The Republican Party is dead. That is the thesis of the latest piece from Robert Reich, former labor secretary and author, and it’s already stirring up the internet. The thing people currently know as the GOP is just a carcass, according to the public policy expert, and it’s being chewed on by all sorts of unseemly entities.
He starts off his post saying, “It died in 2016. RIP.”
Reich’s premise is that the internal conflicts within the party have made the GOP “no longer a living, vital, animate organization.” He listed off a few of the tribes.
“Evangelicals opposed to abortion, gay marriage, and science. Libertarians opposed to any government constraint on private behavior. Market fundamentalists convinced the ‘free market’ can do no wrong. Corporate and Wall Street titans seeking bailouts, subsidies, special tax loopholes, and other forms of crony capitalism. Billionaires craving even more of the nation’s wealth than they already own. And white working-class Trumpoids who love Donald.”
These warring tribes would explain the current struggle for the GOP’s nomination for president. At its most complex, the GOP race had 17 contenders. According to Time Magazine, that is the most candidates for a party’s nomination, ever. By comparison, the Democrats only had five candidates at the most.
So many candidates dividing up the GOP’s base has led to an interesting race, one where Donald Trump – a unique, arguably populist candidate – is dominating. Establishment GOP candidates, such as Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Jeb Bush, have inevitably divided up moderate voters, leaving Trump with little resistance from party centrists.
Robert Reich goes on to say that each tribe within the GOP has its own political organization, source of financial contributions, and ideology.
In a European-style parliamentary system, some of these candidates, like Donald Trump, would likely break away from the Republicans to form their own protest party. Bernie Sanders could do the same on the left. But, with America’s ridged two-party system, these candidates have to work within the primaries to gain relevance.
Bernie Sanders and future left-wingers might one day rip apart the Democratic Party, but disparate forces have already killed the GOP according to Robert Reich, and he’s not happy about it.
“I, for one, regret its passing. Our nation needs political parties to connect up different groups of Americans, sift through prospective candidates, deliberate over priorities, identify common principles, and forge a platform.”
Reich goes on to describe the GOP as a defense for the American people while also taking some very thinly veiled swipes at Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
“Without a Republican Party, nothing stands between us and a veritable Star Wars barroom of self-proclaimed wanna-be’s. Without a Party, anyone runs who’s able to raise (or already possesses) the requisite money – even if he happens to be a pathological narcissist who has never before held public office, even if he’s a knave detested by all his Republican colleagues.”
Donald Trump is currently about 16 percent above the next most popular GOP candidate, so-called detested knave Ted Cruz, in South Carolina, according to Real Clear Politics. The two anti-establishment candidates also do well nationally, while Marco Rubio, the current front-runner among moderates, still trails behind.
Robert Reich ends his piece by saying the death of the GOP could mean the birth of the Trump presidency, and unless the Democrat candidate has enough support, that might be a real possibility.
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