Matt Taibbi's column entitled "RIP, GOP: How Trump is Killing the Republican Party" is a compelling, entertaining read. He writes:
After 9/11, it felt like the Republicans would reign in America for a thousand years. Only a year ago, this was still a party that appeared to be on the rise nationally, having gained 13 Senate seats, 69 House seats, 11 governorships and 913 state legislative seats during the Obama presidency.
Now the party was effectively dead as a modern political force, doomed to go the way of the Whigs or the Free-Soilers.
But I'm not sure his argument here ultimately holds up. Nor does his premise that the Republican base has finally awoken from its trance, realized they have been sold down the river by the GOP, and are finally ready to "fight for their economic lives," if even with the incoherent [real-estate developer].
My sense of the base is that its rage is driven by that (Black) Man in the White House, people of color allegedly getting free things they don't deserve, Hispanics illegal and legal, SOCIALISM, and the usual culture war tropes from guns to, now, transgender bathrooms. And come November, every Republican from David Brooks and Paul Ryan to the red suburban precincts of Phoenix will dutifully cast their ballots for [the real-estate developer].
Things will not go that way on the other side. If any party is on the abyss of the Whigs and Free-Soilers, it is the Democrats.
Having a conversation about Sen. Bernie Sanders is now impossible. The battle lines have hardened. It is increasingly clear to me that this man who was not even a Democrat until two years ago set out to hijack the party for its nationwide ballot access. Why run as a Green or a social democrat when you can take control of one of the nation's two major political parties? And if you can't? Bern down the party.
The violence and threats in Nevada, which Sanders refuses to condemn, are but a prelude. Wait until the convention in Philadelphia. That Hillary Clinton has won more delegates (of both varieties) and more popular votes is irrelevant to Sanders hard-liners. The party "elites" rigged the system, stole the election from their pure savior. It is the circular, vacuum-sealed "reasoning" of all conspiracy theories.
Part of me would love to see Sanders get the nomination. This was always going to be a tough election for the Democrats. So we could see how many Americans would vote for the Bernie Sanders who had been depicted by more than three months of GOP attack ads.
I saw retired ASU President Lattie Coor a few weeks ago. "Bernie was my mayor," he told me. As president of the University of Vermont, Coor had frequent interactions with the then mayor of Burlington. He recalled going to a city council meeting where Sanders had pushed through a city recognition of the Sandinistas, the Soviet-backed guerrillas in Nicaragua. No progress was made on pressing parking issues involving the city and university. "So Burlington had a foreign policy but not a parking policy," Coor said.
It would be interesting to test the power of this new New Left at the ballot box. I may be wrong, but I suspect it would get creamed, all the shouting notwithstanding. Do you really think those white people who voted Sanders in the Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, and Kentucky primaries will vote for him in the general? Of course not. Contrary to some wishful thinking, they have not figured out where their economic interests lie. They will continue to vote Republican, as they have for 36 years, based on cultural and national security issues, and no small amount of racial fear and antipathy.
As it is, the circular, vacuum-sealed Bernie ideology can blame Hillary. Sanders has done his part to recycle Republican smears against her in recent months.
And then? With a triumphant GOP, I could easily see the rest of the electorate shattering into two blocs, a rump Democratic Party and a new Democratic Socialist Party, carrying forward Sanders' ideas. And quit dreaming about the rebound in 2020. If the Democrats lose the White House to GOP fascism this year, they won't stand a chance in four years.
For those of you who are wary of Hillary and still reading at this point, I want to end by unpacking the idea that she is merely "GOP Lite."
A President Clinton would make sane nominations to the Supreme Court, as opposed to those proposed by the [real-estate developer]. These are lifetime appointments that can't be undone in 2020. Hate Citizens United? Just wait for a Trump court. Think about that. Second, she believes in mainstream science about our true existential threat, climate change. If those were the only two reasons to support her (and there are many more), I would vote "GOP Lite."