Musings on the Future of the Republican Party

27 Feb

When I wrote my post on the Democratic Party’s problems and possible futures, I was asked to write one on the Republicans as well.  Here you are <grin>.

Two points first – I live in the UK.  I’ve written this based on outside observations, comments from my American friends and a handful of visits to the US.  If I’m wrong … I’m sure someone will tell me

Second, I’ve noted particular views of the world that are sometimes, in my opinion, either objectively or subjectively wrong.  I did that in an attempt to present someone’s else view to you.  You may feel that some (or all) of what I’ve posted is wrong, stupid, or completely insane.  You might be right.  Others, however, will not agree with you.  Please bear that in mind.

As always, remember to be polite while you pour scorn on me <grin>.  And if you want thoughts on Labour’s future, let me know.

It’s the economy, stupid.”

-James Carville (often credited to Bill Clinton, 1992).

A few weeks ago, when Trump was being impeached, a friend of mine on Facebook bemoaned the unwillingness of Republican senators and congressmen to demand Trump’s impeachment.  A handful of Republicans voting with the Democrats, he reasoned, would be enough to sink Trump’s presidency once and for all.  A sorry chapter in America’s history would be closed.

They didn’t.  Trump remains President.

Leaving aside the question of Trump’s general suitability to be POTUS, why would hardly any Republicans even give lip service to impeachment?  Why was Mitt Romney the sole Republican senator to vote to convict Trump?  The answer is simple.  It would be political suicide.  The Republican Base chose Trump above all others, from Jeb Bush to Ben Carson.  Anyone who collaborated in Trump’s impeachment would be branded a Judas and face the wrath of their constituents at the ballot box.  There was not, in the view of the average voter, anything like enough reason to impeach Trump.  Anything less than a solid pro-impeachment case would backfire on anyone fool enough to vote for it.  It would require a handful of senators or congressmen to fall on their swords for impeachment to go ahead.

And really, why should they take the risk?  What would they get out of it?

If you hew to the belief that Trump is uniquely bad for the role, you might expect a degree of self-sacrifice.  It would be the right thing to do.  However, absent a clear and inarguable reason to push for impeachment, it would be personally disastrous.  No one would ever trust them again.  They’d be kicked out of office very quickly.  And with Trump gone, perversely, it would be easier to get rid of them.

This creates an interesting situation for the Republicans.  On one hand, Donald Trump is their greatest assert.  He’s done more for the GOP than anyone since Reagan.  On the other hand, Trump is also their greatest liability.  He’s under immense pressure, with hordes of vultures (some of them Republicans), waiting for a chance to strike at him.  His style is dramatically off-putting to vast numbers of people.  Sooner or later, he’s going to tweet something that will wind up being utterly disastrous.  Or something he does – or he can be blamed for – will blow up in his face.  And if that happens, the GOP may go down with him.

Why did this happen?

I think it’s fairly safe to say that the modern-day Republican Party is effectively divided into three factions.  (As with the Democrats, these factions have no formal existence and a considerable amount of overlap.)  At the top, we have the elite; career politicians, effectively an aristocracy that has more in common with the Democratic elite than the Republican base.  In the middle, we have the thinkers; a loose gathering of writers and commenters who attempt to shape opinion.  (These range from people like Max Boot and Ann Coulter to more individualistic bloggers/talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Kurt Schlichter and The Z Blogger; they also include writers like Jordon Peterson, Ayn Rand and Matt Bracken.  They tend to veer between sensible commentary and bat-shit craziness, sometimes in the same article.)

At the bottom, we have the base.

The vast majority of the Republican base is generally composed of middle and lower-class whites.  There is a growing number of non-whites, but not – yet – enough to be significantly important.  They are rarely wealthy; they tend to range between small business owners and farmers to military personnel and the very poor.  The group is really too large to say anything more than a generalisation or two; they are suspicious of government and bureaucracy, strongly favour gun rights, often proudly religious and thoroughly fed up.  And smooth-talking politicos, reporters, film stars and child activists are their least-favourite people.

There is, in short, a major cultural gap (see this and this too) between the base and the elites (Democrat as well as Republican.)

It’s important to bear in mind that the base is vastly greater than both the elite and the thinkers combined.  It was the base that put Donald Trump in office.  It was the base that demanded that its elected representatives no longer kowtow to progressive/liberal bullying.  No GOP candidate can succeed without the support of the base.  And now, after Trump, the base knows its strength.  It can no longer be easily appeased.

The GOP’s current problems, I think, stem from George HW Bush’s first and only term in office.  They saw Bush, at least in part, as a betrayer.  “Read my lips, no new taxes.”  Bush raised taxes and lost to Clinton in 1992.  This would have been bad enough, but things rapidly grew worse.  The GOP base saw itself under constant assault, while Washington was dominated by Bill and Hillary Clinton and rapidly lost touch with the average American (or at least the average Republican).  Neither Bush nor Obama did much to fix this problem.  It is easy to argue they didn’t even try.  And so the sense of betrayal deepened with every broken promise, with every sneer emanating from Washington.  Why should the base trust an elite that had – in their view – betrayed them time and time again?

There were three factors, in particular, that should have been taken seriously.  First, there was growing economic insecurity.  Jobs were vanishing, dependent businesses were shutting down, opportunities were fading and the victims of this devastating tidal wave were shunned and mocked by the elite.  “Learn to code” was a stupid thing to say to people who were too old to be easily retrained.  It bred resentment, then hatred. 

Second, there was growing cultural insecurity.  This ranged from resentment at how flyover country was portrayed in Hollywood to a steady wave of lies and insults from the media and elites.  Famous institutions like the Boy Scouts came under attack, followed by threats to churches, attacks on gun rights and a steady stream of constant – maddening – nagging.  They concluded that, quite reasonably, every concession they made to progressive thinking rapidly led to more demands and more concessions.  Political correctness, for example, became a weapon to hammer the base.  And progressive unwillingness to confront – let alone share in – the darker effects of their polices only spurred hatred. 

Third, there was a growing hatred of the traitor elites and liberals/progressives.  The former were not representing the people who’d elected them.  Instead, they were growing fat on the gravy train.  The latter were – it seemed – constantly attacking the base.  When the people spurred themselves to act, they were pushed down.  The Tea Party movement was branded racist and grossly weakened.  People who had reasonable objections to social change were simply branded bigots and shouted down.  That did nothing for social harmony.

