How much has the Republican party changed?...

I used to be a Republican up until 2016, although I was increasingly bothered by what I saw within the party since Obama was elected.

If you look back over modern history, we had Eisenhower, who implemented the interstate highway system. We had Nixon, who created the EPA. We had Republicans in congress who helped bring about Medicaid & Medicare with LBJ. We had Reagan, who cut taxes, but also raised taxes, and who cut a deal on immigration in the late 80’s. We had George HW Bush, who signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, and who raised taxes. George W Bush added Medicare Part D, which has been largely a successful program. Mitt Romney implemented the Massachusetts version of the ACA back in 2006.

And throughout all of those years, the Republicans were a strong military-supporting party. Anti-communism was the glue through the HW administration. We were more sensible than Democrats on budget issues, at least prior to Reagan. And in war issues, prior to George W Bush, we were more cautious in the wars we entered, how we got in and got out. We were generally pro-trade, and pro-alliances. There was a time when the Republican party was a party that was willing to govern, and was constructive at the home front and overseas. We generally supported a less intrusive government than Democrats, and we were willing to cut deals on various issues. There was a two-party system, and they accepted the legitimacy of the compromises that had to be made.

But what do Republicans stand for now? It’s the pro-tariff, anti-immigration, anti-alliance, and no-tax party. Trade wars with no end game. Deficits surging again, even during growth times. Children separated from their moms, interned in camps on the border. Praise of Putin, and attacks on our allies. They purposely appoint people to run agencies that are opposed to the existence of the agency. This party is sick, and in its current form, is a Cancer on American politics.

I’m not going to argue against the op too much but of course taking that from Eisenhower on scope it has changed over the years, as has the Democratic party. Personally I think the latter has changed for the better and the former for the worse but they have both changed.

My read as someone less than a political historian goes to Nixon’s southern strategy in which white rural southerners concerned about the threat of civil rights and secular (egghead) thought to their status quo and became a key part of GOP power. For a while those in the older school GOP were able to play to them but still have room for others in the tent and still had the ability to compromise to get shit done. The rise of the Tea Party broke that ability and Trump doesn’t bother with the pretense of doing anything other than playing to those impulses all in. Those with more of what you thought of as traditional GOP interests still want those things done to some degree but they each have the one thing (pick -low taxes, less regulation, an SC that will rule for the interests of the rich and powerful …) they want and accept everything else horrific as the acceptable price of maybe getting it.

It did not just happen overnight.

I agree it didn’t happen overnight. Some of the seeds for the craziness were planted back during the Nixon and Reagan eras.

But I think the great recession, followed by the election of Obama, is what finally pushed this party over the edge. There were always enough adults in the party to keep things from going absolutely crazy. But by 2009, you could see a big shift in the rhetoric, as well as their ability to be constructive in any sense. I voted for Romney in 2012. But even by then, it was clear that things were going off the rails somewhat.

That’s when those who were for the pretense and more interested in things like tax policy and maybe the neocon perspective, and willing to compromise to with the Ds to get stuff done, were relegated to the back seat, really after McCain invited those of no pretense into the front seats with Palin. But they had already become outnumbered in the car, had already lost control of the radio dial, and were already being told where to turn by the rest. Those in the car really haven’t changed so much, they’ve just gotten round to renaming it the General Lee.

These apparently-casual few words say a lot.

Viewing anybody’s civil rights as a threat is a disturbingly short-sighted and greedy point of view.

I’m not convinced that short-sighted greed doesn’t explain the entire list of differences mentioned so far - but I think the changes brought by Trump may have continued that while adding spite, and self-conscious vandalism of institutions and rights.

Re. the car analogy: Palin may have started calling it the General Lee, but Trump has poisoned Boss Hogg and Sheriff Coltrane, and decided it’s time to drive down to the border. Bo and Luke have been tied up and gagged in the back seat ever since they said they were joking around and didn’t REALLY want to go shoot a bunch of Mexicans.

The Southern Strategy switched which party was stuck with the rural vote. It used to be that the media, most lawyers, etc. were majority Republican because it was the party of the folk and so, by extension, those who were more well educated and more used, in daily life, to having to deal with investigation, debate, scientific processes, etc. because it would have been some aspect of their job (for a larger percentage of the people).

