GOP on track for collapse
It began with Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy.” The idea was to faintly suggest that the Republican Party was a place where white Southerners might find a warm and friendly atmosphere — A place sympathetic to the concerns of those who felt racial equality was inequality for white people. It seemed harmless enough, and resulted in a massive shift from the Democratic Party in the South to the Republican Party.
That coalition has lasted until present day.
But when it became apparent that the coalition no longer had enough voters to win a national election, Republicans opened up the party to religious intolerance by inviting in the Evangelicals. The Evangelicals found a political party willing to advocate for the continuance of inequality in the name of religious absolutism.
With the newest Republicans joining the Southern Strategy, Republicans elections were once again won. It all seemed so fulfilling, and success was, after all, success. Who could question the outcome?
Ultimately, there simply were not enough Evangelicals and white Southerners to win national elections, so the Republican Party reached out to the newest radical group, the Tea Party. The Tea Party was filled with angry people, activists who initially wanted fiscal responsibility and a return to the 1950s, an idea they labelled “constitutional fidelity.”
And again, elections were won by a party shrinking as a percentage of the total population. And while white voters no longer constituted a voting majority, the energy of the Tea Party overcame sheer numbers with midterm election turnout.
The Tea Party changed along the way, though, becoming the party of “No” to all things government. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz personified this approach by shutting down the federal government over a budget challenge. The shutdown accomplished nothing, but the Tea Party did not care, for governing was not their goal; chaos was their goal, and anger their primary tool.
Ultimately, the Republicans in Congress could accomplish nothing, because the demands of the people who elected Republicans were impossible and unreasonable, yet to win elections, Republicans had to mouth promises to accomplish the absurd. And that was the coalition Republicans had created?
No matter what was promised, in the light of day, Congress could not return 11 million illegals to Mexico, could not end Obamacare,and could not stop the Supreme Court from ratifying gay marriage.
When the Southern Strategy folks, the Evangelicals, and the Tea Party folks realized none of their extreme ideas were being seriously addressed by their Republican representatives they became Trump voters.
Trump voters, angry as hell and not going to take it anymore, now have lost virtually all pretense that they care about governing. They care about firing everyone in Congress who works off of fact-based reasoning. How could it not be so when their leader, Trump, values facts about as much as he values civility, which is to say, not at all?
Operating a fact-free campaign, Donald Trump has cornered the market on voters who no longer care to be troubled by the realities of what can be accomplished when he promises what cannot be accomplished by simply saying “We will win.”
And now Trump threatens the Republican Party that he has likely destroyed in its present structure, saying that if he is not given the nomination, even if he does not have the votes required, his followers will riot. And why would they not, having been prompted by Trump to violence so many times already.
The Republican Party will likely not survive this election, but then again, why should it, given the choices that brought it to today’s politics?
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.