I only get my rocks off when I’m dreaming

I’ve been reading a lot of death-of-the-GOP articles. Conservative commentators like Ron Fournier and Josh Kraushaar believe that the party may split in two (Fournier brings up the possibility that the Democratic party might split too). Some liberal commentators and ostensibly nonpartisan commentators think it’s more likely that the GOP will enter a longterm minority status, as it did from 1932 to 1968.

Prediction is hard, especially about the future, but the party split seems like the stuff of fantasy. Bull Moose! No Labels! Americans Elect!

I don’t see why the longterm minority status prediction is crazy though, because I don’t think the GOP is interested in governing at the national level. They like to fuck around with stuff in Kansas and Michigan, but they have no interest in dealing with important national problems like longterm health care costs and the effects of climate change.

There’s two kinds of national conservatives: there’s the ones that like to wear tricorner hats and yell “Wolverines” and there’s the “centrist” kind that likes to find Very Serious reasons to concern troll whatever it is that Democrats are doing. Both are advocating doing the opposite of whatever liberals want, only in different ways. Both like to daydream more than anything else — teatards dream of gold, the Revolutionary War, and the apocalypse, Boboites dream of Hayek, Churchill, Reagan, and the hunky conservative pin-up du jour. Why should any of these people be all that concerned about getting enough votes to have actual political control? Mo’ votes, mo’ problems.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

93 replies
  1. 1
    chris fleming says:

    what the hell is bull moose??

  2. 2
    chris fleming says:

    what the hell is bull moose??

  3. 3
    Doug Galt says:

    @chris fleming:

    That Teddy Roosevelt party.

  4. 4
    Bulworth says:

    Why should any of these people be all that concerned about getting enough votes to have actual political control? Mo’ votes, mo’ problems.

    Because they hate liberals.

  5. 5
    piratedan says:

    hell why govern when you can make mucho dinero fingerpainting with your own poo

  6. 6
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ:

    Conservative commentators like Ron Fournier and Josh Kraushaar believe that the party may split in two (Fournier brings up the possibility that the Democratic party might split too).

    Because both sides must do it, else all will be fraught with unfairness, disbalance, and liberal media bias.

    .

  7. 7
    MattF says:

    I think you’re underestimating the desire of Republicans to exercise political power. You get to tell people what to do and not do, you get to start wars, you get to help your pals make money. Where’s the downside?

  8. 8
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    If the GOP splits, and I’m not holding my breath, I can imagine a number of McCaskill/Harold Ford types would be thrilled to ditch the Democratic Party for the neo-Whig Deficit Hawks or Whateverthefuck Party what would they call themselves?

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattF: Exercise power, yes. Govern, no.

  10. 10
    Yutsano says:

    Most of the teafolk want bright shiny toys and a big military but only for the benefit of them. And they really don’t want to pay for it. If any benefit comes along that is meant for any Other (defined by themselves of course) as well as them that makes it instantly evil and morally wrong. None of this is consistent or rational, but neither are they. And this is why we can’t have nice things.

  11. 11
    ruemara says:

    I’ll believe it when I see them losing votes.

  12. 12
    JGabriel says:

    chris fleming:

    what the hell is bull moose?

    Progressive Party, aka Bull Moose Party, 1912-1916.

    .

  13. 13
    Commenting at Balloon Juice Since 1937 says:

    Our local all republican county officials are busy trying to privatize anything not nailed down. Not because they need to but because its one thing less they are responsible for. They’re basically just lazy but want the appearance of power, and the pay check that goes with it.

  14. 14
    different-church-lady says:

    You missed the obvious one: they’re going to have long term minority status because they have contempt for the majority of people in the country.

  15. 15
    Boots Day says:

    It’s easy to see why Karl Rove is feuding with these people and becoming somewhat marginalized. Rove is interested solely in winning elections; I have no doubt he would come out in favor of mandatory abortions for all if it would get him his 50% + 1. His worldview has no room for the ideological purity of the Teabaggers or the rueful centrism of the Bobos, chunky or otherwise.

    And to the extent that those ideologues drive away the people who are actually trying to win elections, it’s only going to hurt the GOP even further.

  16. 16
    Doug Galt says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I admit that I like the split idea too if it means I don’t have to be on the same party as Harold Ford and Evan Bayh.

  17. 17
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Some liberal commentators and ostensibly nonpartisan think it’s more likely that the GOP will enter a longterm minority status, as it did from 1932 to 1968.

    Why fish for bad analogies when good ones are free for the taking?

