You may not realize it fully – certainly, modern Republicans don’t realize it – but the fact of the matter is, the current incarnation of the Republican Party is essentially dead. It’s been a zombie party for more than a decade now.
Don’t look for “the” culprit, however. The current GOP has essentially committed suicide. You can’t even blame Trump since the party’s death started back when he was still refusing to rent apartments to black and brown people. Why would anyone think that recruiting white racists and haters into your political party at a time when the civil rights era was giving minorities and women more and more power was a good idea that would make you prosperity? Gee, what could go wrong?
The Republican Party was on its way out when Saint Reagan was elected president. The only thing that has been keeping the GOP alive, if we’re being honest, has been a unicorn progressives’ ineptitude when it comes to politics. Consider that the current GOP is little more than a reflexive, substance-free reaction to everything the Republicans say or do, and balance that against the fact that the current GOP is little more than anti-liberal and you can see why out professional left has been their life support for so long.
All we ever had to do was just vote against them, and encourage more people to turn out to vote. That’s quite simply all we ever had to do. Seriously, there isn’t a problem that we have right now that can’t be tied to the scourge of Republican governance. Actually, the GOP doesn’t even govern, so they should be easy to beat. Unfortunately, our professional left has “education,” which is usually a good thing, unless you don’t understand what you’re supposed to learn. I have a Political Science degree, but I also have the experience and common sense to know that the book learning I received was primarily theory and doesn’t always translate to real life.
For example, as a progressive, I am supposed to believe in all the same things that other “progressives” believe because THAT is what a “real progressive” believes. That sounds like it makes sense, right? There’s just one problem; there is no single way to make progress in society and government. Therefore, what we have had is a sincerely right-wing vision of what being a “liberal” or a “conservative” should be, based on each progressive’s decidedly narrow view. That narrow view makes us look ridiculous. And since the only position right-wingers have on anything is all about making liberals mad, you can see how such a narrow view of progressivism feeds the Republican right-wing beast. We always look pissed off because no one actually fits our narrow view of who is a “real progressive,” and we get lonely and tired And the GOP continues to run the nation into the ground.
Take healthcare as an example. There is not a single viable solution for the healthcare problem, which has to do with universal access. And yet, professional lefties and unicorn progressives have adopted yet another catch-phrase (Medicare for All) that has little or no meaning and demanded that all of us just accept it. The problem is, we also have to accept several far-left fantasies to go along with it. To be a “real progressive,” we have to fantasize about shutting down all private health insurance companies and make all doctor visits “free.” That’s a utopian vision, of course, and completely impractical. For one thing, the current Medicare (NOT For All) system doesn’t cover everything. As is, Medicare covers 80 percent, leaving patients to pay the other 20 percent. And we all remember what Republicans did when they created Medicare Part D, right? Without the ACA and private insurance, seniors with numerous prescriptions had to negotiate a huge “donut hole,” in which the first few thousand dollars in prescriptions were covered, but the next few thousand were not, until the numbers got ridiculous again, and they were once again covered. If you want to know why so many seniors pay nothing when going to the hospital or seeing a specialist while on Medicare, it is because they have — ta da! – private insurance filling in the coverage. It’s simply not possible to cut private insurance out of the system. We could make them non-profit and also regulate them heavily, but the government can’t do it all. And as noted, if the entire system is run by government, Republicans will screw with the budget and cut anything they don’t like when they’re in charge.
The same could be said about “free college.” The professional left is always talking about “free college” and they always refer to the California State college system as a model because no resident of the state had to pay tuition to get a decent college education, back in the 1960s. However, what they don’t mention is that college is more necessary these days. They also don’t note that more people attend college than did in the 1960s, and the universities themselves have to teach a hell of a lot more than they did 50-60 years ago. It simply costs a lot more to educate people these days. Besides, the real problem is student loans, and simply offering “free college” simply doesn’t solve that problem without causing others. We are putting young people heavily debt even before they start working in their careers. THAT is what we should attack, not a promise of “free college” for everyone with no way of paying for it. The hundreds of billions of dollars needed to pay for that is unrealistic and unnecessary. If we could provide grants instead of loans and subsidize students, they wouldn’t have to borrow as much, and that would relieve the problem.
We are watching the slow-motion demise of the Republican Party, but it won’t die on its own. We have to beat them and make that happen. There is no way to get progressive policies passed with them “cock-blocking” us every step of the way. It’s absolutely essential that we seal their doom. However, we can’t do that without showing up and voting them out AND also encouraging the highest voter turnout in modern history. That means being pragmatic and not promising a bunch of shit we may not be able to deliver.
It’s certainly not enough to be anti-Republican. We also have to be pro-Democrat. Negativity is one of the main reasons Republicans have hung on so long. Our ancestors essentially froze the GOP out of government most places for most of the 20th Century, based only on the fact that they caused the Great Depression. Now, they have done so much more. Look at just about every recession in the post-War era, and Republicans have been behind it. If you look closely at the national debt, you’ll find that 90 percent of it or more is the fault of the Republican Party. The debt tripled under Reagan and doubled again under Bush, Sr. It then stayed flat under Clinton, although he oversaw a balanced budget and several budget surpluses during his eight years before Dubya and the GOP Congress forget everything Clinton has taught them and damn near tripled the debt again. The debt didn’t go down under Obama, but deficits were cut by two-thirds, while they have nearly doubled under less than three years of Trump and a GOP Congress.
All of that said, we can’t just focus on the failures of the GOP. We have to play up the positive attributes of the Democratic Party. And for Chrissakes, stop saying both parties are the same. That’s never been true, but it’s less so now than ever.
Let’s put an end to the GOP. If we have to deal with a single-party system for a few election cycles, so be it. At least it’ll be the right party; the one preferred by the poor and minorities and immigrants. The one that always protects Social Security and Medicare, and who passed a healthcare system that could have morphed into a universal system, if we hadn’t allowed the GOP to keep winning. Meanwhile, with Republicans having too much power, we are always playing defense, and working to keep what we have, even as we dream of perfection.
Let’s watch the GOP go away and also make it happen faster. It’ll be glorious…