I wrote a column this week noting that the entire Trump “thing,” by which I mean Trump personally and the Qanon-types, were caught up in an unsustainable march to an obvious and sad end. What I did not do is extend the logical conclusion out further, that the GOP, having tied itself to Trump, will suffer the same fate as all who have “worked with Trump.” He will take the GOP down with him. That is not necessarily as good as it might first seem.
To understand the dynamic, it is necessary to revisit some principles that we all “know,” we just may not be utilizing it in our thought process. To confront the issue, one need to digest a basic predicate. Dating back to at least Ronald Reagan, and perhaps even Nixon before, the GOP has been “one-party” in name only.
The real power behind the GOP is the moneyed-corporate interests that are after low taxes, lax regulatory administration, and saving money by diminishing social support for the poor to free up dollars for corporate welfare. The problem with this platform, other than the obvious, is that it is a platform that serves the interest of 10-20% – at most – of the total population. Tough, in a democracy, to be elected with that portion of the vote.
What to do? Well, first you maximize your money advantage by getting the Supreme Court to decide that “money is speech” through Citizens United. Just as important, you minimize the Democratic vote wherever possible, shameless gerrymandering, as seen in Texas, North Carolina, and Michigan, you impose voter ID laws skewed against the poor, and you have the SCOTUS dismantle the Voting Rights Act – a law that just 7 years prior had been “re-upped” by a unanimous Senate.
But, none of that is geared toward getting voters on your side. No, to get the votes needed by the Corporate wing and “normal conservatives,” they make every other issue part of a culture war. Their politicians acted like they cared about guns, that guns equated to freedom. They acted like they believed that scientists and educators were sketchy, not to be believed (but oil companies have a true heart and want what is best for all). They create their own reality, turning a downward trend in migration across the southern border into an invasion by gangs who illegally vote Democratic and get on welfare. And underlying all this is a racial animus that had to be kept somewhat “unspoken,” at least until lately. They needed this culture war since their real platform did nothing to help the day to day lives of someone living on $10/hour.
So that’s the structure. They had their real agenda, the ones who controlled power, the Koch-types, Wall Street and trans-nationals. And they had their “for show” platform. The “for show” platform could be seen in a TV commercial showing young black men with their pants halfway down their ass, a young Hispanic girl in the E.R. to have her baby, a liberal scientist decrying environmental disasters and extolling teaching evolution, the underlying message being: “This is the cause of all your problems. We are against them.”
The plan worked, at least once through every two administrations, and made massive gains in state government, even though the Democrats near always win more total votes for the Senate, the House and have had more votes than the last two Republican presidential wins. (See North Carolina where the total vote was 50-50 but Republicans controlled super majority of the legislature and Supreme Court).
Trump most certainly would deliver on that anti-tax, anti-administrative platform, absolutely. The trouble for the “real GOP” is that, for the first time, they had a candidate who was dead serious about the culture wars that they only wanted “for show,” not reality. Trump is seen as a “true hero” among the anti-establishment, white working-class voter, precisely because he’s delivering on his promise to put the “other agenda” front and center. Meanwhile, the real power in the GOP curses Trump’s name under their breath. The MAGA/Qanon voter sees Trump as the only one with “integrity” because he is actually doing what they’ve always talked about, and in that sense, I suppose they’re right. To make it worse, they are so conditioned to “hate libtards,” while investing massive emotional energy into guns (for god sake), and exhibiting xenophobia, etc. they will suspend all critical thinking when it comes to evaluating Trump. They fundamentally do not see Trump as a con who has sold them a charade. They don’t see or know that Trump is ridiculously uneducated, has lost far more money than he’s earned, that he’s wholly in bed with Russia and its anti-democracy agenda (hell, some are proudly pro-Russia because Russia is anti-libtard), and that Trump lies like the breathes. None of that matters, Trump is going to “drain the swamp,” meaning get rid of all those people standing in his personal way and in the way of that Qanon voter’s life.
Thus it is that the “real GOP,” the moneyed corporate interests, are watching in abject horror as instability now threatens both the government and the economy. They know the bill is coming due. But unlike 2008, they will not be able to take their gains and run this time. Nope. From here on out, the “alt-platform” will be the real platform with the MAGA Qanon Republican voter and it may have to come at the expense of the economy.
The corporate class knows that their interests cannot survive such instability. They are not in favor of trade wars, culture wars, and abject incompetence. Yet, now, they see that a substantial portion of their base, a critical number of votes, is out of their control, entirely. That was never the plan. Trump was never the plan. And just as Trump is unsustainable, so too is the GOP from here on out because the voters have tasted true power, and they like it. They are not going back to Mitt Romney, or even a “pre-Trump” Lindsey Graham (who hates Trump deep down, never forget Lindsey’s real feelings on Trump, stated pre-primary, that Trump is xenophobic, incompetent and a boob.)
