We agree that the Republican Party agenda is evil. So do they, but each faction claims that it is only the extremists (the Rightist Adventurists, in an inversion of Communist jargon) or the RINOs (the Leftist Running Dogs) that are the problem, not themselves. I have identified ten major factions among the Republicans, each focused on different issues, and each expressing the utmost contempt for all of the others as well as the rest of us, in spite of the massive overlap among them.
It used to be that the various Republican factions regarded the others as Useful Idiots, in the Soviet Communist sense, but no more. Why, you could very well think that you were observing Walt Kelly's Jack Acid Society, in which the Molester had succeeded in getting everybody else, even his best friend and #2 in the Society Deacon Mushrat, on his suspects list. But can he get himself on the list? Ah, well, spoilers. You should read it, now that the Bircher Koch brothers think they can buy up America and run it as a wholly-owned subsidiary. Actually, I intend to Diary The Jack Acid Society Black Book in my Grokking Republicans series for the Readers and Book Lovers group.
When you hear a Republican talking nonsense, which is to say when you hear a Republican, it can be of value to know which kind of nonsense it is intended to be, and which other nonsense it may be intended to counter. They are quite commonly not talking to us, but to the echoes in the chamber. Welcome to the swamp.
We don't do Nazi comparisons. Site rules, and quite right, too. But Communist Party shenanigans not directly involving mass killings are fair game. It has been observed that the Very Far Right and the Very Far Left become nearly indistinguishable in practice, at the point where each ignores real people.
Capitalism is the oppression of man by man. Communism is precisely the reverse.The history of the implosion of the Communist Party USA would be hilarious if it were not made up of so many personal tragedies. Similarly for the implosion of the Federalists, 1800–1815, although it was much less vicious, and the coming implosion of the Republicans, who have been vying week by week to see who can come out with the craziest and most vile assaults on humanity and each other. We don't have time for all of that today, but those who know about such things can think of the Trotskyists vs. the Stalinists when observing current Republican infighting.
Who are the factions, and what do they want?
The core of the Republican Party from the time of Lincoln (who made his national reputation as a railroad lawyer, defending railroads against the depredations of the Swamp Act in many slave states) has been big business. These are the Leisure Class, characterized both by Conspicuous Consumption and a reliance on force and fraud, as identified by Thorstein Veblen. They are also known as the National Bourgeois to Marxists, and as Country Club Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce. The worst of the Wall Street villains call themselves the Masters of the Universe.
Everything for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
Their issues are tax cuts and loopholes, subsidies, deregulation (except for vast expansion of so-called Intellectual Property rights), union-busting, and US government interference in foreign markets in their favor. Wall Street is a particularly egregious subset that wants to convert as much as possible of the US economy to financial shenanigans from which they can get a cut. There are getting to be more of them, and they are getting to have so much influence that law enforcement is quite leery of going after them for stealing billions of dollars, money laundering for drug cartels, and other shenanigans.
Their issue is
Jobs, jobs, jobsmeaning only their own jobs in government, not yours, and whatever it takes to get re-elected. Issues? What are those? Oh, you mean talking points! Messaging! Yes, we have people working on that.
Along with elected Republican officials, this includes office and campaign staff, consultants, and so on. It is numerically one of the smallest factions, even including all state and local government, but nothing else happens without it. Of course, elected Republicans divide up among all of the other factions. So we have the spectacle of the RNC and College Republicans both pleading with the Base to allow them to recruit conservative Blacks, Latinos, women, LGBTs, and so on, and the Base saying, "Nuh-uh!"
The Party depends on campaign contributions, outside funding by dark money, Groupthink Tanks, the Echo Chamber, corporate ownership of media, and ginning up scandal whether it exists or not.
These are the core of the original Republican Southern Strategy, with roots in Strom Thurmond's explicitly segregationist Dixiecrat campaign of 1948. Barry Goldwater hired Thurmond's campaign strategist, Harry Dent Jr., in 1964, and we then got Kevin Phillips (We don't need Black votes) in the Nixon campaign, and Lee Atwater (It's OK as long as Blacks get hurt worse) in the Reagan campaign.
OMG, he's Blaaaaack!!!Voter suppression to take us back to Jim Crow and no social programs that spend a dime on helping anybody but deserving prosperous White Christians. We built this country, didn't nobody help us nohow! We were entitled to all that labor from our slaves! That's Property Rights!
As they express it, their issue is Taking Their Country Back and undoing all of the "privileges" for blacks and other minorities, and anybody else who gets in the way, what they used to call Commie N******-lovers. And making sure that White women don't—I mean they don't get to mess with White women.
The Religious Right
Before the Civil War, Southern Baptist churches were a mainstay of the slave system, providing supposed religious and even economic and social justification for slavery via Curse of Ham theology. They had perverted a Bible story to say that Black Africans had been cursed with mental and moral failings that made them fit only to be slaves of Whites, and that slavery was good for slaves! They also ignored every rule in the Bible about how to treat slaves, including the fact that they could only be kept for seven years.
That officially racist theology kept up all through the Jim Crow segregation period and beyond, but the SBC eventually renounced racism and apologized for it. So that is officially off the table.
Except in the churches that didn't.
Gays are sinners and the Gay Agenda will destroy society. But we can cure that!
Women must know their place and obey their fathers and husbands. No abortion, no contraception. Well, maybe sometimes, but we get to set the rules for everybody else.
In the most extreme versions, Christians should run the entire government (Dominionism), or all laws should come straight from the Bible (Theonomy); the First Amendment doesn't apply to non-Christians (certainly not your blasphemous Flying Spaghetti Monster), possibly even to any kind of Christian but our own.
