HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

 
This Republican civil war has been going on for a while

by digby

2010
2009
2012
2014






















































I wrote about the GOP's dilemma for Salon this morning:

That tweet sent shock waves through the political world yesterday. Democrats understood it to mean that the next four weeks are going to be an ugly mud-wrestling contest the likes of which this country has never seen. They donned their hazmat suits and ventured into the mire. The Republicans, on the other hand, understood that Donald Trump had just declared war on their party.

In a flurry of tweets, he characterized House speaker Paul Ryan as “weak and ineffective” and claimed he provided “zero support.” He then accused Sen. John McCain of being foul-mouthed and begging for his support in the past. And he said the GOP was harder to deal with than his Democratic rival declaring, “Disloyal R’s are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don’t know how to win — I will teach them!” Trump wasn’t just unshackled, he had staged a prison break and was running screaming through the streets as his many millions of fans cheered him on.

All this evidently came as a surprise to the GOP establishment, which apparently assumed it could abandon all pretense of supporting its own presidential nominee with no repercussions. Apparently leading Republicans still don’t understand what is happening to their party. They seem to be under the impression that their only problem is a strange interloper by the name of Donald Trump, and they couldn’t be more wrong. Their problem is that they have a large and powerful faction of voters who despise them as much as they despise the Democrats.

When President Obama was elected, the Republican base of the party, demoralized and defeated after the mess of the Bush administration, the Great Recession and the euphoria of the Obama campaign, quickly gathered its wits and reformed itself into a new entity they called the Tea Party. At first it simply existed to oppose President Obama’s agenda, the health care reforms in particular. Backed by big special interests and right-wing media, they became a force to reckon with and in 2010, with the economy still mired in recession and people still feeling desperate, they helped the Republicans win back a congressional majority, along the way unseating some long-term Republican incumbents like Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah and Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina, both taken down by primary challenges from the Tea Party right. They marched into Washington with a mandate to confront the establishment.

The new insurrectionists also wanted to blow some things up just to show they could, which led to government shutdowns and “hostage taking” and sequestration. It proved they had power to gum up the works but it didn’t result in taking back the White House in 2012, even with Rep. Paul Ryan, every Republican’s dreamboat, on the ticket. That defeat didn’t change their strategy one bit. In fact they redoubled their efforts to turn Washington into a combat zone and whatever small amount of comity was left fell completely apart.

In 2010 and 2012, Tea Party candidates repeatedly won primaries against GOP incumbents or more qualified politicians, often leading to bad results in the general election. They tended to nominate extremists and fringe characters like Sharron Angle in Nevada and Richard Mourdock in Indiana who couldn’t win. To some extent the Tea Party base didn’t care whether the GOP won the seat or not. They were happy to flex their muscles against the establishment and put all officeholders on notice that if they didn’t toe the line, they could be next.

Then came the earthquake of 2014, when the Tea Party and talk radio joined together to help an obscure college professor named Dave Brat take down a very powerful member of Congress. That was, of course, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, who had been touted just a couple of years earlier as one of the conservative Republican “young guns,” the future of the party. Pundits and analysts insisted at the time that the reasons were all local in nature and had nothing to do with broader trends. They were wrong. Brat won because of one issue: immigration, which was stimulating the right in a way they hadn’t seen since the early days of the Obamacare town halls. The primary defeat of Cantor showed the GOP leadership they had targets on their backs too.

A year later, fellow Young Gun Paul Ryan reluctantly took the speakership after John Boehner sacrificed himself in order to get a budget agreement that would hold through the election. Predictably, Ryan soon became an object of mistrust and disappointment. The base, you see, doesn’t understand how our government works, and truly believed that if they sent representatives to Congress they could successfully roll back every liberal achievement of the past 60 years. They’ve been angry at the GOP for failing to do the impossible for quite some time.

This is the same base that today is supporting Donald Trump, the man who reportedly paid someone to listen to talk radio, read right-wing news sites and brief him on them regularly, going all the way back to 2011. He sensed the potency of the racism Barack Obama evoked among that crowd, which was why he based his aborted 2012 run on birtherism. He understood before anyone else that these people were fundamentally xenophobic white nationalists who were looking for someone to articulate their rage about what they saw as the loss of their rightful social status at the hands of nonwhite non-Christians. He also shared their outrage at what they see as threats to American global dominance from immigrants, Muslim extremists and Asian economic competition. Trump understood the Republican base better than the Republican Party itself did back in 2011 and he understands them better today.

Just as the congressional leadership has been caught between a rock and a hard place in the House and Senate these past few years, with the normal workings of our governmental system clashing with the angry base’s demand that they unilaterally disable the executive branch, they are caught now between the moderate Republicans and independents they need to keep their congressional majority and their angry base, who love Trump and will once more rebel if those they send to Washington fail to fulfill their wishes.

This then is just the latest iteration of a dynamic that’s been going on for years. Trump is simply the first opportunist to take it to the presidential level. That dynamic dictates that when he loses, leading figures of the GOP establishment will be blamed whether they stick with Trump or not, so they might as well do what they think is right. The question after all this time is whether they even remember what that is.

.