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Messick writes: "The cry of the hour is that our politics is 'dysfunctional' - mired in 'gridlock,' all bipartisanship lost. This is of course true, but it must be seen as merely the latest result of the conservative politics of purity."

The Tea Party and politicians like Ted Cruz could kill the Republican Party. (photo: Isaac Brekken/AP)
The Tea Party and politicians like Ted Cruz could kill the Republican Party. (photo: Isaac Brekken/AP)

Death of the Republican Party

By Kim Messick, Salon

31 August 13


n a recent article, I argued that the Republican Party has been captured by a faction whose political psychology makes it highly intransigent and uninterested in compromise. That article focused on the roots of this psychology and how it shapes the Tea Party's view of its place in American politics. It did not pursue the question of exactly how this capture took place - of how a major political party, once a broad coalition of diverse elements, came to be so dependent on a narrow range of strident voices. This is the question I propose to explore below.

In doing so, we should keep in mind three terms from political science (and much political journalism) - "realignment," "polarization" and "gridlock." These concepts are often bandied about as if their connections are obvious, even intuitive. Sometimes, indeed, a writer leaves the impression that they are virtually synonymous. I think this is mistaken, and that it keeps us from appreciating just how strange our present political moment really is.

"Realignment," for instance, refers to a systematic shift in the patterns of electoral support for a political party. The most spectacular recent example of this is the movement of white Southerners from the Democratic to the Republican Party after the passage of major civil rights laws in the mid-1960s. Not coincidentally, this event was critically important for the evolution of today's Republican Party.

After the Civil War and the collapse of Reconstruction in the 1870s, the identification of white Southerners as Democrats was so stubborn and pervasive as to make the region into the "solid South" - solidly Democratic, that is. Despite this well-known fact, there is reason to suspect that the South's Democratic alliance was always a bit uneasy. As the Gilded Age gave way to the first decades of the 20th century, the electoral identities of the two major parties began to firm up. Outside the South, the Democrats were the party of the cities, with their polyglot populations and unionized workforces. The Republicans drew most of their support from the rural Midwest and the small towns of the North. The Democrats' appeal was populist, while Republicans extolled the virtues of an ascendant business class: self-sufficiency, propriety, personal responsibility.

It will be immediately evident that the Republican Party was in many ways a more natural fit for the South, which at the time was largely rural and whose white citizens were overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon Protestants. The South's class structure, less fluid than that of the industrial and urban North, would have chimed with the more hierarchical strains of Republican politics, and Southern elites had ample reason to prefer the "small government" preached by Republican doctrine. But the legacy of Lincoln's Republicanism was hard to overcome, and the first serious stirrings of disillusion with the Democratic Party had to wait until 1948. That year, South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond, enraged by President Truman's support for some early civil rights measures, led a walkout of 35 Southern delegates from the Democratic Convention. Thurmond went on to become the presidential nominee of a Southern splinter group, the States' Rights Democratic Party (better known as "Dixiecrats"), and won four states in the deep South.

The first Republican successes in the South came in the elections of 1952 and 1956, when Dwight Eisenhower won five and eight states, respectively*. These victories, however, were only marginally related to racial politics; Eisenhower's stature as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in World War II had a much larger role, as did his party's virulent anti-communism. Nixon held only five of these states in 1960.

The real turning point came in 1964. After passage of the Civil Rights Act, Barry Goldwater's conservative campaign, with its emphasis on limited government and states' rights, carried five Southern states, four of which had not been won by a Republican in the 20th century. No Democratic presidential candidate has won a majority of Southern states since, with the single exception of former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter's 1976 campaign. The South is now the most reliably Republican region of the country, and supplies the party with most of its Electoral College support.

The South's realignment explains a lot about our politics. But it doesn't, in itself, explain one very important fact: why the post-civil rights Republican Party went on to become the monolithically conservative party we have today. We can put this point as a question: Why didn't the Republican Party end up looking more like the pre-realignment Democrats, with a coalition of Northern moderates and liberals yoked to conservative Southerners? (And the Midwest along for the ride.) In effect, we're asking how realignment is related to "polarization" - the ideological sorting out that has led to our present party system, in which nearly all moderates and liberals identify as Democrats and nearly all conservatives as Republicans.

It's important to ask this question for at least two reasons. First, because it highlights the fact that realignment and polarization are analytically distinct concepts - a point often passed over in discussions of this subject. The sudden migration of Southern whites into Republican ranks is obviously connected with polarization; what we need to know is exactly how and why. Which brings us to the second reason. Because the answer we're led to is so refreshingly old-fashioned and therefore, in today's intellectual culture, completely counterintuitive: They are connected through the agency of political actors.

In "Rule and Ruin," his wonderful history of the collapse of Republican moderation, the historian Geoffrey Kabaservice documents the process by which conservative activists remade the Republican Party in their image. (If I could recommend only one book this year to students of American history, it would be this one.) Filling a broad canvas with an enormous wealth of detail, Kabaservice shows us that conservatives always thought of themselves as engaged on two fronts: Moderate Republicans were as much the enemy as liberal Democrats. William Rusher, Bill Buckley's colleague at National Review, remarked revealingly that the modern conservative movement formed itself "in opposition to the Eisenhower administration."

One can't help but admire the tenacity, focus and creativity that conservative activists brought to their task. They transformed the Republican Party at every level: from the grass roots, where they assumed control of local bodies such as city councils, caucuses and county commissions, to the state and national party machinery. They also built a network of institutions designed to cultivate and publicize conservative ideas. These ranged from relatively sophisticated periodicals and think tanks (National Review, the early Heritage Foundation) to rawer, more demotic facsimiles (the American Spectator, the Cato Institute). Groups such as the Moral Majority arose, especially on the religious right, and new media technologies allowed for the consolidation of conservative voices on talk radio and cable television.

These actions were all part of the same relentless design: to purge the Republican Party of moderate voices and to install conservatives in every position of meaningful power and influence. But they had another side as well. Because as a party shapes itself it also shapes its electorate. And a party engaged in a process of purification, if it wants to continue to win elections, needs a similarly purified electorate.

The realignment of Southern whites must be understood in this context. When they deserted the Democratic Party in the mid-'60s, they presented Republicans with a huge electoral windfall. Republicans then had to decide how to invest this unexpected capital. In doing so they had to balance at least two things: numbers and intensity. Numbers are important, of course - you can't win elections without them - but it's an old adage in politics that an intense 51 percent is better than a relaxed 55 percent. The Republican decision to embrace an increasingly radical version of conservatism should be seen, in effect, as an attempt to leverage the intensity and loyalty of their new Southern voters. These qualities were expected to offset the loss of any moderate or liberal supporters who might abandon the party as it lurched to the right.

It was a perfectly rational strategy, and it worked brilliantly. Between 1968 and 1992 - 24 years, an entire generation - Democrats won exactly one presidential election, the post-Watergate campaign of 1976. But after '92 the strategy began to break down on the national level, due mainly to demographic factors: There simply weren't enough rural white voters anymore to win presidential elections in a consistent way. But by then the right was fully in control of Republican politics and uninterested in sharing power (or policy) with their moderate brethren. They developed a narrative to counter any suggestion that ideological rigidity was the cause of the party's losses in national (and, increasingly, statewide) races: the quixotic claim that it had nominated "moderates" unable to bring out the conservative majorities who lurk, abandoned and bereft, in the heartland.

