John Judis has a new piece up at The New Republic titled "The Last Days of the GOP: We Could Be Witnessing the Death Throes of the Republican Party." At Salon, Elias Isquith is thinking along similar lines: "Tea Party Secedes: The GOP Civil War Is Over, and So Is the GOP" The latter piece carries this subhead: "The Republicans are two different parties now -- how long will it be before the Tea Party becomes a third party?"
How long? Pretty damn long, I'd say. The GOP is not going to crack up. There isn't going to be a significant teabagger third party.
Judis and Isquith cite the same phenomena as evidence that a crack-up is imminent: on the one hand, the belief among members of the crazy voter base that even extremely conservative GOP officeholders are RINO squishes, and on the other hand, the disillusionment of the business community with the recent crazification of the party.
Trust me, these folks are going to work this out. First of all, crazy-base disappointment with the GOP is not exactly new. Crazy-base voters thought John McCain was a pathetic RINO. Did they bolt for a third party? No. They felt the same way in 2012 about Mitt Romney. Did they bolt then? No. They never bolt, because they hate liberals, Democrats, and the Democratic voter base as they perceive it (i.e., non-white moochers) far more than they hate one another.
And they've been disappointed for years anyway -- abortion is still legal, government is still (in their eyes) big and socialist, America is still (in their eyes) perpetually under assault by gays, Christian-bashers, gun-grabbers, etc., etc. Isquith writes the following, but doesn't seem to grasp the implications:
Ross Douthat has ... offered a useful window into Tea Party thinking, explaining that, for the Tea Party, the past 40 years of American politics hasn't been one in which conservatism was on the rise. On the contrary, it's been a prolonged period of "failure," all because the New Deal and the Great Society have merely been whittled away -- and not banished completely. The result of this apocalyptic thinking is a group of legislators who believe that now is their last chance to right a series of historic wrongs. They feel they have nothing to lose.Well, maybe -- but it also means that they've gotten used to feeling as if they're perpetually under siege. That feeling nourishes them. They may think doomsday is imminent, but they always think doomsday is imminent. The only thing that's really changed is that they've started to think they can prevent doomsday from arriving, reverse the tides of history, and establish their utopia. But they'll cope with the disappointment that will come when they realize their utopia unattainable. They'll just revert to a pleasurable state of feeling persecuted. They love that. They'll vote RINO, because what do you expect? They should vote for a Democrat?
Yes, but what about the mainstream business community? Aren't the captains of industry becoming disillusioned with the GOP? Well, yes -- but don't make too much of this. Judis imagines a breakthrough moment when big business starts cheating on the GOP with another party:
In Washington, today's business lobbies may come to understand what the lobbies of the '50s grasped -- that the Democratic Party is a small "c" conservative party that has sought to preserve and protect American capitalism by sanding off its rough edges. Joe Echevarria, the chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, recently told The New York Times, "I'm a Republican by definition and by registration, but the party seems to have split into two factions." Echevarria added that while the Democrats also had an extreme faction, it had no power in the party, while the Republican's extreme faction did. "The extreme right has 90 seats in the House," he said. "Occupy Wall Street has no seats." That realization could lead business to resume splitting its contributions, which would spell trouble for the Republicans.Except that Judis offers no evidence whatsoever that mainstream business leaders actually are thinking about doing any giving to Democrats. Instead, they merely seem to be thinking about limiting their donations to non-crazy Republicans:
"The business community has got to stand up and say we are not going to back the most self-described conservative candidate. We are going to back the candidates that are the most rational," says John Feehery, a former aide to [Tom] DeLay and [Dennis] Hastert who is now president of Quinn Gillespie & Associates, a Washington lobbying firm.So they'll give to corporatist, non-teabagger Republicans. And we know from the '08 and '12 elections that when teabag voters can't defeat non-teabag candidates, they suck it up and vote for them, because the alternative is voting for Satan.
I think that's the future of the GOP. This may not be a happy marriage, but it's not going to break up.