It really makes more sense to compare Trump to, say, Woodrow Wilson or FDR than Eisenhower, because they were voted in by the South.

But, I believe, the big change in tone of politics overall wasn’t the switch around between the two parties, it was switching from vota voce in Congress to public, tallied votes. Before, they simply too a count of hands. After 1970, they started to tabulate and publish the specific vote of each individual Congressman. That had allowed for voting fraud to take over Congress, allowing the party heads and your political base to more easily coerce their politicians to vote with the party because they can keep easily keep track of your record, and it always vote buying by campaign donors and lobbyists, because they can confirm whether you did or did not vote as you were paid too.

In end result, politicians are hamstrung against following expert advice and compromise positions, and instead have to vote with the mob or at their donor’s bidding. People with too many scruples can’t last in the game.

In the past, the D/R split followed various lines: rural vs urban, South vs North, labor vs management, and so on. There was enough diversity of opinion in these general groups that both parties tended to be “big tent” parties: there were liberal R’s and conservative D’s; the diversity of opinion within parties meant that communication was possible between parties.

Rich individuals and corporations tried to influence politics and may have even plotted a military coup in 1934, but the power of parties (and unions) and the free press provided power for the people and democracy survived. Anyway, some of the coup plotters may have been motivated by legitimate (though incorrect) economc beliefs.

The modern world is completely different. Instead of smoke-filled room of wise old men, the Party gives its nod to whoever offers the best hors d’oeuvres and cutest cheerleaders in Iowa and New Hampshire. (Or whoever gets the best news coverage due to bloviations and tales of sexual derring-do.) Newspapers are dead: Facebook delivers news to Americans based on whether they clicked ‘Like’ last time a “Hillary is a witch” post was shared. And, despite some principled and good-spirited billionaires (Gates, Soros, Buffett) who want to improve the world, most billionaires and corporations are motivated by pure short-term greed.

The greedy few, to win in a system where the lower-income masses have electoral power, now strive to dominate the GOP. (Recall 2016 when the plan was for the Koch bothers to “anoint” a candidate.) GOP leaders told big lies and fomented hatred, then bigger lies and more hatred. Gullibility became the major criterion for party selection and, in a vicious cycle since GOP sheep were gullible or attracted by hatred, the GOP leaders spread still more lies and more hatred.

I’m sure there are still many conservative Americans who aren’t attracted by lies and hatred but have voted R for decades and continue to vote R out of habit. Let’s hope that these salvageable R’s wake up soon.

You can’t argue with success. The Republicans aided by Trump have succeeded beyond all measure. Just off the top of my head, They: control the house, senate, supreme court, presidency, the majority of state houses, and governors. They: have implemented massive tax cuts for the rich, neutered what is left of unions, gutted the voting rights act, have unrestricted corporate donations to campaigns, re-districted and gerrymandered states beyond all recognition and are on the verged of overturning Roe. Once the new court is set and if Trump gets one more they will over turn not only abortion rights but gay marriage, contraception, interracial marriage, think it can’t happen? We are in freefall to a kind or religious corporate fascism.

I blame Karl Rove. There were plenty of people before him who paved the way but he really made is acceptable in the party.

I can’t see that the party has changed at all except that it is actually doing some things it promised to do. All through my lifetime, the Republican Party has professed to be one of smaller government, lower taxes, lower spending, enforcing the borders, giving states more power, eliminating the Dept of Education/Commerce/HUD, and being a partner in Israel.

However for years, we never delivered. As you mentioned, Reagan and Bush raised taxes after promising not to. Reagan made the amnesty deal which did not work, and “returned power” to the states by forcing the 21 year old drinking age and retaining the 55mph speed limit. He appointed two Justices to the Supreme Court who voted to uphold Roe. Bush I one.

We were going to eliminate these federal departments when Clinton was President, knowing he would veto them, but when we get the Congress and the Presidency, not only do we not eliminate them, we strength federal control over education with NCLB. As you mentioned, instead of lowering entitlement spending, we created an entire new one with Medicare Part D.