In the meantime the ritual purges have continued - the immediate denunciations, thundered from various media pulpits, whenever a Republican politician utters an unorthodox opinion; the threat (or reality) of primary challenges to silence dissent; the invocation of paranoid fantasies that inflame "the base" and make them ever more agitated and vindictive.

Now, in 2013, we have the politics that 50 years of this process have created. The Democratic Party has fewer conservatives than it once did, but is still a broadly coalitional party with liberal and moderate elements. It controls the coasts, has strength in the industrial Midwest, and is making inroads in the upper, more urbanized South and in Florida. It confronts a Republican Party almost wholly dependent on the interior states of the old Confederacy. (The party continues to win in the mountain and prairie West, but the region is too sparsely populated to provide any real electoral heft.) Because of its demographic weakness, it is more beholden than ever to the intensity of its most extreme voters. This has engendered a death spiral in which it must take increasingly radical positions to drive these voters to the polls, positions that in turn alienate ever larger segments of the population, making these core voters even more crucial - and so on. We have a name these days for the electoral residue produced by this series of increasingly rigorous purifications. We call it "the Tea Party."

The cry of the hour is that our politics is "dysfunctional" - mired in "gridlock," all bipartisanship lost. This is of course true, but it must be seen as merely the latest result of the conservative politics of purity. After all, when does a politician, in the normal course of affairs, have a reason to do something? When he thinks it will gain him a vote, or that not doing it will cost him a vote. It follows that politicians have a reason to be bipartisan - to work with the opposition - only when doing so will increase, not decrease, their electoral support. And this can only happen if they potentially share voters with their opposition. But the Republican electorate is now almost as purified as the Republican Party. Not only is it unlikely to support Democratic candidates, it's virtually certain to punish any Republican politician who works with Democrats. The electoral logic of bipartisanship has collapsed for most Republicans; they have very little to gain, and much to lose, if they practice it. And so they don't.

Unfortunately, our government isn't designed to function in these conditions. The peculiarities of our system - a Senate, armed with the filibuster, that gives Wyoming's 576,000 people as much power as California's 38,000,000; gerrymandered districts in the House; separate selection of the executive and the legislature; a chronically underfunded elections process, generally in partisan hands and in desperate need of rationalization - simply won't permit it. What we get instead is paralysis - or worse. The Republican Party, particularly in the House, has turned into the legislative equivalent of North Korea - a political outlier so extreme it has lost the ability to achieve its objectives through normal political means. Its only recourse is to threats (increasingly believable) that it will blow up the system rather than countenance this-or-that lapse from conservative dogma. This was the strategy it pursued in the debt ceiling debacle of 2011, and if firebrands such as Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have their way it will guide the party's approach to the same issue this fall, and perhaps to government funding (including "Obamacare") as well. Realignment and polarization have led us to gridlock and instability.

The relentless radicalization of the Republican Party since 1964 is the most important single event in the political history of the United States since the New Deal. It has significantly shaped the course of our government and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. But this means it has also shaped the individual life of every citizen- the complex amalgam of possibilities and opportunities available (or not) to each of us. The conservative visionaries of the '50s and '60s wanted a new world. We're all living in it now.

* The 1928 election is something of an exception to this statement; eight Southern states, offended by Democratic candidate Al Smith's Catholicism, voted instead for Herbert Hoover. But it seems safe to regard this election as an outlier; FDR won every Southern state in the next four presidential elections. your social media marketing partner


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+101 # tuandon 2013-08-31 10:05
The best thing Conservatives/R epublicans/Teab ag People could do for the USA is fall on their swords NOW, EN MASSE, and rid us and the world of a terrible plague. They have NOTHING to offer and need to be quashed, squashed, and done away with.
+26 # HowardMH 2013-08-31 11:39
tuandon, you are right but loosing that many idiots would be quite a shock on the total population.
-12 # lorenbliss 2013-08-31 21:23
The disappearance of the Republicans would change nothing because the Democrats – the other, more blatantly dishonest half of the One Party of Two Names – would ensure the continuation of the One Percent's ever-worsening despotism.

Anyone who doubts this is in clinical dementia, denying irrefutable evidence. This includes the worst-in-U.S.-h istory treachery of Obama the Orator's permanent shape-shift into Barack the Betrayer, also the unprecedented endorsements of tyranny evident in the unanimous and near-unanimous votes by which “both” parties routinely expand the de facto slavery of so-called “free trade” and eagerly nullify the Constitution to rob us of any residual ability to resist enslavement.

In this context, it becomes obvious Mr. Messick's analysis is merely pro-Democrat propaganda – very subtle propaganda indeed, but nevertheless nothing more than tacit restatement of the Big Lie of “American democracy” – that is, the now-utterly disproven claim the U.S. electoral system can ever again represent anything more than the mandates and decrees of the One Percent.
+8 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-09-01 04:28
The best thing pol. puppet whores could do for the U.S. is as you stated in your comment. And, tuandon, so sad but true, while the Tea Partiers top the list of suck puppets, with their $arah Palen style selfish vs. police serving caca, far too many Dems. have also jumped on board the pol. puppet whore train.

Would that we could clone the real people vs. self servers among today's pols. I truly do believe, a few such MLK's and IKE's will surface, and we will recognize and follow them as they lead us out of this dreadful mess. Undoing the coup ain't gonna be easy, but undo it we must and will, with good folks joining together. History repeats itself, and good does, historically speaking, eventually overcome evil.
+96 # wantrealdemocracy 2013-08-31 10:06
Since the Supremos decided that corporations have the rights of people under our Constitution and that giving money is a matter of freedom of speech, political parties are meaningless. The whole electoral process is a joke. Who ever has the most money to flood the nations with their propaganda will will the election.

We can't fix the mess we are in by voting. We must change the system. It is rotten and corrupt to the core.
+37 # Craig Jones 2013-08-31 12:16
You're right, it's all smoke and mirrors, the illusion of participatory democracy ruling the day.
+7 # fishskicanoe 2013-08-31 13:14
+14 # stoher9 2013-09-01 11:38
What we do is organize first at the local level to elect less partisan state legislators. Then we get those legislators to get rid of partisan redistricting so that law makers are always accountable to ALL their constituents. Once we have done away with all the "SAFE" districts at the state & federal level we can elect lawmakers who are beholden to the 99% not the 1%. From there a constitutional amendment that removes personhood from corporations & sets up publicly financed elections with a 2-3 month campaign season will go a long way to restoring true Democracy and destroying our current Plutocracy. It took years for the plutocrats to shift power to themselves. It will take years to take that power back. But it won't be that long & it's worth doing. Start tomorrow at your local level. Talk up people you know. Stop complaining on web sites and get out there & DO SOMETHING!
-15 # Tje_Chiwara 2013-08-31 16:02
Quoting wantrealdemocracy:
. . . political parties are meaningless. The whole electoral process is a joke. . . . .

We can't fix the mess we are in by voting. We must change the system. It is rotten and corrupt to the core.

