Monday, July 25, 2016

A Republican Intellectual Explains Why the Republican Party is Going to Die

Vox writes A Republican intellectual explains why the Republican Party is going to die

Avik Roy is a Republican’s Republican. A health care wonk and editor at Forbes, he has worked for three Republican presidential hopefuls — Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio. Much of his adult life has been dedicated to advancing the Republican Party and conservative ideals."

Roy isn’t happy about this: He believes it means the Democrats will dominate national American politics for some time. But he also believes the Republican Party has lost its right to govern, because it is driven by white nationalism rather than a true commitment to equality for all Americans. “Until the conservative movement can stand up and live by that principle, it will not have the moral authority to lead the country,” he told me.

His history of conservatism was a Greek tragedy. It begins with a fatal error in 1964, survived on the willful self-delusion of people like Roy himself, and ended with Donald Trump.

“The fact is, today, the Republican coalition has inherited the people who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — the Southern Democrats who are now Republicans,” Roy says. “Conservatives and Republicans have not come to terms with that problem.”

Yet Republican intellectuals have long denied this, fabricating a revisionist history in which Republicans were and always have been the party of civil rights. In 2012, National Review ran a lengthy cover story arguing that the standard history recounted by Roy was “popular but indefensible.”

This revisionism, according to Roy, points to a much bigger conservative delusion: They cannot admit that their party’s voters are motivated far more by white identity politics than by conservative ideals.

“Conservative intellectuals, and conservative politicians, have been in kind of a bubble,” Roy says. “We’ve had this view that the voters were with us on conservatism — philosophical, economic conservatism. In reality, the gravitational center of the Republican Party is white nationalism.”

A week ago I linked to this FiveThirtyEight article, The End Of A Republican Party. I didn't pull quote this, but it's what's stuck with me most from the article:

[ contributor Ben] Howe’s theory for the racial animus of Trump supporters boils down to simple attrition: “Everybody who was reasonable seems to have gone home in 2012,” he said. Romney’s loss in 2012 discouraged many of the once-energized fiscal conservative activists.

“This isn’t the most artful way to say it, but it’s like, where do you go when the only people who seem to agree with you on taxes hate black people?” Howe laughed ruefully. “I think what you do is you say, ‘Well, I may lose but I can’t align myself with them.’”

But instead, Howe said, he made moral compromises he regrets.

“There are some things that I don’t have core values about, that I can be negotiable on, compromise on. But then there are other things that I can’t budge on,” he said. “I think I thought I had to budge on some things: ‘Yeah, this guy talking to me right now just said he agrees with my taxes and also we need to get that Kenyan out of office.’ Why did I stand there and say, ‘Yeah’? You know? I shouldn’t have done that. I should’ve said, ‘Wait, what? No, that’s stupid. You’re stupid. Don’t be stupid.’”

My thought is that when faced with this conundrum you should perhaps question your tax position, maybe there's something racist about it? I'm glad that some conservative intellectuals are seeing the Republican for what it is, but honestly where have they been? They've been on Fox News, have they never watched it? Did they never listen to or read any criticism of the Republican party? Did they never hear of the birther movement or see its at least tacit support by Fox News (let alone any conservative talk radio)? They must have seen President Bush repeat that Islam is not our enemy, who did they think he was talking to?

I've long said that I'm willing to debate conservative positions on things, but the Republican party platforms and policies were crazy (climate change is not a hoax, inflation is in fact low, Obamacare has not destroyed America and is lowering the deficit, maybe more guns isn't the solution, BlackLivesMatter doesn't mean BlueLivesDon't, their budgets don't add up, people don't choose to be gay and therefore deserve equal rights, tort reform alone won't fix healthcare access, etc.) I've also said that the Republican intellectuals, like Reihan Salam, David Brooks, Ross Douthat, and George Will don't actually describe what the Republican Party represents. Nice to see that some of them are realizing this, but forgive me if I still reserve some judgement on their future pronouncements, their track record still isn't great.

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