Reports of the demise of the GOP are greatly exaggerated

Perhaps I’ve been watching too much MSNBC and PBS, but over and over I hear stories with the common thread: “well, obviously, the Republican Party is in shambles, with a permanent chasm between the loonies and the establishment, and will soon go the way of the Whigs.”

Not so fast, my friend.

I’m reminded of all the polls that show that everyone thinks that “Congress” is terrible but their own representative is doing a swell job. I fully expect that 2022 midterms will play out the way they normally do, with incumbency and gerrymandering and the performance of the Biden Administration being paramount, and the events of 2020 will be so far in the rearview mirror that they won’t play a part.

But I look forward to your thoughts.

Clearly the Republican Party is not broken. They survived 2008 pretty well, they’ll survive the insurrection also.

I generally agree. Late 2008 and early 2009 (especially after Specter switched and Franken was finally seated) was all “The Republicans are doomed.” And then the Democrats passed far too small a stimulus, were seen bailing out banks and not the people, and spent a year bickering over a health care overhaul in part to try to get Republican votes. Said overhaul, of course, also pushed out a lot of what the bill actually did four years for reasons including “cost”. And then Democrats spent the rest of 2010 running away from both the ACA and Obama and got shellacked, and lost more in 2012 even though Obama won, and lost even more in 2014.

Depends on what you mean by the GOP. If you mean a party that is organized under the name of the Republican Party, then yes, the demise of that organization is greatly exaggerated.

If you mean, however, a party that would be recognized as the Republican Party by Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan (before he got dementia) George Bush Sr. and Jr., and even Richard Nixon as the party that they were members of, then no, it’s not exaggerated. That party is not dying, it’s already dead.

ETA. Despite their position changes since the 1940s, IMHO the same does not apply to Democrats. FDR, Kennedy, and LBJ would almost certainly feel comfortable in today’s Democratic Party.

Add in that I think people did not grasp how much the GOP was willing to double-down on obstruction and begin to fully embrace its racist underpinnings.

Double-down again on Trump and now all-in with QAnon.

Add-in a healthy dose of learning how to just flatly ignore whatever it is they do not like in the news or arguments and here we are.

It is not a question if the GOP will continue. It is a question of who will own its soul.

One does not follow the other. The internal rifts within the party are still within the party. Until measurable numbers of voters and dollars flee, the Republican Party will remain a strong force in most states and on a national scale.

Their brand is aided by the constant media barrage that has been in place for decades that demonizes the other party. So many “regular Americans” identify with being Republicans, and could not imagine themselves as Democrats (to them, it would be tantamount to “turning gay”), that the party will continue be a viable strong political force.

You must also reflect that our awareness of the loonies and supposed rifts are not being talked about within the right-wing media bubbles to the extent that they are within the left-wing media bubbles. So they (existing Republicans) are not generally really even aware of any issues with the party.

Fake news!

I think the jury is out. Which path are they going to follow?
If they decide to remain a personality cult and become the GQB, then they have demographic issues. The country grows less white and less rural with each passing cycle. They’ll be able to hold their Senate seats in the plains states in perpetuity- but they’ll be limited to districts and states where white nationalism is a feature and not a bug. They’ve abandoned suburbia to the Democrats like they did the cities long ago. As a national party, this path doesn’t give them a future other than being the party of white grievance.

If they decide to return to their roots in the model of Romney and Cheney, then yes they can indeed be a national player and will have years where they control the government.

So we have to see what happens in the 2022 primaries. If anyone not drinking the Q-ade and grovelling before the Don is going to get primaried out by someone who does, then the GOP as we knew it is toast.

The GOP “as we knew it” is already toast. But the GOP as a Trump personality cult could survive just fine, especially at the congressional district level. Trump got a shitload of votes; i don’t see his voters getting rational and voting responsibly anytime soon.

Also note that, IMHO, Democrats became complacent about the “demography is destiny” argument – that as the nation got less white, they were going to skate into a permanent majority. They failed to recognize the prevalence of conservative beliefs among many non-white voters. The Republicans will be happy to take their votes.

There will always be a partisan home for unhinged selfish grifters peddling white grievance. There’s never been an American era without this scourge, and there never will be.

The only question was “will Republicans allow those people to take over their party?” That question is now answered; the question is “yes, of course they did, and they’re only getting started.”

The old Republican party is dead not because people stopped believing in those ideals, but because there never were any ideals to start with. It’s always been a front for the supremacy of white property owners. They’ve merely stopped bothering to pretend otherwise.

This is true.

The Left seems to view the right-wing loonies as the core of the Right but the Right mostly just ignores them until they do something crazy. The Right also tends to focus on the loonies on the Left rather than it’s own problems.

On the contrary, virtually every decision Turtle and McQarthy are making these days is affected by how it plays with the loony base, said base being defined as “those who think Donald Trump is the bestest president ever.”

