless existence for the rich, and cover for the corrupt, but here we are.

    As I have often written, the Republican Party as a political party is en route to the oblivion of the Whig Party from which it arose in 1854. Update > It has arrived. It exists in name only and is now in the hands of its captors with the result that our two-party system is also defunct. Can we afford the luxury of political paralysis in a world of melting icebergs, Ukraine, eight billion humans (and counting), etc.? Time will tell.

  16. I’m one of those who would love to see exactly what dirt the orange menace has on so many Republican politicians. If they don’t speak to the death threats because they are cowards, then they are giving cowards a bad name. There must be some jail time they are avoiding by their complicity. “Leader” McConnell could have eliminated 45 and his influence by giving permission to Senate Republicans to vote guilty in the impeachment proceedings. The fact that he didn’t indicates that there’s more there than meets the eye.

    At any rate, let me finish by going back in time to an era in which today’s Republicans are comfortable and wish them a pox on all their houses!

  17. 🙈🙉🙊

    Why would anybody rock the boat? They’ve figured out, they don’t need to know much, actually anything at all! They’ll still get their political contributions, and a nice fat paycheck.

    It’s the decay of society, it’s not just starting, it’s basically finished. There is no return from the abyss, just ask the Romans, just ask the Greeks, Just ask the Egyptians, or the Persians, moral turpitude will destroy quicker than an enemy from the outside.

    The die has been cast, The Rubicon of history has struck again!

    If you want to see artificial intelligence, just look at politics! But not just politics today, politics throughout history. Better hope, artificial intelligence does not become sentient, especially if its value system is the same as humanity. It’s going to be a wild ride! Maybe on one of those scapegoats which were released into the wilderness taking sins with it! Or, I don’t know, maybe it would be the other goat slaughtered on the altar. Either way, not good, but absolutely predictable!

  18. The world is on fire and our somnambulent Elmer Fudd spends time giving a medal to Bruce Springsteen. Republicans represent the top 5%. Democrats represent the top 15%. We need a third party representing the majority. I’ve never seen an administration that hates America and Americans to the extent as the current one. This administration needs to go. We can always argue policy later. The old segregationist –Manchurian Candidate– Joe Biden needs to retire and go away.

  19. Wait, Ian – why don’t you argue policy now? I’m interested to read how this administration “hates America and Americans”.

  20. Ian, yes. Let’s burn down the house and THEN figure out how to build a new one. And what kind of one to build. Really?

  21. Sheila – My condolences on the loss of your party. Among us Jews, we believe in putting the body in the ground as soon as possible, but therein lies the real problem.

    Too many “non-MAGA Republicans” cannot smell the stench (or won’t acknowledge it) and keep insisting that it is alive.

    They will keep voting for the MAGA party out of loyalty or lack of concern for what it has become. They tell themselves, if only we elect a “moderate” candidate, all will be well and all of those current Republican officials who are going along with the hatred will have no need to be forgiven. All will be right then.

    Perhaps we need to let the body “ripen” more until they can no longer stand the stench.

    Double sadness.

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