Ah, what do you suggest? Referendum? Of only you? But isn't that still "voting"? Yes, voting does corrupt the system --- it allows the participation of all those really stupid people out there! Now if we could just persuade EVERYONE not to vote . . . Let's start with you.
0 # DPM 2013-08-31 17:43
What do YOU suggest?
-2 # Mrcead 2013-09-02 11:42
The ONLY time where burning the village in order to save it actually and ironically would work.
+52 # Billy Bob 2013-08-31 10:08
I wouldn't mind the death of the Republican Party. But, as we can all see, it's taking the rest of the country down with it. The Democratic Party certainly isn't stepping up to the plate either. I think we're getting rid of one Republican Party to replace it with another one.

The articles states:

"The Republican Party, particularly in the House, has turned into the legislative equivalent of North Korea - a political outlier so extreme it has lost the ability to achieve its objectives through normal political means"

Yes, and the Republican Party will probably continue to control the House for the rest of eternity, due to gerrymandering.
+39 # bingers 2013-08-31 12:11
The thing is, though, that the bad things the Democrats do is irrevocably tied to the need to raise funds to fight off the entirely corporate owned Republican party. If money were taken out of the equation, Democrats would be free to BE Democrats.

If Howard Dean had not made the remark about requiring the media to be honest they wouldn't have turned on him viciously and we would have had the best president since the two Roosevelts. Then none of the crap sandwich the Republicans have served up would be happening and the Patriot Act would now be history.
+28 # Billy Bob 2013-08-31 13:27
Great comment.

I agree. I'd still vote for Howard Dean. I hope the next Democratic Presidential primary is more hotly contested than the last two. True, Hillary acted tough against Obama in '08, but she wouldn't have been an improvement, and most of that "toughness" was just her unwillingness to concede.

Dean, Warren & Sanders could all be good candidates, in my opinion. Sanders would probably be the least electable. That said, I don't see the republican party putting up ANY electable candidates in the next few elections. Even Sanders, could probably beat anybody they have.

I imagine that if Dean was in the White House right now, perhaps the Democratic Party would be more eager to fight, in general. Maybe Democratic members of Congress are just hiding under his weakness, while he hides under theirs.

As much as Republicans have Congress tied up in knots, I think they could be fought, if there were Democrats willing to do the dirty work of embarrassing them and really getting in their face.

I think Dean is not only a good person, but also a strategic genius. I think he'd have a clue.

If we could combine his political intelligence, which Warren's domestic policy, and the foreign policy of someone like Barbara Lee, we'd have a serious presidential candidate.
+9 # Rain17 2013-08-31 15:18
Sorry but anyone running on the Barbara Lee agenda on foreign policy would be electorally dead on arrival. Americans aren't pacifists. That's the brutal truth.

Of the three that you mention, only Warren would have any chance of winning. She could possibly be a strong candidate, but she would probably need a more moderate VP candidate so that she could get votes outside of the east and west coasts.

I do think that Dean would have been a better candidate in 2004 than Kerry. I wanted Dean to run because, even though he might have still lost, he would have at least been more assertive than Kerry.

In 2016 I lean more to Hillary because, unlike Obama, I think she would have been more aggressive in dealing with the GOP. After all her husband had to deal with two government shutdowns.

However, most of the candidates that the majority of the RSN readership would want on a presidential ticket would lose badly. That's the brutal truth.
+6 # Billy Bob 2013-08-31 23:33
It's hard to say. The voting public is shifting hard to the left. Our politicians just don't seem to notice. In my opinion, the problem with Hillary is that she's even more of a hawk than Obama. Many Republicans would LOVE her.

Either way, I'm 99% sure she'll be the next president, so we'll see. I hope she's secretly more liberal than she lets on. Obama and Bill certainly weren't.
+2 # shraeve 2013-09-01 14:58
Hillary is a highly intelligent, totally mercenary, opportunistic sleaze. She stands for nothing except for getting into power, just like Romney. Can't we do any better than that?
+2 # Rain17 2013-09-01 17:33
Right now my preference is Hillary because, unlike President Obama, she and her husband are more willing to be aggressive against the GOP. I would gladly vote for her in the primary.
+6 # Billy Bob 2013-09-01 08:11
Your negative didn't come from me. You raise valid points. The political strategy we'd require to actually fix the mess we're would be no small task.

I hate when people get voted down for discussing strategy. I just gave you a positive to even it out.
+6 # shraeve 2013-09-01 14:56
Not totally accurate. Americans are not total pacifists, but they do not usually crave war, at least not in the past century.

Otherwise G.W. Bush would not have had to tell us the lie about weapons of mass destruction in order to get us into Iraq. He would not have had to invent the lie that it was necessary to completely transform Afghanistan in order to hunt down a terrorist. Obama would not have had to invent the lie that the putchists in Libya were actually representatives of the majority of Libyans. Obama must seek approval of the US Congress because a majority of Americans are reluctant to bomb Syria. LBJ would not have had to invent the Tonkin Gulf Attack on US ships.

In general the US people have to be deceived into getting involved in wars.
0 # Rain17 2013-09-01 17:34
But Barbara Lee is pretty out there in most of her views when you compare them to the larger US political system. A majority of Americans just doesn't share her views on many issues. She would be electorally nonviable if she ran for president. And any candidate running on that agenda would likely lose badly, let alone not even come close to winning the Democratic nomination.
+8 # jky1291 2013-08-31 15:39
I reiterate my "Dream Team". While there is an overpowering wealth of energetic young senators of both genders in the Democratic Party, not to mention Alan Grayson in the House, my dream would be that the party draft Independent Bernie Sanders for President with Elizabeth Warren for Vice President. With Elizabeth in the wings, Wall Street would make every effort to ensure the good health and long life of Senator Sanders. With a strong potential for 12 - 16 years of Progressive presidents this country could possibly celebrate its 250th birthday. But, without it 250 is in severe jeopardy, and there will certainly be little left to celebrate. Realistically, I am concerned that our wealth of excellent candidates will offset each other, much as the last crop of incompetents from the Republican Party gave each other the illusion of viability.
+5 # Rain17 2013-08-31 21:41
I'm sorry, but Sanders would be nonviable outside out of the NE and upper Pacific Coasts. Perhaps he could get the same electoral votes that Michael Dukakis received in 1988, but I don't see Sanders being viable on a national level.

Again, just because the RSN readership may like a certain candidate, that doesn't guarantee that he/she would have the necessary appeal to actually win an election. To be blunt most of the candidates that the RSN readers would want would be nonstarters with large segments of the electorate.
+1 # bmiluski 2013-09-03 08:55
That said, I don't see the republican party putting up ANY electable candidates in the next few elections.

They don't have to. They control the media.
+12 # Failed Republican 2013-08-31 15:34
Quoting Billy Bob:
the Republican Party will probably continue to control the House for the rest of eternity, due to gerrymandering.

That's their wet dream, of course. Mine too, until I came to my senses.
+8 # Billy Bob 2013-08-31 23:35
Welcome to the good guys team!
+78 # Ray Kondrasuk 2013-08-31 10:50
Sad truth.

My attempts to converse with Republican relatives or neighbors brings ever the same reaction: icy avoidance, or a torrid tell-off following the FOX News format of whoever talks the longest, fastest, loudest... wins.
+50 # Billy Bob 2013-08-31 13:31
You're a foot soldier. The fact that you're doing that, makes them realize the other side of the debate actually exists. They honestly think all non-Republicans are "black welfare mom's driving Cadillacs, etc."