    Today’s GOP occupies much the same ground as the post-1865 Democratic party, both literally (as in which states they are strong in, and even down to the level of which part of those states), and culturally. That party wielded considerable power in individual states and cities, and sought to take national power, and even got Grover C. into the White House on two different occasions, but apparently they didn’t want national power badly enough for the leopard to start changing its spots until 1912, and that event had much to do with the ongoing ideological battles which were splitting apart the other party and causing progressives to look for a new home.

    The biggest difference between the GOP today and the Democratic Party 1865-1912 is that today’s GOP has money by way of an alliance with Wall St. and assorted billionares in ways the late 19th Cen Democratic Party could only dream of, and on the other hand they’ve screwed themselves with immigrants and ethnic minorities and thus have little in the way of an urban base.

  18. 18
    srv says:

    I think the most effective way to split the GOP is to continue to troll them. Obama is doing some of this at a tactical level, but they need a strategic vision for 2014 and 2016. IMO, the WH needs to have a Czar of Trolling.

  19. 19
    PeakVT says:

    The GOBP won’t suffer from a full-on split. A faction might hive off for an election cycle (as in 1992) but that’s about it. Having single-member districts with FPTP elections forces groups into broad coalitions.

  20. 20
    Peter says:

    My prediction (totally unprofessional and pulled out my ass) is that the GOP will die off as a viable political force, populated only by cranks and lunatics. The Democrats will complete their transformation into a microcosm of a functioning political system, consisting of sane people at every point on the political spectrum. Then, once the party of crazy people has been sufficiently marginalized that opposition to them is no longer sufficient glue to hold all these disparate political views together, the Dems will split into two parties, one leftish and one rightish.

  21. 21
    cmorenc says:

    @Doug Galt:

    That Teddy Roosevelt party.

    …which was actually quite progressive. TR disapproved of the turn back toward gilded-age conservatism by his successor in Presidential office, William Howard Taft (dragging the then-GOP along with him), and formed the “Bull Moose” party as a splinter of disaffected GOPers. The result? The election of Woodrow Wilson, democrat.

    It’s hard to imagine now, but for nearly a decade at the start of the 1900s, the GOP *was* the bona fide progressive party in the modern sense. It’s more usual for commentators to contrast today’s GOP (and the effect of its embrace since 1968 of a “southern” strategy) with its origins as the “party of Lincoln”, but an even stronger contrast can be drawn between today’s GOP and Teddy Roosevelt’s GOP.

  22. 22
    JGabriel says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I can imagine a number of McCaskill/Harold Ford types would be thrilled to ditch the Democratic Party for the neo-Whig Deficit Hawks or Whateverthefuck Party what would they call themselves?

    Well, the Asshole Party is already taken by the GOP. Maybe they’d call themselves the Neo-Douche Party.

    .

  23. 23
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The principle problem with American “conservatism” is that it is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, conservative. Heck, they OPPOSE conservation of energy, of natural resources, because what these people really are all about is money. Mammon-worship. Greed. With no moral or ethical shackles to get in their way. This is why except for the part where grifters like Rove get rich in the process, I enjoy watching greedy 1% assholes getting taken to the cleaners by guys like Rove, Gary Bauer, Tony Perkins, and the rest of the vile parasite scum that are a feature, not a bug, of the modern GOP.

  24. 24

    The immigration reform debate, will seal the fate of the GOP as we know it. If they vote for it, it is going to make the base crazy, if they don’t there is going to be hell to pay with changing demographics.
    BTW Andrew Sullivan thinks sequestration is a dumb idea, but he is for it any way. Sense has left the building along with his hair.

  25. 25
    Poopyman says:

    Prediction is hard, especially about the future

    I’ve heard that somewhere before. Deja vu all over again.

    By “National Conservative” I assume you mean those that have found a pulpit to bully from. I suspect the great silent majority of conservatives, though, are your father’s kind of Republican – conservative but trying to be pragmatic, and disturbed by all of the “National Conservatives” that pretend to speak for them. Not too many people are trying to suss what these people will end up doing, and if someone digs into that it’ll give a better indication of where most conservatives are going to go.
    My bet is on inertia.

  26. 26
    Cacti says:

    I’m also in the camp that finds a split unlikely. I think the GOP will spend some time in the wilderness until more of the Reagan coalition dies off.

    I expect the future GOP to have more of a libertarian bent to reflect the fact that the 40-and under vote is considerably more socially liberal than the present iteration of the Republican Party.

