Sunday, October 16, 2016

Why Republican voters are so apocalytpic - and angry

A few years ago the two sober fixtures of the Washington, D.C political scene, political scientists Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann wrote a book titled "It's even worse than it looks".  They demonstrated how the GOP had become a far right obstructionist party with no real interest in governing.  But even they probably underestimated how far off the rails the Republican Party would go.  And how far alienated  from their base the formal leaders would become, as clever histrionics like Rush Limbaugh's talk radio became the online truthiness hyperbole of Breitbart.  Now Steve Bannon - CEO of Breitbart runs the Trump campaign.

Illustrating the hyperbole is this recent post by a first cousin of mine:
I am still a registered Republican and of course I am voting for President Donald J. Trump. I voted for DJ Trump in the New York Primary. Of course the Conk Family, I love them very much but they are still in the same old rut(lemming)... They are blind to the facts that obama is destroying our nation. In this election we have to choose between a capitalistic- Constitutional(Trump)Party or a Socialist-Nazi(Hillary)Party, where all our freedoms are worn away and no jobs(no middle class). If she can't change the Constitution legally, she will change it by executive fiat.
What could he possibly be talking about?  Is there any policy adjustment on the left that could put a chink in the armor of someone with such an elaborate and groundless view of things?  How did this happen?

Josh Marshall, noting that the Republican Party has not won a majority in the past 30 years - except in the George W. Bush years explains on Talking Points Memo that
as the GOP electoral base has shrunk it has required increasingly apocalyptic arguments and more extravagant promises to activate that base to a sufficient intensity to win elections. But that comes at the cost of slowly degrading their own credibility by painting an escalating cast of horrors and dangers they're never able to solve and in most cases do not even logically address. Most of these promises are simply unrealizable - thus the focus on blocking things rather than pushing an agenda that can sustain popular support. That in turn is I think the root of the now almost total disconnect between GOP elites (the 'establishment') and the bulk of Republicans voters. Trumpers say they've been lied to by their leaders. And in a very real sense they have been.
One consequence is that conventional conservatives like Paul Ryan have already moved so far to the right that they are defenseless.  They cannot - or have not - escaped from the barrel that has now gone over the edge of the falls.  And, of course, the horrifying thing is that, proving the left's attacks on the new right as racist, Trump packs arenas with angry white voters.  There he indulges often extemporaneous flights of conspiracy mongering, and scarcely coded racist diatribes.  Below movement  NeoCon- and now Hillary backer Robert Kagan sets out his view of the GOP establishment's moral failures.


Why we shouldn’t forgive the Republicans who sold their souls - The Washington Post
by Robert Kagan
Of the remarkable things we have learned this election year, the most significant is that the current Republican Party is unfit to lead the country. It has failed the greatest test a political leader or party can face, and failed spectacularly. It has abandoned its principles out of a combination of cowardice and opportunism. It has worked to place in the White House the most dangerous threat to U.S. democracy since the Civil War. ...
These are the people we’re supposed to put in charge of the House and Senate for another two years? Whom we’re then supposed to rally behind in the battle for the White House in 2020? No. Not this group. We know too much. We know all we need to know.

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