Radicalization of the Republican Party & Where Does It Go From Here?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by joepistole, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    For many decades now the Republican Party has become more and more extreme and radical with each passing year. There was a time when party would threaten to destroy the nation's economy with the threat of a debt default in order to advance their political agenda. Unfortunately, Republicans have repeatedly made that threat over the course of the last few years.

    Below is a snippet from a Saloon.com article written by Kim Missick which well explains the radicalization of the Republican Party. I would urge you to read the full article. It's very good reading.

    "The realignment of Southern whites must be understood in this context. When they deserted the Democratic Party in the mid-’60s, they presented Republicans with a huge electoral windfall. Republicans then had to decide how to invest this unexpected capital. In doing so they had to balance at least two things: numbers and intensity. Numbers are important, of course — you can’t win elections without them — but it’s an old adage in politics that an intense 51 percent is better than a relaxed 55 percent. The Republican decision to embrace an increasingly radical version of conservatism should be seen, in effect, as an attempt to leverage the intensity and loyalty of their new Southern voters. These qualities were expected to offset the loss of any moderate or liberal supporters who might abandon the party as it lurched to the right.
    It was a perfectly rational strategy, and it worked brilliantly. Between 1968 and 1992 — 24 years, an entire generation — Democrats won exactly one presidential election, the post-Watergate campaign of 1976. But after ’92 the strategy began to break down on the national level, due mainly to demographic factors: There simply weren’t enough rural white voters anymore to win presidential elections in a consistent way. But by then the right was fully in control of Republican politics and uninterested in sharing power (or policy) with their moderate brethren. They developed a narrative to counter any suggestion that ideological rigidity was the cause of the party’s losses in national (and, increasingly, statewide) races: the quixotic claim that it had nominated “moderates” unable to bring out the conservative majorities who lurk, abandoned and bereft, in the heartland.

    In the meantime the ritual purges have continued — the immediate denunciations, thundered from various media pulpits, whenever a Republican politician utters an unorthodox opinion; the threat (or reality) of primary challenges to silence dissent; the invocation of paranoid fantasies that inflame “the base” and make them ever more agitated and vindictive.

    Now, in 2013, we have the politics that 50 years of this process have created. The Democratic Party has fewer conservatives than it once did, but is still a broadly coalitional party with liberal and moderate elements. It controls the coasts, has strength in the industrial Midwest, and is making inroads in the upper, more urbanized South and in Florida. It confronts a Republican Party almost wholly dependent on the interior states of the old Confederacy. (The party continues to win in the mountain and prairie West, but the region is too sparsely populated to provide any real electoral heft.) Because of its demographic weakness, it is more beholden than ever to the intensity of its most extreme voters. This has engendered a death spiral in which it must take increasingly radical positions to drive these voters to the polls, positions that in turn alienate ever larger segments of the population, making these core voters even more crucial — and so on. We have a name these days for the electoral residue produced by this series of increasingly rigorous purifications. We call it “the Tea Party.”

    The cry of the hour is that our politics is “dysfunctional” — mired in “gridlock,” all bipartisanship lost. This is of course true, but it must be seen as merely the latest result of the conservative politics of purity. After all, when does a politician, in the normal course of affairs, have a reason to do something? When he thinks it will gain him a vote, or that not doing it will cost him a vote. It follows that politicians have a reason to be bipartisan — to work with the opposition — only when doing so will increase, not decrease, their electoral support. And this can only happen if they potentially share voters with their opposition. But the Republican electorate is now almost as purified as the Republican Party. Not only is it unlikely to support Democratic candidates, it’s virtually certain to punish any Republican politician who works with Democrats. The electoral logic of bipartisanship has collapsed for most Republicans; they have very little to gain, and much to lose, if they practice it. And so they don’t.

