Sunday, September 16, 2012
What Happens to Republicans Next
Over on Facebook I posted to a friend about how the Republican Party is in it's final death throes, and she asked me what they'll be replaced with; suggesting that maybe a party will form on the left to replace the Republicans. But that's just wishful thinking, as a split on the right isn't going to lead to a new party on the left. Here's what I wrote.
I don't know. Because I just don't see the Republican Party vanishing. I think we'll always have them, and it just depends upon whether the crazies drive out the Establishment types or if the Establishment types can kick out the crazies. I mean, the crazies *really* should have moved to the Constitution Party, which fits them better anyway. But since they haven't already gone, they might just refuse to move on and will sink their talons into the Republican Party forever.
And in that case, the Establishment Republicans will have to form their own party from the middle. But if they can successfully kick out the crazies, they'll still have their own party from the middle. And in no case will this lead to the left being able to start anything, because this is all a split among rightwingers and doesn't affect us at all.
As for what happens with the left, the problem is that there are two types of people who are disgruntled on the left: People who are upset that our outcomes aren't as liberal as they'd like and those who truly want radical things, like the end of the banking industry and capitalism as a whole. Because that's the thing, there really *are* people who hate capitalism on the left and those are some of Obama's firmest critics. And while they keep their focus on the same stuff that any liberal might complain about, their true objective is something I can't agree with at all. And I know this because I've debated such people and they insist that I'm a conservative shill because I support capitalism in any form.
And the truly radical will *NEVER* be satisfied, nor will they ever be part of any effective political party, because they're nutballs and the vast majority of Americans will reject this. And frankly, I think they like it better this way, as they have no real practical solutions and are really just trying to show their ideological purity and will be dissatisfied with any real world solutions because it betrays their ideological leanings entirely. This is why the OWS movement couldn't come up with practical solutions, because they weren't a proper political movement. They were individuals who were upset in general, but their specific solutions weren't compatible and since these are people who reject compromise on principle; they've effectively removed themselves from politics entirely. Politics requires compromise, period.
But what will happen with the others is that the reasonable ones on the leftier side will have even more sway over the Democratic Party and push it further to the left than it currently is, while the other ones will head for whatever group forms in the middle after the Republicans split; which very well could be the Republican Party. And this would basically put things back to where they were before the Reagan Revolution upset everything and lurched the country to the right.
And all this is good and proper. From the 30's-70's, we really *were* doing lots of bigtime liberal changes and maybe things went too far too fast. And the 80's-90's was the backlash to that, giving America a breather from an unrelenting push for new liberal policies; some of which really weren't good ideas. And had 9/11 not happened, the 00's should have been part of the move back towards sanity, though that obviously didn't happen. Remember, Compassionate Conservativism was their antidote for hardcore conservatives, so they could push the Republican Party more liberal without angering the conservatives. That obviously went out the window once they started dreaming of a Republican Dynasty after 9/11, which is why Republicans ended up further to the right than ever.
So long story short, you're still going to have fringe lefties who stay outside any group with real political power, because such people abhor politics and reject the very nature of democracy (though they adamantly deny this). And the big difference is that the fringe righties will once again join them on the outskirts of either party, thus negating their ability to tip the scales towards the far right. And we'll be back with two relatively liberal parties debating how liberal we should be.
And so in the grand scheme of things, what we saw was a huge push into liberalism leading into the 20th century and accelerating during the Great Depression and post-WWII period. Then it stopped for a few decades as we took a break and started weeding out bad policies (as well as many good ones we needed). And once the crazies on the right finally get marginalized, we'll go back on path towards more liberalism; which is what we've been seeing already.
This isn't obvious on the day-to-day interactions, but this is how history will remember all this. No one will remember the specific compromises Obama made or minor strategic blunders. What they'll remember is the end result, just as we ourselves gloss over all the in-fighting all previous generations endured before arriving at the outcomes we all know about. History only looks like a smooth path in hindsight, but every generation assumes that their fighting is worse than it's ever been. But that's just because things up close always look bigger than they do at a distance.