I Think We Have Lost

I think the right-wing of the Republican Party has won. We might want to yell and scream about whose fault that is, but perhaps we ought to first realize where we are.

The Republicans have shown remarkable discipline in the Senate and in the state legislatures. Gerrymandering has made House elections in a bunch of state simple pro formas. The Supreme Court is packed and will probably do the job they were paid to do.

Abortion rights will soon be rescinded. Voter suppression will become the norm in many states. Gun laws will be repealed or rendered moot. (Remarkably, modern Republicans seem cool with marijuana for some reason.)

Anyone want to talk me down? Liberals and Democrats are not powerful to overcome “age and treachery.”

There’s no “won” or “lost” except temporarily. Giving up guarantees Republicans win again and again. All we can do is keep voting for the better candidates.

The struggle never ends. Never will. All we can do is keep struggling for the right things, for as long as we’re able.

You can struggle all you like. When elections no longer matter, what can be done?

Part (most?) of the issue is that it’s not just the right wing, it’s the batshit-crazy wing. (Or, at least, it strongly caters to, and fuels the mania of, the batshit-crazy wing.)

Traditionally, the “right wing” of the GOP would have been the Evangelical Christians, the military hawks, and the small-government/low-tax financial hawks. Now, you’ve also got the science deniers, the QAnon conspiracy theorists, the xenophobes, the insurrectionists, and the Trump-worshippers. They’ve let themselves become convinced that liberals are, quite literally, sub-human enemies who are actively attempting to destroy America.

I have friends and relatives who are intelligent, thoughtful Republicans. I may have disagreed with them on issues, but we could have conversations and debates. They’ve become horrified at what the GOP and the conservative movement have turned into, but they are clearly a tiny minority within their party now.

I wish I could talk you down, but I’m worried about it, too.

There’s a pendulum effect to politics. Bill Clinton used to tell his staff “we’re Eisenhower Republicans”. Meaning, as liberal as the current Repubs at the time viewed the Democratic Clinton administration, its platform and views were generally Conservative enough to be in line with the Eisenhower Repubs.

Granted, the pendulum has even swung quite a bit further to the right since then, but things will eventually swing back. the more batshit crazy a political party gets, the fewer people will subscribe to it. And new viewpoints arise with new generations.

Well, if I wanted to talk you down I think I would point out a few things:

  1. The Democratic Party controls the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. They will likely lose both branches of the legislature in about a year, but will have the Presidency for at least 3 more years.

  2. The Democratic candidate for president hasn’t lost the popular vote since 2004. Before that it was 1992. This is obviously weighed out by the EC tilt, but it does matter in gauging which party has popular support.

  3. Obamacare is still the law of the land, and if anything the populace tends to prefer expansion of government support of health care rather than restriction of it. This is true across many policy areas.

  4. Social wedge issues (CRT, masking in schools, trans issues) can work for awhile, but eventually they fail. See gay marriage as an example of how a wedge issue can quickly fizzle out. Once Roe v. Wade is overturned (which I believe it will be) it’s entirely possible that abortion rights becomes a useful wedge for Democrats (keeping access at the state/local level and opposing a federal ban).

  5. There is not a ton of evidence that voter suppression is very effective. The push for state-level control to bypass local election boards is obviously much more worrisome. But I still have some faith that the system will hold. If a truly stolen election happens then we will have to figure out how to respond as a nation to that. It could get ugly. But we aren’t there yet.

Is there cause for concern? Sure. But it’s also possible that the GOP gets control in 2022, does nothing for two years, nominates Trump again, and loses again. Or that Trump dies. Or declines to take a chance at being a two-time loser.

Let’s see which types of GOP candidates win their nominations (my home state of MO will be an interesting test in the Senate primary) and which ones of those win this fall before we go too crazy.

The struggle is to try and prevent that. If elections cease to be functional, then we’ll have to change the way we struggle, but that hasn’t happened yet.