At no time did these politicians disclaim that the border should be secure, that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem, or that free trade means no tariffs on both ends. Trump comes along, says these things, and horror of all horrors, he actually does something about them. People lost their mind when Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem, even though that has been U.S. law since 1995, supported by Clinton, Bush II, and Obama.

After thirty years of platitudes about strong border security, Trump is taking action. We may not agree with particular types of action, but he’s doing what he said he would.

Same way with free trade. Almost everyone is for free trade. But when Trump points out that we chargie a 2.5% duty on cars from the EU and they charge 10% on ours, then who exactly is not following the principles of free trade? He’s making the point that Democratic union workers in the rust belt have been making for years: We have no problem with free trade; we will compete with anyone in the world, but not if we are getting screwed and not being given a level playing field.

So, I guess I’ll ask the OP, since you were a Republican prior to 2016/2009, did you simply support the rhetoric and also the non-action?

Politicians have always been unscrupulous, back to ancient times - that’s not news. Politicians have always been targets for manipulation - nothing new there either.

Trump is a different politician only because of his overt undisguised celebration of disregard for the law, cruelty, and arrogance for their own sake, almost as art forms - but he’s not the main problem for the Republican party, they can just replace him.

The main problem is the voters who voted for him anyway. Especially the ones who did so reluctantly or as a second or third choice. These are a huge swath of Americans who are OK with massive-scale disregard for the law, cruelty and arrogance, as long as their greed is satisfied, and as long as the targets of the cruelty and broken laws are somebody they don’t like.

Oh, for the days when politicians were merely unscrupulous, merely targets for attempted manipulation. And for the days when American voters voted in their own interests but not at the price of gross injustice and mass cruelty.

What happened is that Dems fell asleep at the wheel. After the 2006 and 2008 elections, they were on the ascendancy, and thought they had more or less permanent majorities. While they were congratulating themselves, Republicans went to work on re-districting, honing their anti-Obama message, and really caught the Dems off-guard.

That’s why Pubs are in charge at all levels of government right now. I think 2016 finally woke up the Dems.

Polite to the point of euphemism. Republicans got 49.1% of the House vote, and secured 241 seats, Dems, 48% for 194. Which would make sense if one percent of 535 was forty. Isn’t.

People have been saying stuff like this for at least 40 years. Reagan was a trigger happy nuclear cowboy who couldn’t tell the difference between reality and the movies. Bush was a out of touch plutocrat whose family had Nazi ties. GWB was an evil oil man causing wars to enrich his cronies. McCain was a war monger who had become psychologically unhinged. Romney was a bully who enjoyed shutting down factories and letting people die. Trump is a white supremacist who is controlled by Putin.
Republicans are always demonized by the left and then as soon as they are safely out of the way they become the reasonable people who are totally unlike today’s group of extremists who are trying to ruin the world.
Republicans have always stood for low taxes and smaller government and have succeeded with the low taxes and not the smaller government because that is the popular part of the agenda. Trade is the only issue there has been a big change on and both parties have changed.

Yeah, I used to be bothered by those labels for people like HW Bush and Reagan. But Trump deserves whatever label he gets. I’d call him a con-artist above all else. Demagogue also fits. The media was truly unfair to some previous Republican presidents. But not this one.


Republicans have stopped pretending they aren’t racists. You don’t hear much about their being the party of Family Values much any more, they’ve ceased that mummer’s farce as well. With McConnell in power, Republicans have embraced the notion of prerogative rather than normative government. They’ve stopped pretending to be about effective government and shown themselves to be all money and power; power to squeeze money out of you and into their coffers and those of their friends, power to kick the poor and the unhealthy to the curb seemingly out of nothing other than spite, power to implement their white supremacist agenda, wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.

Trump is not legitimately religious. He would eliminate Christianity from America in a nanosecond, if it looked like his advantage to do so.

Ok, so notwithstanding what you said in the OP, the whole thing boils down to you don’t like Trump. I don’t necessarily like him either, but you cannot point to a single policy of his that is not “Republican.”