  27. 27
    Lit3Bolt says:

    Where DougJ trails behind Steve M, yet again…

    From 2 weeks ago…

    Besides sharpening the snark beak against the rocks of GOP idiocy, what have you been doing that actually helps, Doug?

  28. 28
    MattF says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: And bear in mind that Republicans have already seen in California how immigration plays out as an issue– and that doesn’t stop them. I agree that there’s something there that looks like a death wish.

  29. 29
    cmorenc says:

    If the Democrats retain majority control of the Senate in 2014 (even if they net lose two to four seats), hold roughly even in the House in 2014, and retain the Presidency in 2016 (probably regaining a substantial majority in the Senate) THEN IMHO the continued viability of the GOP will be seriously threatened by the prospect of entering another long period of permanent minority status, in which demographic shifts threaten to quite tangibly erode even their best efforts in 2010 to gerrymander a structural house majority.

  30. 30
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @cmorenc:

    but an even stronger contrast can be drawn between today’s GOP and Teddy Roosevelt’s GOP.

    To take it further, there are many resemblances between Obama’s Democratic Party and Teddy’s GOP circa 1902-1908, both ideologically and in terms of their regional distribution, and Obama’s approach to dealing with Congress is closer to the way TR did it than it is to the methods used by other liberal icons like FDR and LBJ.

  31. 31
    TenguPhule says:

    Why should any of these people be all that concerned about getting enough votes to have actual political control?

    Because they want all the perks of power, but none of the responsibiity.

    See Bush, Dubya.

  32. 32
    cmorenc says:

    @Cacti:

    I expect the future GOP to have more of a libertarian bent to reflect the fact that the 40-and under vote is considerably more socially liberal than the present iteration of the Republican Party.

    …and the social conservatives and evangelicals within the GOP and Tea Party movements who are the political and electoral workhorses of the GOP are going to go along quietly and gladly with social libertarianism? Good luck keeping them quietly, happily on-board with such a transformation.

  33. 33

    What they really want is for the Kenyusurper, Pelosi, Reid, et al to concede to the brilliance of conservative beliefs, then blame those same people when it doesn’t work out in a “conservatism cannot fail” manner.

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Lit3Bolt: Aside from linking a tangentially related blog post from a couple of weeks ago, what have you been doing that actually helps? This is kind of fun.

  35. 35
    Dave says:

    If both the Republican and Democratic parties split, will “both sides do it” turn into “all sides do it?”

    Will “some say the earth is round, some say it’s flat” turn into “some say the earth is round, some say it’s ovoid, some say it’s flattish, and still others say the earth consists of every shape imaginable?”

    My god, the implications.

  36. 36
    Napoleon says:

    @JGabriel:

    Progressive Party, aka Bull Moose Party, 1912-1916.

    I love the platform of the party at your link. TR makes Obama look like a raving rightest in comparison.

  37. 37
    Anoniminous says:

    (Soundtrack)

    I’d like to think an outbreak of rationality could happen in the US political system. I’m not going to hold my breath.

  38. 38
    PeakVT says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The principle problem with American “conservatism” is that it is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, conservative.

    American conservatism, like the conservatism in most other places, has the goal of preserving the status quo of the social hierarchy, aka keeping the rich rich. Everything else is PR towards that end.

  39. 39
    MattF says:

    @Dave: I’m holding out for an ‘oblate spheroid’ party.

  40. 40
    Cacti says:

    @cmorenc:

    and the social conservatives/evangelicals within the GOP and Tea Party movements who are the political and electoral workhorses of the GOP are going to go along quietly and gladly with social libertarianism? Good luck keeping them quietly, happily on-board with such a transformation.

    They will do it, or they will ride the evangelical dinosaur into political extinction.

    Millennials were about 24% of eligible voters in 2012. That will increase to 30% in 2016, 36% by 2020. The writing is on the wall.

  41. 41
    mdblanche says:

    I agree that the GOP being reduced to a minority party for a few decades is more likely than it breaking apart. But I find it interesting that the conservative commentators are the more dire ones in their assessments, sociologically speaking if nothing else.

  42. 42
    drkrick says:

    Bull Moose was also the name of a blog by Marshall Wittman, a former McCain aide who saw the McCain/Lieberman axis as some kind of promising glimpse of the politics to come.

    I could see the non-inmate elements of the GOP tired of the inmates running the asylum (non Tea Party, Falwellite, Thurmondite) teaming up with Blue Dog Conservadems in some kind of “centrist uber alles” alliance. There are plenty of long time GOPers who find the current House GOP caucus almost as insufferable as we do.

