In case you’ve ever wondered why an avowed enemy of Southern Democrats—from Reconstruction through Jim Crow, all the way up to the Dixiecrats and the segregationists of the 1950s and 60s—and supporter of Abraham Lincoln and the likes of Thaddeus Stevens (a leader of the radical faction of the Republican Party during the Civil War and Reconstruction known as the “scourge of the South”) spends his time railing against Republicans, well, so do I! The fact is, Donald Trump as good as hijacked the Republican Party, and it’s highly questionable if any vestige of the old party remains. Or perhaps, more aptly, the Republican Party of yesteryear had long since ceased to be and its rotting carcass was ripe for the picking.
If you ask me, for the longest time the Republican Party was nothing but a ruse concocted by the corporate power structure and the top 1% using their contrived “culture wars” (aka God, guns, and gays) to persuade a big chunk of the American electorate to vote against their own economic interests. But Donald Trump came along and attacked the liberal “elites” and the non-white “other” in a way most Republicans hadn’t and stole a big chunk of that “base” for himself, which wasn’t too hard given they were never a legitimate Republican constituency in the first place; they’d just ended up Republicans because they hated everything the Democrats and the rest of their culture war enemies stood for. Republican leadership like Mitch McConnell needs to kowtow to Trump’s ridiculous fantasies of a rigged, stolen election because they have no real “base” of their own, or not for the longest time.
Nothing Would be Better for Racial and Economic Equality in America than if the Republic Party Split in Two.
There’s been lots of talk in recent weeks about where the Republican Party will go from here, much of it centered around the question of whether Trump will run again in 2024 (assuming the fat old thing is still alive by then!) or if new leaders will emerge. As much as I would like to see Trump gone from our national politics and be eclipsed by a new, more positive generation, events of late don’t bode well. The likes of Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz hardly represent fresh new faces for the Republican Party, at least of the sort I would like to see resurrected from the ashes; from what I can tell, these dudes cater to the basest of Trump’s base and have no intention of upping their game. Will a new coalition of centrists emerge in the coming years that is willing to help move the country forward? People like Mitt Romney, Larry Hogan, and Lisa Murkowski have signaled their willingness to work with the incoming Democratic administration, but they hardly represent new blood and a younger generation.
Sadly, as things stand now, the best thing for the causes I champion—racial and economic equality—would be for Trump to take the base with him and the Republican Party as we know it to split in two, rendering both halves relatively powerless. I fear, however, the younger generation (were guys like Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz ever young?!) will try to be recreate themselves in Trump’s image (well, anyone’s better than Don Jr.!), while the centrists will be irrelevant for a base that, above all else, is looking for a voice to vent their anger and disaffection.