Your willingness to deal with them personally forces them to rethink the strategy of constantly harping on and shouting about politics in public places. It also encourages other non-republicans to join in and be heard.

Thank You!

What you're doing is very difficult.
+30 # Ray Kondrasuk 2013-08-31 14:05
Kind words, Billy Bob.

I seldom get more than two sentences into a topic with my "rightie" sister before the barrage begins in return. We have differing views of "T-O"... to me, it's "talk over". To her it's "Tell off!"

Here... savor this case of self-fulfilling prophecy: her husband, a psychology major and Republican assemblyman in a neighboring state, has
at family gatherings (perhaps wisely) sidestepped my subtle queries.

So I gifted him a copy of Chris Mooney's
"The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science... and Reality", thinking that he'd find the attitude surveys and psychological testings worthy of a high-level academic discussion.

Under linings and margin markings indicate that he read about forty pages into it, then quietly returned it without comment.

I wanted to know why Republicans reject science... but he rejected it.
+12 # Rain17 2013-08-31 15:14
I work in a very conservative industry that doesn't attract many Democrats or liberals. Most of my friends tend to be conservative. When they bring up politics I usually, as soon as it becomes feasible, try to change the subject to something else. Every now and then, if I hear something flagrant, I'll correct it. But I usually just accept the fact that they are part of that other 40% of the country--and leave it at that.
+10 # Ray Kondrasuk 2013-08-31 18:48
You're truly a peacemaker, Rain. And you must have tender toes from walking on eggshells.

But I still believe in civility and factuality; it's just that I haven't yet found the right sized shoe spoon to let me squeeze in a response to my Gish-galloping sister.

If she'd just listen, perhaps I could stress the points on which we agree. And acknowledging the other side's facets never harms one's own credibility.
+5 # Rain17 2013-08-31 21:55
Ray, I'm not a "peacemaker" per se. I've just honestly come to a point in my life where I've had to accept that there are some people whose opinions will not change. I used to argue with my conservative friends all the time on various issues. But eventually I just came to the realization that, no matter how much "information" I share, no matter how many "facts" I explain to them, no matter what links I point them to, their opinions aren't going to change. And frankly it's a waste of time for me to expend any further effort with them. Much like how campaigns of both parties write off various segments of the electorate, I accept that they are part of that other 40-45% who will always vote Republican.

As for "walking on eggshells" I do that all the time. I work in a conservative industry that just doesn't attract many liberals. I often hear a lot of viewpoints with which I disagree. But at work, unless it is extremely flagrant, I usually stay out of those conversations or I change the subject to something nonpolitical like sports. I do that because, first of all, I'm there to work; and secondly, even if I tried to change their views, it would be a waste of time.

Continued in next post. . . .
+7 # Ray Kondrasuk 2013-09-01 07:45
Astute observation, Rain.

Chris Mooney mentions in his book... that's it's a liberal fallacy that simply ladling on more factual information will swing a conservative's opinion.


Al Gore quotes someone in his book "The Assault on Reason" with roughly these words: "But faith, blindfolded faith... once wed to some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last..."

Thus offers my "faithful" sister: "You believe what you want to believe, and I'll believe what I want to believe. Nothing you can say will make me change my mind!"

She's the most honest person I know.
+3 # Rain17 2013-09-01 17:37
And actually it's interesting you mention the "I'll believe what I want to believe statement". I was debating another topic with a right-wing friend on FB, showed actual facts that proved his argument wrong, and he responded with the "I'll believe what I believe" statement your sister used.
0 # Ray Kondrasuk 2013-09-03 13:39
Rain, that makes me think of "How not to apply for a job":


So tell me, what do you consider your
greatest liability?


My honesty.


Honesty? I don't think honesty is a


I don't give a damn what you think.
+2 # Rain17 2013-08-31 22:07
As for my conservative friends, when I'm visiting them, I usually avoid politics. I've gone over to friends' homes over the holidays where they've had Fox News on TV. I've had to sit over holiday meals where I heard comments about Democrats, President Obama, and liberals that I disagreed with. And I've usually been either noncommittal and polite. As soon as is feasibly possible I change the subject to something else. I don't debate with them because 1) I am a guest in their home; 2), being a guest in their home, it's not my place to be disagreeable or argumentative; and, 3) even if I tried to change their views, it would be a wasted effort. I accept that they're part of that other 40-45%.

As for your sister I think you may be better just acknowledging her viewpoints and then agreeing to disagree. I'd focus on areas of your life that you share in common because, based on what you've written, it's clear that you're unlikely to change her views. She may "listen" politely but she really has no interest in considering what you have to say. Any effort on your part to get her to "see the light" is likely to fail and frustrate you.

It's hard to do that. A lot of the time I have to step back and resist the temptation to argue, but I feel less frustrated than I used to.
+11 # Billy Bob 2013-09-01 09:51
It's pretty rude to have Fox News on when company is over. Don't they think anybody in the world disagrees with them? I turn off MSNBC if people come over and I don't know one way or another if they agree with me. In other words, the world SEEMS more conservative than it actually is, because conservatives are so mind-blowingly rude and abrasive, and liberals are intentionally polite.

I now avoid a particular doctor's office because they kept Fox News on all the time. I also noticed that no one in the waiting room was watching it or paying any attention to it at all.

The world is filled with closet liberals too afraid to speak up. This is why conservatives are caught off guard when they lose elections.
+2 # Rain17 2013-09-01 17:42
The way I see it, Billy Bob, is that I'm a guest in THEIR home. They have the right to have on whatever they want on TV. It's their home and their TV. I can choose whether to go there or not.

Now maybe you would say that I should simply not go over and visit. But I've been pretty much able to ignore politics. And because I work in a conservative industry I accept that most of my colleagues are likely to be right-wing. And a lot of the time I have to get along than confront them because I have to have a good working relationship with them.

As for a doctor's office, restaurant, or other business, if they have Fox News on, I'll definitely tell the manager that I would like the channel changed. I've done it before at restaurants and other stores. I've even gone as far as to write the corporate HQs of chains that air it in restaurants.

Had I been in the waiting room of that doctor I would mentioned something to the practice administrator and the doctor about it. I would have stated that not everyone likes Fox and that it likely turns off patients.

