I think I’m ready to make my first extremely bold political prediction. As a general rule I tend to avoid doing things that would make people think I’m trying to cast myself as having any kind of deeper knowledge or understanding about politics and politicians as they do. Honestly, I always look at my work here on this site as being one person’s point-of-view and that hopefully there are others out there who share it with me. I believe I’ve found that shared connection with many of you, and I’m grateful for it.
But I think now’s the time to make one bold prediction. Oh, not about the outcome of the Presidential race, because frankly there’s just too much time and money involved for me to think we’ve seen the end of Romney’s campaign. Though, to be honest, I don’t really know how many more of these foot-in-mouth moments he can have, or many more lies he and his running mate can be caught in before it does actually cost them the election. No, I’m going to make a bold prediction about the Republican party itself.
Within the next five years, the Republican party will no longer exist, unless solely in name.
I’ve been hinting at it, and I’ve been playing with idea for a long time now. Really, it’s not like the same observation hasn’t been made many, many times before, but what we’re seeing within the GOP now is sort of the thing that has caused other political parties to go extinct. There is so much internal separation and strife between Neocons, Old Guard Republicans and Mouth Breathers, oh wait I’m sorry, Tea Party Members, that I think there’s no possible way these three groups can stick together. Right now the biggest thing keeping them under the same tent is the one issue that they all can agree on completely: they hate Barack Obama. Outside of that, the hairs start splitting.
Just among those who consider themselves “Social Conservatives” you have major schisms. There’s the faction who thinks there are varying degrees of rape. There’s the faction that believes in allowing gay marriage. There’s a faction that’s pretty Progressive and wants the war on drugs ended. And while the same can be said about Democrats, the divides within the Democratic party aren’t so pronounced, and nor is there a faction within the Democrats right now that compares to the Tea Party, which I feel will be not just the gasoline on the fire that will consume the Republican party, but also the wood and the matches.
They are unyielding. They are relentless. They armed themselves with the kind of sycophantic belief in an alternate reality that they could have easily been re-cast as religious crusaders, trying to find the Holy Grail. They view the obstructionism that Congressional Republicans have been playing at for the last two years is not only acceptable, it’s patriotic. They are radicals, despite trying to be viewed as a grassroots organization that just wants to return to a simpler time.
They believe in the most extreme forms of Conservatism. No rape or incest exceptions for abortion. All government spending is evil and should be curtailed. Poor people should be income taxed before we ask rich people to kick in a nickel more. This kind of extremism wasn’t welcome in Lincoln’s party, but it’s certainly alive and well in today’s Republican party. But how long can a group sustain itself when one faction is so completely cloistered in the most extreme of the group’s views? How long can they remain together, working toward the same outcome?
If Ron Paul’s candidacy teaches us anything, it’s that the divide within the party is very real. Ron Paul supporters barely tolerate the Republican infrastructure as it is, and now that they’ve been cast out from their party in favor of a guy who may look the part, but who is proving time and again he’s got foot-in-mouth disease, who knows how long Paul supporters will be able to stomach being in the party that wants nothing to do with them outside of their vote.
When you create a party whose motto could easily be misconstrued as “White, Christian, Heterosexuals Born In The Country Only” it’s sort of hard to see a future where Latinos, for instance, who are the fastest growing group in this country, would feel truly invited. Or how welcome to the party do you really think homosexuals are? I know there are so-called “log cabin” Republicans, but there are self-haters among every group, and is there even a statistically significant percentage of gay people in the GOP? How about Muslims, Atheists, or any other group of people who don’t call The Bible the most important book ever written? It’s one thing to stand up for your morals and principles, but becoming an exclusionary group, especially when it starts excluding people inside said group, is never a recipe for political stability.
Then there’s the anti-intellectuals. The folks who have been brainwashed, ironically enough, into thinking that higher-learning institutions are nothing but bastions of Liberal thought, determined to reprogram little Johnny or little Susie into God hating, bra burning heathens. How can the party stay intact when there are those who literally hate higher education, and want critical thinking removed from curriculum?
Abe Lincoln would not recognize this party. Barry Goldwater would certainly not recognize this party. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt (who stepped outside the GOP in his own political career anyway) would not recognize this party today. I dare say even their patron saint, Ronald Ignacius Peter Assisi Reagan would not recognize what has happened to the Republican party. I should know; I used to be one after all. But neocons and my own discovery that all along I had been far too Progressive to claim the Conservative flag as my own anyway forced me out, and I know I’m not the only one.
The Bush II administration broke a lot of things. It broke the world’s trust of America. It broke the economy. But perhaps most tellingly, it broke the Republican party. There was absolutely no mention of the Bush Administration during the Republican Convention in Tampa this year. They ran as far away from that group as they could. And yet, there are several key Bush-Cheney people advising Romney on policy issues. But by and large, I do believe most Republicans know in their hearts that Bush II will go down as one of the worst Presidents, and he’s left the party in a true identity crisis, which explains all the focus at the convention on Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, the up and coming generation of Republicans. They’re neocons, and they’re Tea Party favorites. The Republican party is moving harder right every day. Within five years there will be a third-party in this country made up from cast-off Libertarians and Old Guard Republicans. Then the fun really begins.
I guess the point is that whether or not the Republican party truly does cease to exist or just splits off into splinter cells, the GOP as we know it is in fact dead. They’ve embraced lies and propaganda in favor of truth and policy. They know that thirty years of data completely disproves any thread of truth to Supply Side Economics actually working, but they continue to push it to advance the agenda of the super wealthy. They’ve taken to attacking a sitting president even while an on-going crisis is in the works.
Their soul has already died, and now we just have to wait to see if the body follows suit.