Stone cold fact: the Republican Party will not survive Donald Trump. A lot of them knew that going in. Lindsey Graham, for instance:
As former Republican Rick Wilson put it, “Everything Trump Touches Dies”. He could have added “Or gets destroyed.” They may not have known just how corrupt Donald Trump was, just how tied in to Russia — but they suspected as much. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously said to a roomful of the GOP leadership during the 2016 GOP convention that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump“. Paul Ryan, then Speaker of the House was unsurprised. He made everyone there swear to keep it “in the family”.
Thing is, plenty of Republicans were already compromised by Russia. They’d been taking Russian money into their campaign coffers forever — some via the NRA. In some cases — Lindsey Graham’s, I bet — the compromises went even deeper. It isn’t just inconvenient and suspicious campaign money that’s making Lindsey the ultimate Trumpian lap dog. I bet if Senator John McCain were to return from the dead and visit his old pal Lindsey, his old pal couldn’t look McCain in the eye.
But then, can the Republican Party really look America in the eye anymore?
Republicans are now the party of putting children in cages and police violence and mask politicization and racism and sexism and sanctimony and hypocrisy and white male Christian supremacy. They’re the party that has no interest in following the Constitution or the rule of law. They’re the party that puts children in cages, takes pandemic relief money out of the pockets of its struggling constituents and puts it into the pockets of its wealthiest friends.
Republicans are the party that says voting by mail is “dangerous” — even as they vote by mail. They’re the party that gives lip service to protecting elections while doing everything they can to limit who votes. They’ll protect themselves from the coronavirus pandemic but have no interest in protecting you.
If Republicans were a literal salesman going door to door, he’d be selling poison wrapped in an American flag.
But, the GOP’s problem is the same one a salesman has. What do you do when no one wants what you’re selling? The salesman is shit out of luck. The GOP however is unusually innovative when it comes to corruption. Republicans are used to no one wanting them so they developed a way to shove their product down America’s throats.
As the Republicans will learn, while that may work for the first moment or two, we’re in fighting back mode now.
The Whig Party was active from the 1830’s to the 1850’s. They were progressive in many ways; among other things, they were strong advocates of the rule of law. Slavery split them in two, the norther Whigs being completely opposed to it while the southern Whigs were not. The defeat of Whig presidential candidate General Winfield Scott by Democrat Franklin Pierce (keep in mind, Democrats in 1850 were very different from Democrats today) finished them off. The party went out of business, replaced ultimately by what became the nascent Republican Party.
The Republican Party began its life as the more Progressive of the two parties (for a better understanding, read Heather Cox-Richardson’s excellent “To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party). Their willful descent into racist policy came about after Nixon’t southern strategy turned all those racist southerners from Dixiecrats into Republicans.
The Republican Party wouldn’t be here if the Whigs had lived on. Similarly, some new group of moderate conservatives will live on once the GOP is formally laid to rest. And, rest assured — the GOP will be formally laid to rest — right alongside the Whigs though I doubt that will make the Whigs happy.
No doubt the Whigs will think — as the Republican Party is buried beside it — “There goes the neighborhood”.
In the end, some conservative party will find its footing and endure — so long as they don’t try to pull the same crap. But the conservative of the future — whatever they call themselves — won’t look a whole lot like the conservative party of right now. They won’t have a choice if they want to endure. America is about make a giant leap to the left.
There’s no conservative way out of this mess. Conservatives keep making that point for us. The Progressive solutions (UBI, health care for all, a playing field that’s actually level) will, in time, become ubiquitous. We’ll even start to think of America as a center-left country.
There’s no good outcome for Republicans or republicanism. They are facing extinction and there’s absolutely nothing they can do to stop it.