Analyzing The GOP

The Republican Party appears to be at a critical crossroad at the moment. I’m not exactly on their speed dial so I don’t have any inside information but I’d like to take a shot at analyzing what’s going on with them today.

Let’s begin with a brief review of recent history. I look at politics as a market.  There is a demand for a center-right political party and the Republicans have filled that role for several decades.  Post World War II the Republicans embraced the Christian Right and it became a substantial part of its base.  Starting with the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by Lyndon B. Johnson they embraced the white, primarily but not exclusively Southern, racist backlash element of the electorate (or potential electorate).  In 2008 the (to them) unbelievable happened when their presidential nominee lost to a Black man.  That gave rise to the relabeled racists then known as the Tea Party.  In 2016 they embraced (on the surface anyway) white grievance in the person of Donald Trump.

If you put all those factions in a Venn diagram there would be significant overlapping of the circles. There are several others I don’t have time to mention today.  They are currently trying to take over the Party wanting only its legitimacy, organization and ballot access.  Note how they purloined the word “conservative”; they are hardly conservative but that sounds respectable – radical does not.

On January 6th Trump’s followers actually attacked the Capital Building in a quest to among other things lynch the then sitting Vice President of the United States.  I’m not a Mike Pence fan and never have been.  That said under no circumstances can we endorse the mob lynching of a Vice President!  That is not how we settle our political differences in a representative democracy.

I have likened the Trump administration to an organized criminal enterprise. Time has proven me to be correct.  It was little more than a skimming operation.  Mitch McConnell may be evil but he is very smart.  He controls his Senate caucus much the way Lyndon Johnson did his decades ago – via money.  Both McConnell and Johnson controlled the purse strings of campaign funds and in the process of doling them out gained loyalty from the recipients who knew they were only there because of the actions of their benefactor and furthermore knew that they could only get reelected via his benevolence.

When Trump came on the scene it was like two Dons entering a turf and revenue sharing agreement. With Trump’s exit McConnell regained the turf but Trump is trying to keep his revenue stream largely alive.  Trump has retained effective control of the RNC including its treasury.  He also has a PAC operation that is set up in such a manner to be his personal slush fund.  That leaves Mitch with just the RSCC – the financial arm of the Republican Senate campaign.  This sets up a natural rivalry between the more traditional GOP and the Trump faction/radicals.

Mitch often plays multidimensional political strategy games. When he wants to he is very skilled at hiding one of more of his intentions and I will contend deciding the final path as he sees circumstances best evolving to reach his goals.  I contend that one of the reasons he negotiated a delay in the start of Trump’s second impeachment trial is because he wants the evidence against Trump to mount in the public arena.  I feel McConnell wants Trump banned for a return to office.  That will take 67 votes in the Senate meaning at least 17 Republican Senators would have to vote for conviction.  I won’t predict the outcome of the trial other than I predict the final “jury” vote will not be 67-33.  McConnell – who I feel would very much like to vote guilty – will not want any of his people to be open to attack as the vote that convicted Trump.  McConnell is not looking for 17 votes but more like 20.

The tricky part for Republican candidates is that Trump is currently still popular with much of the Republican base making a primary dangerous. Just this past weekend the Arizona Republican Party censured Governor Doug Ducey, former Senator Jeff Flake and the wife of Republican legend John McCain, Cindy McCain basically for not being loyal enough to Trump.  Remember this is a state where they just lost a Republican Senate seat and that Joe Biden carried.  Instead of working out the “whys” they decided to double down on extremism.

Today’s GOP is at a crossroads where they either have to purge themselves of the radicals and move toward the political center while still staying on the right side of it or split into two political parties hoping the traditional GOP survives in only a slightly modified form and the offshoot goes the way many radical political parties have in American history.

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