(Update 3/5: Batocchio has once again offered this article on Crooks&Liars' Mike's Blog Round-Up! Welcome to all new visitors, please leave a Comment)
I am seeing of late various post-mortems about the evermore-Right-Wing Republican Party, either in their death throes or close to it. For example, this bit in the Atlantic (behind a paywall) from Tom Nichols:
Ironically, the GOP is indeed replicating another political party in another time, but not as the heroes they imagine themselves to be. The Republican Party has become, in form if not in content, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of the late 1970s.
I can already hear the howls about invidious comparisons. I do not mean that modern American Republicans are communists. Rather, I mean that the Republicans have entered their own kind of end-stage Bolshevism, as members of a party that is now exhausted by its failures, cynical about its own ideology, authoritarian by reflex, controlled as a personality cult by a failing old man, and looking for new adventures to rejuvenate its fortunes...
The Republican Party has, for years, ignored the ideas and principles it once espoused, to the point where the 2020 GOP convention simply dispensed with the fiction of a platform and instead declared the party to be whatever Comrade—excuse me, President—Donald Trump said it was.
Like Brezhnev, Trump has grown in status to become a heroic figure among his supporters. If the Republicans could create the rank of “Marshal of the American Republic” and strike a medal for a “Hero of American Culture,” Trump would have them both by now...
The Republican Party is, for now, more of a danger to the United States than to the world. But like the last Soviet-era holdouts in the Kremlin, its cadres are growing more aggressive and paranoid. They blame spies and provocateurs for the Capitol riot, and they are obsessed with last summer’s protests (indeed, they are fixated on all criminals and rioters other than their own) to a point that now echoes the old Soviet lingo about “antisocial elements” and “hooligans.” They blame their failures at the ballot box not on their own shortcomings, but on fraud and sabotage as the justification for a redoubled crackdown on democracy.
Another lesson from all this history is that the Republicans have no path to reform. Like their Soviet counterparts, their party is too far gone. Gorbachev tried to reform the Soviet Communist Party, and he remains reviled among the Soviet faithful to this day. Similar efforts by the remaining handful of reasonable Republicans are unlikely to fare any better. The Republican Party, to take a phrase from the early Soviet leader Leon Trotsky, should now be deposited where it belongs: in the “dustbin of history.”
Or this from David Atkins as he covers the CPAC wingnut-cosplay convention for the Washington Monthly:
But CPAC isn’t a sideshow. It’s the main stage of the conservative movement, predicting its future behavior in an era of widening asymmetric polarization. CPAC presaged the rise of the Party of Reagan over that of Gerald Ford and Dwight Eisenhower. It heralded the scorched-earth confrontational politics of Newt Gingrich in the Bill Clinton era. It elevated George W. Bush at a time when the mainstream GOP still saw itself more in the mold of John McCain. It celebrated the Tea Party before GOP legislators had fully embraced it. And it promoted openly racist birthers and conspiracy theorists like Donald Trump at a time when the the mainline GOP was producing superficially anti-racist autopsies and promoting candidates like Marco Rubio and Spanish-speaking Jeb Bush.
So if we want to know where the Republican Party is heading today, we should pay close attention to CPAC. So what’s the theme now? Where is it going?
The answer seems to be doubling down on Donald Trump, white supremacy, insurrection and conspiracy theories...
Trump himself is set to headline the conference, whining about insufficiently groveling members of his own party and playing up his usual fantastical claims, even as a ridiculous golden statue of Trump (made in Mexico, by the way) wheels its way through the halls like a blasphemous idol...
|Shared via Vox, video captured by William Turton|
Oh Dear Lord. Yes indeed: The so-called Christian fundamentalist-led Far Right Conservatives brought in a literal Golden Calf (or Shitgibbon in this case) in violation of Deuteronomy (Deut 13 for example), as well as the Commandment forbidding the worship of other gods and idols (Exodus 20:3-5). I may be Unitarian, but I was raised with Christian values and even *I* find this offensive to Faith in the One Graceful God.
This is how hypocritical, if not outright false, those conservative religious leaders in the GOP really are. This isn't even tone-deaf. They had to know what that idol symbolized and they did not care how religiously offensive it would be.
To build on Atkins' coverage, one of the common descriptives I've seen on social media is comparing this year's CPAC to an unhinged, borderline-violent comic-con convention filled with militia cosplayers and hucksters galore. To which I note, as a regular attendee of comic-cons, our cosplayers and vendors have far more dignity than CPAC attendees, sheesh.
To get back to Atkins' final thoughts:
It’s unconfirmed yet whether it was intentional or an unfortunate coincidence, but it seems at least symbolic that even the CPAC stage itself is shaped like a symbol adopted by Nazis and subsequent white supremacist movements.
All of it points to a grim future for the country if the movement currently animating the conservative movement holds majority power over the next decade. Defeat has not chastened the movement, but rather emboldened it. And if CPAC is the predictor it normally is, the next incarnation of Republican power will be even more aggressively racist and authoritarian than its predecessor.
In this, he has a point. The Republican Party may be bereft of values or integrity anymore, but it's still here and still a danger.
It's a danger that's not going anywhere anytime soon. Above all, the Republicans are still here because they're too entrenched into too many elected, executive, and judicial offices to just disappear overnight. The GOP still has political control at the state level, holding governorships and legislatures standing opposed to any ideal of bipartisanship or acceptance of Democrats in control at the federal level.
The second reason the Republicans are still here is due to our Winner-Take-All system of voting: It encourages two major parties and keeps any other viable third option out of contention. You can vote for a Third Party candidate but the major ones (D and R) are such behemoths that too many on-the-fence voters worry that third choice won't win. Even WITH two major parties, the voting bloc that's most likely to swing between the two - the Moderate/Centrist voters who can avoid partisan fealty - are still stuck choosing partisan candidates. If there were a functioning Moderate Third Party (Libertarians and Greens don't count) then maybe the extremism in either Democrat or Republican parties would doom the party that slides too far... But there isn't an organized Moderate Party to begin with.
This is the third reason why the Republicans won't go away: They got deep pocket fundraisers keeping them alive. As the official "Party of Big Business," the GOP is the favorite go-to for the billionaires in finance and industry who want to keep their wonderful tax cuts going. Even though those billionaires and businesses aren't thrilled with the overt racism/sexism/pretty much open acts of evil that the modern Republican Party now promotes, you don't see any of them going to the mattresses with a plan to build a Moderate pro-Business rival party to compete against the corrupt Republican party. Those billionaires will likely keep their mouths shut and their wallets open to fund the one major party that will keep them rolling in their untaxed capital gains.
Nobody is coming to rescue the nation from the racist corrupt trump-led Republicans.
It's only up to the voters, any of them with any level of sanity left to them, to see how far gone into zombie decay the Republicans are now, and walk away from that. It's a lot, asking for millions of registered voters across America to make the effort to quit their party alignment to the GOP, even if it's to get them to flip to Independent/No Party Affiliate. People identify to their teams, their tribes, who they root for. It's like asking millions of Americans to give up their personal sports team, or quitting on their favorite musical artist from their teen years.
But it's the only way to beat the Republicans. Don't give those Far Right wingnuts any power, don't give them your money, and sure as hell don't give them your vote.
Look at them. With an unbiased, open eye, look at those Far Right conservatives bouncing around at that CPAC convention. Look at their hypocrisy, look at what they are happily, openly worshiping.
The Republicans are not celebrating America. They're burning it.
For the Love of God, they are waging war against their fellow citizens, their neighbors, all of humanity, in the service of their greed and hate.
Please don't join that. Fight it.
That monstrosity is not going away until ALL OF US make it go away.