|These guys don't give a shit about America. They're grifters, pure and simple.|
Paul Krugman nails it with this blog post, which illustrates why Republican reformicons are waging an impossible battle. You can't reform something that doesn't actually exist. The Republican Party isn't, per se, a political party. What is it?
After all, what is the modern GOP? A simple model that accounts for just about everything you see is that it’s an engine designed to harness white resentment on behalf of higher incomes for the donor class.
One of the reasons what passes for policy in the GOP resembles a collection of zombie lies, that have been demonstrated as bullshit over and over and over again, is that Republicans aren't interested in the truth, they're interested in an effective set of dog whistles they can blow over and over again.What we call the Republican establishment is really a network of organizations that represent donor interests because they’re supported by donor money. These organizations impose ideological purity with a combination of carrots and sticks: assured support for politicians and pundits who toe the line, sanctions against anyone who veers from orthodoxy — excommunication if you’re an independent thinking pundit, a primary challenge from the Club for Growth if you’re an imperfectly reliable politician.
But something went wrong this year.
So why are we seeing a crackup of this system now? It’s not because events have called the orthodoxy into question; that has never mattered in the past. On the contrary, failed predictions have never caused even the slightest change in claims: the same people who predicted that Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax hike would kill jobs and that Obamacare would be an economic disaster are making confident predictions about the salutary effects of tax cuts now.
Donald Trump riled up the base for all the wrong reasons, though I'm not sure the base understands that Trump is of the very class that exploits them. Likely they think "I've got a mobster working for me for a change." But can you get the hordes to shout "Fuck yeah!" every time Congress cuts taxes with 2 percent of the cuts going to the white working class and most of the rest going to the top, while services Americans need get cut year after year? Maybe, but who knows for how much longer?The problem, instead, seems to be demography — an increasingly diverse population means that the party needs to go beyond white resentment, but the resentful whites are having none of it. Oh, and the base never cared about the ideology.
Krugman thinks it might take a while.
But back to the Republicans: the reformist hope was, I guess, that the donor class itself would realize the need to soften the party’s ideology in the face of a changing society. But the right-wing rich are different from you and me: they can and do surround themselves with people telling them that if only they say the usual things louder — if only they run yet another ad accusing Donald Trump of not being a true conservative — they can reestablish the old order. Remember, it took five presidential defeats — 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, and the shocker in 1948 — before the old GOP accepted the legitimacy of the New Deal. If that’s the standard, would-be Republican reformers might have to wait through two terms of Hillary and one of her successor before getting a hearing.If there's any hope at all, it's that the party will be blasted to smithereens before the reformers get a chance. Maybe the party can then be rebuilt from the ground up, that is if the grift doesn't get reconstituted first. If the conservative movement resembled a movie, it would be The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. If we could only tell them apart from the good guys.
Hey, maybe that's finally happening.