    Unfortunately, our government isn’t designed to function in these conditions. The peculiarities of our system — a Senate, armed with the filibuster, that gives Wyoming’s 576,000 people as much power as California’s 38,000,000; gerrymandered districts in the House; separate selection of the executive and the legislature; a chronically underfunded elections process, generally in partisan hands and in desperate need of rationalization — simply won’t permit it. What we get instead is paralysis — or worse. The Republican Party, particularly in the House, has turned into the legislative equivalent of North Korea — a political outlier so extreme it has lost the ability to achieve its objectives through normal political means. Its only recourse is to threats (increasingly believable) that it will blow up the system rather than countenance this-or-that lapse from conservative dogma. This was the strategy it pursued in the debt ceiling debacle of 2011, and if firebrands such as Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have their way it will guide the party’s approach to the same issue this fall, and perhaps to government funding (including “Obamacare”) as well. Realignment and polarization have led us to gridlock and instability.

    The relentless radicalization of the Republican Party since 1964 is the most important single event in the political history of the United States since the New Deal. It has significantly shaped the course of our government and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. But this means it has also shaped the individual life of every citizen— the complex amalgam of possibilities and opportunities available (or not) to each of us. The conservative visionaries of the ‘50s and ‘60s wanted a new world. We’re all living in it now.
    * The 1928 election is something of an exception to this statement; eight Southern states, offended by Democratic candidate Al Smith’s Catholicism, voted instead for Herbert Hoover. But it seems safe to regard this election as an outlier; FDR won every Southern state in the next four presidential elections."


    So the question is, where do we go from here? How more radical will Republicans become? How more radical can they become? Will they cause a debt default? Their next opportunity to force the nation into a debt default arrives in about 6 months. Will business interests be able to rein Republicans in? Unfortunately, I am not optimistic. Republicans unfortunately, have become a very real and present danger to the nation. Where does this end?
    cosmictotem likes this.
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The general point of Republican spinout into crazyditch is of course unarguable, but that minor side claim is false. The Democratic Party has become dominated by center/right and conservative ideology including a few extreme, and has only a handful of center/left or liberal Congressional representatives with no extremists in that direction at all.

    Hillary Clinton, for example, is ideologically to the right of Dwight Eisenhower, and more conservative overall than Richard Nixon. But that puts her in the general center, maybe even a little left of center, of her Party.

    So along with the orcfest that Republican politics has become, and made of our national polity, we have the (partly resultant) exclusion of liberal and leftwing political representation from power. When Congress does function, in other words, it will do rightwing and conservative things (such as adopting Mitt Romney's corporate-designed health care system for the nation as a whole).
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Republicans will become republicats , more liber thinking than before but not enough to become POTUS this time around unless something bizarre takes place during the run up to the election.
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  7. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Well that remains to be seen. We have seen some stirrings in the Republican camp. I think Republican leaders think they can just talk the talk and not walk the walk. They know they cannot walk the walk. Any Republican movement towards compromise or more moderate positions, and toward reason will be fiercely resisted by the Republican base because Republicans entertainers like Limbaugh and Levin will not hear of it.
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  8. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    It ends when it quits working for them or in other words it quits working when enough people tire of it.

    I don't see a Republican being elected to the Presidency this time around just for that reason (they have become too extreme).

    Normally, after two terms of a Democratic President I would expect to find a change of the guard and a Republican would be elected.

    I don't think that will happen this time around. The Republican Party will have to be a lot crazier for a lot longer before Republican Senators and Representatives can't be elected however (unfortunately).

    I think this all got started after the Reagan years with the "Moral Majority" and "Family Values" campaigns where (evangelical) religion was politicised to a degree that hadn't been seen in prior years.

    I don't think most (non-political) Republicans are as nutty as their elected politicians however. I think most stay with the party mainly because they favor keeping taxes low and don't expect much from the government (and don't need much from the government). Moderate Republicans feel this was as well so nothing has changed much for most of the base (IMO).

    I think most are religious and can therefore tolerate the craziness of their politicians but one day they will have enough (hopefully).
  9. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Great echo chamber here, especially reinforced by Salon.