The bottom line is that restaurants and other businesses that serve the public generally don't want to alienate or offend customers. If they get feedback that some of their customers object to Fox, if they get enough complaints, they'll put something else on the TV.
+61 # reiverpacific 2013-08-31 10:56
As a "Dang Furriner" one factor seems to be missing from this otherwise comprehensive analysis. The disproportionat e, domineering, hold and power of the fundamentalist protestant evangelical churches, mega-churches and their mission centers such as the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, extending and penetrating well into the Beltway culture, exerting it's guilt-inducing influence with prayer breakfasts and shadowy collectives posing as churches to get cheap lodgings, like the 'C' Street "Family".
There is also a by-default element of old-fashioned racism inculcated in this almost separately-evol ved species and mindset, who detest the notion of public education for the grassroots they dominate -other than bible study-, as individual thought and questioning of entrenched power is considered dangerous.
Total conformity is the required mentality in Dixie!
The purging and increasingly required purity of reactionary thought and action, spread like a poison "By all means necessary" is reminiscent of the spread of Nazism in Germany and it's scorched earth, divide and conquer tactics.
At one time, I did a bit of adjunct teaching at the University of KY Ceramics Dep't, filling in until the new faculty head started. When he arrived and turned out to be very intelligent and capable -but black, I was gobsmacked when he was taken by the students to be a new janitor and addressed as such until I put them straight!
My experience is that it's really a different country folks!
+15 # Craig Jones 2013-08-31 12:18
Amen Brother.
+14 # Tje_Chiwara 2013-08-31 16:14
Characterizatio n of any group is a bad idea --- the South have plenty of people who are not "total conformity" with the alleged New South idiocracy --- politics is the art of turning a minority into a majority and superiority of some alleged "liberal" thinkers who decry the process are as evil as Repub gamers who succeeded in the system.

Mobilization has worked. Hard electoral work has succeeded. Don't let the great "intellectual" purists tell you any different. And get out the vote!
+4 # Rain17 2013-08-31 22:18
Yes voting is important. The reality is that the US political system is winner-take-all . It's not proportional like Israel, where even fringe parties can win a seat or two in the Knessett if they get maybe 2-3% of the vote. And yes that often does mean settling for "the less of two evils" or voting more "against" a candidate than for a candidate.

I find that most of the "purists" generally happen to be white, male, well-off, and with good health insurance. They are in good jobs and relative financial prosperity. Thus they can afford the luxury of throwing their votes away on candidates who have no chance of winning and support third-party candidates because they can afford the consequences. They can afford the luxury of "sending a message" because they are least likely to be impacted because, even if a Republican wins, their lives will be fine.

That's what I found most irritating about the celebrities who embraced Nader. They were going to fine irrespective of who won that election.
Their lives weren't going to change. It was everyone else who was going to pay the price for their "sending a message".
+5 # reiverpacific 2013-09-01 09:38
Quoting Tje_Chiwara:
Characterization of any group is a bad idea --- the South have plenty of people who are not "total conformity" with the alleged New South idiocracy --- politics is the art of turning a minority into a majority and superiority of some alleged "liberal" thinkers who decry the process are as evil as Repub gamers who succeeded in the system.

Mobilization has worked. Hard electoral work has succeeded. Don't let the great "intellectual" purists tell you any different. And get out the vote!

Have you ever lived in The South?
Actually I agree with you about trying not to use too broad a brush in painting the picture of an entire populace regionally or nationally, a fault many at RSN are guilty of occasionally, there ARE good and fairly progressive people in the South, even Texas -as witness Jim Hightower, the late Molly Ivins and Ann Richards and of course Willie Nelson but as I stated in my post here, there is a palpable feeling of being "different" and out of place if one is a true progressive, doesn't go to church regularly and ostentatiously and refuses to follow certain codes of behavior, like full conformity to the taken for granted status-quo and power structure in any given area.
I have a dear friend, a nationally and internationally respected artist in his medium who is a professor at The U of KY and is gay. He has to keep this totally under wraps or he'd be out on his ear in a heartbeat.
Again, it really IS like a different country.
+10 # tm7devils 2013-08-31 21:24
As always, religion trumps cluding rational and critical thinking.
+23 # 2013-08-31 11:04
One inevitability that Kim Messick did not address is what will happen when this is a minority nation? Won't the Republicans at last find it is time to change when they are constantly in the minority or after they have lost 20 years of national elections?
+5 # Rain17 2013-08-31 15:11
Demographics are an issue facing the GOP, but they won't really feel the brunt until the 2020s or later. I don't buy the "demographics is destiny" argument per se because there is no guarantee that minorities will continue to vote Democratic at the current rates that they do. That being said the GOP has not made any significant efforts to appeal to said demographics either.
+12 # James Smith 2013-08-31 11:14
It doesn't matter an iota about Republican or Democrat.

What real changes has Obama made. For all he has actually done, he could be George W. Bush's chosen successor.

It isn't as if any rational person still believes the USA is a free country. Think about it. No-warrant wire taps, indefinite detention of citizens without charges, approval of rendition of prisoners and torture, stop and frisk without probable cause, search and seizure without a warrant, no-knock entry, confiscation and destruction of cameras that might have been used to film police acting illegally, police brutality, police shootings that go without investigation, managed news, and the civil-rights destroying "Patriot" Act.

Acts of police behaving illegally, with shootings, Tasers, and unwarranted violence now appear almost daily. Rarely are these offenses punished. Most often "an investigation" is claimed, but soon forgotten.

In addition, the USA, with 5% of the world population, has 25% of all of the prisoners in the world. That means the USA has the most people in prison of any nation in history. Even by percentage of residents incarcerated, not just sheer numbers. USA is # 1!

 Does any of that sound like a free country?
+27 # fishskicanoe 2013-08-31 13:13
Many of those abuses of civil rights occurred with the blessing of the conservative dominated Supreme Court. To blame Obama for most of the actions in your list is not accurate. Until we get rid of one or more of the Gang of Five, the abuses will continue. Elect a Republican (Because it doesn't matter who is elected, right?) and that reign of right wing terror will only be extended.o
+2 # Rain17 2013-08-31 22:09
But more importantly than there are other issues that matter to many other people who don't have the luxury of throwing their votes away on the Green Party and other far left third party candidates who have no chance of winning.
+8 # Rain17 2013-08-31 15:10
Well, as a gay American and someone who lost a relative due to not having insurance, I think that he has done a reasonably good job. I suspect that you must be well off, straight, and have decent health insurance because you would then have the luxury of making such claims.
+40 # jon 2013-08-31 11:26
Yes, and doing away with the fairness in broadcasting act enabled Rupert Murdoch's creation of yell radio with Limbaugh, FOX news, etc.
0 # bmiluski 2013-09-03 09:03
And his control of over 90% of the media outlets in this country.
+20 # bigkahuna671 2013-08-31 11:38
Messick cracks me up. "...there is reason to suspect that the South's Democratic alliance was always a bit uneasy." Huh? Of course it was. Southerners may have voted Democrat in most elections, but in local elections, the Democrats they elected really didn't always support national Democrat policies. These Boll-Weevil Democrats supported anything that lined the pockets of Southern companies or paid for programs that benefited Southern regions. If it was for any other part of the country, they became intransigent and selfish. Gee, isn't that how they are now? So, yes, they called themselves "Democrats," but they were not true Democrats. They were the same selfish, racist rednecks they are now. Nothing new in what the author states. It's all been a part of the Southern political DNA for years.
-1 # FDRva 2013-09-01 03:09
Sorry, but FDR, a far better President than Barry Obama, was elected--with many of those kind of folk's votes.

While today's gay-green obsession may help the DNC fund-raise--fro m wealthy gays and greens--it does precious little for what used to be the mass base of the Democratic party--American s of all colors who work every-day for a living.

Given the Administration' s benevolent Bush-like, bail-em-out attitude towards Wall Street--a lot of working class Democrats--nort h and south--black and white--have little to inspire their confidence in the Democratic party national leadership.