As Kurt Schlichter put it, ‘ Liberals Are Shocked To Find We’re Starting To Hate Them Right Back:’

“The left is shocked that the right has now stopped caring about the old rules, since for so long the left relied on the right to subordinate its human instincts and conform to those rules even when the left ignored them. We refused to stoop to their level, and for a long time, we were “better than that.” But you can only have one side being “better than that” for so long before people get sick of being the butt of the hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is poison not because it makes people stop knowing right from wrong, but because it makes its victims stop caring about right and wrong. Ben Jacobs got smacked around, and millions of us just don’t give a damn.”

Or, from a more thoughtful source:

We parents tell our children that when you know you’ve lost an argument or a race, the right thing to do is to be a good sport and to “get ’em next time.” But if there is no next time, or you know that every next time you are going to be in the loser’s lane again, what’s the use of being a good sport? It would make you look even more ignorant, and more like a loser, to pretend like you think you have a chance.  The game has been rigged against you. Why not piss on the field before you storm off? Why not stick up your finger at the whole goddamned game?”

It’s difficult to overstress just how bad things had become, by the time Donald Trump told the world he was going to stand for President.  The charge the Alt-Right levelled at the Trad-Right was that the Trad-Right had neither fought fire with fire or water.  There was enough truth in this for the movement to gain power.  Lack of faith in the media ensured that conspiracy theories took root and flourished.  Obama was a Manchurian Candidate!  He wasn’t an American citizen!  Vaccinations cause autism!  The government is going to take your guns!  Epstein didn’t kill himself!  If you don’t trust the media, why on earth would you trust what you were being told?

And if this wasn’t bad enough, you could be sure the craziest of the crazies would be the one on the nightly news, making the rest of you look crazy by association.

The three factors, and many others, led to a wave of frustration, desperation and a sense of bitter helplessness.  These emotions can be dangerous.  People who are dangerously frustrated (rightly or wrongly) can do stupid things.  The base was primed for a hero.  It wanted – it needed – someone who would lead it to power (or at least revenge).  It was prepared to overlook just about anything if it got it’s leader.  And it did.  Donald Trump.

These people weren’t evil.  They weren’t racist or sexist or homophobic or transphobic or whatever.  They were just fed up of being bombarded with emotional blackmail, of being told they were worthless, of being told they didn’t matter, of watching helplessly as their way of life died around them.  The relationship between the base and the elite was already dead.  Trump was merely the first person to understand it.

Trump’s genius lay in understanding the base’s legitimate aspirations and effectively pledging itself to them.  Trump stood up and said things the base knew to be true, even if it also knew anyone who tried to say them would be thumped by the media.  He promised them what they wanted – jobs and security, in particular – and they made him President.  Indeed, the more the media and political elites attacks Trump, the tighter his base clings to him.  Perversely, they have given Trump a ready-made excuse for failure.  If he succeeds, well and good; if he fails, he can blame traitor elitists like Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  The fact that neither of the latter two are elitists is neither here nor there; they’re both anthemia to the base. 

This has interesting implications for the party’s future. 

The power shift to the base means that every GOP candidate, for the foreseeable future, will have to be populist.  This is not a bad thing, but – like everything else – populism can be dangerous if allowed to grow out of hand.  This may be good or bad for the rest of the United States.  The base is no longer interested in what it sees as pandering to minority interests and foreigners (a completely predictable result of identity politics).  

This will ensure, in some ways, that the GOP must fight tooth and nail to resist further progressive encroachment.  The base will argue that compromise merely begets surrender and it will have a point.  However, this will also lead to serious injustices; the natural result of one or both sides choosing to fight the culture wars to the bitter end.  It may also lead to serious mistakes.  The base was not prepared to tolerate weakness over the Brett Kavanaugh affair (particularly given how the charges were presented against him) and that could easily have gone badly wrong if Kavanaugh had been proven guilty.

And, of course, there will be the question of just what happens when Trump leaves office, either in 2021 or 2025.

The GOP needs to consider its future, not an easy task when there is so much distrust between the different factions.  In my view, the GOP must push for massive decentralisation of power; the giant federal education infrastructure, for example, must be dismantled and real power returned to local schools.  It must also work to get the base more politically involved, something that will be good for the party as a whole but very bad for the elite.  (Trump’s success threatens them as much as his failures.)  This will probably require term limits for politicians, which will – I think – prove massively popular. 

There are a number of other pieces of low-hanging fruit the GOP could pick up and use to aim for re-election.  A proud and unashamed defence of institutions like the electoral college.  Firm support for the rule of law, for example; a clear understanding that people should not be punished because of a social media storm, but actual proven criminal misdeeds.  Harsh sentences for ‘hate crime hoaxers.’  Strong opposition to censorship, in all shapes and forms; social media companies can either stay neutral or face the full weight of the law for anything illegal that slips through their filters.  A statue of limitations for social media posts.  Focus on Americans and unity, rather than Hyphenated-Americans and identity politics.  A strong stance towards integrating immigrants and immediate deportation of immigrant criminals. 

I think these will give the GOP an excellent chance of reshaping itself and remaining relevant after Trump’s departure, in 2021 or 2025.  But it will require the GOP to think about the future, to brave the wrath of the social media and commit itself to a whole new world. 

Trump is not the cause of the GOP’s problems.  He is not the cause of America’s problems.  He is the symptom of a problem that has not, as yet, been addressed.  How we cope with this problem may determine the future of far more than just the GOP – or America itself.

66 Responses to “Musings on the Future of the Republican Party”

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard February 27, 2020 at 7:18 pm #

    Of course, anybody who supports Trump is deplorable. [Sarcastic Grin]

    • Craig Paul February 28, 2020 at 7:28 am #

      My goodness Chris, you have an amazing ability to sum things up and say what I have been thinking in a much more orderly way than I ever could. Well done.

