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June 21, 2018


Professor Kennedy in her blog today ponders the future of the Republican Party in view of its shrinking voter base, demographics favoring the Democratic Party, disenchanted Republicans of the Steve Schmidt variety etc. She invited commentary and the following, slightly edited, was my response.

The question is not whether the Republican Party (especially as now constituted) will win but whether it will survive given the demographics. I have predicted for years that this party if unreformed is destined to descend back into the Whigdom from which it arose, but it may not. It may just go away, as have others.

Voter suppression and low turnout of its opposition party (with help from Russians, the Kochs, Mercers and the inane holding of Citizens United) are delaying the day of reckoning, but with millions of new voting millennials every election, many of whom are Bernie-loving leftish and activist thinkers, the die is cast even if turnout is poor in view of their activism and turn to the left, a turn perhaps further than I as a slightly left of center voter would like to go.

Younger voters are tired of Republican excuses (trickledown, tax giveaways etc.) for enrichment of the already rich at the expense of the rest of us, and I agree with them. They rightly see that government is not the problem but rather the brigands who are running it under the pretext that what they are doing and not doing is in the public interest.

It is no accident that government is trusted in a poll for “happiest nations” and that the government-trusting nations of Sweden, Norway and Denmark are among the top five, none of which is surprising, but Republicans have done a good job here in poisoning the atmosphere that government is bad and Wall Street is good as officially set forth by Reagan’s announcement years ago that “government is the problem” while simultaneously using the power of government to fire air controllers and bust unions.
Republicans took that ball and ran with it (see the subsequent flurry of “right to work” laws at state levels), but not because they really thought that government in the abstract was “bad.” The design was to put government down so that their campaign contributors could steal the peoples’ trove via privatization, following the lead of Putin, a communist, who is pretending to favor a private enterprise system so that he and his oligarchs can steal the Russian people blind.

The good news is that political transformation is coming, assuming we survive the democracy and budget-busting antics of the current administration. Our political D-Day is coming this November, and we are well-advised to storm the beaches (aka polls) and install non-brigands who will increase our measurable happiness index by governing so well that the new consensus will be that “government is good,” and perhaps even that government service is, as Madison and Jefferson saw it, “noble,” which I think all would agree would amount to a considerable transformation from present sentiment in re “politicians,” i.e., from loathing to admiration.   GERALD      E


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