  43. 43
    Tonal Crow says:

    The site “upgrade” is now marking some of my posts as spam, despite their containing no links and (as far as I can tell) no banned words. Can’t we say “R e p u b l i c a n” anymore?

  44. 44
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @MattF:

    ‘oblate spheroid’

    That’s a revolutionary concept. You’ll need a lot of spin to make it work.

  45. 45
    MikeJ says:

    @MattF:

    I’m holding out for an ‘oblate spheroid’ party.

    That shape is kinda like a fruit. Sort of a lemon party?

  46. 46
    Doug Galt says:

    @Poopyman:

    By “National Conservative”

    I mean people who are conservative about national issues. I’ve come to realize that in many ways, I am conservative about local issues. I think many of the projects proposed by my local government (by both parties) are boondoggles and my default position is to oppose them.

  47. 47
    Tonal Crow says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    @MattF:

    ‘oblate spheroid’ [party]

    That’s a revolutionary concept. You’ll need a lot of spin to make it work.

    Touchdown!

  48. 48
    Napoleon says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    The biggest difference between the GOP today and the Democratic Party 1865-1912 . . . .

    Actually the biggest differance is the Dem where the party of treason and had just lost a civil war that left something like 850,000 dead.

  49. 49
    the Conster says:

    The Hoot-Smalley tag cracks me up every single time. If Michelle Bachmann taught us anything, it’s that there is such a thing as too much wild eyed dumb ass crazy for national prime time.

  50. 50
    scav says:

    @Tonal Crow: Well, I’m already forming the irregular oblate spheroid party, just to keep within the theme.

  51. 51
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “longterm minority status” aka permanent minority status.

    I don’t see how they would come back as the xenophobic, homophobic, racist, veejay probers that they currently are. They would have to change dramatically to the point of not being recognizable.

  52. 52
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Napoleon:

    Except for the Democrats in the North, many of whom were not Copperheads but instead supported the war, if not necessarily the Lincoln admin or the GOP’s agenda in Congress. The party survived and within a fairly short period of time recovered, including in places like NY state, in large part because the equation Democrat = CSA didn’t work, the partisan lines were much more complicated than that.

  53. 53
    dandy says:

    I don’t think both parties are going to split into 2 each, I think we’re going to see 3 parties total:

    the frothing teahadist lunatics (27%, because why not bet on it at this point)
    neolibs (“centrist” dems like ford and bayh, technocrats like gates and bloomberg and “intellectual” GOPers like brooks, and realistically probably ~25%)
    the actual left (labor, minorities, kids and intellectual liberals, making up around 45%)

    And from there, a more open form of coalition government than the one being practiced right now.

  54. 54
    fasteddie9318 says:

    I don’t expect most people to know that there’s very solid political science scholarship out there supporting the idea that “first past the post” voting leads to two party political systems, but FFS, is it too much to expect big-league political reporters to hit Google before they choose to write about stuff?

  55. 55
    DPS says:

    Why should any of these people be all that concerned about getting enough votes to have actual political control?

    In order to cut taxes, I think.

  56. 56
    Bobby Thomson says:

    In this case, Bull Moose is not a reference to Teddy, but to Marshall Wittman, the professional both-sides-do-it blogger and BFF of Dangerstein and Holy Joe (CFL-Aetna).

    AKA the BullShit Moose.

  57. 57
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    is it too much to expect big-league political reporters to hit Google before they choose to write about stuff?

    SASQ: Yes.

  58. 58
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    Why split? The GOP is pretty goddamned powerful at the state level, and they can still do real damage. Between gerrymandering Congressional districts and apportioning electoral votes based on that gerrymandering, they will remain a force to be reckoned with at the national level for the next several cycles at least.

    Yeah, the Tea Party faction cost the GOP some winnable Congressional races, and the Money faction is going to wind up expending a lot of energy stuffing the TPers back under the rock from which they came, but ultimately they’re all going to march under the GOP banner.

  59. 59
    Tonal Crow says:

    And in today’s GYWP find-the-banned-word quiz:

    ——

    I d o n ’t s e e w h y t h e l o n g t e r m m i n o r i t y s t a t u s p r e d i c t i o n i s c r a z y t h o u g h , b e c a u s e I d o n ’t t h i n k t h e G O P i s i n t e r e s t e d i n g o v e r n i n g a t t h e n a t i o n a l l e v e l .