  2. Lori Huber February 27, 2020 at 7:54 pm #

    I wish this could be published on the front page of the New York Times (as well as every local newspaper and digital new outlet). You did an excellent job with your last observation on the Democrat Left and have hit the nail on the head, again with the GOP Right. It’s often easier for an outsider looking in to clearly see a situation for what it is and you have done an excellent job. Your skills not withstanding, you have a natural talent for seeing the cause and effect of situations involving groups of people, particularly, and have laid out an EXCELLENT editorial that all should read, from POTUS to every single American old enough to vote. Thank you.

  3. Les Barrie February 27, 2020 at 8:03 pm #

    The only sure thing is the impeachment debacle has left Trump stronger,the U.S.will not currently vote for a candidate deemed to be “socialist” thus ensuring democratic defeat and Trumps re-election,I do find it hard to comprehend people voting for a candidate who so obviously is only interested in himself and would happily sacrifice the integrity of the office to further his own self-interest and quite happily undermine U.S. “democracy” because he considers himself omnipotent and no other perspective will be tolerated.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard February 27, 2020 at 8:06 pm #

      Who are you talking about?

      That’s Not Trump IMO. 😀

    • Bill February 28, 2020 at 5:21 am #

      You must be referring to Mr. Obama, when describing a “candidate who so obviously is only interested in himself…”

  4. Mike Brooks February 27, 2020 at 8:15 pm #

    I live here and I see the US as an old, worn out, whore. America is a fouled nest that is unable to support life. It isn’t Trump or Sanders or any politician, it’s us. It’s Proud Boys and #resist nuts fighting it out on the streets. It those bast*rds in Portland that stopped my RAV4 because they didn’t like the candidate I was supporting with a bumper sticker and pried the tailgate open with a crowbar and dragged me out and beat the hell out of me.. it’s corrupt politicians and judges, racist fools, and laws that no one pays any attention to. I give us, at best, four years before we break up.

  5. Gary F York February 27, 2020 at 8:25 pm #

    I’m a libertarian. Didn’t vote for the republican; didn’t vote for the democrat. As best I can recall, no one I’ve ever voted for has been elected. 😦 Nevertheless, though I find some of President Trump’s policies repugnant, I agree that he’s the best President we’ve seen since Ronald Reagan. While I don’t plan to vote for him in 2021, I do expect he will be reelected. I wish him well and hope he continues to do well for the country.

    G.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard February 27, 2020 at 8:40 pm #

      Living in Illinois, I expect the Democrat (whoever it will be) to win Illinois “thanks” to Chicago but I’ll still be voting for Trump.

  6. Lonnie Bristol February 27, 2020 at 9:17 pm #

    There are so many personal things about Trump that I don’t like, but until the GOP gives me someone who behaves better and has the exact same policies, the President gets my vote. There’s no way I’m voting Democrat.

  7. PhilippeO February 28, 2020 at 12:33 am #

    I don’t see how Republican (or Conservative) could escape fate of what happen in Hungary, Poland, Turkey, or India.

    Populism (even if they honest, not just demagogue) didn’t have any working answer. There are no way to help rural areas or Rust Belt to recover. With cheaper transport and communication; dominance of offshoring companies, city based interest group, and larger number of migrant and refugee is so great that no local community could resist them.

    The Left, Big Cities, and educated elites is too small to stop Populism. So people would continue follow demagogue after demagogue, each promising more and more unrealistic things, while no institution have strength to stop them.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard February 28, 2020 at 12:52 am #

      A few thoughts (in no apparent order).

      I remember when “elite thought” was that the West had to find ways to live with the Soviet Union because it would “always be there”.

      I also find it “interesting” that you think “nothing can be done about certain problems”.

      Of course, there’s the question of “can the Big Cities continue prospering”. IE The Left may be “killing the Big Cities”.

      Then of course, what happens if the “deplorables” revolt and the Military (mainly from the deplorable class) support “their kind”.

      But then, if the “elite” continue to think of the population “outside of their group and the special groups” as deplorables, more people (including in the cities) may join the deplorables.

    • Paul K. February 28, 2020 at 1:15 am #

      With regard to your comment to there being no way to help the rust belt and rural communities. Trump is doing so by cutting the layers of regulation and the time it takes to get a project rolling. Before, all the leftists had to do was cry about some affected object, children, wild lands, environment, etc and then it would be tied up in court for infinity. Currently those laws are being revised and in a positive way. That helps the people in a dramatic fashion. Jobs that were gone and never to come back are coming back. Obama could have done the same thing. Instead he did worse, he did nothing. Black inner city people are finding work. That is a good thing just like it’s good if poor whites find good paying jobs. There is a large group of people in this country that smugly want the middle class and working poor to fail. Trump isn’t their friend, when they try and bully him he pushes back hard and a lot of the times in juvenile ways, he’s not going to put up with unanswered attacks. Republicans need to stand up for themselves and he’s showing them how. If the left doesn’t want to be belittled then perhaps changing their own behavior, which they can control, would be a good place to start. In closing, I think what really resonates with people like me is what Lincoln said about General Grant ‘I can’t spare him, he fights’ Trump stands tall for the silent majority of this country.

  8. G February 28, 2020 at 12:55 am #

    As a political independent, what concerns me is that both parties have moved to the political (and opposite) extremes with few politicians interested in pragmatic solutions to real problems–this in a country where compromise is necessary to pass most meaningful legislation through a democratic house and a republican senate. Instead, we’re in political purgatory running $1 trillion deficits at the top of the economic cycle–what will happen in a recession when tax revenue plunges and unemployment and welfare expenses sharply rise?

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard February 28, 2020 at 1:20 am #

      Well, I don’t know of anybody with an accurate “crystal ball”, but I’ve heard plenty of predictions of the “Death Of The US” in my 65+ year life.

      As an example, I heard plenty of “Japan Inc will own the US” types of predictions.

      So far, none of the “gloom and doom” predictions have come to past.

      However, it is possible that we’ll have some “interesting” times ahead, but the US has had such “interesting” times before and has come through them.

      • Hanno Frerichs March 1, 2020 at 9:52 pm #

        That will not jet happen, anyway for now the US is strong enough economically to be running what ever deficit they like, within reasons. The US dollar is the world leading currency and for now strong man politics like trump does with China will have effect for maybe 10-20 more years. As long as the Saudi’s still demand to be paid in $ for Oil that will continue. and even ones that stops everybody is used to the current world order and it will not disintegrate in one giant step. But if China and even more so India and Indonesia continue to grow at their current rate, the US will slowly loose power and could end up to loose trade wars or get asked inflated prices. or buyers ask not to be paid with $ as unlikely as that seems now.