And you cannot blame that dunce Boehner for that.
0 # reiverpacific 2013-09-02 19:54
Quoting FDRva:
Sorry, but FDR, a far better President than Barry Obama, was elected--with many of those kind of folk's votes.

While today's gay-green obsession may help the DNC fund-raise--from wealthy gays and greens--it does precious little for what used to be the mass base of the Democratic party--Americans of all colors who work every-day for a living.

Given the Administration's benevolent Bush-like, bail-em-out attitude towards Wall Street--a lot of working class Democrats--north and south--black and white--have little to inspire their confidence in the Democratic party national leadership.

And you cannot blame that dunce Boehner for that.

Excuse me but you don't have the luxury of a time-place machine.
FDR was elected in a time when separatism was still the status quo and taken as read.
Credible evidence please.
+22 # 2013-08-31 11:54
Interestingly, this is published just as President Obama has managed to bring Republicans and Democrats together in bipartisan opposition to his proposed Syrian strike. There are more Republicans in the coalition (and they include all libertarians, all tea partiers, and even a few neocons), but many of the more principled Democrats have joined them.

Let us give thanks that this bipartisan effort has been initiated and let us hope that they will be able to stop more American meddling.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusrtts
+1 # Tje_Chiwara 2013-08-31 16:23
Ah yes . . . but unfortunately the US Big Pharma is not adequately positioned to take advantage of a lifting of international ban on chemical weapons, those tasty weapons to control civilian populations in a rather quick, non-bloody, and non-destructive (to the infrastructure) way. Russia and several other countries will likely "profit" in their delivery of gas and technology to use it . . . . (and maybe we should just forget the foolish efforts to ban atomics and biologicals as well . . .) After all, why should "civilians" have the advantage of numbers??
+40 # David Starr 2013-08-31 11:56
Whatever faction controls the GOP is secondary compared to the GOP's nature itself.

The GOP has been a greedy, imperial, intolerant, ebb and flow racist, covertly-now, overtly- religiously fanatical "party" since the 1870s.

It's a matter of relentlessly opposing the "disease" itself and not just the "symptoms.
+1 # 2013-09-02 16:39
Quoting David Starr:
Whatever faction controls the GOP is secondary compared to the GOP's nature itself.

The GOP has been a greedy, imperial, intolerant, ebb and flow racist, covertly-now, overtly- religiously fanatical "party" since the 1870s.

It's a matter of relentlessly opposing the "disease" itself and not just the "symptoms.

I once heard that you can treat the disease all you want and fail. But if you treat the symptoms, you stand a better chance of defeating the disease.
0 # David Starr 2013-09-07 13:42 My last statement does say or imply that. Maybe it's the choice of words being used in my post.

Quote: It's a matter of relentlessly opposing the "disease" itself and not just the "symptoms.
+63 # Regina 2013-08-31 11:59
Those of us who have been around for most of a century on this planet recognize the trend: Fascism. It may take longer in the U.S. than it did in Germany, but the process is unmistakable.
+9 # bingers 2013-08-31 12:16
Why would any sane person see the death of the Republican party as a bad thing, as long as the Democrats are prevented from becoming as corrupt as the Republicans. And as we can see, they have reverted back into the racist Whig party they descended from.
+4 # Rain17 2013-08-31 22:20
But the GOP is hardly "dead". Yes they've lost three out of the last five presidential elections and only won the popular vote in 2004, but they still control the House. They control the majority of Governorships and state legislatures, where some of the most damaging policies are being enacted. They also have a majority on the Supreme Court.

So I disagree that the GOP is "dead". They may have lost a few presidential elections recently and some Senate races, but they are far from dead.
-1 # kyzipster 2013-09-01 10:33
Democrats are as corrupt as Republicans, that's why nothing changes in any significant way. Corporations and the military control all of Congress and the White House.

Democrats are much more sane and civilized in public so we keep voting for them.
+29 # kyzipster 2013-08-31 12:20
Today, Democrats are the urban party and Republicans are rural. This is as true in the South as in the rest of the country. We have an urban/rural divide, the red/blue state divide is a bit of an illusion. Almost every single urban area in the South and across the nation votes 'blue' in national elections, every rural area 'red'.

I don't buy that this is all about civil rights and racist southerners. Of course Republicans are guilty of appealing to racists but today they use LGBT rights and resentment of immigrants and others to advance their cause in all 50 states.

I grew up in the South, there was not a major shift to the Republican side until the Reagan years and this happened across the nation. The only regions that have remained solidly liberal are states with very large urban areas, NY and CA. States with small cities are red, purple states like OH and PA have split populations.

Reaganomics and the culture of greed is what has changed the country so dramatically. It was embraced in all 50 states to some degree after the landslide election of Reagan. With the economic collapse of 2008, everything has changed, I believe it marked the end of this 30 year conservative era. Republicans are a sad joke today because they can no longer run on tax cuts and deregulation and expect to be taken seriously and that seems to be the sum total of their economic ideology.
+6 # Rain17 2013-08-31 15:08
The GOP Presidential era lasted from 1968 through 1992, when they won five out of six presidential elections. 1992 marked the turning point into the current area, although I guess, you could also say that Clinton was a "minority interruption" because Bush did get two terms afterward.

But what caused GOP presidential fortunes to founder was their erosion of support in the suburbs of cities like Chicago, LA, Philadelphia, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Baltimore/Washi ngton. Once those suburbs trended toward the Democrats, the GOP lost IL, CA, PA, NJ, CT, and MI. With those states gone it was a different presidential map.
+6 # Billy Bob 2013-09-01 08:13
Bush stole 2000, and probably stole 2004 (with Ohio).
+3 # TrueAmericanPatriot 2013-09-01 15:32
Quoting Billy Bob:
Bush stole 2000, and probably stole 2004 (with Ohio).

I live in Ohio Bob; he and Karl Rove DID STEAL Ohio in 2004. Word was that Kerry was pushed to concede since he and Bush both belong to the Skull & Bones.
+5 # kyzipster 2013-09-01 10:19
I think that Reagan laid the foundation for the current era. Eventually Democrats were proudly calling themselves "Reagan Democrats", of course Reagan would be thrown out of the GOP for being a RINO today.

I see it more about ideology than about political party.
0 # Rain17 2013-09-01 17:47
Part of the problem is that the Democrats who ran for president in 1972, 1980, 1984, and 1988, who ran on more liberal platforms than both Clinton and Obama, lost in crushing landslides. Those nominees lost more than 40 states; the 1972 and 1984 nominees lost 49 states.

You can say that perhaps McGovern, Carter, Mondale, and Dukakis were bad candidates. And they clearly were. Carter seems to have been the victim of bad luck, as no incumbent would have won in 1980. But it was clear that, by the late 1980s, America just wasn't buying the liberalism that the losing Democrats of that era offered.

Yeah you are right that the modern GOP would consider Reagan a sell-out, but that's probably a statement of how extreme the Republicans have become.
+4 # kyzipster 2013-09-02 10:10
I'm not trying to argue with your points but on almost every single issue that Republicans label 'liberal', voters support Democrats in a solid majority if polls are to be believed. Protecting the environment, moving to renewable energy, reasonable regulation of corporations to protect consumers, investors and workers, Medicare & SS; voters support so called 'socialism'. Even on welfare which most Republicans seem to resent, most will admit that the very poor need assistance. They've been convinced that the system is corrupt even though there's no evidence to support that this is true in any significant way.