No, the GOP isn’t going away. But the nation has seen its willingness to subvert democracy and the alarm has been sounded. And no one on the left is taking demographics for granted; we know we have battles ahead of us for the soul of the hispanic/black vote, especially with males. But today’s youth continues to reject conservative do-nothingness by 2-to-1 margins and there are 17 million more of those potential voters every cycle. Add in the increasing gender gap – Dems are becoming the party of choice for women voters, who outvote men – and you’d much rather be a lefty than a righty these days.

This seems to be producing the effect of the “Right” on the whole gradually getting more and more loonified, but not being willing to talk about it. I mean, there’s no real point or purpose in simply ignoring your loonies until they primary you out of existence.

Look at what’s going on with state GOP organizations supporting Trump, vowing that the election was stolen, disseminating wacko “socialism” fearmongering propaganda, etc. The right-wing loonies have become “the core of the Right”, while the previously mainstream non-loony Right continues to stick its head in the sand and try to deny it’s happening.

There’s an obvious friction between attracting even conservative minority voters and being an open harbor for White supremacist/nationalists. Seems a rather hard needle to thread.

A few things:

  1. Republicans picked up seats in the House
  2. More people voted for Trump in 2020 than 2016
  3. Georgia was squeaker that probably would have gone GOP without Trump casting doubt on the whole run off process.

This is far from over. If the Dems are not seen as delivering for the country as whole, and not just the donor class, then the base will again become disillusioned and fad away for 2022 and 2024.
The Democratic party leadership seem to agree with the Republican part that this is a really a center right country. Or they must assume that everyone left of center has no choice but to vote for them. Either way, they seem to spend a lot more time and effort courting or reassuring the moderate right than playing to the Left base.
If both parties are trying to appeal rightward, the only thing that keeps true leftists showing up is fear of existential threats (like Covid or the 2008 recession). When those are at play, the record turnout need to win 2020 just won’t be there.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the emblematic Democrat until Bill Clinton came along. Then Clinton became, and remains, the incarnation of the Democratic Party While FDR, JFK and LBJ led the same party, Clinton was a game-changer, just as Ronald Reagan was for the Republican Party (actually, very much more so).

Roosevelt signed into law the Banking Act of 1933 (a/k/a Glass-Steagall). Clinton signed the repeal. How much more emblematic can you get?

Richard Nixon, on the other hand, would have felt at home in today’s neoliberal Democratic Party.

Eh, I think he would largely still recognize a liberal party and he would have felt comfortable in it. Remember, Roosevelt won his majority with northern liberals and southern conservatives. He spent his entire presidency maneuvering around the southern Democratic party, and they often coalitioned with conservative Republicans to block him.

Roosevelt had to compromise on all kinds of issues to keep his head above water, and he would have appreciated the progress of the party on civil rights and other issues, and would have understood the need to triangulate on other issues. Progress isn’t always in a straight line, and Roosevelt was enough of a politician to understand that.

Why would conservative non-whites vote for a party that’s opposed to both conservativism and non-white people?

We’re not talking about the guy with a printer in his basement taping up crazy screeds in bus stops. We’re talking about people like the recent President of the United States. Republicans don’t ignore the crazies; they embrace them, and vote them into high office.

I meant it more in the sense that the Democratic Party has been a progressive party since FDR. Of course there has been changes due to that progress, but I believe the essence of progressivism remains. Sure, it didn’t apply to many groups in FDRs times, but as time went on the umbrella got bigger. Japanese-Americans were welcome by LBJs time, African-Americans by Clinton’s time, gay people by Obama’s time, and now trans / non-binary people are being accepted. Democrats have moved further down the line, but it’s still the same line.

Republicans, however, are now on a completely different line. IMHO the new line started with Gingrich in 1994, made gains in 2010 with the Tea Party revolution, and again in 2016 with Trump’s victory. Those gains came at the expense of those remaining on the old Republican line. Now we’ve reached a point where it’s not the Bush / Romney / Kasich Republicans against the Trump Republicans. So many followers have left the camp of the former group that it’s basically Bush / Romney / Kasich themselves against the new Republican Party.

I think the final events happened just this last year, but the process is complete. The GOP of Bush is dead and gone, with a few gasps of rigor mortis still playing out. There’s not really anything I can think of that would bring it back.

ETA. The Democrats had a similar process, happen, just so long ago many of us don’t recall firsthand. Democrats are still the party of FDR, but not the party of Woodrow Wilson or of the Dixiecrats that remained when FDR set the party on the progressive path.

As a longtime member of that party, I challenge you to demonstrate it still has a soul. I contend that the GOP is currently a soulless zombie of a party. What this thread is getting at, is that the Republican Party is both the creature – and the angry mob with torches and pitchforks looking to kill the creature.

They want to kill the monster using violence and hate and feel genuinely patriotic and at peace about it. Unfortunately, evil spirits have convinced them the monster is Socialism (and/or Liberalism) and not the monster that is White Nationalism personified by D. J. Trump and his sycophants.

I date it back to Pat Buchanan’s speech at the 1992 R convention.