        For now if the US prints US$ it will be able to pay all it’s debt in US$ but afterwards the current deficit will be harder to maintain.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard March 1, 2020 at 10:02 pm #

        What’s your track record on accurate predictions? 😉

      • Hanno Frerichs March 2, 2020 at 11:20 pm #

        Not to much, for voting it’s bad, I’m too biased for voting. 😉 Economy it’s okayish, the big trends are usually right after all they are easy to check. But that isn’t really my words. .
        Anyway it’s mostly the boiled down report published by the US Intelligence agency’s pooling their knowledge as well as a similar report in german by a similar agency in Germany. https://www.dni.gov/index.php/global-trends/the-future-summarized

    • OBloodyHell March 7, 2020 at 8:55 am #

      }}} As a political independent, what concerns me is that both parties have moved to the political (and opposite) extremes with few politicians interested in pragmatic solutions to real problems–this in a country where compromise is necessary to pass most meaningful legislation through a democratic house and a republican senate

      The real question is, with the Federal Register at 70,000 pages how many more laws do we really need?

      Maybe we need MORE resistance to legislation, not LESS…?

      Just a thought to mull over. The Founders deliberately made it difficult to pass laws, and they had a reason for it.

      The fact is, that if a law does not have about 80% or more support, it probably should not be Law.

      And if we actually applied that as a litmus test to that 70,000 pages, how many pages do you think would survive?

      I myself would put the number at less than 10,000.

  9. Billy February 28, 2020 at 2:45 am #

    I remember when the last President Bush did a giant stimulus package right before Obama came in

    That was a shock

    I was thinking he is carrying Obama’s water for him !

    I am glad Trump is President and will be reelected

  10. Farwalker February 28, 2020 at 3:21 am #

    Whils you are correct that Trump won the white non-college educated vote by a significant amount I would also note that Trump won the white college educated vote as well by a 4% margin – 49 to 45%. I don’t know why people make such an issue that whites voted approximately 60% for Trump when African-Americans historically vote approximately 90% in favor of the Democratic candidate and just about every election. Yet many consider that percentage of whites voting for one candidate as somehow being racist just boggles my mind. I am white and I have both a PhD and an MD and I voted for Trump in 2016 as did most of my friends. Why did I vote for Trump? Because I did not consider Clinton to be trustworthy. I thought she was corrupt And did not care for most of her policies. To date Trump has done an outstanding job and based on that I will vote for Trump in 2020.

    • Peke March 6, 2020 at 8:47 pm #

      Are your PHd and MD in the “hard sciences” or thereabouts?

      In the Academia environment, the divide is starkly reflected in the Liberal Arts vs the Hard Sciences, with the first group being overwhelmingly “woke” and voting Democrat, and the second being mostly conservative and more inclined to either the Libertarian side or the Republican side.

      • OBloodyHell March 7, 2020 at 8:59 am #

        }}} Are your PHd and MD in the “hard sciences” or thereabouts?

        Well, the term “MD” specifically refers to the medical sciences… guessing the PhD is in one of the bio sciences, but that is merely a guess, it could be engineering, too.

        So he’s likely on the cusp. Most MDs tend to vote liberal, to my perception, except when it gets to financial things, wherein they vote conservative. But for the most part, they tend to vote Democratic.

  11. Andreas February 28, 2020 at 11:49 am #

    I just find it super funny, that you think, that the left are the bullies and the right is being bullied. It is quite the opposite.
    Conservative/Right-Wing politics was and is always about bullying everthing, that doesn’t fit in their world view. The fought against the voting rights of women, the fought against the abolishment of slavery, they fought against interracial marriage, gay marriage – the right fights against every person, who isn’t exactly as they are themselves. They want to mistreat minorities and even constitutionalize that mistreatment (or keep the constitutionalized mistreatment of minorities in place).
    Everything the left fight for is equal rights for everybody while the right fights for one group having more rights than others and keeping it that way.

    The Rightwingers are the HighSchool-Jocks who bully the nerds, the LGBTQI, the foreign kids.
    The Leftwingers are the ones that are stopping those bullies.
    And like every bully they cry foul when somebody steps in their way and stops them.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard February 28, 2020 at 3:42 pm #

      LOL 😆

      And the Antifa who attack people are “Rightwingers”. [Sarcastic Grin]

    • Vaporus February 28, 2020 at 4:51 pm #

      How dare those Conservative/Right-Wing bastards beat all those people up for wearing their Trump hats!

    • Paul K. February 28, 2020 at 8:28 pm #

      The last time I checked it was Republican President Lincoln that freed the slaves. Wyoming, hardly a liberal state, was the first U.S.state to allow women to vote. You might also check the news from the last presidential election, hint, it wasn’t conservatives attacking rival party rallies. Leftists are notorious for “do as I say and not as I do” and ” laws for thee but not for me”

    • Tarun Elankath February 29, 2020 at 5:45 am #

      Good lord. You have completely re-written history and current affairs in your mind. I beg you to check the facts.

      It was the Republican Party that pioneered the right of women to vote. It was the republicans that first seated suffragists as delegates in the late 1800s. A republican (Aaron Sargent) first introduced the women’s suffrage amendment that later became the 19th Amendment.

      Lincoln was a republican. More Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1960 and 64 than Democrats did.

      Right now the Left is ALL about taking away rights. The right to free speech and the right to arms. All the bullying and hate is from the left presently.

      If you are a Republican you need to keep your head down else you get beaten up in campus and in public life. You get targeted explicitly as part of a hate campaign. If you do not adhere to left beliefs, you are called a Nazi and any act of evil and violence is justified against you, because you “deserved” it.

