Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Souls Of White Volk

Josh Marshall argues that Trump has exposed the GOP as a white ethno-nationalist party, along the lines of France's National Front or Britain British Nationalist Party.  He seems uncertain about the degree to which it has always been an ethno-nationalist party and the degree to which it remains a center-right party.

As Marshall notes, the GOP has nominated people like John McCain and Mitt Romney quite recently.  But then he also says that "normal" Republicans like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are likely to remain influential figures in the party.

Mitch McConnell may or may not be an ethno-nationalist, but McConnell represents the complete breakdown of the idea of the GOP as a center-right party.  It was McConnell who created the idea of complete obstruction of Obama's agenda and the abdication of any idea of compromise, even in the face of the greatest economic crisis since 1933.  That complete stonewalling of any legislative compromise is what led to the unleashing of the Tea Party in 2010.  McConnell rode that tiger to the Senate Majority Leader's office.  That tiger is now consuming the GOP.  If McConnell has regrets about that, he's not showing any.  Neither is Ryan.

Trump's ability to rip open the coded language that the GOP has used since Nixon has proven very illuminating.  For decades, Democrats have been lamenting the dog-whistle politics of the GOP, but the very rationale for dog-whistle politics is deniability.  Trump eviscerates that deniability.  He takes the angry, racist id of the GOP and lays it out upon the table for all to see.  And while not all Trump supporters are racists, they are overwhelmingly white nationalists, in the sense that they very much define themselves as part of an in-group that is white.  They see America going to hell, because of a black president (who's Muslim), a lady president, a bunch of gay people marrying, a bunch of black people protesting and a bunch of hippies who want to get rid of coal and stuff.  The fact that there aren't enough of them to win a presidential election only adds fuel to their anger.

Trump is going to lose in November.  The margins should not be tight, but they will be tighter than they should be.  Will he lose McCain/Dole bad or Goldwater/McGovern bad?  Probably the former.  He will probably hold on to 40% of the electorate.

What happens though, when Clinton runs in 2020?  Whom do the Republicans throw forward then?

Can they find someone who speaks Trump's language in code?  Will there be enough white people to even make a race of it?  George W. Bush wondered if he was the last Republican president, and if the GOP doubles down on a Trump-lite candidate in 2020, he could be right.

America needs a center-right party that is invested in governance.  Right now that doesn't exist beyond the febrile imaginings of the David Brooks/Cokie Roberts set.  There is no equivalency between Clinton's email server and Trump's call for Second Amendment solutions.  There is no equivalency between Clinton's speeches to Goldman Sachs and Trump's calling the president a traitor.
The Republican party created an autopsy report after 2012 and the Trump lit that on fire and pissed on it, before spoon feeding the urine-soaked ashes to the Republican establishment. In early 2017, there has to be a core group of Republicans who will need to take a further step to separate from the Party of Trump.  Perhaps it will be under the Libertarian Party, perhaps it will be as a faction of the GOP.

The Party of Lincoln died decades ago.  This is the Party of Nixon and Trump now, and it really always has been so.  That party is largely closed off from the White House, because of the changing nature of America.

What will come next?

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