It had to happen. The Republican Party could not long survive as an alliance between “grassroots” conservatives and global corporations. And the inevitable has arrived. The party is splitting in two.
Here’s the Catch 22 that’s causing the split.
America is changing rapidly, becoming more diverse, and the changing demographics are forcing establishment Republican strategists to embrace immigration reform. If Hispanics increase as predicted and the share of the Hispanic vote declines as it has in the past few elections, there is no way, statistically, for Republicans to win the White House or Congress in the future.
But by making overtures to the Hispanic voters, the party is turning off loyal Republicans who simply cannot tolerate what they see as “open borders.”
Republican gurus like Rush Limbaugh are lamenting the party’s recent immigration initiatives. And I can understand why they would do so.
It’s doubtful that the Republicans will win over many Hispanics by embracing immigration reform. Recent polls show America’s Latino population favors Democratic policies across the board. It seems immigrants (like the rest of the civilized world) are not as terrified of “socialism” as Republicans are.
To remain relevant in a changing America, the Republican strategists would have to abandon the old-fashioned ideas that the rest of today’s world regards as crazy. They would have to part company with racists and bigots, sexists and religious zealots. And that would mean losing a big chunk of their base.
These anachronistic Americans came out of the woodwork to join outraged citizens who were righteously infuriated by such blatant abuses as the bank bailout of 2008. And the Tea Party was born.
It didn’t take long for sly tacticians like Dick Armey to see how useful this “grassroots” anger could be to his corporate clients. They deftly maneuvered the Tea Party protesters into line with their paid politicians to oppose President Obama. Fueled by almost unlimited funds from such sources ans the infamous Koch brothers, the movement almost succeeded in blocking health care reform, and succeeded in putting Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives – as well as state legislatures across the country – in 2010.
Once in office, however, the Tea Party politicians started flexing their muscles, threatening to upset the corporate apple cart by such radical actions as blocking debt ceiling increases. Also, some of the Tea Party candidates turned out to be ignoramuses incapable of keeping their mouths shut. You will surely remember Todd Aken’s nonsense about “legitimate rape” and Richard Mourdock’s description of rape induced pregnancy as “a gift from God,” for example.
When even members of the party’s elite push legislation giving the right of “personhood” to fertilized eggs, including the right to own property, most of the rest of America – most of the rest of the world – busts out laughing.
There seems to be some voter support for the party’s libertarian sector. Nobody likes to pay taxes, for example, and the concept of smaller government has some appeal. Governments have also contributed to this sentiment over the years by indulging in outrageous prodigality.
But this support is not nearly strong enough to bear the weight of the millstone that racists, sexists, xenophobes and bigots have hung around the Republican Party’s neck.