    W h a t ? Y o u m u s t b e t r o l l i n g u s , b e c a u s e i t ‘s b l i n d i n g l y o b v i o u s t h a t R e p u b l i c a n s a r e v e h e m e n t a b o u t t u r n i n g A m e r i c a i n t o a g u n -s a t u r a t e d d o m i n i o n i s t A y n R a n d -s t y l e h e l l h o l e w h e r e g a z i l l i o n a i r e w a r l o r d s r u n t h e p l a c e f r o m E a g l e ‘s N e s t -s t y l e c o m p o u n d s a n d e v e r y o n e e l s e s h i v e r s i n t h e d a r k w h i l e w a i t i n g f o r a r m e d m o b s t o s t e a l t h e s p a r r o w s f r o m t h e i r r o a s t i n g -s t i c k s .

  60. 60
    NonyNony says:

    @Doug Galt:

    I think many of the projects proposed by my local government (by both parties) are boondoggles and my default position is to oppose them.

    That’s not conservative. That’s being skeptical based on your knowledge of the individuals involved and their past history. There’s a difference.

    A cartoon version of a liberal is someone who is for more government spending no matter what. Being opposed to a big taxpayer investment in a new “entertainment district” in your town of 3K people, or to throwing tax money at a new stadium project in your city to try to keep/draw a national football team, or to an increase in the tax for the school district aren’t inherently conservative positions to take.

    On the other hand, if you always vote against school levies because “I got mine, and I ain’t got kids, so fuck you” – that’s an inherently conservative position to take on a local issue. (My “favorite” yard in the last election was covered in Mitt Romney signs, a sign to just say no to the local school levy, and a sign that said “Vote YES To Preserve Our Services For The Elderly”. I wish I’d been less angry so I could take a picture of the most visible example of IGMSFU I’ve seen ever.)

  61. 61
    Napoleon says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    in large part because the equation Democrat = CSA didn’t work,

    To some extent that is true but the southern wing of the party was a huge boat anchor on the party for some time to come. As late as the 1950s people like Russell and Rayburn felt that it would be tough for the Dems to put forward a southerner for national office because of that (and to the extent they thought someone could crack that they were grooming LBJ).

  62. 62
    MomSense says:

    Read this post by the Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. In addition to showing how ridiculous the great mustache of understanding is–he points out exactly the problem with the current Republican Party.

    http://www.mainedems.org/blog/.....e-any-name

  63. 63
    👽 Martin says:

    I don’t see why the longterm minority status prediction is crazy though, because I don’t think the GOP is interested in governing at the national level. They like to fuck around with stuff in Kansas and Michigan, but they have no interest in dealing with important national problems like longterm health care costs and the effects of climate change.

    I think the GOP is interested in those things, but they don’t know how to reconcile their various constituencies – a problem they don’t need to solve if they work at the state level. In other words, they’re working at the state level because they can only work at the state level. At the national level, they’re at a policy stalemate within their own party.

    That doesn’t necessarily suggest decline, though. Theres a lot of power in the states – look at the notion of proportionate electoral votes, for a clear example. And national policy is often set based on what the states are doing – look at how Obamacare was born to a large degree out of MA.

    The measure of strength then is whether their work at the state level will reap national benefits, and I don’t think it will for the most part. Much of it is just tapping the wingnut well, like the anti-abortion crusades in a handful of states, which are alarming to be sure, but have less impact on abortion in the end than CAs proposed expansion of abortion services will. And that will pass quietly and is far more likely to impact national policy in the end.

    Until they tap into some regional policy that presages a national interest, I don’t see them actually driving anything nationally even from the state level. I think they’re the kids that tried to put a baseball game together, couldn’t get agreement on playing by AL or NL rules, and splintered off to each other’s backyards to play catch instead.

  64. 64
    jibeaux says:

    I too see a possible option of permanent minority status (unfortunately, here in NC at the state level it feels decidedly untrue right now) and I wonder if it makes sense to think about it in a sort of “tragedy of the commons” way (without so much of the tragedy.) As a whole, the party clearly would stand to benefit from softening its rough edges. But most individual R politicians do NOT see much profit in doing that — they just see a primary challenge if they’re incumbent and if not, room for someone else to run to right of them in that primary that they have to face before the general. The incentives for the party cheerleaders don’t square with the incentives of the people who want the job.

  65. 65
    Trollhattan says:

    So long as the Überklasse and corporations reflexively give the bulk of their money to the Republicans, we’ll have Republicans in the form they take today. They may not control the White House and half of congress, but they control the other half of congress and the Supreme Court. They control sufficient state houses to have planted the right-to-work flag across much of the nation. They’ve destroyed unions and successfully fend off any attempt of resurgence. And they have the rube class voting for them in direct opposition to their self-interest.