      • Andreas February 29, 2020 at 11:13 am #

        I didn’t write republicans, I wrote right-wingers. Somewhere between 1900 and 1960a republicans and democrats in the US switched places and one became much more conservative and the other much more liberal.
        It is right-wingers world wide, that try to bully and surpress people. The polish right wingers just declared LGBTQI-Free zones. The German right wingers murders immigrants just a weeks ago. The brexitiers lead to an increase in discrimination against immigrants in the UK, in the US right wing domestic terrorism is big. Attacks on abortion clinics, mass shootings …
        Mistreating children at the border in official US border facilities …
        And than you have Christian and Muslim conservatives all over the world murdering people in the name of their god.

    • ragna March 5, 2020 at 2:06 am #

      Maybe you need some more milk shakes to throws at the right wings or jailing people for the malicious communication act. Or turn a blind eye to the grooming gang problem. Then there is the whole not honoring the referendum.

    • Brian March 5, 2020 at 5:00 am #

      Learn a little history.
      The KKK was the army of the Democratic Party. And the KKK Democrats last lynched a black man in the 1980’s.
      It was the Democrat JFK and Bobby Kennedy that illegally wiretapped MLK and Malcolm X.
      It was the Democrats that opposed the Civil Rights Acts in the 60’s.
      It was the Democrats that assaulted MLK and others in the March in Selma.
      It was the Democrats like Bull Connor with the fire hoses that refused Integration.
      It was the Democrats that enacted Jim Crow laws, Poll Taxes to prevent blacks voting and restrictions on gun rights so that blacks couldn’t fight back against the KKK.
      It was Democrat President Clinton that passed the Defense of Marriage Act.
      It was Democrat President Obama that said a marriage was between one man and one woman.
      It was Democrat President Obama that built the cages for those immigrant children and those pictures you see were when he was President.

      High School Jocks are Right-Wingers? All of them? Really?

      Well as long as Democrats can continue the Eugenics plan of Margaret Sanger founder of Planned Parenthood and keep killing children of color, all is good I guess. And now the Eugenics can even kill the babies if they survive the abortion. Congratulations.

  12. Warren The Ape February 28, 2020 at 7:17 pm #

    Why is it that those on the Left hold this totally bizarre expectation that Republicans should act like Democrats?

    Oh…its because way too many of them have done just that. Ok, I get it now.

    (But those days…like the Democrat Party itself…are over).

  13. Warren The Ape February 28, 2020 at 9:00 pm #

    “In my view, the GOP must push for massive decentralisation of power; the giant federal education infrastructure, for example, must be dismantled and real power returned to local schools.”

    Yes, well we need that anyway. Not just for the Right but for the Left, too. It’s the only way the nation will be at peace.

    But ONLY if there are strong protections against the Left using the federal tax dollars and/or federally chartered banks (the FED) to bail their butts out from their own mistakes, like the insolvent public pension crisis many of their states have.

    • G February 28, 2020 at 10:34 pm #

      Unfortunately, at the local school level, the push for “equity” is driving less educational independence, and more centralization–as well as renewed calls for busing, dumbing down education, etc…

  14. Robert Kaliski February 29, 2020 at 7:18 am #

    Do leftists believe that a nation has no right to control its borders? It appears that way.

  15. Jacqueline harris February 29, 2020 at 3:43 pm #

    I used to be Republican. But I am currently so disgusted with the Republican party. Trump basically does whatever he wants and no stands up to him. Maybe you agree with his politics or stances but I think he is a dangerous person in office. People are dying at the border. In Bushs time the Republican party felt like we could have a compromise between safety and immigration but trump has made immigrants the root of all evil. Xenophobia and blatant racism have been given a bigger out lit. He abuses his office and power. I really don’t want to see him as president again.Not to mention the guy is just dumb. He may be able to work a crowd but he is still the guy who suggested we nuke a hurricane.

    At the same time I wish there was more of a middle ground with capitalism. My favorite board game was monopoly. There are a lot off big corporations who might as well have one. Like the pharmaceutical companies. I want health care and less expensive medication. I don’t see why it is so expensive here and cheap in other countries. But almost any reform like this freaks everybody out. They start running around screaming commies! Other countries adjust minimum wag to inflation every year here it is a push to get any raise until we are already very behind and the value off are income has dropped. So ya minimum wage needs to be raised in order to have the value off are dollar. We need reforms. I can’t stay Republican. I worry about how far left the democrats are going though so I will be that somewhat moderate dem.

    • Vissermatt February 29, 2020 at 6:49 pm #

      Not sure how anything you have said represents a sensible statement?
      The weird thing the last few years about the very odd statements that people,such as your self, are making is they are leaving x party because of y reason.
      I’m not saying republican democrat is your only option, but those are the 2 parties that are big enough to force change.
      If you’re turning away from republican cause of Trump, and you’re going Democrat then you’re kind of a dumb asshole. You’re vote will matter, but you’re voice wont.

      South park for all its woes has done a great service to the younger generations by summing up political candidates perfectly. “A turd Sandwhich Versus a Giant Douche.”
      If the general policies of the party are somewhere in your political spectrum, most Americans have/will vote for the shitty human being over their opposing political spectrum.
      Your seemingly infantile response just makes you look like a child. Many people could tear your individual statements apart if they desired, but that isn’t my point. My point is, a majority of people that somehow make it to a leadership role in politics are probably just not much better then Trump. In recent years, with the spread of tech, media is proving this.

      • Warren The Ape March 2, 2020 at 8:38 pm #

        Thanks for leaving a better response to that guy than I would have.

        What an idiot.

    • Peke March 6, 2020 at 8:52 pm #

      Come to Cuba, where healthcare is free.

      Just make sure to bring a portable tent. The wait for medications can be months long.

      Oh, and don’t freak out if you see a cockroach patrolling the operating room. They’re just part of the landscape, nobody pays them any mind.

  16. Brian February 29, 2020 at 5:23 pm #

    When we were the 13 colonies, George Washington was a loyal officer of the British Monarchy. He and most of his fellow officers learned their trade killing Native Americans. They were rewarded with land. Land that they cared for with African Slaves, paid for with their retirement from the United Kingdom.

    When the 13 colonies rebelled, the start was against a 25% tax on Tea.
    The Colonial Army Officers knew the ruthlessness of the “Red Coats”, because most of them were former Red Coat officers themselves.

