Where Do Republicans Go From Here?

Two more weeks. For once, I wouldn’t mind if time flew a little faster. Suggestion for passing a little time: If you haven’t read the in-depth exposé of Foxconn by Josh Dzieza at The Verge, don’t miss it. It’s absolutely jaw-dropping.

I also recommend The 31-day campaign against QAnon by Stephanie McCrummen at WaPo. This is the story of Kevin Van Ausdal, a political novice leading a nice, ordinary life who decided to run as a Democrat for a seat in the U.S. House from Georgia. He ended up being the Dem opponent of Marjorie Taylor Greene, the infamous QAnon wackjob, The campaign crushed him, and he dropped out a few weeks ago. Charles Pierce has a good summation of the piece here. And it’s hard to say who did the most damage — the QAnon lunatics or the “professional” campaign consultants he hired to help guide him.

And then read What I Learned When QAnon Came for Me by Scott Wiener, a member of the California State Senate, at the New York Times. QAnon isn’t just nuts; it’s dangerous. It’s like cancer. I think Wiener is right when he says QAnon is an “outgrowth of our troubled times, when people who have survived decades of extreme income inequality are now suffering through a horrific pandemic. They are turning to conspiracy theories because they think there’s nowhere else to turn.” But that doesn’t mean it has to be tolerated. The United States cannot afford to tolerate something this dangerous.

And then read Matthew Rosenberg, Republican Voters Take a Radical Conspiracy Theory Mainstream, at the New York Times.

Though there has been little public polling, there is growing anecdotal evidence that QAnon followers now make up a

small but significant minority of Republicans. Adherents are running for Congress and flexing their political muscles at the state and local levels. The movement’s growth has picked up pace since the onset of the pandemic in March, and its potency is clear on social media — before Facebook banned QAnon content earlier this month, there were thousands of dedicated Facebook groups with millions of members.

And then see Stanley Greenberg at The Atlantic, After Trump, the Republican Party May Become More Extreme. Greenberg doesn’t mention QAnon, but he does say that the Trump base isn’t going to go away.

Trump built his base in the insurgent anti-government, anti-immigrant movement that, during the last recession, came to prominence as the Tea Party. Then he forged a pact with evangelical Christians, to whom he promised a steady supply of socially conservative federal judges, including on the Supreme Court. He also built a strong alliance with his party’s anti-abortion-rights observant Catholics—a constituency epitomized by Attorney General William Barr. So Trump campaigns unbowed atop a coalition that, by my estimate, constitutes 65 percent of his party. He has lost swing voters but kept his most avid fans. Among the voters who approve of Trump’s job performance, about 70 percent do so strongly.

As Matthew Rosenberg said, there’s been little public polling and no way to know exactly what percent of the Republican Party base aligns with QAnon. But it has to be at least a significant minority at this point. See Caroline Mimbs Nyce, QAnon Isn’t Going Away at The Atlantic.

Oh, and if you’re really confused about what QAnon even is, see The Prophecies of Q by Adrienne LaFrance at The Atlantic.

The question is, what will happen to the Republican Party in the next two or three years? A lot will depend on the election, of course. But let’s assume that Republicans really do lose a lot of elections at both the state and national level. At some point the party’s going to have to choose between continuing to stoke wackjobbery or trying to be an actual political party again instead of a cult, whether Trump or QAnon or whatever.

And I suspect most of the money people would prefer an actual political party. I don’t see the people who bankroll the Heritage Foundation or the Cato Institute or any of that throwing money at candidates who are obsessed with connecting Pizzagate pedophilia rings and the Roswell UFO story with John F. Kennedy, Jr, who didn’t really die but is directing the Q movement from a mysterious underground location. I suspect most of the Never Trumper people long for a party that is mostly about real-world policy, even if their ideas about what the real world needs are from the McKinley Administration. But what percentage of Republican voters do the “serious” Republicans represent any more?

So I’m throwing it to you folks. Where do you think the Republican Party will go from here?

A woman holds a QAnon flag as protesters gather outside Governor Kate Brown’s residence in Salem, Ore., on April 25, 2020, calling for novel coronavirus restrictions to be lifted so that people can get back to work. (Photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

16 thoughts on “Where Do Republicans Go From Here?

  1. First off, I give you Tom Tomorrow, I particularly like the way he ended the cartoon: “NEXT: The Longest Two Weeks in Human History”

    I don’t know what will happen next w/the Republicans, the situation is too volatile to predict at this point. It should get clearer by next spring. I suspect the US will break up with in the next 10-15 years, regardless of what happens w the Q continuum.

  2. A couple of things:

    1) If Trump loses, he will not go away. He's going to continue to work the refs and try to hold onto (monetize) his supporters. He's going to shit on everyone who he thinks did not defend him in his loss – He's going to need some people to blame big time. It's gonna be sweet and I hope he lives to a nice ride old age. And his moron kids are gonna be hanging around too.

    2) Those Trump voters will not go away. Others are ready to feed them the hard stuff like Trump did.

    3) The demographics will continue to push on the GOP coalition.

    4) The religious right have completely compromised themselves with younger Americans.

    It will be a lot to work through. It will be much much harder than flushing W down the memory hole was. The GOP has been traumatized by Trump, it will take years to get through it.

    • If his financial/legal probs are bad enough (and I suspect they are), I would not be surprised if a fellow dictator offers him exile.

      • Why would anyone offer him shelter? He would be a liability. He has no political value such as Snowdon in Russia does nor any ideological or religious position that would persuade some one to shelter him the way the Saudis sheltered Idi Amin.

        • IMO, Russia would gladly give Trump "political refuge" status, and not just for the irony!

