Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there will not be a political party known as the Republicans. Not at all. What I’m saying is the political party we know as the Republican Party will be no more. It will go the way of the Federalists, the Wigs, and the Know Nothings to name just a few. What do these all have in common? They all have gone the way for good.
No to say the political ideals the stood for, an fought for have all gone away. In some cases, like the Federalists, many of their ideal the stood for have become totally institutionalized in the American political landscape. Something every American takes as a given and is proud of. In other cases like the Know Nothings, while their ideals also became a part of the American Political landscape they are not something we can take pride in. But in all cases’ the political movements these parties represented have faded away in history. And this is what is facing the Republican Party from Lincoln to Eisenhower.
From the late 1960’s the the Republican Party has been an ill advised wedding of the Economic Conservatives and the Social Conservatives. On the surface it would look like a match made in heaven. But it was not. All too often Social Conservatives were not Economic Conservative votives and Economic Conservative were not Social Conservatives. All they agreed upon was their knee jerk reaction to the label ‘Liberal’. They were told by their leaders that “liberals’ were a monolithic block. If you were ‘liberal’ on economics you had to be ‘liberal’ on social issues too. An for many years this worked. Thru the Regan/Bush administrations the Economic Conservatives could depend on the whole ‘conservative’ base to vote Republican. An this base grew.
But not only did it grow, it ossified. At the turn of the century the base became more and more under the control of the leaders of the Social Conservatives. They gave bear the to the ‘Religious Right’. People who said ’No need to think or examine critically, just ‘Believe’ us and you will be in the right. When the leaders of the Republicans saw how well this worked with the ‘Religious Right’ they took it one step further and told all their followers “Accept what we tell you. The ‘Liberals’ are lying to you. Don’t accept all that scientific mumbo-jumbo they spout, it will just confuse you”. An when they did, the base did exactly what it’s leaders wanted. It ossified into a sold base that would do what the leaders wanted, in mass. Unfortunately it had one or two faults.
The first fault to be seen was that it was unruly. It wanted to think it was choosing it’s leaders. An so the “Tea Party” movement was born. Followed quickly by the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives. The next fault happened in the Republican leadership. They became committed to “winning”. They accepted the old half-time idea that “Wining isn’t everything. It is the only Thing!” That power, and the un-restrained use of power became their only political principle. This meant that if the leaders wanted to keep their power they had to lead where ever the monolithic base decided to go.
An that leaders us to the age of Donald John Trump. A man who had spent his entire adult life selling the same people who made up the Republican Base and many of the Republican Leadership ‘Snake-Oil’. In 2015/16 he saw that the Democratic Party was going to make one of the biggest mistakes in it’s long history. Maybe as big, if not bigger, as the mistake(s) it made in 1860. They were going to nominate someone who was either personally distrusted or not like by lots of the electorate and someone who could and would motivate many of the undecided away from the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton. In 2016 there were very few people who had not heard of her and did not have an opinion of her. It was the perfect time for someone who had great name recognition but almost no-one really knew. So Donald J. Trump jumped in and won.
He not only won the nomination, he, against everything, won the election. Not that he really either want’ed the job or knew what to do with it once he had it. An along the way he convinced the Republican Base that they were no longer the Republican Base, they were the Trump Base. That only he knew, truly, what they wanted. That only he knew how to get it for them. That anyone, anywhere, who attacked him was attacking them. He started with the ‘Deplorables’ and moved on from there. An the Republican leadership quaked in their boots every time he roared and his crowds roared back.
An so here we are, 2020. They year that everything started to come apart. The election is over and it is looking more and more likely that Joe Biden has won. But while it is totally understandable that Pres. Trump can not bring himself to accept the lost, it it not so understandable why the Republican leadership is following his lead. We will have to wait and see after the Senate run-offs in Georgia to see if they will follow Donald J. Trump down the rabbit hole. Only time will tell us that.