There are ways the Republican Party refers to itself and ways they are often thought of. None are true any longer. They are the Walking Dead, Zombies, unaware they are dead, protesting their demise. These are the things they used to be:
- The Party of Lincoln: This they have not been for a very long time. One could argue they gave up that title; not in the 1970’s when they adopted the Southern Strategy. Not in the 1960’s when they were the soft landing place for the Dixiecrats rebelling against Civil Right and Voter Rights Acts. They stopped being the Party of Lincoln when in the Compromise of 1877; they withdrew Federal troops from the South which marked the end of Reconstruction and the beginning of Jim Crow.
- The Party of Ideas: More of a popular marketing strategy than a reality. Republicans began casting themselves as the Party of Ideas in the 1980’s and never stopped without regard to the reality. They keep referencing “Returning to the Party of Ideas” without ever acknowledging that they ever stopped being so. Whatever you thought about their beliefs. There was a time the Party had some; the latest version based around the Paul Ryan budget of 2012 which basically advocated for modern, accountable and responsive institutions and limited government. That wasn’t what that budget did but it was what they claimed.
- The Party of No: Once Barack Obama became President. The official objective of the Party became to deny him everything he wanted to accomplish. They opposed even their own proposals lest President Obama be given credit. The House passed bills to repeal Obamacare over 50 times. The Senate obstructed and filibustered grinding every normal process to a halt. They shut down the Government.
- The Party of Trump: While one could make the case that Trump’s values don’t represent those of the entire Party. It’s hard because close to 90% of the Party have coalesced behind him while holding their noses. Trump certainly doesn’t advocate small government. He doesn’t respect the Constitution, not knowing or caring how many Articles it has. The remaining “leaders” of the Party have pinned their hopes on being able to shape policy because they’re certain Trump will have no interest. Their appeal has become limited to White Males without College Degrees. Their base is the Alt-Right and those living in fear of the black, brown, yellow and red man attaining equality which of necessity lessens them.
There is a scene in from the 1976 movie, “The Shootist” where John Wayne says, “I have a cancer.” The wording always struck me when he said he had “a” cancer. The Republican Party has multiple cancers. Single party interests who have enough of a hold on the Party to be able to hold it hostage. The Party can no longer agree on what it wants, only what it’s opposed to. Their current legislative power is based on gerrymandering. Their only hope base on voter suppression,
The Republican Party is dead. Their hopes for leadership were dashed as they watched them, every one, capitulate to Trump and prove they stand for nothing. Because they stood for nothing and never stood up to the Tea Party or the Evangelists or the Trump faction. The Party is now ungovernable. Paul Ryan, a former Vice-Presidential nominee is greeted by chants of “Paul Ryan Sucks.” Mitch McConnell is literally in hiding, refusing to speak any longer on Trump. Politicians are trying to distance themselves from or embrace their nominee based not on convictions but political expediency. Even Ted Cruz, seemed to have forgotten Trump accused his father of being involved in the JFK Assassination and implied his wife was ugly! None have the moral authority to lead. It’s been Party before Country but even more important than that… re-election.
The Republican Party is dead. All that remains is to decide is whether they go the way of the Whig Party and disappear. Or rises like the Phoenix from the ashes to become relevant again. Even gerrymandering will not save them for long as a new census in 2020 will set off a new round of redistricting which hopefully the Democrats will be prepared for this time. Until then they are the Walking Dead. Oblivious to their demise and lost in remembrance of the life it once knew.
Featured Image: Salon.com