    So when they created the constitution it would not pass unless the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments were are a part. The Second Amendment was not to guarantee hunting rights. It was these former Red Coats knew how ruthless a centralized government could be. They wanted 13 independent sovereign States. The UNITED States of America. I would think that Britains would understand this most today. That is what BREXIT was.

    Before the European Union, the countries were Independent Sovereign Countries. BREXIT was taking your Independence and Sovereignty back. In case you were interested, that was what the Civil War was. Britain was lucky, the EU didn’t invade. The north did.

    It is sweet that people think it was over slavery. That was a component, but it was more about money. It always is. Eli Whitney invented the Cotton Gin. The Value of cotton included the cost to remove the seeds. It was extremely labor intensive. FYI, cotton is only picked late in the fall. What did the slaves do the rest of the year? The removed the seeds from the cotton.

    With the advent of the Cotton Gin, the labor to remove the seeds dropped by 90%. So now more cotton could be grown and exported. The North is where bales of cotton were turned into products and shipped to the world. But now the North couldn’t handle that much production. So it was shipped to Europe as bales. All of a sudden there was an economic shift and there were now more millionaires in Jackson, Mississippi than New York City. And money speaks in politics.

    So the North had to do something to retain their power. Most of the northern states had reduced or eliminated Slavery. A Good thing. But an essential item in cotton farming. Slaves were the diesel that kept the farms operational. The north didn’t have the votes to change the law. So they took up guns to force the Independent Sovereign States to obey their new laws outlawing the means of production Slavery (diesel).

    How did Britain like it when the EU changed their laws? Without votes?

    Those of you who think that the Emancipation Proclamation “Freed the Slaves.” Think again. Read it. https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=34&page=transcript

    It freed MOST of the slaves. Ask yourself, “Why not all of them?” Why weren’t you taught that? And so the EU invaded Britain because of BREXIT, I mean the north invaded the south.

    What has this to do with Republicans? Well Lincoln was a Republican.

    And after the war, those that supported slavery were the future Democrats.
    Democrats passed laws that made it difficult for blacks to vote and own guns. Didn’t want them to have the ability to defend themselves. It was the Democrats that started the Klu Klux Klan. It was the Democrats that opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was the Democrats that opposed integration of public schools. They declared themselves Sanctuaries from the Federal Law. It was John F Kennedy and his brother Robert that illegally wiretapped Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other black civil rights leaders.

    Somehow, after John Kennedy was Assassinated, things flipped. Some say it was LBJ that crudely stated that if he gave black people welfare they would vote for Democrats.

    Well welfare was enacted and very soon blacks started to vote for Democrats. Even though less than 10 years before they were the opposition to the Civil Rights act of 1964. The Democrats were literally still lynching black people until the 1980’s.

    And now the Democrats are on the side of the POC. Or are they? President Trump has done more to raise POC more than anyone in recent times. What are the Democrats doing? They are inviting MORE illegal immigration. (How do you folks in Britain like that?) The more low educated low skilled labor in the marketplace there is, the lower wages are.

    And finally, we have a bill in our legislature right now; The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection act. The bill simply says that if an abortion is botched and the child is born alive, that you need to treat it like a living American and give it healthcare to save its life.
    “to prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.”

    And the Democrats and two Republicans do not support that language.

    Oh, did I mention that 75% of black pregnancies in New York City end in abortion?

    • G March 1, 2020 at 9:20 pm #

      The civil war was largely a fight between an emerging industrial economy requiring skilled labor and an agricultural economy in the south relying on illiterate slaves. The south lost a war of attrition where the north had the larger population (more soldiers), more factories (munitions), and a better transportation system (railroads, rivers, and canals). The North won because it had a more productive economy. Today, our challenge is an emerging Asia–our population is rapidly aging and not having enough children–we need an intelligent immigration system. We also need a consensus on a mixed capitalist system with a better educational system…

    • Warren The Ape March 2, 2020 at 8:35 pm #

      “Well Lincoln was a Republican”

      Lincoln was the FIRST Republican POTUS, too.

  17. Timothy A Schmidt March 1, 2020 at 4:53 pm #

    It isn’t surprising to read the tone of most of the comments on this very politically conservative blog. And while Chris’s posts contain some astute points, I believe they are largely irrelevant to what’s happening in the U.S. currently.
    It is not the case that the common people are rising up to throw out the oppressors (liberals) and that the political elites are all out of touch and in some lala land. This is a common theme on both sides and while there are corrupt politicians (on both sides), this is mainly being used to try and get rid of people whose policies you don’t like.
    The U.S. is a nation, like many nations these days that is deeply divided (almost 50/50). Each side has their own base and successful politicians are very aware of the mood in their base. If you don’t happen to be part of that base, it may seem they are out of touch but they aren’t. They’re just not talking to you. This is one of the reasons Hillary lost in 2016, she forgot about union workers in the industrial states (a core democratic constituency) and they either stayed home and voted for Trump. Note: they did vote mostly democratic in the 2018 midterms.
    The The fracture lines are real; urban areas a mostly democratic rural areas republican. They are liberal/ conservative and geographical. States that are largely rural with predominantly white conservative tend to go republican so Trump can count on winning the south, the bible belt and and the farming states. The democratic nominee can count on winning states dominated by big cities; the the west coast and Hawaii and the northeast coast, Massachusetts, New York, etc. and Illinois.
    Neither democrats/liberals or republican/conservatives are more evil, misguided. etc. than the other. Although as a liberal I have my doubts about Trump. But they are speaking to different parts of the American electorate.
    An important point is that each party’s base is too small to win a general election. The battle is over the swing states. So both Trump and his democratic opponent have a daunting task ahead of them. They have energize their base (which Hillary failed to do) then reach out to those in the middle. Whichever one does that best is the next president. As Chris pointed out Trumps base is welded to him. His battle is to woo the middle to him as he did in 2016. My worry is that if the democrats nominate Sanders, he will energize the democratic base but have trouble with the middle.

    • Robert Kaliski March 1, 2020 at 9:06 pm #

      The U.S.has always been a divided nation since the ink was dry on the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Federalists vs states. Slavery vs northern states. Because the composition of the U.S. is always changing we will always be divided. Try getting 10 strangers to agree where to have lunch and you will see what I mean.

      If either side tries to pander to a loud but small part of their party they will lose the White House and congress.

