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Are the Republicans Beyond Saving?

This keenly written essay by Elizabeth Drew from the New York Review of Books is worth a read.   For democracy to function well in any nation there must be at least two viable political parties who can reach compromises on certain issues and achieve effective government.  The Republican Party is now marginalised and operates in the interests of a lunatic fringe.  US democracy is suffering.

Update: Yes, and as John Mashey points out to me: The tobacco lobby & the Koch Brothers created the Tea Party!!!!!!!

From DeSmogBlog it is clear that climate change denialism and support for Big Tobacco go nicely together.  Here’s John’s posting.

And here is Brendan Demelle’s parallel take on it.

And you thought the Tea Party supporters were just part of a grassroots tax revolt that began in 2009. Ha Ha…….loonies on a mission. Is our own Catallaxy similarly infected? Its authors have the pro-tobacco, climate denialist IPA backing them and this does receive funding from tobacco and mining companies.


7 comments to Are the Republicans Beyond Saving?

  • Yes Harry it is highly disturbing.

    I had high hopes that people such as Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty would provide the Republicans with a good future but they fell down badly when ‘confronted’ with high level ‘red button’ topics.

    I am just wondering when people will wake up to the fact the tea party types weakened the Republicans.

    They lost the vote for the Presidency, the Senate and the House!

  • Savvas Tzionis

    I am sorry, but I have heard all these predictions before.

    Lets wait and see what happens at the Congressional Elections in 2 years. If the Republicans implode (and offer the Democrats a chance to finally reverse the right wing direction that country has been heading in for the last thirty years), THEN there may be some validity in this theory.

  • Jim Rose

    let’s see. the GOP won back the house in 2010 and did an OK in 2012. in 2008, the democrats thought they were back in for a long time.

    The GOP has consistently won close to half or more of the American electorate except when Perot was running. The last democratic presidential landslide was LBJ.

    Now the democrats hope to coast to victory on demographics.

    Notions of identity and political affiliations and parties can change dramatically. It assumes ethnic minorities will continue to identify and vote as ethnic minorities.

    This forgets history. The Democrats controlled congress for most years from 1932 to 1994. The republicans have done well in congress for most of the time since then.

    Consider the 19th and early 20th century mass immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe:
    • Initially outsiders, they aligned with the political party that most identified with their concerns in the 4th party system between 1896 and 1932.
    • As these Southern and Eastern European migrants rose out of the working-class and joined the middle class, they assimilated fully into American life.
    • Their political preferences were now those of whites — less dependent on their racial or ethnic traits than on factors like education, wealth, and geography.

    People drift to the right as their incomes increase and as they age.


  • Rubio was embarrassing. Thus we still are seeing ‘sensible’ Republicans saying rubbish to comfort their so-called supporters.

    very sad.

  • derrida derider

    The combination of the primary system and the right of incumbents to effectively draw their own electoral boundaries means that once a fringe reaches a critical size within a US party it is very hard to shift, even if it is creating a chronic barrier to the party it’s in getting majorities. Historically its actually been the Democrats who’ve suffered most from this effect, but you’re right that its currently the Republicans.

    Eventually, though, they get sick of losing and (again historically) the grownups in the party (ie those acquainted with median voter theory) will do some rather undemocratic things to break the fringe’s hold.

  • Jim Rose

    DD, parties like to win and learn from errors.

    The Dems put up McGovern in 1972 and lost. They learned and put up Carter and won. They lost with Dukakis in 1988 so they put up a southern moderate in 1992.

    Most of the GOP primary voters main focus in 2012 was a candidate that could beat Obama. That is why they voted for Mitt with gritted teeth.

    The ideas of primaries was the break the control of party machines that ruled both parties. A majority of delegates were chosen by state conventions and caucuses until the 1970s

    Primary elections have doubled the electoral scrutiny a typical American politician must endure. In open-seat contests, competition remains robust in primaries.

  • derrida derider

    Yes, Jim, but the point is that the median voter in a primary election is not the median voter in a general election. Hence the familiar pattern of rabblerousing on the Right (for Repubs) or Left (for Dems) in the primaries and then “clarifying” all the crazy things you said just as soon as you’ve secured the nomination.

    Whereas in the old system of deals in smoke-filled rooms the point of the deal was to get a candidate who was electable in the general election – the party bosses, as you say, do not like losing the spoils of office.

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