Republicans’ Last Chance (opinion)

Posted by ractrose on 20 Jan 2020 in Nonfiction

Cartoon of chaotic dog walk

Republicans’ Last Chance

Or, advice from an observer














As to politics, I believe in doing what works and not doing what doesn’t work. Human society has never been able to figure out why this principle is so difficult, rather than so easy, to act on. In the current and probably ongoing crisis, of ideology, ecology, and economy, I support the social welfare state. I’ve said before that with a growing global population and finite resources—and America not entitled to more of the world’s share of clean air, clean water, of rocks and minerals, meats and vegetables, etc.,—than any other nation, there is no more sensible way of keeping our people healthy, able to have valuable brainstorms, produce valuable industry, live independent of caretaking.

But here are some strategic thoughts for the Republican party, and the stock-market privileged, before it’s too late. (Though there’s pretty much zero chance they’ll save themselves.)


If the Republicans were to vote with the Democrats for conviction and removal of the president; afterwards to forge on and remove Mike Pence (not a useful candidate: tainted by corruption, hopelessly tepid and uninspiring, a little weird…and a suck-up) also by impeachment, then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, next in line, would take over. Republicans may recoil like demons exposed to holy water at this thought, but Pelosi is unlikely to want the job, probably quite prepared to yield to the winner of the 2020 election.

During her short tenure she can reverse the Trump tax cut. The recovered funds can be used to pay down the deficit Trump has run up past a trillion dollars in just one term. She would reverse the environmental reversals, restoring safety and future health (future tax savings) to Americans. She would replace Mike Pompeo (and Betsy DeVos) and begin stabilizing our foreign policy, mending fences with NATO, the EU, the Middle East.

All that would fit a Republican narrative of patiently repairing our broken government, stabilizing and mending our own divided national relationships, while still letting the changes be chalked up to a Democratic administration—and taking credit for the benefits. A moderate candidate positioned to win the Republican nomination could win the presidency, and though he would have a time choosing, he might even pick a woman running mate (given the field, an inverse proportion formula based on megatonnage of hairspray, hair dye, and makeup, should be the best hope of finding a Republican woman not offensive to women).

If, “later in the summer” it were possible, after the Democrats had spent many resources on Joe Biden, a deadly blow could be struck by suddenly pitting him against a vanilla moderate like Mitt Romney. Everything Biden can offer as a middle-of-the-road enticement to wavering conservative centrists who hate Trump, Romney would draw off, all anti-Trump rhetoric become moot. But a pretext rising after tomorrow’s opportunity is squandered, of having neither Trump nor Pence on the ticket, is a great unlikelihood.


The Scary Voter


It’s a persistent rightist talking point that people who get handouts ought to work for them. In fact no one more than the current Republican voter agitates so much to have things given, and home delivered.

The flame of revolution sparks itself in the young, who can’t lose because they haven’t gained. And, in those who have tried to solve their problems, tried to use what the system allows; found, having exhausted every avenue, only scorn and refusal from their country’s leadership.

“You shall not pass” is a great slogan; but the corollary is, “Not on your road, but on mine.”

People driven far enough will pave their own street; then take to it remove the hated obstruction.

But…the rural American county has for generations sought a Boss Man. The Boss Man voters aren’t frustrated by refusal, because their sense of problems exists independently of solutions. What frustrates them is change. They use change and adapt to change; they have computers and cell phones, pay their bills online, buy flatter, cheaper TVs…and many, many products made in China. What ails them is often not describable or definable, on any grand scale of the social, economic, and cultural, but is expressed as a collection of peeves. The peeve-enumeration in this magical environment where the Man, if he’s the right man, holds the power to dispense with all, to return the voters to world of their childhood TV shows, can grow like any wishlist to a Santa Claus.

If he’s not the man, the system these voters favor and prefer doesn’t change; they simply move en masse to the next, more attractive Boss Man. (And who doesn’t suppose a younger, faster-talking demagogue couldn’t seduce away the Trumpers in a trice?) That’s apparent from the fact that the president can rally his voters with petty themes of dishwashers and light bulbs; and that the abstraction of Things That Are Going to Happen…One Day, is a necessary ingredient. The banality of evil is the human capacity to live so much of life as a theoretical self. You are a good person because you intend to be good, because you’re confident that when you’re weighed in the balance, you’ll turn up right. Our minds are built that way; every day we plan the future thing, and at length we often accomplish it…

We take the eventually true, the capacity for this to be so, for present truth. Where then do we draw the line between the way we see ourselves, accounting for what we’ve done today, what we did yesterday; and the way we see ourselves, accounting for intentions? We do great evil when we tolerate the doing of evil by others.

If Trump’s voters tried, they would find themselves disturbed by his predations (of many kinds), but to try, to construct pro and con arguments on evidence and logic, is to cease being magical. Support of the Boss Man is ritualistic. (What else, when people say they could never vote for a Democrat; yet feel persuaded, for one, that an appallingly overpriced system of health care is free enterprise, and would be unbearable “socialized”?)

And of course, the list of what Trump condemns at his rallies, in terms vaguely suggestive of promised fixes, has grown through his presidency. Rural white voters, dependent on Disability and Medicaid, Workers’ or Unemployment compensation, or who work at jobs in precarious local economies, are not going to take to the streets in a new “civil war” because their dishwasher peeves them.



Republicans’ Last Chance

The M Word That Isn’t Moscow
















(2020, Stephanie Foster)



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