      I remember the cry of “Not my president” after Trump won. Yes he is your president for better or worse. You don’t like it? Make sure he does not win the next time. Simple.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard March 1, 2020 at 9:13 pm #

        What’s ironic about the people who scream about Trump as “Not My President” is that they are the same people who hated those who said “Obama Is Not My President”. 😈

      • Timothy A Schmidt March 2, 2020 at 1:51 am #

        Yes he is my president but he doesn’t represent my values. Change the name from Trump to Obama and it’s what conservatives said in 2008.

  18. Brian March 1, 2020 at 11:50 pm #

    I have read the responses. Lots of opinions. And lots of hatred for the Orange Man.

    I will make my comment shorter this time.

    I oppose any group or person the opposes the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Bill.
    Someone who survives an abortion, that is living and breathing is called a baby. Not a fetus. Not a clump of cells but a baby.

    If you can’t support giving health care to a living baby, then I have too many and not enough words.

    Does a mother have the right to kill a newborn?
    I say no.
    Does a doctor have two patients or one?
    The fact that we have to even consider the need for this law makes me ill.
    Can you imagine the healthcare providers that are today CHOOSING to NOT provide healthcare to a baby and just let it DIE?

    All the Democrat Senators AND two Republican Senators voted against the bill.
    This includes all of the Democrat Senators currently running for the Presidency.

    • Hanno Frerichs March 2, 2020 at 11:11 pm #

      As an outsider I’m curious, how does that work is it allowed in the US to have late abortions?

      Were I live abortions are allowed and without cost, but only if the pregnancy hasn’t progressed past the 12 week, and there is no such thing as surviving an Abortion then even with the best of medical care for the baby. There is no surviving being outside the womb before the 20 week ever recorded.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard March 2, 2020 at 11:21 pm #

        Sigh.

        Basically, the Pro-“Choice” folks have managed to make it legal many places in the US to have an abortion up to the last minute of the pregnancy.

        I will not attempt to explain their “reasoning”.

      • Brian March 3, 2020 at 1:36 am #

        Hanno – worse than up to a minute before birth, children that survive a late term abortion are placed in a closet to die without medical care. The States of New York and Virginia have passed laws that allow this.

        I can’t understand why it isn’t called murder.

        That is why a Republican has introduced the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Bill. Sadly, as I said, EVERY Democrat Senator and 2 Republican Senators have voted against it. Look it up.

        If we can’t agree that babies need to be protected, then we can agree on nothing.

  19. Timothy A Schmidt March 3, 2020 at 4:42 pm #

    The Supreme Court decision Roe V. Wade opened the door for abortions but abortion rights are determined on a state by state basis. Some states have the condition described, others its very difficult to get an abortion at any time. I have issues with both extremes on this issue.

  20. BobPM March 5, 2020 at 12:24 am #

    “Firm support for the rule of law”? I am a lawyer in Texas and find that anyone who can ascribe this characteristic to the Republican party to not have a clue about US law. First, “conservative” justices, starting with Rehnquist particularly, have been systematically making the courts inaccessible to citizens trying to challenge corporate wrongdoing through aggressive standing arguments. Second, Trump’s justice department and the administration has stonewalled virtually any attempt at oversight. And currently, AG Barr is systematically targeting political opponents of the President while ignoring activities of friends of the administration. Any definition of the rule of law has to consist of the ability of the little guy to have his claims validated against the wealthy. This is the opposite of what Republican’s believe gov’t should be doing and consistently work to undermine it. Republican’s talk about law but in practice it is not part of the corporate agenda.

    I would also mention that both Bush and now Trump have been very explicit in their attempts to undermine civil service. Francis Fukuyama in his Origins of Political Order directly link the rise of civilization to instances where the prevailing governmental structures from ancient China to Persia to Europe were able to institute a more meritocratic civil service to combat patrimony and spoils systems. Indeed, one of the arguable successes of British colonial rule was the independent bureaucracies they left behind. This however, is not what the last two Republican administrations did. If you recall, Karl Rove was being investigated for violations of the Hatch Act (the US law preventing firing of administrative workers solely for political purposes) when over two million gov’t emails went missing from the RNC services they were on. Rove was effectively placing political officers in the agencies to muzzle reporting of statistics that did not align with Republican Policy. Trump is taking similar actions by firing career civil servants or reassigning uncooperative researchers to the equivalent of Siberia.

    Frankly, this piece seems highly misinformed and seems to take far to much of what the administration, and or conservative commentators say at face value. In my opinion, the Republican party has been waging a war on objective reality since Newt Gingrich killed the bipartisan Congressional office of technology assessment in the mid 1990’s.

    • Warren The Ape March 5, 2020 at 12:27 am #

      “I am a lawyer in Texas and find that anyone who can ascribe this characteristic to the Republican party to not have a clue about US law”

      You just thoroughly discredited yourself, right there.

  21. Mike March 5, 2020 at 1:29 am #

    How? I am a whistleblower over the sake of medical records by the state of Oregon. Their contractors sold HIV lab test results to underwriters. They sold employers employee and their family medical records. That got employees fired or not hired and it got them denied home loans, auto loans, consumer loans. It got them denied medical services… I am so upset, I have maile packages of this to Congressmen and zone am thinking of mailing that to Christopher. As a writer, I wonder what he would do with thT nightmare.

    • Brian March 5, 2020 at 3:49 am #

      Mike – go see a medical malpractice attorney and file a Qui Tam lawsuit with the Federal Office of Inspector General HHS. That is a HIPAA violation. As the whistle blower, you are eligible for a minimum of 10% of fines or recovery. Do not file with the State.
      Good luck.

      • Mike March 5, 2020 at 5:16 am #

        Too late. I already filed with the state – BOLI – without an attorney and Oregon essentially raped me. It’s been awful. A group if Qui tam attorney’s jumped in and filed a false claims act suit and totally screwed up my unlawful termination case. The federal judge, a friend if the Oregon AG and governor, sealed the records that they knew of. I have lots more and really don’t care any more. I just want revenge. These bastards killed people, and a lot if them were poor kids. I want that federal judge’s career destroyed and, hopefully, see her in prison.

  22. william huisman March 6, 2020 at 6:23 am #

    Chris; get Q-ed into the movement!

