What is the Republican Party

Really love this Tom Friedman column because it makes a point I’ve made many times myself:

Finally, if Trump presides over a devastating Republican defeat across all branches of government, the G.O.P. will be forced to do what it has needed to do for a long time: take a time out in the corner. In that corner Republicans could pull out a blank sheet of paper and on one side define the biggest forces shaping the world today — and the challenges and opportunities they pose to America — and on the other side define conservative, market-based policies to address them.

Our country needs a healthy center-right party that can compete with a healthy center-left party.  Right now, the G.O.P. is not a healthy center-right party. [emphases mine]

Amen!  I also do love how Friedman characterized the GOP we have today:

It is a mishmash of religious conservatives; angry white males who fear they are becoming a minority in their own country and hate trade; gun-control opponents; pro-lifers; anti-regulation and free-market small-business owners; and pro- and anti-free trade entrepreneurs.

The party was once held together by the Cold War. But as that faded away it has been held together only by renting itself out to whomever could energize its base and keep it in power — Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party, the National Rifle Association. But at its core there was no real common dominator, no take on the world, no real conservative framework.

The party grew into a messy, untended garden, and Donald Trump was like an invasive species that finally just took over the whole thing.

While I do still think it likely Trump will lose, I quite doubt we’ll get the “devastating Republican defeat” that Friedman suggests (and I agree) is needed to bring about genuine change in the Republican party.  I fear we’re stuck with fearful, angry white males and angry social conservatives for some time to come.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

5 Responses to What is the Republican Party

  1. ohwilleke says:

    “It is a mishmash of religious conservatives; angry white males who fear they are becoming a minority in their own country and hate trade; gun-control opponents; pro-lifers; anti-regulation and free-market small-business owners; and pro- and anti-free trade entrepreneurs.”

    The GOP is not a mishmash. The people in most of these categories heavily overlap (as they should in any coherent party). The pro-trade entrepreneurs and big business people (like Trump who merely apes the culture of the follows he seeks despite not being one of them) are the members of the coalition who are the exception. Mostly, the GOP is a coherent “tribal” nationalist party of white Southerners and rural and exurban whites who share a common culture that is dominant in many regions of the U.S. but is not the establishment U.S. culture. Policy disagreements here are less important than cultural coherence.

    The Democratic party, a big tent including almost everyone else, is the mishmash, encompassing everything from socially conservative Muslims to Zionist Jews to liberal Northern white non-Christians and mainline Christians to almost all of the nation’s blacks and Hispanics and the leadership of all of its unions (many predominantly blue collar white).

  2. rgbact says:

    Given Friedman’s repeated love of the Chinese Communist’s ability to “get things done”, I’m mighty skeptical that he’s all that opposed to one party rule;

    I do love how he calls the people that have won landslides in 2 of the last 3 elections a “mishmash”. Some might call them “American citizens of places outsides Manhattan”. My guess is he’s visited Paris more than the Midwest over the last decade. Ah, the coastal elite.

  3. coachmbrown says:

    Whether Republican or Democrat – do you honestly believe either party’s current status is any closer to the “purple” middle of the road values of the majority of Americans? The Red and Blue extreme boundaries are highlighted by the media because there rests the greatest interests and contentions to report to the public. No one, I mean absolutely no one, will be 100% satisfied and free from whining when the dust settles in four months, and the media will amplify the whining to serve their purposes to increase ratings. Until America recognizes its true color lies in various shades of purple rather than red or blue, the better chance we have of finding a common ground to move our Nation ahead again. If we fail as a Nation, what hope remains in this world? If only we could all stop the whining and find a less contentious tone of voice to communicate back and forth with one another again, recognizing no one will ever get everything they want. What matters is what “we as a Nation” need to accomplish for the greater good of all.

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