Monday, July 18, 2016

GOP Retrospection

I guess the morning of the Republican National Convention is the day to publish articles describing how we got here.

Matthew Yglesias wrote in Vox (with drawings) How Donald Trump won

McKay Coppins wrote in BuzzFeed, Confessions of a Dishonest Slob: How The Haters Got Trump This Close To The White House.

Trump’s tirades against the “donor puppets” would become one of the most compelling elements of his primary campaign message — that of the blue-collar billionaire who couldn’t be bought. ... Nunberg later confessed to me that Trump’s principled stand against the corrupt donor class was little more than lucky spin. “The truth is, he would have raised money if he could have … Donald never had any intention of self-financing.”

Clare Malone wrote in FiveThirtyEight wrote The End Of A Republican Party. "Racial and cultural resentment have replaced the party’s small government ethos."

The shock of 2016, though, is just how self-evident the inflection point at which the Republican Party finds itself is; Trump is a one-man crisis for the GOP. The party has been growing more conservative and less tolerant of deviations from doctrine over the past decades, so what does it mean that a man who has freely eschewed conservative orthodoxy on policy is now the Republicans’ standard-bearer?

Many have assumed that adherence to a certain conservative purity was the engine of the GOP, and given the party’s demographic homogeneity, this made sense. But re-evaluating recent history in light of Trump, and looking a bit closer at this year’s numbers, something else seems to be the primary motivator of GOP voters, something closer to the neighborhood of cultural conservatism and racial and economic grievance rather than a passion for small government.

Taking a longer view, Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann wrote in Vox The Republicans waged a 3-decade war on government. They got Trump.

We did not advance our argument about asymmetric polarization lightly. We had worked closely with members of both parties and are not unaware of the issues and divisions inside the Democratic Party. But we had seen the GOP go from a problem-solving center-right party to a problem-solving very conservative party — and then evolve into an obstructionist party intent on appeasing extreme forces inside and outside Congress.

The last two both end with sections that try to foresee what a post Trump GOP looks like and it's not pretty. "The prospect that the GOP leaders wouldn’t even be able to agree on why Trump — arguably the worst crisis the modern party has experienced — was even a crisis to begin with, seemed to say it all. “There is no happy ending to this story,” she said."

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