“An empty face reflects extinction
Ugly scars divide the nation
Desecrate the population
There will be no exaltation.” — Cy Currin
This is hard. I don’t know how to say this without coming off as offensive. So, I have to come right out and say it. The Republican party is dying. They may not realize it yet. With the way that institutional rules and fund raising advantages exist, the representation in state legislatures and Congress may not reveal this reality for decades.
Furthermore, there is the separation between conservatives and Republicans. I know conservatives. There are some I respect and some I think reflect the opinions and values of the dying brand. Making inflammatory statements like this often causes many to bypass any notion of nuance. It is the Republican party that is dying and not conservatism.
I’ve said this before and my opinion really has not changed much. I had originally postulated that the Republican party simply needed a shift. They had a shift in 1980 when Ronald Reagan became the central figure of the party. He managed to marry the business class with the religious right to form a powerful coalition. Some of this was inevitable, but I imagine that he would not recognize his own party today.
I suppose it is still possible for the GOP to pivot, but I just don’t see them doing it. Every time someone steps up to suggest it, it seems like the powers that be lurch in the opposite direction. Following the 2012 loss, members of the party wanted to find ways to become more inclusive and reach out to women and people of color. The collective response was Donald Trump.
I still cannot imagine a figure more antithetical to women and people of color than him. He lost both popular elections and lost the last one fairly convincingly. Yet, the party seems determined to kiss his ring and continue going down that same road. Now, they seem to be either embracing the Q conspiracy or failing to loudly denounce it.
Consider the legislative agenda for the GOP. They seem to be in favor of doing three things. First, they want to roll back voting rights so they can eat around the margins and disenfranchise people that would likely vote against them. They want to curtail women’s rights by making abortion either illegal outright or limiting it to the point where it virtually is illegal. They want to give more money to the rich in the form of tax cuts and cut entitlement programs to pay for it.
It’s difficult to imagine that agenda being a winning one moving forward. The country is becoming more diverse with each passing year. Young people are generally more tolerant than we were, so winning on social wedge issues also seems like a loser. Moreover, younger people are typically more progressive and eventually they will get energized by ideas like free tuition and universal health care.
The sad thing is that many conservatives aren’t monsters. They aren’t bad people. They are decent people with real concerns and genuine opposition to strong centralized government. The sad thing is that the Republican party doesn’t really represent them anymore. It’s hard to pinpoint who they actually represent these days. When you don’t have anyone representing you it is easy to become increasingly frustrated. Where do you go from there? I can appreciate the dilemma. Whatever their decision, they need to realize that the GOP as it currently exists is rotting from the inside.