Tuesday, February 02, 2016

GOP: The Party of Hucksters

Been reading about the fractures opening up between different groups in the GOP.  It's kinda hard to tell, but it seems like lots of folks are very surprised by all this (yes, mostly beltway pundits who are, historically, wrong about everything, but also the GOP party "establishment" and even some Dems). Seems to me like a pretty obvious result of the game the GOP has been playing, and I think a lot of it goes back to them becoming the anti-science party.

It's a logic issue.  Science is structured, logical, tested, verified.  You have an idea about something (hypothesis) then you run tests against that to see if it works, if it does you progress, if it does not then you rethink your hypothesis.  By rejecting science (yes, particularly evolution and now climate change) you reject that thought process, and any supporters you retain will also have rejected that thought process.  This can work short term just like a magician (wave one hand over here toward issue people in the room care about, while really you just want to do something unrelated over there), but over time you will find that there are better magicians.

Once those better "magicians" realize that you don't have to be substantive to get ahead in the GOP, they will naturally gravitate toward that party.  Eventually you have a party where large numbers of the people [running for office] don't have any particular notion of what being in the GOP means beyond "whatever I want it to mean for me at this moment" and characters like Trump and Cruz make perfect sense in this telling.

So the GOP is not united in any given policy dictate, and so even the numbered list given in the article is largely wrong.  You can find lots of exceptions to any of those points and you can find people in any of the other "camps" that drift into many of the points listed.  Trying to break the GOP down into ideologically coherent groups is a fool's errand.  There are a couple, but mostly that party has become the anti-whatever party.  Go to the GOP with whatever it is you don't like about [government, America, liberals, other religions, other races, other nations, gays, city folk...] and you can find a candidate who will parrot that emotion back to you in such a way that you will think it is their own.

The closest most commentary comes to getting at something that unifies the GOP is "whiteness", and yes, if you are a white supremacist you probably vote Republican (if you vote), but even that oversimplifies things, because whiteness isn't necessary, it's largely incidental.  In a nation where white men used to have all the power, the result of increasing equality absolutely means that white men are the "losers" of the game, so the people most likely to be drawn to an illogical anti-whatever party are much more likely to be white, and to be men.  What truly unites and defines the GOP is the anti-logic aspect.  Most clearly seen with the rejection of science that began in earnest in the 90's this is what has pushed the GOP to be the party of hucksters.

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