    Guess what happened the last time a republican was unapologetic about their conservative views? Reagan won in a landslide. No democrat has ever followed another as POTUS unless the first died in office, his VP finished his term and was subsequently reelected. People here seem to assume unapologetic conservatism is somehow new, and will somehow break 150 years of historical president, but unapologetic conservatism has a history of winning, while back to back democrats do not.

    So two questions:
    • What has changed that inspires such confidence in setting such a historical president?
    • What specific things do you consider "radical" about conservative views?
    madanthonywayne likes this.
  10. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    What changed? With any luck, America has woken up a little bit... doubtful, but maybe.
    cosmictotem likes this.
  11. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps because the Republican party has gone batshit crazy? Mostly due to the attempt to appease the "base" of Tea Partiers? OTOH, do you really think Ted Cruz could win a general election?

    Before you start your preaching Syne, understand that I voted Republican for decades - oh wait, that was before the party as a whole went - batshit crazy.

    Have a nice day...
    joepistole and Seattle like this.
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Your first sentence is unnecessary.

    Regarding 150 years of conservatism...what is liberalism and conservatism changes with the historical context and what we are really taking about is the "modern" period since WWII.

    The last "unapologetic" conservative wasn't Reagan, it was Bush.

    What is "radical" and new is what I mentioned in my above post. It's not the traditional conservatism that is new it's the intoleration, and predominantly the intolerant religious aspect, that is now the Republican Party.

    That didn't exist until after the Reagan Presidency was over. It started with the "Contract with American" and "Family Values".

    A Republican in the 1960's would be considered a moderate Democrat today.

    Many people, myself included, in the past supported either a Republican or a Democrat for President depending on who the party put up. They were both generally moderate and one was generally just not electable or somehow flawed and so you would pick the other.

    When the Democratic nominee was Humphrey or McGovern many moderates voted for the Republican candidate. In any event, nothing too drastic would have happened regardless of who you picked.

    Today, the Republican's are just (as described above) batshit crazy.

    In fairness, before (Bill) Clinton Democrats were going a little too far in their attitude toward business as if business should just be taxed to death and as if there was no connection between jobs (which they wanted) and attacking business as the enemy.

    There was also a tendency to create new social programs without regard to whether or not they were working.

    Both parties generally go too far when they are in power for too long without interruption. It's now time for a correction toward the Democratic Party and the Republican's are just nuts.
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
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  13. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    one word, demographics. you keep repeating this mantra who are your really trying to convince us or your self.
  14. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Well put Randwolf, I too voted Republican for decades...even donated money to Republican candidates. In fact a few months ago I cut a check to a Republican candidate for councilman. Unfortunately, the Republican Party has gone bat shit crazy, and has been bat shit crazy for decades.
  15. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Indeed, Reagan would be considered liberal by today's Republican standard. The nation really needs at least two viable parties. Unfortunately due the radicalization of the Republican Party, we only have one viable party. I mean, how rational is attempting to cause a national debt default or crashing the economy in the hope of making Democrats look bad?

    I remember the liberal excesses of the 70's and 80's. You are correct, Democrats were all about taxing and throwing money at perceived problems without thinking things through. Money alone doesn't solve problems. Democrats did go too far and they got their collective noses cut off with the election of Ronald Reagan. I wonder if the same will happen to Republicans.

    I was all for Reagan's supply side economics. However, I quickly became disappointed with Reagan because it became very apparent Reagan's supply side economics didn't apply to cronies. Cronies remained a protected class under Reagan, and Reagan's appointees laid the foundations of the modern Republican Party.