It's simply a propaganda war and Republicans are masters. Countless people vote on guns, abortion, LGBT rights, immigration issues despite the fact that they agree with progressives on most economic issues. The culture war has been created by and for the Republicans, it's a continuation of their Southern Strategy. Thankfully, all of their lies seem to be collapsing. The more extreme their rhetoric becomes, the more they're exposed.
+1 # Rain17 2013-09-02 14:37
And you make an interesting point. Economic issues aren't the only factors that voters consider. One of the phrases I wish liberals would stop using is "voting against their own best interests" because it is patronizing because, ultimately, who are we to tell others what their "interests" should be? The phrase also sounds elitist.

You are right that, when asked in the abstract about various issues, most people support liberal positions. When you follow up with concrete proposals, however, support often drops.

And the other problem is that, if the voters really wanted what McGovern, Carter, Mondale, and Dukakis offered, they wouldn't have rejected them by landslide margins. That's the brutal truth.
+3 # kyzipster 2013-09-02 16:21
We're living with what Republicans since Reagan have had to offer and people on both sides are disgusted with the outcome.

I don't see weak Democratic candidates as proof that progressive ideas are flawed or unpopular. I think it has more to do with the skill of the conservative side in winning voters over with social issues which they can do little about. Congress will never try to make abortion illegal, deport millions of illegal workers, take more rights away from LGBT people, etc. When they have had the power to do so, they never do anything about the welfare system, it would be political suicide to take welfare benefits away from the poorest in society. Bush tried to privatize Social Security and failed miserably, even with a Republican controlled Congress.

The culture war is a smoke screen to cover their economic agenda that does work against the interests of working class and middle class conservatives. It sounds patronizing to say so, especially when interpreted by Fox News, but it's the truth and eventually the truth does prevail.
+31 # geraldom 2013-08-31 12:41
I don't understand why there are people out there who continue to think that the Republican Party is self-destructin g. They are stronger now they they were in the past. In my opinion, I think that it is the Democratic Party that is self-destructin g, and for the following reasons:

o All elections in the U.S. are now controlled and determined by e-voting machines that are designed, manufactured, and programmed by private firms who generally favor the Republican Party, not by the ballot box.

o As a result of the massive losses by the Dems in the 2010 midterm elections, the Repubs have successfully gerrymandered their states almost guaranteeing a Republican win in Congress.

o The court systems in this country have all but been taken over by people who are more politicians than they are judges and who generally favor the Republican agenda. This is the major reason why Gore lost to Bush in 2000. The five Republican judges on SCOTUS at the time made a political decision, not one based on the Constitution.

o With the death of the Voting Rights Act by a Republican SCOTUS, the Republican-cont rolled states are hard at work passing laws that will massively suppress the Democratic vote, and there is now nothing to stop them from doing it.

In the simplest possible terms, the electoral (or voting process) in the United States has all but been taken out of the hands of the average U.S. citizen.
+11 # Rain17 2013-08-31 15:05
Well, had the left not stayed home, the 2010 elections might not have been the complete disaster that they were for the Democrats. Although the GOP would still have won, perhaps the loss would not have been as devastating.

As for the voting machine conspiracies, if they were programmed for the Democrats to lose, why didn't Romney win? Why did the Democrats have good cycles in 2006, 2008, and 2012? Wouldn't the machines have "programmed" Republican wins?

What I think the real issue is that some of you don't want to accept that the voters sometimes do pick Republicans in close elections.
+7 # Tje_Chiwara 2013-08-31 16:27
Right on! The conspiracy nuts are as dangerous as conservative slugs because they discourage the fight to make the system work as designed. And it is a good system but, as Martin declared, you must fight to make it work!
-1 # FDRva 2013-09-01 03:35
The author has a point.

Voters do sometimes elect Wall Street-financed right-wingers-- Barack Obama comes to mind.

Has he started a war with Russia--over Syria--yet??
+2 # Billy Bob 2013-09-01 08:15
They can only steal so many votes. It still won't undo a landslide.
+10 # anarchteacher 2013-08-31 12:49
This author left out one of the crucial factors concerning today's GOP -- the role of the intelligence community in creating an artificial "conservative movement" and the subsequent contagion of the Republican Party by these neocons.

A key element of these CIA operations (such as Operation Mockingbird) were covert front groups and foundations using media manipulation and propaganda to project American imperial power and hegemony.

The original grassroots "Old Right" non-interventio nist opposition to the welfare/warfare state of FDR's New Deal and Truman's Fair Deal was besieged by intelligence operatives before and after WWII.

This hostile campaign continued with the birth of the National Security State in 1947 and the Cold War. Soon was launched a "New Right," A CIA-created phony "conservative movement" to silence and destroy any remnants of the Old Right

In addition to the 1968 Nixon presidential campaign "Southern Strategy" realignment outlined by the author, the neocon infiltration began. The GOP has been a captive of this contagion ever since.
+2 # FDRva 2013-09-01 04:00
Which right-wing intell op made Wall Street's (and the Chicago Board of Trade's) Barack aka Barry Obama President?

Whatever its code-name, Wall Street has profited handsomely from it.

And no Democrat dare question it, lest he or she be dubbed a racist.

While Wall Street's "finest" were too dumb to avoid a crash--they were smart enough to rig the US political system in their favor.

But they remain too dumb to avoid another bigger crash.
+10 # TCinLA 2013-08-31 13:09
There have always been three political parties in this country: the national progressive party, the national conservative party and the Southernist party. The national progressives and conservatives are fairly evenly-matched, so the Southernist party has always alllied itself with whichever of them would respect Southern "partiularity" and leave the South alone, thus giving that party a national majority. The Southernist party is essentially a parasite.

After the "treason" of the Democrats over civil rights, the Southernists moved to the Republican Party, but this time they were determined there would be no treason, because they would take control. We all know what happens to the host when a parasite attempts to take it over.

The Southernist party has always been the party of war and genocidal nationalism. This is due to the South being founded politically and socially by the Barbadian Pirates after they were driven out of the Caribbean and ended up in Charleston in 1712. The piratical world view of "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine if I want it", coupled with the white supremacy they injected through their policies towards their slaves, has infused all bad parts of American history ever since.

We should have burned South Carolina to the ground and then salted the earth in 1865 when we could have, as Rome destroyed its enemy Carthage, as an example to the rest of the inbred morons of what awaited their further stupidity.
-5 # FDRva 2013-09-01 02:24
Erudite, in a spaced-out, pot-smoker kind of way.

(I oppose the death penalty--except for possession of marijuana.)

Pot smokers cannot remember the brains they have lost. (They all swear it did not affect them--all evidence to the contrary.)

And the pseudo-intellec tual babble above confirms that point.

Give up dope, and re-join the debate 'TCinLA.'
+13 # Rain17 2013-08-31 15:02
I disagree with this article; the GOP is hardly "dead". They control the House and a majority of the Governorships. While they have lost three out of the last five presidential elections, and only have won the popular vote in one presidential election, they have won elsewhere. So I wouldn't call them "dead".

