Jennifer Rubin, Do we even need the Republican Party?
In my opinion, Ms. Rubin writes too many columns, often repeats herself, and frequently fails to add value. I say that even though I often agree with her—after she got over her 2012 love affair with Mitt Romney, and embraced the truth about Donald Trump.
That said, in my opinion, her observations on the possible future of the Republican Party will repay the reading. She writes, among other things,
A Republican Party that does not depend on White grievance and cultural resentment (leading to incessant whining that its members are victims of everything from Facebook to climate scientists to immigrants) and does not depend on what Brooks aptly describes as “an anti-government zombie Reaganism long after Reagan was dead and even though the nation’s problems were utterly different from what they were when he was alive” would frankly not have much to say. After you strip away those two failed themes, what’s left? …
The issue post-Trump then is twofold: What respectable ideology could the Republican Party adopt, if it wanted to? And, if a think tank could concoct an acceptable center-right ideology, what constituency could it possibly attract? …
We need a two-party system, but we do not have a two-ideology political culture if the price of admission is a reality-based, decent, inclusive and constitutionally respectful ideology. If there is to be, as I hope, a grand coalition from center right to center left that generally defends constitutional government, curbs on the excesses of the free market, globalization with a safety net, responsible international leadership and a determination to root out systemic racism, I am not certain what that leaves to the opposition. On the left, it might be Sanders-style socialism. But on the right?
Trump cultists and the proponents of zombie-libertarianism continue to drive the party into the ground, relegating it to a regional party of dead-enders. Maybe the real question is not what the Republican Party will believe and who will support it, but whether we need it at all. Perhaps there is no morally, politically and intellectually decent party of the right to be had.
Some Observations by One Without a Dog in this Fight
I am not, and never have been, a Never Trump Republican, or any kind of Republican at all. That is why I say I have no dog in this fight. If the Republican National Committee folds up shop, and the National Review goes the way of the dodo, it will be no nevermind to me. That is why I say I have no dog in the fight over the future of Republicanism.
From that perspective, I have four points to make here.
One. Whatever it is or isn’t that folks like Jennifer Rubin and David Brooks “need” by way of political branding is a subject of very tepid interest and importance. The issue of importance is what the plutocrats will think they need—and what they will think they can get away with.
Two. To date, the Republican party has been a coalition of plutocrats and of uneducated Whites with racial, cultural, and religious grievances. But, as each day passes, it is becoming clearer that this coalition is no longer a viable enterprise—and least insofar as “viability” means having a plausible chance of winning the presidency and control of the Congress.
Three. The white grievance folks, who make up between a quarter and a third of our population, will just have to marinate for a while in their own rancidness. While they sit there a-maranatin’, the plutocrats will have to decide what they are going to do—because recreating a winning coalition of the filthy rich and the uneducated grievance folk just is not a viable option.
Four. Ms. Rubin argues (implicitly) that the plutocrats might just be content to join a grand coalition for a while—seeing how many nominal Democrats they can coopt and buy off.
That may well turn out to be what happens. At least for a season.