The Tea Party

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” ― Mark Twain

The Republican party lies in moral and intellectual tatters. The rise of the bombast, Donald Trump, has sunk the party to such dark depths that even Ted Cruz seems a ray of reason. Can the GOP weather this storm? And if it does, what form will it take?

Ever since the rise of the ‘reactionaries’ in the 2010 elections there has been a competition between the establishment and the newly organized crazies. The division was evident. The establishment ran its candidates, and the Tea Party ran theirs. Then the Tea Party candidates started winning in noticeable numbers. Now the radical right is the tail wagging the establishment dog.

In 2016, the party grandees are facing an assault on their last bastion – the Republican presidential nominee. They must make a choice – revolt or hold their noses and march behind the horse.

It is said that the Democrats fall in love while the Republicans fall in line. Yet, this year the Democrats are lining up behind the heir presumptive – Hillary Clinton. And the Republicans have fallen in love with ‘Le Grand Orange’.

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The horse and his ass.

But the GOP elites are not unified in their reaction to the rise of the unthinkable. Some – notably, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) – have enthusiastically kissed the ring. Others – say Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), ironically a Tea Partier – have said ‘no way’. And others – typified by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – are slowly accustoming themselves to the once unimaginable – supporting Trump.

The poobahs are not agreeable to the suppuration in their swimming pool – but what’s the alternative?

There is one – a brokered convention. The powers-that-be must be considering that route. There has been no consolidation behind any other candidate. The anti-Trump movement is of the ‘anyone but Trump’ flavor, coalescing around the #NeverTrump hashtag.

They hold out hope that they can stagger into Cleveland with no candidate owning a majority of the delegates –  leaving the choice of nominee to the boys in the backroom. But, as it stands, that is not a likely eventuality so they will have to consider what’s next.

The last two GOP nominees have spoken of the danger of the Donald. Mitt Romney gave an impassioned speech laying out point by point why Trump is wrong for America and disastrous for the Republican party. John McCain has made his antipathy clear. But the effect will be counter-productive. Trump is running against the establishment. So the establishment fuels his fire when they speak against him.

The GOP’s problem is self-created. The party of the plutocrats doesn’t have enough rich people to vote it in. So for years, they relied on the white, ill-educated – whipped into a voting frenzy by talk of guns, religion, racism and freedom from DC oppression – to provide the bodies in the voting booth. But now the rank and file – the unwashed idiots – have turned on their erstwhile masters. The lunatics are running the asylum.

The Democrats may well benefit by regaining the Senate, increasing their share of the House and holding on to the presidency. But it’s too bad for them that their likely candidate is a widely reviled woman who has alienated large parts of the liberal base, is anathema to many independents and toxic to any conservative who might change his stripes. Should she stumble, the alternative is a ‘socialist’.

It is hard to say how the Republican establishment can survive if the Republican voter is no longer willing to vote for it. On the other hand, if the Republican voter keeps voting for candidates that lose to Democrats they will have to change their strategy. New political parties do arise, and existing parties change.

After all, the white southern conservative voter that was once the backbone of the Democratic party is now a rock-ribbed Republican. Only time will tell what the new political stability will be.

And then, of course, there is the awful possibility that Donald Trump wins the presidency – and then all bets are off.

 

 

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