    While Fundamentalist Christianity has undeniably played a significant role in the radicalization of the Republican Party, one cannot overlook the role Republican entertainment has played in the radicalization of the Republican Party. Rush Limbaugh has been called the defacto head of the Republican Party. Republican politicians are Republican entertainment sycophants. What is good for Republican entertainment isn't good for the nation. Republican entertainment has created a self induced Republican bubble as most recently demonstrated in the 2012 presidential election cycle. Polling indicated Obama had a significant lead. Republicans labeled those mainstream polls liberal and they were promptly ignored and replaced with Republican polling which always showed Republicans winning. And then they were surprised when they lost the election. The main stream polling, the "liberal" polling was correct. It has become all to easy for Republicans to dismiss reality by calling reality, all those unpleasant facts, a liberal conspiracy. When Republicans live in a bubble, when they ignore evidence and reason as they have, it places us all endanger. I think we need better informed voters, and one way to do that is to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
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  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I get where you are coming from regarding the Fairness Doctrine and I guess I don't have a strong opinion on this matter but I don't think it is really needed.

    There are many different viewpoints available, it is government interference to a degree and I think the motivation for it is just largely due to Fox News and conservative radio.

    I don't think either of those "convert" many people and are largely just preaching to the choir.

    Even though liberal radio isn't as popular as conservative radio it is there and just because it isn't as successful I'm not sure that's a great reason to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. I realize that's who's (conservative radio) most against bringing it back but it's still a fair point IMO.

    The original logic for it was limited news sources in the days before cable.

    I may be wrong but I don't think the average (non-political) Republican is a big follower of Fox News or conservative radio.

    I think it's the fringe or the uninformed (or the ignorant).
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    It started with Nixon's Southern Strategy as a candidate, and Nixon's Presidency. The hiatus with Carter - who was treated much as Clinton was to be, somewhat more civilly but not more sensibly - was just a blip from Nixon's disgrace and resignation, so that Reagan's candidacy restarted the Pretty Little Hate Machine in full "go" mode.

    Nixon was the last of that faction to be held accountable or face consequences for anything he did or said as a public official.
    They created the choir, and keep it organized and aimed at the right targets. That kind of propaganda is a central function of the media in that kind of political operation.

    They don't have to be. The pressure from Fox et al, that media operation's role as media expression (threat) of that faction's political and economic power, has coerced all of the US media to imitate Fox and accept Fox's frame of reference and discussion.

    The mainstream media follow, for example, David Brooks - the single most important pundit in the mainstream media world - as he provides the cover stories and rewrites the history and frames the issues and guides the vocabulary in the Fox mode, covering the factionary fangs and ass, for those with pretensions to high class worldviews but no desire to confront the ugly.

    If they eschewed the crazy and attended the media that expressed their traditional, standard, time-honored and conventional Republican belief system, they would be loyal viewers of Rachel Maddow - who has described herself and her views, accurately, as Eisenhower Republican.
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I think it was Gingrich who changed House rules making sure that the party always came out on top. Before that you had more independent voting from "liberal" Republicans and "conservative" Democrats.

    After the House rules were changed to end seniority rules it was the party way or the highway more or less.
  19. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Hastert Rule
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    Dennis Hastert explicitly adopted the majority of the majority rule after becoming Speaker of the House.
    The Hastert Rule, also known as the "majority of the majority" rule, is an informal governing principle used by Republican[1][2][3] Speakers of the House of Representatives since the mid-1990s to maintain their speakerships[4] and limit the power of the minority party to bring bills up for a vote on the floor of the House.[5] Under the doctrine, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives will not allow a floor vote on a bill unless a majority of the majority party supports the bill.[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hastert_Rule
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You still have the rightwing Democrats voting conservatively - more of that all the time. It's the moderate Republicans who have vanished.
  21. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The Democrats on certain issues are more conservative but there is less cross-party voting on less divisive issues than in the past. More votes (most votes) are strictly along party lines.
  22. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Living within your means is not radical. This is old fashion thinking with roots in nature. Stealing from the future of the children, by strapping them with huge national debts, is radical.