    Until several of these are no longer the case, the present Republican Party isn’t going anywhere.

  66. 66
    different-church-lady says:

    @Dave: The only thing I know is that they’ll all be just as bad, except for Ralph Nader. [nods]

  67. 67
    Rob in Buffalo says:

    Eagles!

  68. 68
    patroclus says:

    I think this analysis is silly – I see it every year following a presidential election and it never actually happens. The Republican party remains quite strong, they control the USSC and the House of Representatives and a strong majority of the governorships. And, Obama won a solid victory but not an overwhelming one – Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, Wisconsin and Florida were all closely contested and could easily flip in the next election. Although they currently have an advantage, the Dems do not have an electoral lock even at the presidential level and the House’s gerrymandering essentially means that the Republicans are likely to hold the House for at least the remainder of this decade.

    Moreover, the Republicans do not appear to be split about much, if anything. They are united in opposition to Obama and their feint on immigration is, in my view, only a pretend feint. For them to be really split, there would have to be major substantive differences, and there really aren’t – most of their “arguments” are over tactics and who is to blame for their recent defeats.

    The media has to write about something and this is just the topic that they usually write about following a presidential election. Wake me up when they have real disagreements.

  69. 69
    eemom says:

    I don’t see why the longterm minority status prediction is crazy though, because I don’t think the GOP is interested in governing at the national level.

    It is crazy because it ignores the three glaring realities that prove it wrong every fucking time (see post-2008, election of): the GOP’s limitless money, the GOP’s limitless fixation on power at ALL levels, and the limitless stupidity of the American electorate.

  70. 70
    Chris says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    The biggest difference between the GOP today and the Democratic Party 1865-1912 is that today’s GOP has money by way of an alliance with Wall St. and assorted billionares in ways the late 19th Cen Democratic Party could only dream of

    That’s not a “difference.” The Democratic Party’s rule over the South in those days came about via a similar alliance with the newly pro-robber-baron Republican Party. Basically, the ex-Confederate elites were allowed to retake control of the South and run it as they saw fit, while the Republicans ran the rest of the country, with both parties beholden to the same business interests. (The big trusts might’ve mostly been based in the Northeast, but Democrats in the South were just as eager to bend over for them as Republicans in the rest of the country).

  71. 71
    Chris says:

    @cmorenc:

    Let’s split the difference. The Republican Party survives, but does so by splitting into two wings, a moderate wing that can run in the East Coast and California and win, and an unrepentant conservative wing that continues to hold…

    … wait. Fuck, that doesn’t work either, does it? I was going to say “the South,” but demographics are changing that too (Virginia, North Carolina and Florida are already competitive, and immigration will continue to turn more states bluer). Is there ANYWHERE they can go? Damn, maybe this IS the end after all.

  72. 72
    Joey Maloney says:

    @srv: IMO, the WH needs to have a Czar of Trolling.

    I don’t think DougJ wants to move to Washington.

  73. 73
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Chris:

    I think it is a bigger difference than you make it out.

    The post-1865 Democratic Party garnered support not just from the former CSA states in which, as you point out, local elites were reinstated to rule over what was effectively a Third World colony supplying northern industry with primary products and captive markets, but also in the rural West and lower Midwest and in some rural pockets of the Northwest as well (the upper Midwest was less fertile ground). During this time the Democratic Party took populist stances regarding monetary policy and the tariff which were very much against the interests of the big industrial trusts and Wall St, which as a consequence were both very supportive of the Republican Party.

    The Gilded Age trusts and bankers may have encouraged and supported the fuedalization of the rural South via local elites (all of whom were Democrats), but that is a long way from saying that they encouraged or supported the national Democratic Party or the state-level party in places like NY.

  74. 74
    Hoodie says:

    I can’t see a Republican party split, because there really are not two electorally significant groups in the party. It’s become a party of grifters and marks, not a coalition of interest groups like it was 30 years ago. So, I imagine the Republican party will hang around but continue to lose strength over the next couple of election cycles as demographics kick in further, unless they can find some way to quickly reformulate their social policies to tolerate different family structures and their economic policies to address income inequality in a way that isn’t just empty bootstraps/freemarket solves all (e.g., something like the Tories in the UK). That is going to be hard considering that most of their base is dead set against it and will take a while to die off in sufficient numbers.

  75. 75
    BC says:

    @Joey Maloney: We have the internet now, DougJ could work from home.

