Saturday, March 05, 2016

Dumping the GOP

In 2004, as a sophomore in college, I sat at my desk in my dorm room.  I was writing a piece (now mercifully lost) titled: Time to Dump the GOP?  My roommate, who fancied hockey more than politics, asked what I was up to and chuckled as I explained.  This was the impetus behind the creation of this blog, as well as the pieces I later published in the school newspaper.

By the end of the first Bush term, it was clear to me that despite the rhetoric about limited government, the Republicans were concerned with anything but.  If it wasn't quite clear what a disaster the war in Iraq had become, it was apparent that the Bush administration was much more preoccupied with curtailing civil liberties (via the Patriot Act) and expanding entitlements (via the not yet fully implemented Medicare Part D).  The man had even created an entire new department in the bureaucracy, that of Homeland Security, to ensure that no airline passenger ever flew unmolested again. 

In compensation for which, we got some tax cuts. Granted, they weren't offset by any reductions in spending, so they would be paid for through inflation, but this was before the Ron Paul campaign of 2008, and people took that sort of thing in stride. 

The truly damning thing about the Bush years was that the Republicans had control of the House and Senate.  The argument that the Republicans are powerless without complete autonomy has always been dubious; Congress controls the purse, and therefore can deny funding for any programs they deem unnecessary while the President wields the veto pen.  It was apparent that even with control, the Bush Republicans had no intention of enacting any of the reforms their party advocated in election years.

So with a disgruntled heart, I voted for the libertarian candidate, Michael Badnarik, in that year's election.  He got some small fraction of one percent of the vote.  It would be the last time I would exercise that privilege, though I did throw my support behind both of Ron Paul's campaigns.

This isn't the space for rehashing my reasoning behind refusing to vote.  Instead, I want to talk about the current GOP.  The question I asked twelve years ago appears to be on the minds of an electorate that seems even more disgruntled than I was.  Spurning the wishes of the donor class to nominate another Bush, or his Cuban clone, Rubio, the masses have turned to an outrageous billionaire and reality star named Donald Trump.

Trump promises to build a big beautiful wall and have Mexico pay for it.  He has other issues, though undoubtedly immigration restriction is the most significant, especially when the establishment candidates are supporting amnesty. 

There are many interesting things about Trump; one is that the voters seem totally unconcerned about his flaws.  That he has changed his mind on a significant number of issues is indisputable, but it doesn't seem to matter.  On the issue of the wall, voters seem to believe him more or less, and--this is the key point--they believe him more than they believe anyone else in the race.

The Republican brand has been so badly damaged that it is hard to take anything any of the candidates seriously.  The voters have been betrayed so many times (and in the case of Rubio, by these same candidates) that they expect little more this time around. 

If Trump betrays them, well, they know what that feels like.  But maybe he won't, and isn't that worth a shot?  Anyway, the people that have stabbed them in the back hate Trump, and this seems like a good way--perhaps the only way--to get back at them.

Trends seem permanent until they change, at which point the alteration seems obvious.  The establishment Republicans thought that with $100 million, Jeb Bush could outlast the other candidates and emerge the nominee, just as McCain and Romney had.  If Trump hadn't entered the race, it's distinctly possible he would have.  But nothing in history is inevitable, and instead of looking at a rematch between Bush and Clinton, the Republican Party looks set for the dustbin of history alongside the Whigs. 

I was off by twelve years, but better late than never.


Doom said...

Amen. I never thought I'd suggest that until I burned my membership in that party and went rogue. I've never looked back, but I am beginning, finally, to look forward.

I've gotta tell you, I am impressed. I did not realize you are so young, or that you had broken so well in such a timely manner, but even so were on the more right side of things... just betrayed as with the many of us. You have a heck of a fight, and hopefully will still be pushing back when you get to my age, or worse health. Be well. I'll pray for you here and there.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

I appreciate the prayers. You are in mine as well.

Our task will be to rebuild.