Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Whose Party Is It?

Josh Marshall, the estimable if too-moderate-for-my-taste editor and publisher of Talking Points Memo, expresses outright in an editorial a thought that's been troubling my mind in the past few days. Here's his conclusion:

Let's put it starkly. Whose Republican party is this? McCain's? Romney's? Bush's? Boehner's? Ryan's? There's little question that the 2016 GOP is the party of Sarah Palin. Donald Trump is simply the successor who is bringing what she started to fruition - the Joshua to her Moses, the Umar to her Muhammad. This is not simply a commentary on the colorful, antic quality of this political cycle. It's rooted in the same basic themes and beliefs: a mix of grievance and aggression, sharp tongued impatience with cosmopolitan thinking and 'political correctness', paeans to the righteous resentment of hard-working white folk, and all packaged in a media savvy gift for gab. It is no accident that the two on stage today are both reality TV stars. Perhaps he has talents to bring things to fruition which she could not. But it's her brand and her message.

This may all sound like a snark. But that's only the outer layer at most. Look back over the last eight years with the jostling factions of the GOP, establishment wings, Tea Partiers, post-2012 post-mortemers, House backbenchers, Palin and Joe the Plumber. What has it all arrived at? Whose party does it end up being? For right now, there's just no debating it: Palin comes out on top. It's her party.

The good Dog help us all, Marshall is very probably right. The GOP is defunct; long live the (new) GOP?

I don't know. America has reached a point of decision: do we retain a flawed two-party system, or do our wide assortment of crazies throw out both major parties and forcibly replace them with their vision of a one-party system? Given the temperament of those crazies, you can bet that a one-party system will more resemble today's GOP... yes, Sarah Palin prominent among them... than the Democratic Party of any era, even in its current sad state.

What do we see when we look down the road a dozen years? Is it His Most Excellent Supreme Ruler Trump, with his Lord High Executioner Palin, who clearly would love to dispatch more than turkeys? You thought we were done with her, and suspected we would be done with him after this primary season. I'm not betting against either one: in its current collectively fractured frame of mind, the diminishing White American majority, in a last rash act, could thrust the baton into their hands.

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