  76. 76
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Hoodie:

    …I imagine the Republican party will hang around but continue to lose strength over the next couple of election cycles as demographics kick in further, unless they can find some way to quickly reformulate their social policies to tolerate different family structures and their economic policies to address income inequality in a way that isn’t just empty bootstraps/freemarket solves all (e.g., something like the Tories in the UK). That is going to be hard considering that most of their base is dead set against it and will take a while to die off in sufficient numbers.

    They can always ratchet up the lying, which has served them well for decades. Do you think that enough of the public now sees through Republicans’ lies to prevent them from once again taking power? I don’t.

  77. 77
    Chris says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    It’s more complicated than that, yes, partly because the parties in those days were much more localized than today and much more a loose coalition of interests than a united nationwide organization.

    IMO, everything I wrote about the Southern Democratic party remains accurate – conservative, ex-Confederate and in cahoots with Wall Street. Outside of the South, Democrats didn’t have the same constituencies – urban immigrants, especially the Irish, were a big one, for example; not at all the kind of people the Southern Democrats would’ve approved of in their own states.

    I think the CliffNotes version is that after the Civil War and Reconstruction had ended, Democrats were the establishment’s party in the South while Republicans were the establishment’s party in the North. That led to a common outlook between Southern Democrats and Northern Republicans (conservative, WASP supremacist and pro-business) which is what I was describing in the previous post. There was still a niche for Northern Democrats and (much smaller) Southern Republicans to speak up for the people who were losing big under the existing system.

    To go slightly beyond the CliffNotes – it’s not completely symmetrical because there was more political diversity in the North, where Northern Democrats were able to thrive and eventually collect themselves into a more powerful wing than their Southern brethren. The South remained much more of a one-party state, with Republican parties having no place except as a voice for black people (who were usually barred from voting anyway) – even when real populists, like Huey Long, emerged to take on the status quo, they always ran as “the other Democrat,” not as outsiders. When Republicans started winning in the South, it wasn’t as a voice for outliers (as with Northern Democrats) pushing their way into the system, it was just the existing establishment changing labels.

  78. 78
    Tonal Crow says:

    OT: Punchy posted this in another thread earlier, but it deserves repetition. A GOPer in Missouri has filed a bill that would make it a felony to propose bills restricting guns. Yep, let’s slaughter the 1st Amendment (not to mention representative government) on the altar of a crazy-con interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.

  79. 79
    Alex S. says:

    The near parity of strength between the two parties as we have (had?) it today, is just a very recent development. I mean, the Republicans from 1865-1932, the Democrats from 1932-1968, if not 1980… The Republicans needed a long time to catch up. Maybe they did so in 1994 – but Clinton was president, maybe they only really caught up between 2000-2006. For all the dominance of conservative thought, the House majorities of Gingrich and Hastert were rather small. I think the Bush vs. Gore election etched the 50:50 divide in electoral stone. Only, the Democrats had growing demographics on their side. And the Republicans of today are the children of the Gingrich revolution which was the last new push against their trajectory.

  80. 80
    Alex S. says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    They’d probably call themselves the serious moderate centrist party.

  81. 81
    Cacti says:

    @Chris:

    Fuck, that doesn’t work either, does it? I was going to say “the South,” but demographics are changing that too (Virginia, North Carolina and Florida are already competitive, and immigration will continue to turn more states bluer). Is there ANYWHERE they can go? Damn, maybe this IS the end after all.

    The GOP has yet to come to terms with the two most crucial facts about the ascendant electorate: It is both less white AND more socially liberal than the current GOP electoral calculus provides for.

    The second one seems to be the really troublesome issue for them. Their solution thus far has been to put brown faces on the same tired policies.

  82. 82
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    @patroclus: “[republicans] are united in opposition to Obama and their feint on immigration is, in my view, only a pretend feint.”

    Yeah?

    Just wait until Obama proposes Immigration Reform 2.0:
    “How about we give everyone the same deal that THE CUBANS get?”

    should be interesting to see Rubio’s head go all ‘splody-like.

  83. 83
    Hoodie says:

    @Tonal Crow: The demographics will increasingly limit their ability to tell effective lies, because the lies they need to tell their base will conflict with the lies they need to tell the new demographic groups. You’e seeing that now with immigration reform.

  84. 84
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Chris:

    I agree with both your Cliff Notes and non-Cliff Notes versions.

    But this takes us back to my earlier point that today’s GOP differs from the late-19th Cen Dems, because “Democrats were the establishment’s party in the South while Republicans were the establishment’s party in the North. That led to a common outlook between Southern Democrats and Northern Republicans” doesn’t work as a first-order description of our sitations today with the labels switched around. Today big business and the banking industry support the GOP in both regions and only hedge their bets by giving tepid support to the Dems.

