Back in 2008, in the euphoria following Barack Obama’s historic victory at the polls, I wrote a blog prophesying that the end of the Republican Party was at hand. Imagine my surprise when the GOP came surging back in 2010, winning the House, gaining ground in the Senate and capturing legislatures across the country.
But my prophesy wasn’t wrong; it was just ahead of its time.
The forces that threatened to split the Republican Party in two have not gone away. They’re stronger than ever.
The 2010 setback for the Democrats was largely due to the Tea Party revolution, which was skillfully manipulated by Big Money. The disgruntled folks who were mad at the world because of this or that have little in common with the corporate elite that has funded their movement.
They were conned by the very villains they should have been raging against – the big banks, the health insurance moguls, the corrupt members of Congress and the other soulless schemers with their hands in the public’s pockets.
Instead, they turned their venom against Obama and his fellow-Democrats.
It was a propaganda triumph unsurpassed in the history of the world. By appealing to such visceral instincts as tribalism and self-righteousness and by stoking the resentment that comes with failure and envy, the Big Money noise machine turned a lot of white Americans against America’s first black president.
But the distractions could do only so much to obscure the yawning gap between the materialistic goals of the Republican elite and the ideological rage of the Tea Party rebels.
The Tea Party is becoming disenchanted with the Republican leadership – even rejecting some of their own extremist stars.
Some Republican candidates, especially those with national aspirations, have deviated from Tea Party dogma. They know the toxic blend of xenophobic nihilism and religious zealotry cannot possibly win broad support in today’s America. And the Tea Party folks are threatening to desert these candidates.
An AP article today reports that Tea Party leaders might withhold support for “standard-bearers (who) have embraced more moderate positions on bedrock issues such as immigration and health care, broadening their appeal in swing states but dampening grass-roots passion.”
As AP writer Michael J. Mishak explains:
The Tea Party is a loosely knit web of activists, and some are hoping to rekindle the fire with 2014 primary challenges to wayward Republicans. But many more say they plan to sit out high-profile races in some important swing states next year, a move that GOP leaders fear could imperil the re-election prospects of former tea party luminaries, including the governors of Florida and Ohio.
The way I see it, this could herald a split between the Tea Party and mainstream Republicans. Maybe not in 2014. Maybe not even in 2016. But inevitably, the Ted Cruz- Rand Paul branch of the GOP will go its own crazy way, leaving the rest of the Republican Party as nothing more than the political arm of America’s corporate and financial elite.
And I can’t see how any amount of propaganda could sell either of those two platforms to future generations.