But if I had to pin the date when the GOP "moderates" lost I would label the 1992 GOP Convention in Houston. When I saw Pat Robertson, Vice President Quayle, and Pat Buchanan speak, I was shocked. Prior to then the GOP was conservative, but still seemed reasonable and willing to negotiate. That GOP that emerged in Houston shocked me and that was very much the turning point if you were to ask me.
+11 # Failed Republican 2013-08-31 15:39
Yes, that was when they brought in the clowns, which have now been replaced with psychos, such as the Canadian Texas senator.
+4 # Rain17 2013-08-31 22:11
And what's even telling today is that the ones who shifted the GOP to the right in that era, such as Newt Gingrich, are now considered "too moderate". Dole and Gingrich may have been conservative, but they were willing at least to negotiate some deals and pass routine budget bills after they realized that shutting down the government hurt them.
+4 # Grout4cake 2013-08-31 21:39
You can hardly call the GOP dead when a black Democratic president uses the discourse of deficits instead of jobs, works to undo the New Deal and puts Monsanto in charge of the FDA,the head of GE in charge of jobs and picks who to assassinate daily by lottery
+3 # FDRva 2013-09-01 02:05
Very good point.

Establishment Dems would be unwise to gloat, however.

If the Democratic Party continues its Obama-era love affair with all things Wall Street, it will find itself in a worse predicament--so oner rather than later.

And Democratic voters tend to be less forgiving when they figure out they have been had.
+6 # Gere 2013-08-31 17:21
We need to take the county back from the bribbers and the bribbed who now run every part of our Federal government. It's going to take a lot of work. Our reward is seeing our efforts make a difference slowly but surely changing our country back into the one our greatgrand parents left to us.

We end feeding it. That's all, just end feeding it. We stop buying anything not made in our own community. We produce all of our energy including transportation fuel. We use a common credit card to trade and pay far less taxes. We help entrepreneurs build up the small businesses we need. We never buy anthing from the corporate giants. We team together to make it happen. No more complaining - just action.
0 # FDRva 2013-09-01 03:13
Pot smokers cannot remember the brains they have lost.
+2 # FDRva 2013-09-01 01:42
The 'death of the Republican Party' looks more like a murder-suicide- -when one considers how wedded to Wall Street the national Democratic party has become in the Obama-Bush bailout years.

And how much what used to be called rank-and-file Democrats hate their putative 'leaders.'

The party is over--in both parties.
+6 # vicentenc 2013-09-01 03:54
The article is one of the best I have come across on the death of the GOP. But it was not complete. Not once did you mention the number one and biggest motivating factor as to why they do what they do. I say this with all due respect but 'white' people do not like to write or read (especially when they have personal feeling on the subject) about racism. White people, especially poor and insecure people that you have in the So. do not like Blacks. So consciously or sub-consciously this has been the number one factor on why the GOP does what it does and now it is back-firing on them.
+8 # modernjacobin 2013-09-01 13:15
It's ironic to think how "radical Republicans" of the 1850s and 60s were the Green Party of their day, comprised of the minority of Americans most opposed to slavery and most vigilant about ensuring that freed slaves had their rights.

Of course, today's radical Repugs are a complete opposite and total disgrace to their legacy. For once, we can agree with Bob Dole on something: please shut down the Repug party for a year and make them think! I say it will take more than a year for such to happen:)

The problem w/ our nation is that so many been brainwashed over the last 40 years to think that "liberal" is un-American--fo rgetting that that is indeed our greatest legacy, starting from the American Rev.

The 1% and GOP, in their desire to control everything, have taught lower class whites to hate minorities. They are told to HATE blacks, because they are "abusing welfare." They are told to HATE Asians because they are stealing your jobs abroad. And to HATE Hispanics for public assistance and stealing jobs.

In all of this, the 1% and GOP never mentions that it is the biggest depleter of taxes as they consistently underpay, enjoying a bounty of only 15% taxes on their capital gains. Company expenses are always written off so that their AMEX is little more than a fancy EBT card. Nor does the 1% acknowledge outsourcing, which is why more jobs are being sent to Asia. Or their own complicity in hiring "illegals."

If there is anyone to be hated, it is the power-hungy 1%.
+4 # jky1291 2013-09-01 16:11
No!, don't hold back Modernjacobin, tell us what you really think! Unfortunately, you have hit the nail squarely on the head, if only the same could be said about the Republicans.
+5 # fredboy 2013-09-01 15:16
Modern politics are built on and fueled by hatred, deceit, selfishness, and treachery. The resulting implosion is no surprise. If you get in bed with a rattlesnake, you will likely be bitten.
+4 # Renter1 2013-09-01 23:59
Good analysis as far as it goes, but it overlooks the role of money and the plutocracy in the takeover of the Republican party. Part of the reason that primary challenges from the teaparty have been so effective is that these candidates can almost always find a billionaire or very well heeled PACs to back them. Cause no matter how crazy they are in other respects, they are all uniformly for deregulation, privatization, getting rid of unions, etc. The 1% love these guys.

In contrast, in the Democratic party it's the blue dog corporatist types, generally incumbent, who get the big corporate money. Progressives are chronically underfunded, which makes it much harder for them to mount challenges to the party establishment. Despite the fact that their policy ideas are not only saner, but more widely popular than virtually anything coming from the right.

How to facilitate real progressives re-capturing the Democratic party?
0 # WestWinds 2013-09-02 21:22
What is really happening is that the money addicts are selecting people who are mentally deficient; sociopathic, and putting them in charge of the ongoing acquisition of money (because of their lack of empathetic motive for fellow human beings,) as we perpetuate the money chase as our one and only vultural and societal raison d'tre. It is not the political parties or race or any other excuse for aberrant behavior. When taken down to its least common denominator, it is the addiction of a few who have managed to brainwash the culture (through advertising) into thinking that abusing each other for profit is a valid cultural model. Please go to Netflix and watch Zeitgeist Moving Forward and then pass it on!
0 # mjc 2013-09-03 10:05
Great analysis and understanding of the American political system. Have been posting for some time the conclusion of the author, i.e., that we are witnessing the death of the Republican Party as we have known it for sixty years. Any group, any party that takes on only a few issues restricted to a small proportion of the electorate will ultimately die because of the lack of oxygen from new ideas or challenges. The Green Party(ies) are a good example of this. While many Americans applaud the goals of the "green movement", the movement has no other conditions to sell, in foreign policy or on domestic social issues. The Tea Party leaders AND their followers tend to avoid any sort of compromise in a variety of issues. They are the choir that the true conservatives, neo cons, have preached to. Politics IS the art of compromise but if you can't compromise you are left with your pure, and unsubstantiated , list of who SHOULD vote and who SHOULDN'T, a sermon, a bible for the saved. And anything goes if you are aspiring to be one of the saved or one of the saviors. The only government permitted is a totalitarian one. Those standing in the way are disdained and ignored. BUT those are the people of the opposition who can take complete advantage of the backsliders, the "sinners" and overcome their place on the ladder of society.
0 # Farmerboy 2013-09-03 12:06
There is value in reading Colin Woodard's book "American Nations." Using Colorado as an example, if Yankeedom can cultivate a new alliance with the Far West, the Deep South and its allies would have difficulty ever re-gaining control of the White House and perhaps the Senate.

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