The Fracturing of the GOP

We’ve talked about this repeatedly in a number of threads, but generally within the context of the presidential election. I believe that this is a much bigger thing, which is going to go on past 2016, and thus deserving of its own thread.

With the election, we’ve got Donald Trump and those who oppose him. He’s offering to rebrand the GOP as populist authoritarianism. Basically a discarding of all of the libertarian aspects, and a full embrace of far right wing social conservatism paired with ultra nationalism and economic protectionism. This clearly goes against many of the core tenets of conservatism from the past few decades, perhaps moving closer to the so called paleo-conservatives of yesteryear.

Regardless, there’s definitely a fight in the GOP now, between old folks who want things to be as they were, and folks who realize that if you don’t change with history you get run over by the train.

Today we get to see the GOP undergoing some major internal conflict regarding LGBT rights.

The fight escalated on Thursday when shortly before an expected vote over an energy and water spending bill, House Republicans held a private meeting in which many vented their frustrations over language passed late Wednesday to bar discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of federal contractors, according to several people in the room.

The spending bill failed in a 305-to-112 vote — along with the LGBT language introduced by Rep. Sean Maloney, an openly gay New York Democrat.

Several GOP members were deeply upset after Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.) offered a prayer at their Thursday meeting implying that those who supported LGBT rights “on the floor last night” went against the teachings of the Bible, according to several people in the room. At least one member walked out after Allen’s comments, the people said.

“I thought the comments were wildly out of bounds and especially inappropriate given that this was supposed to be a prayer,” said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.).

There’s practically nothing socially conservative about what Trump is proposing. Nationalist, populist, authoritarian… all that’s in there. But not social conservativism–family values, traditional sexual mores, Christian morality–as generally understood, I don’t think.

Nah, he plays on that too.
While Trump himself clearly doesn’t give even one half of one shit about traditional christian morality (or really any morality), he still plays to that part of the crowd.

He does this through various dog whistles, like saying that “Political Correctness” is the real danger (thereby allowing people to excuse their own bigotry by saying that complaints against it are just PC crap). Or by saying that it’s the most important thing to be able to practice their religion freely… Of course, he only means that his SUPPORTERS should be able to practice their religion freely, in their right to discriminate against other people. Clearly muslims should NOT be allowed to practice THEIR religion.

Of course Trump himself doesn’t care about traditional Christian values. But he’ll toot that horn, and use it as another way to rile folks up.

And realistically, he doesn’t have to do much more than that, given that a hardlining, single-issue social conservative would sooner commit glorious seppuku than vote for a Democrat. My parents aren’t thrilled by Mr. Trump by any means, but in the end, he’ll be the candidate with the R by his name, which means he’s the candidate who’ll Save the Babies!

(Also, anyone remember his gloriously vile commentary about locking up women who get abortions? Sure, it betrays a lack of knowledge of how those people generally operate politically, but it also showcases a willingness to try to court them, nonetheless)

Sure, it betrays a lack of knowledge of how those people generally operate politically, but it also showcases a willingness to try to court them, nonetheless

This is very true.

In many cases, it seems like Trump is basically saying whatever he thinks those groups want to hear… the abortion case provided an example of him guessing wrong.

He basically said, “What’s the most extremely right wing position I can take here? Oh, sure. Lock up women who get abortions!”

He didn’t really know much about the issue either way. He just said what seemed “Republican-y” to him.

Splicing in something that was mentioned in the other thread, there is probably a need for a party that supports the “working class” of America.

The GOP long abrogated that position, becoming the party of the 1% and also Evangelical Christians.

But the Democrats also shed the mantle of the working class gradually over the past 50 years. Sure, they give lip service to unions, but they haven’t done much to protect them. Instead, the Democrats are the party of the 10%: working professionals who sit at the gates of riches but who are not filthy rich themselves.

Neither party is really representative of the economic interests of the 80% of Americans who are either “poor” or simply not wealthy. The GOP courts these folks through social issues, and the Democrats court them sometimes preventing the GOP from completely screwing them… but neither party is really serious about actually reducing inequality and giving those people a bigger slice of the pie.

Sanders probably is interested in those people and the Democrats might possibly start to bring them (back) into the tent. And Trump pretends that he is, but none of his policies will really help those people. The best thing that could come of the fracturing of the GOP is the rise of a populist party that actually IS interested in the economic well-being of that 70%

There has been a strong need for real Libertarian and Socialist parties for quite some time, but it will likely never happen.

Instead the GOP pretends to be Libertarian and the Dems pretend to be a little Socialist and neither hits anywhere remotely near the mark.