I don’t put a lot of stock in crazy being successful. I think the Republicans are ready to bite their own faces off. Is this a surge of Republicans taking over, or has the last couple of years been a party’s last desperate attempt before collapse?

It ain’t over until the Fat Lady Sings, Kiddo.

I’m in the same boat: I’m fairly conservative politically, but have been dismayed at what so-called “conservatives” have become. Long-gone are the days of espousing fiscal responsibility, a small & limited government, and state rights. Today, all my (supposedly) conservative friends & family members are obsessed with Trump, anti-science bullshit, and conspiracy theories (e.g. “The election was stolen!!!”). Some have even called me a “sheep” for politely disagreeing with them. And yea, we are a small minority: how many conservatives do you know who 1) can’t stand Trump, 2) are pro-vax, and 3) understand the Earth is warming due to the burning of fossil fuels?

Those who aren’t in lockstep with them (and, by extension, Trump) on all of these issues are shouted down as RINOs (if not traitors), and bullied into either silence, or abandoning the party – and, if they happen to be elected officials, cast out of the party and primaried out of office.

Well, quite a few, but that’s because I am smack-dab in the middle of the demographic that has swung wildly against the GOP in the last 10 years (highly educated, well-off, mixed-race family, suburban).

Sadly, more than a few are all of those but are swinging back thanks to what they see as heavy-handed government response to COVID. We will see what happens when (If?) COVID and the related mandates fade away.

I think this is a particularly bad time to try to take the temperature of the political climate. We have multiple things happening that are (hopefully) temporary - inflation, pandemic, various lockdowns/restrictions, supply-chain issues. As the summer comes in and these things ease up we may get a better idea of where things really stand.

I am pretty sure it would be easy to find examples where the proper metaphor would not be a pendulum swinging, but a flaming car going over a cliff. There are no natural laws pertaining to politics.

[jauntily waves hello]

Why would you want to be a minority of a party that believes those items when you could easily join the majority of another party that also believes those things? Republicans will never be the party of small government and restrained spending no matter how many times you wish it.

Who says I’m a member of a political party?

You associate with them :wink:

I used to think of myself as a conservative. “Socially liberal, fiscally conservative”. The first part exists on the left, while the second part doesn’t exist on either side. Why stick with being a “conservative” for the part that doesn’t exist?

Now I’m full on social-safety net for all progressive. :grinning:

Will this change the way you vote? Will you leave the Republican party? Will there be enough of you to make a difference?

I ask because I am sick and tired of the spineless silence that comes from my family members who work for/are elected Republicans. Their continued support for silence about a political party whose core has (finally) been outed for the fearful, angry, and irrational authoritarians they have been for decades is doing more harm to our country than any welfare spending/slightly higher taxes on the super-rich could possibly do.

For years, I’ve heard about how smaller government and lower taxes on the rich of “fiscal conservatives” were worth the price paid to the core Republicans’ hate of minorities and the party first fervor. Now the bills come due and none of them are stepping up to pay it.

Speaking for myself, it changed the way I vote to the extent that I, y’know, voted against Trump, by voting for Biden — not with spineless silence, but loudly and, uh, spinefully? And as to whether enough right-leaning people like me made all the difference by voting likewise and thereby tipping the scales just enough to swing the election for Biden — well, I’m not sure what the poll results said, but (a) I’m all ears, and (b) I can’t help but wonder if the answer is ‘yeah, they stepped up.’

I don’t know. I’m not all that enamored by the Democratic Party, either. And I’ve found the LP to be pretty much useless. I have no party to vote for.

My main issue is fiscal responsibility. There was a lot of talk about it in the 1990s, and for a short time around 2010. Heck, even Bill Clinton was (sort of) a proponent of it. But it’s doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar anymore. Meanwhile, we’re $22T in debt. Since neither major party has the balls to deal with it, this problem will unfortunately fix itself “naturally,” via the devaluation of the dollar.