    If you look at the private sector, what type of person puts themselves into huge debts that might outlive them. The three types of people are investors, morons living beyond their means, and thieves who steal this way. Our government is not an investing all this debt into the future. What is left are morons and thieves. It is now called radical to expect a government of investors or honest people.

    The tea party tried to push for a balanced budget,which is how a smart family works. They will go into short term debt, for a house or car, as long aa their revenue projections can meet their obligations. This is radical thinking only in a world of investors, morons and thieves.
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  23. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    And when was the last time Republicans lived within their means exactly? Remember Republican Vice President Cheney when he said, “You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due.”

    Baby Bush took a budget surplus he inherited from Clinton and turned it into a 1.4 trillion dollar deficit. Baby Bush and his Republican enacted the largest expansion of pork filled social welfare programs in history without funding it and began and botched two wars without paying for it…meaning these actions were all funded with debt.

    And as much as you might want to whitewash it, not paying your bills and defaulting on the national debt as Republicans have threatened to do on multiple occasions is indeed radical and “bat shit” crazy and very radical.
    Hmm, well it didn’t seem to bother Baby Bush and his merry band of Republicans when Republicans were last in complete control of government (i.e. before Obama).
    Well, what you are demonstrating here is a shit load of simplistic and ignorant “thinking” for want of a better word. First, there are huge differences between private sector finance and public sector finance. Private enterprise can and frequently does go bankrupt. Everyday companies go bankrupt because they don’t have the cash needed to pay their bills. The federal government on the other hand never needs to bankrupt, because unlike private enterprise, government can create money to pay its bills. It’s difficult to run out of money when you can create more money with a few keystrokes on a computer. Private enterprise doesn’t have that ability. The federal government does.

    So as you are want to do, you are making fallacious comparisons when you compare private enterprise finances or those of a family with the finances of a sovereign government as you have repeatedly done. Additionally, if you are concerned about public debt, the time to address that is before the money is spent. You don’t spend the money and then when the bills come in, refuse to pay them as Republicans have repeatedly threatened to do, that is indeed radical and more than that it is stupid, and it is anything but prudent.
    Hmm, balanced budget, and what does that mean exactly? Aside from a Republican talking point (i.e. red meat for the ignorant Republican base), what does that mean exactly and how will it make things better? A number of Republican controlled states have balanced budget amendments, but that hasn’t stopped them from running huge deficits. Kansas is a case in point. Kansas is a solid Republican state. Republicans have overwhelming majorities in the state legislature and the governor is a Koch brother/Tea Party Republican. Kansas has a balanced budget amendment, but that hasn’t stopped the Kansas from going into debt. Over the course of the last year added hundreds of millions do its debt. Kansas is looking at nearly a billion dollar deficit this year alone.


    And as repeatedly pointed out to you the federal government isn’t a family. Managing the federal government isn’t anything like managing a family budget. How many families do you know who can print money if need be? Managing and running a sovereign government isn’t even remotely similar to running a family state isn’t even remotely similar to running a family. This gets back to your penchant for fallacious comparisons.

    And contrary to your assertions, a balanced budget, if implemented as Republicans have done at the state level, does nothing to prevent states from racking up huge deficits and debt. And if it is implemented rigidly, it would indeed be radical because it would severely limit government’s ability to respond to crisis (e.g. natural disasters, economic & military threats, etc.). There are times when deficit spending is appropriate. There are times when it is not. And there is never an excuse for the fiscal profligacy the nation witnessed when Republicans were last in complete control of Washington.

    PS: A 30 year home mortgage isn’t short term. Car loans are now going out to 8 years. Car loans are becoming long term loans. Student loans are generally 10 years or more. There are times when going into debt makes sense. There are times when debt doesn’t make sense. The key is to know the difference. Unfortunately for Republicans computers do not yet rule over humanity. There is no magic elixir to replace rational and informed human decision making. In the end, there is no substitute for rational human thought. Unfortunately, rational human thought is a scarcity in Republican circles these days.
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
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