Meanwhile, the corporate class is never going back to Trump or a Trump-like crusader, outside their control. Having built the monster, they now see it unchained. The corporate class has even lost all the “establishment-types” that they inserted around Trump to keep him tethered to reality, the adults in the room are out on the street. Jim Mattis and John Kelly are not coming back.
The corporate class has no real plan for a post-Trump period, and they are staring down economic instability, knowing no one is home to jump in and manage it with any pretense of expertise. They are terrified, which also decreases economic stability.
To the extent that MAGA/Qanon voters see Trump losing in the suburbs, or toting poll numbers in the low 40s going into 2020, the pro-Trump voters either have faith that their proto-deity will come through again, or blame the establishment types and the libtard leftists.
IF 2020 goes as it looks to be going, an economic downturn, and a Trump defeat, along with possible Democratic majorities in both houses, I do not see how the Republican party survives. The Trump-wing will never be satisfied with a non-Trump-type, ever again. And the corporate class will never allow a Trump-like nominee, ever again. It is a matter-anti matter scenario.
So what’s the problem, you say?
The “problem” is that there is a significant portion of that Trump vote that asserts full ownership of this country, the ones who see libtards as their only enemy, and they will not react well. Not every Republican voter fits this broad brush stroke. There are actually some conscientious, good Americans who are conservative only because they think low taxes and loose regulatory rules increase freedom and wish they could have it working with Democrats. They are uncomfortable with all this. But they are not the ones willing to take to the streets, armed to the teeth, sure that the internationalist libtard leftists have engineered a coup, that they actually won the elections, and their country is being “taken” from them.
It will be very hard to stop the MAGA/Qanon faction should they choose to unleash their full fury. They finally had someone follow-up on what previously been mostly smoke and mirrors, and they relish it. Doubt me? How many of them do you think would object if Trump tried suspending the constitution due to a “national emergency”? What if Trump suspended the 2020 vote because of wholly fictional “irregularities in voter registration”? Or what if Trump suspended Congress and the Supreme Court’s control of him until he can figure out “what the hell is going on here”? Honestly? Among the Trump true believers, it is probably at least 50-50 that they would be more than fine with all of it.
Were that our only problem.
Know this, too. There are many in law enforcement that are far more sympathetic to the Proud Boys than they are to “leftists.” Can we count upon them to do their jobs, should the Trump faction take to the streets? Sure that the “real” citizens have had their nation stolen out from under them?
No, having the real GOP split along these lines is a recipe for danger. There will always be a conservative party. Right now, the conservative party that H.W. Bush and John McCain knew looks like a far better choice (from our viewpoint), but that party is not the one that can get the base out to vote at the levels needed. If the Republican party “splits,” it will not be to become Democrats. Someone from the John McCain wing will assert ownership of “responsible conservatism,” and then fight it out for votes among the Qanon, MAGA crowd. The only sure thing is that the two are never to be wed again.
Need proof? Look at how Mitch McConnell reacted to the #MoscowMitch tag. He knows that Trump is imploding, that the Trump movement is unsustainable, and he most definitely wants to be with the corporate-class in good standing when all this is over. But if #MoscowMitch sticks, he will go down with Trump, linked forever. There will be no crossover among the ranks. He knows it, and likes his money and power.
A reckoning is coming, but it won’t come in the form of massive Democratic wins with two-thirds of the House and Senate. It might not even come with full control of all three branches. No, the reckoning will come when conservatives of goodwill look around at the damage wrought, and face down the Qanon, MAGA crowd that hates them just as much as they hate leftists. That crowd, is the one with all the guns, the ones who proudly espouse that the tree of liberty requires bloodshed, the crowd that always believed themselves as the only “real American patriots,” and in some parts is already fixing for a fight (Proud Boys? Trump’s shout -out was not a “one-off.”) Having tasted real power, they’ll never settle for anything less, ever again. The GOP will not survive this.
The corporate-class GOP – and I include those good-willed conservatives within it – had to confront the MAGA/Qanon/Proud Boy wing at some point. They will win, money always does. But it will be very very ugly, lives will be lost. The country might never be the same. The existential identity of this nation is under a threat unlike that seen since the 1850s. A lot of people died settling that matter, temporarily. I mean the matter was temporarily settled, as today’s dynamic has its roots in many of the same issues. The deaths, however, were permanent.
The death of the GOP will be no less so.
Date Posted: Monday, August 19th, 2019 , Total Page Views: 364
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