The Republican Party was doomed the day it got in bed with the Tea Party. Here’s how I see it:
The Tea Party blindsided the Republican Party from the right. At the time (2009), the Republicans held a handy majority in the House, but were irrelevant in the Senate. Figuring they could not afford to lose a single seat’s worth of influence, they attempted to accommodate the Tea Party’s extreme views and obstructionist tactics. The eventual result was the spectacularly unpopular October 2013 shutdown of the federal government, the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner, the embarrassing search for someone willing to take his place, two years of inaction in Congress and paralysis in the Party, culminating in the Trump candidacy.
I understand the no-win position the GOP found itself in: “If we reject these people as too far right, we’ll never gain the Senate and may lose control of the House — and then where will we be? Worse, we might alienate the conservative base if we are seen as drifting left by rejecting the far right.” And so the GOP leadership attempted to make nice with the Tea Party. But Tea Party politicians appear to reject Compromise on principle, which is too bad, because our constitutional democratic republic is founded on the principle of Compromise. Consequently, the GOP hobbled itself with an obstreperous millstone.
The GOP could have rejected the extreme radical right at any time, disavowed their tactics, defunded their candidates, surrendered their seats and assumed a place of dignified, moderate, conservative irrelevance for the time being. Instead, by trying to accommodate the extreme radical right, they have assumed a place of disgraceful, immoderate, inarticulate irrelevance for the foreseeable future. I am finding it painful and embarrassing to behold.
They can turn it around today. They could have turned it around at any time over the past three years or so. But instead, for the past year almost every week a Republican leader makes a suggestion that might have been helpful had it been acted upon about a year ago. On August 11, 2016 POLITICO.com reported on a letter drafted by 70 Republican party insiders urging the RNC to terminate support of the Trump candidacy and focus on salvaging some of the down-ballot races. Will they have the sense to do what they should have done about a year ago?
It is my opinion that the Republican Party needs to hold its conservative ground while dissociating itself from the Tea Party and Donald Trump as completely, decisively and quickly as possible. They might hold a minority in Congress for a generation, but they would stand a chance of restoring their dignity — and preserving their base.
That’s what I think. How do you see it?