    • dspring March 6, 2020 at 10:36 pm #

      My own two sense.

      I think Chris called it well with the frustration of so many people. Life is not getting better for a lot of people and for many people it is getting obviously worse. And the pain is not equally shared. There are large groups that are doing consistently well and large groups that are consistently struggling. That burns if you are in the “getting worse” group.

      I think Chris’s focus on blaming any of this on “the elites” is a self delusion that many people share. It is a delusion that many people actively promote as it is an easy pitch they can make to get power for themselves from frustrated voters. “Ignore those people over there disagreeing with me. They are ‘elites’ and everything they say is garbage. Believe me instead as I am not an elite. Trust me – only I and my fellow non-elites can be trusted. ”

      I get it. While governments do a lot of good, the good is mostly invisible. We notice the bad. And it is easy to come up with bad.
      * Some thing government (or any large org) does is stupid. People do stupid – we always do.
      * Sometimes the action was smart when they did it, but as things changed it became stupid.
      * Sometimes that action just looks stupid, but it is for a good reason – just not a reason that benefits you (or obvious to you)
      * Sometimes somebody gamed the system, used their influence or otherwise got the government to do something good for them at everybody else’s expense.
      * Sometimes the system is hard to deal with because we are rule driven, not judgement driven. A lot of things would be easier if we just trusted people to tweak things based on what makes sense. Aka – use their judgement. That works on a small scale, but when you are talking a big nation, that just makes corruption super easy. Consistently applied rules almost always favor those without power.

      I also get it that political, economic, business and organizational leaders are often very similar to each other and not so similar to the rest of the country. They are often much wealthier, come from much more privileged backgrounds, have a lot of education, share many of the sames likes/dislikes/hobbies/interests. They are not all the same, but a lot of them fall into just a handful of social groups.

      And when you get leaders who are not like you – who rarely interact with people like you – it is sometimes hard for those leaders to make good decisions for other groups (aka – you and me). If you never had trouble finding a good job and nobody you know had trouble finding a good job, how can you possibly understand how difficult it is for many people to find good jobs when they lack your advantages.

      Some of these leaders are scum. But most of them are not and many of them are genuinely trying to make good decisions. Which is why an idea like decentralizing as much government as we can is a good idea. Leaders are more likely to understand the real impacts of each decision when they are close to the people impacted.

      It is also a great idea to get people from all walks of life involved in politics. Maybe you grew up in a different place (socially or physically) or you just have a different perspective. Get involved and get heard and get elected.

  23. OBloodyHell March 7, 2020 at 9:07 am #

    Chris:

    Not bad for someone looking in from Outside.

    You have an at least moderately accurate grasp of the general psyche of the Right, and, from the other article, at least some idea of the problems of the Demo-Left.

    The real problem is that the Dems have been hijacked by the extremists, because the party as a whole has been moving rapidly leftwards for the last 40 years.

    There was a time when Ralph Nader was the “far left”. He’s actually been called a right-leaning fool in some lefty missives these days.

    Hence my assertion that The Left has gotten so far out in Left Field that they could not see the middle of the road with the Hubble telescope… and therein lies one of their worst problems, the inability to grasp that what they think of as “middle of the road” is still so far left as to be unacceptable to even independents, much less The Right.

    I used to vote (being small-L libertarian) mostly right, but occasionally left (I voted for Bill the first time, for example — partly due to the media’s lies which have since been exposed).

    However — for the last 20 years, I have not, in good conscience, seen a single Democrat I could even consider voting for in protest to someone on the Right I did not like either. The only people of the Democratic party I have held any respect for in the last 20 years are people like Zell Miller, who left them, and Joe Lieberman, who stood his conscience, and was pilloried for doing so.

    • JBird4049 March 12, 2020 at 7:16 am #

      What “Left” is that? There wasn’t a functioning American between 1980 and maybe 2015z. Reading these comments are painful as they almost all ignore the fact that both political parties have become more economically rightwing over the past forty or fifty year. The liberal (not leftist) Democrats are slightly more moderate. Both use social or cultural differences as facades to mask this. The Democrats with their whacked Identity Politics and open borders and the Republicans with their religious fundamentalism and xenophobia.

      Both parties are really only in service to the wealthy. Unions, poor people, people of color? Anyone without money? No way.

  24. Big Ben March 10, 2020 at 1:15 am #

    All politicians are populists – there is zero difference between the two main US parties.
    Democrats: We’ll give YOU everything and someone else will pay for it. (Namely, the wealthy, big business, etc.)
    Republicans: We’ll give YOU everything and someone else will pay for it. (The Mexicans will pay for the wall ring a bell? Tax cuts that add trillions of dollars to the national debt that future generations will pay for – but probably not YOU.)

    Meanwhile the national debt has reached obscene levels, American infrastructure continues to deteriorate, public hysteria about every little thing has become the global pastime and the rational voices in the middle have long since given up and fallen silent.
    Many local and state elections see between 30% and 50% participation … and often those who bitch the loudest don’t bother voting.

    Ronald Regan would be utterly unable to be elected dog catcher in small town America – not orthodox/extreme enough just 40 years later.
    And to show you how apathetic the American voting public is – according to Wikipedia the turnout in the 1980 election that brought Regan to power was just 52.6%. The 2016 election that brought Trump to power saw a 55.7% turnout.
    Pathetic, regardless of your political beliefs.

  25. JJ Reuter May 13, 2020 at 11:40 pm #

    Chris, hope you are well. I attempted to post this on Face Book but it was rejected because someone complained it was hate speech. You have just had the equivalent of a Gun Control Red Flag law applied to you as an author. It is a scary time we are living in.

    • chrishanger May 14, 2020 at 10:34 pm #

      Really? Did they say why?

      Chris

      • JJ Reuter May 15, 2020 at 11:02 am #

        Violated community standards for hate speech. Was reported by a user. They ban the most innocuous and random things. I am now on a ban because I commented that I could not watch till the end, a video of Joe Biden and little girls, because it was disgusting. Free speech is no longer free, truth is no longer required either. Hope you are well.

      • JJ Reuter May 15, 2020 at 11:03 am #

        Your message couldn’t be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive.

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