The GOP has no unifying philosophy other than hate, fear, and kowtowing to billionaires and their giant corporations; the people who make up its governing class are similarly fractured
What's so shocking is how many crazed racists and misogynists, and anti-LGBTQ, religious zealots, and just truly stupid, cruel, sadistic, violent asses we have in the country.
Thom, your newsletter should be required reading for every voter in this nation.
Great analysis, but strange hypothetical at the end -- what if the Dems win 2022 in a blowout?
There are no signs that the Dems will win E2022 at all, much less in a blowout. So the more apt question is: What does the GOP do with a mixed E2022 -- control of at least one chamber of Congress, at least a few election deniers like Jim Marchant in key state-level posts, continuing control of the key purple-state legislatures, and of course SCOTUS?
Do they tighten their rig on the electoral process (Yes)? Do they impeach Biden, Garland, et al (Not if they're smart, but they seem to be blessedly oblivious to electoral consequences - which you can be when you've tightened the rig of the electoral process)? Do they go with Trump or DeSantis (Does it matter?)? What fresh hells lie in store?
And why would the GOP -- under the most likely post-E2022 scenarios -- have any need or inclination to "reform itself?"
That was a great analysis, Thom. To expand on a couple of points, I think that the Republicans grossly and intentionally misused nationalism, more than tinged with racism, to create a mostly unstated “philosophy” that overlays all its efforts. Fear and ignorance of foreigners, made much worse by 9/11(and never mind that most terrorism in America is by domestic groups) has been brilliantly coupled with a mythical past when America was a “great” pure country. And presumably that was when it was all run by white men, not those pushy women and people of color or, as Agnew called them, “effect intellectual snobs.”
There is of course nothing new with this approach. Putin is essentially using a “Make Russia Great Again” message to justify his war. Mussolini tried to recreate a Roman Empire. And Hitler’s crackpot “scientists” developed a mythical German past, populated by Aryans (who in reality were just speakers of a language group) as the master race.
The toxicity of this approach is that it appeals to everyone who feels they have lost out in life and want somebody to blame. It works for the educated middle class who might not believe it but are afraid of losing what they have and so go along. And it works for those who just like having power over others. Naturally it’s a slippery slope from here to violence in defending one’s “beliefs”, especially when a third factor, religion, is injected into the mix.
Race, as the historian Will Durant once wrote, is what people fall back on for pride when they have nothing else to be proud of. Arthur Schopenhauer put it somewhat differently, writing that, “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs.” But the sentiment is the same, don’t think, just follow and you will be in the winning group. To their eternal shame very cynical Republicans have packaged this message for all those who want someone else to tell them what to believe. Whether they can control an outcome veering more towards lunacy and sheer anger is another story.
Again Thom has succinctly presented why I would never vote Republican ever! Their actual policies are against everything I believe- what this country was founded on- actual equal rights under the law and free from tyranny of religion (at least striving for those ideals). I agree with the comment by Silas T. that the current Republicans can be compared to the No Nothing party but they are also the DoNothing party. Sadly too many Americans are brainwashed by feel-good slogans that whitewash the BS the Republicans propose. Everyone like me who is on Social Security and Medicare should be on red alert and paying attention to the Republican rumblings about changing these programs (privatization of course). Even the few rational conservatives I listen to on social media I can agree on some issues as long as they are factual and call out the BS of the crazy Magats. But the party of rational Republicans is no more which is scary for our democracy.
Great article. Nothing to add. I would simply remind people that this is not new. Nixon used to loudly proclaim to his henchmen that all of us who were NOT his admirers, but particularly those brown or high, were lesser citizens.
I see a parallel with the Maga crowd and the Know-Nothings of the 1840's and 50's. Anti-immigrant and cultish. Back then they were opposed to Irish and Catholics. It's depressing to see how little things have changed. Thom, perhaps you can have an historian guest who might talk about the Know-Nothings. (...or maybe you can do it).
Ignorant. Mentally ill. Unethical. Outdated. Oppressors. And, the list goes on. Republicans needed to build a big tent in order to win anything. They have succeeded.
All we can do is look for the opposite in our candidates and disown the ones that do something egregious. If Dems lose all or part of the Congress, I hope it will be with integrity.
I know some have taken the cynical route of trying to finance the opposition to get the candidate they want to run against. It's a very bad look, we need to seriously think about that. At least Dems do actually discuss ethics.
Trump has mutilated and mangled the GOP, but he has not done it alone. He is a psychopath, they know it, yet they are too weak and crass to give up his cult followers. Republicans with a conscience have my sympathy. Their party is as broken as their antiquated ideology.
We met when Stephanie interviewed you at UCLA a few years back.
My feeling is conservatism is viable, though questionable, as a personal philosophy: Don't get an abortion, don't marry someone of the same sex, don't pay a penny more than legally required in taxes, resist using any government-supplied resources, and by all means, refuse any government assistance in the event that your universe flattens your community or steals your health and wealth.
But conservatism has never offered an organizing set of principles fit for governing a free and democratic society. If it did, you could point to a nation where it exists. And where it's applied on a statewide basis here, it's been an abject failure and the inspiration for books, podcasts, videos and articles without end.