          I'm not on board with what I view as anti-Russian hysteria – I blame the GOP, not Putin, for getting Trump "elected", and I'm skeptical of other MSM framing of Russia as Our Enemy.  But IMO, Russia is using "information warfare" against the USA, very successfully, to undermine our fading sense of unity, and Trump has proven to be the ultimate weapon in that regard.

          I expect Trump to flee the USA (unless Biden blocks prosecution!?), riling up his fans with both thumbs flying, sitting on his throne at 2 AM, until all those burgers finish the job of clogging up his arteries.  And he'll probably find a TV outlet for his ravings, too – presumably on Fox, but they could abandon him as damaged goods.

    • Thanks for the link. It makes me so sad and sad that there are a tremendous number of credible people that understand the urgency of our situation but most Americans are just sleepwalking into a disaster.

  3. One interesting note: with the "burn it all to the ground" deregulation of the Trump administration, and with the currently packed courts, what do the big money boyz *need* the Republicans for, unless the Democrats successfully implement court reform?

    They might well see it as civic duty to sit out a cycle or two. It may all come down to whether the GOP response to a Biden/Democrat win is a *successful* screaming match alleging "the election was stolen through character assassination and partisanship!" or whether they come across as the whiny, dishonest, children they would be acting like.

    I hope it's the latter. The Republican Party must be broken down, at least until conspiracy theories like Qanon are only whispers on the dark net, not mainstream.

  4. The GOPers will be juuuuust fine. The looting light is ON (loot now, before it is too late) and they are provisioning their lifeboats so they can separate themselves from their rank-and-file when years of economic sabotage and global warming leads to the final implosion. They don't care about the future of the party, they are getting theirs now and encouraging the base to be "preppers" for the end of the world as we know it so they will have a modicum of security (or at least the illusion of security, because $15,000 worth of ammo is a better investment than Tesla).

    Sheesh, after the Dixiecrats failed, the southern racists purchased the GOP second hand from the flea market that America became, so I don't think that they give a darn about legacy. They will eventually rename the party something like "Teh Most Beautiful n Awesome Q Dinisty, So Screw You (formerly DbA, the GOP)" (with typos and all to protect Dear Leader's mistakes).

    The GOP rank and file suffers form normalcy bias and has no conceptual framework for understanding that there are better methods of conducting one's self and community. If we got a Hardees, the US must be high-falootin! Examples of civilization are all around, except in the US. The GOP elders knows this is a failed state and are getting theirs NOW and the rank and file have no clue that they are tools in the plantation owners' disaster-proof retirement plan.

  5. RepubliKKKLANS would all go to the deepest, darkest, hottest parts of hell, if I had my druthers!

    I do have a question for the Q-Anon freaks:  What happens in two weeks when your hero in your fictional war against Democratic blood-sucking pedophiles when he loses the coming election?

    Who's you backup hero?

    Ok, back to the topic of the RepubliKKKLAN Party's future.  It will stay what it is: A white-power party, with ever diminishing power.  Included in it will be the Q-Anon sheeple, as well as other cranks, freaks, geaks, and other societal misfits.

  6. The GOP has the same customer problem as evangelical christianity. Which is not surprising since the later is entirely a subset of the former. The brand is toxic. The base is dying off. But they can't try to get new customers without losing all, ALL, of the current ones. They (both) will stay the course until the losses become unbearable. And the GOP retains enough real power to do harm on their way out. But they will be the first to break. As stupid as the wealthy can be they are not as consumed by magical thinking as the evangelicals. 

  7. The rush to confirm Barrett indicates that the Big Money behind the GOP is prepping for a decade of reduced power.  With the SC run by Federalist Society cultists, they can prevent any legislative attempts to undo the damage of 40 years of GOP work.  I'd predict that they will bend on the social agenda – fudging on Roe v Wade, Gay Marriage, and Race – but hold fast on the core economic issues (unions, Citizens United, etc).  The Federalist Society is a profitable way to help Billionaires affect the behavior of our government, and it has succeeded.

    The big money behind the GOP once came mostly from old Northeastern WASP families (Rockefellers, etc), but in recent decades, they have been supplanted by "new money" families from further West (Koch, Waltons, etc).  The Old Money came from Finance, which depends on a stable society; the new money largely comes from Resource Extraction, so it's more threatened by Regulation than social upheaval.  They don't care if Baltimore burns, they just Government to let/help them dig up the Rocky Mountains.

    Old Money Republicans have mostly gone along with it out of inertia, but they have also come to believe their own propaganda, which is always dangerous & stupid.

    Best case: Biden wins.  Progressives somehow gain more influence in Democratic Party, and keep the NeoCons out.  Trump lives long enough to split the GOP, blaming the Old GOP for "abandoning" him, taking his mindless followers off into some new Know-Nothing Party.  Old GOP goes along with some Green New Deal stuff, depends on SC to protect it's Money.  New (Trump) GOP implodes, because it's composed entirely of disorganized idiots who can't actually do anything.

    Worst case: Big Money GOP cabal gets Trump "martyred", blames it on "Communist" Democrats.  US collapses into Civil War or full-bore Fascism.  Perversely, Civil war is preferable, because a Fascist World Power with The Bomb and leaders inspired by the Book of Revelation could cause some real trouble. 

    Median case: We muddle through.  Biden wins, Trump squawks, moves to Dubai to avoid jail, babbles on TV until his idiots get bored of him.  Dominant Centrist Democrats have no solutions to our real problems; economy improves, but very slowly; Global Warming gets worse, faster.  US bombs some country we'd never heard of.  A bunch of people get killed by Gun Nut Militias; FBI jails a few.  Kamala Harris becomes President, but it turns out that the problem isn't just Old White Men.  China runs the world for a century, enforcing the worst of aspects of both Capitalism and Communism, but fixes Global Warming because it's less expensive than not bothering.


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