    This could certainly change. One of the things I’m watching for is that if Dems win again in 2016 (and especially if they keep the Senate and take back the House with what looks to be a solid and enduring coalition), then at some point big business and Wall St may decide to abandon the GOP and burrow into the Democratic Party instead looking for influence. Like Willie Sutton, they will go where the action is.

    We already saw hints of this with the movement of hedge fund money over to the Democratic side during the Clinton admin, and that could accelerate if the GOP starts to look like a sunk ship run onto the demographic rocks. We could see a real fight for the Democratic Party’s heart and soul between liberal and conservative factions greater than what we have today, and that is where parallels with Teddy Roosevelt’s GOP come back into play again.

  85. 85
    cat says:

    The Tea Party is run by people and elects candidates that have a huge problem with reality and are true believers. They are not likely to understand why our system favors a two party system and in their quest for purity which they know in their hearts of hearts will lead to “victory” split from the GOP.

    They are probably the only group of people dumb enough yet still motivated enough to create a viable 3rd party.

    I still put the chances of it happening as close to nil as can be.

  86. 86
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Hoodie:

    @Tonal Crow: The demographics will increasingly limit their ability to tell effective lies, because the lies they need to tell their base will conflict with the lies they need to tell the new demographic groups. You’e seeing that now with immigration reform.

    Republicans are expert liars, and have many times used artful lies and carefully-calibrated dog-whistles to bridge policy conflicts between their factions, and even between themselves and voters with substantially more liberal policy preferences (as with Dubya and “compassionate conservatism”). Don’t underestimate the power of lies just because Romney lost by putting too much dog on too little whistle.

  87. 87
    Chris says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Possibly. But I think they’ll find it at least as hard to keep winning in the Democratic Party as they would in the teabaggerized Republican Party, because right now the wind isn’t in the DLC/Third Way types’ favor. They may just have to bite the bullet and settle back into their Rockefeller Republican pattern a la 1950s/1960s, making money in cooperation with big government rather than by rolling it back.

  88. 88
    cmorenc says:

    @Chris:

    Fuck, that doesn’t work either, does it? I was going to say “the South,” but demographics are changing that too (Virginia, North Carolina and Florida are already competitive, and immigration will continue to turn more states bluer)

    The GOP already has, through a combination of demographic distribution (as contrasted with gross statewide demographic numbers) and gerrymandered districting, effective control at the state level of Florida and Virginia, and in 2010 + 2012 they succeeded in gaining control of North Carolina at the state government/legislative level. It will unfortunately be awhile before the GOP is dead at state level in the south.

    What will happen much more rapidly than that is, as you note, at federal office levels the GOP control of redistricting will help retard demographic trends (at the congressional district level) but inexorably, these states will continue to trend blue at the Presidential level (and eventually, district by district, back down to congressional and then state district level).

    Shorter version: it’s premature to predict (or especially celebrate) the supposed death of the GOP. Its decline will unfortunately be slower than we’d like, unless it suffers a cataclysmic fissure between libertarians and social conservatives, or between regions, that dilutes its power.

  89. 89
    Chris says:

    @cmorenc:

    Doesn’t change usually happen at the federal level before the state and local one? The South’s flip to the Republicans happened in the sixties in terms of presidential elections, but it wasn’t until the mid-nineties that the Gingrich revolution translated that into a similar lock on the state and local governments.

  90. 90
  91. 91
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @fasteddie9318: And this is a problem because …?

    Political stability is for poopyheads?
    Voters are jerks who deserve to have no clue what they’re voting for?
    Perverse results (as with the system in San Fran and other libertardian infested paradises) where the 3rd or 4th most popular candidate wins are cool?
    Being able to easily count votes and audit elections is lame?
    Nobody voted for my ass, so clearly the two parties we have must die?
    Political coalitions are tyranny? Note: it’s not at all clear how an alternative system would eliminate the need to form majority coalitions, but please proceed, oh wise one.

  92. 92
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jibeaux: When will the GOP do the obvious and remove themselves from the primaries to choose their general election candidates in “quiet rooms”?

  93. 93
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @cmorenc: The GOP lost ground in the last election on the state level, despite widespread and effective voter suppression efforts, and are looking to lose ground in 2014 as well.

    Barring any real upsets, the GOP in Florida should steadily lose ground each election through 2018. Of course they are trying to destroy this place in the meantime.

Comments are closed.