Mammonism is quite strong in the most bigoted churches. Do you suppose there could be a connection?
Racists and religious Creationists agree that we and Darwin cannot tell them that they are descended from Black Africans just like everybody else, although they pretend that they object to Evolution for other reasons.
There is also an obsession among some of them with fairy tales about the End Times, including President Obama being the Antichrist, and trying to get Israel into a war with all Muslim countries on the planet, so that The Jews can kill off all of The Muslims just in time to convert to Christianity for the Thousand-Year Kingdom of Christ on Earth. That poisons our Middle East policy.
Nullification and states rights is a great idea if you can pull it off, that is, if you actually have a majority in support of your position. Thomas Jefferson was strongly in favor of states nullifying the obviously unconstitutional Alien and Sedition Laws, and refused to enforce them as President. States together with strong public opinion and a somewhat willing Administration have in practice nullified a substantial portion of the anti-marijuana laws in the US, although of course we have a long way to go. But legally, nullification is a nullity.
Neo-Confederates, however, want to reverse what they consider to be barbaric and dishonorable Yankee tyranny, currently including half a century of settled law from the Civil Rights era, and Constitutional amendments from much further back, and the outcome of a war, from a position as a tiny minority. Back in the days of Jim Crow they were actually the majority in the South, and they got to enact vicious segregation and voter suppression laws, backed up with extrajudicial killings and other oppressions, all with the permission of the Supreme Court in Plessey v. Ferguson.
These days, we hear about nullifying gun and immigration laws, mostly, although you might occasionally see a sign for repealing Loving v. Virginia and reinstituting anti-miscegenation laws, or for getting rid of popular election of Senators. But there is plenty of secession talk, even though nothing ever comes of it.
The beginning of the Tea Parties was astroturf opposition to the Affordable Care Act, hence Obamacare, but they have taken on a life of their own, turning savagely on their supposed corporate masters and going full-on Bircher with demands to shut down the government and default on the national debt. This should be no surprise, considering how much of the astroturfing was done by the Bircher Koch brothers, whose father Charles Koch was a co-founder and leading funder of the organization.
One of their leading demands in 2009 was for government to keep its hands off their Medicare. With the success of the ACA even among Republicans, I fully expect to hear
Hands off my Obamacare!a few more steps down the road.
The Tea Parties have taken on all of the hatreds of all of the other factions for other people, plus they hate the corporate faction bitterly, even while still supporting its key issues, tax cuts, deregulation, and union-bashing.
The struggle between the Tea Parties and the regular Republicans has become the biggest story in elections, ever since Tea Party candidates started losing elections that should have been shoo-ins. While the Tea Parties are currently the greatest threat to governance in the country, they are also the most potent weapon that Democrats have to GOTV.
People think that they are Libertarians, but they are either hypocrites
Everybody who matters should be able to do anything that does not harm another person of any consequence in any way we care about.or haven't thought it through past the first step
I want what I want when I want it.Libertarians say that they are for small government, fiscal responsibility, Civil Rights except when it comes to making business owners comply, ending foreign wars and not getting involved in new ones, and ending the War on Drugs and sentencing disparities in the criminal courts.
Actually, they are for beggar-thy-neighbor, Devil take the hindmost economics, privatization of all of government including money, and Social Darwinism.
Why can't we be friends?College Republicans include all factions, but the leadership is attempting to face up to the fact that Republicans are in a demographic catastrophe and on top of that are driving potential voters away as hard as possible in the War on Everybody Including Each Other. Like the RNC, the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) commissioned a study asking why voters won't vote for Republicans, and tried to put a plan together to reach out to a few of the big voting blocks, especially women, Blacks, and immigrants. Nuh-uh! says the Tea Party, and Republican legislatures have been vying to cut taxes and services (especially education), make abortion inaccessible to women or as demeaning as possible, suppress voting rights, and attack both immigrants and refugees, along with actual Latino citizens.
Another numerically tiny group with outsize influence in the Bush years, still treated as Very Serious People in the MSM no matter how much they got wrong.
Shoot first, and refuse to answer questions after.Their policy since Gulf War I has been to make war in the Middle East and install puppet governments that would somehow convince everybody in the region that democracy was the answer to all of their problems.
They already knew in Iraq that good government would be the answer to many of their problems, and Paul Bremer and Nouri al-Maliki weren't and aren't it. Similarly Hamid Karzai and the warlords vs. the Taliban don't cut it in Afghanistan.
Guns are the answer! What was the question?The NRA deservedly gets a bit of bad press, and should get lots more, for insisting that terrorists should be able to buy assault weapons with hundred-round magazines unimpeded, but the real crazies are in Gun Owners of America and the National Association for Gun Rights. When the NRA was negotiating the Manchin-Toomey Bill, GOA and NAGR effectively Tea-Partied them into dropping it.
Also there are modest numbers of crazies in the Militias and the Oathkeepers, as we saw at the Bundy Ranch, and more in the deepest, darkest conspiracy-filled corners of the Internet. Because the mildest measures for preventing children being killed in schools inherently mean nothing short of confiscation of all of their guns, leaving them helpless in the face of the coming zombie apocalypse, or the UN black helicopters, or something. Or maybe they will just rise up and overthrow the Federal tyranny, all the millions of them that failed to show up in DC for the American Spring not long ago to arrest Obama and both House and Senate Democratic and Republican leadership and put in a Constitutional government.
OK, but what do we do about them?
There is a great deal that we can and must do to counter each of these sets of delusions, especially among young people who are still capable of entertaining a range of unapproved thoughts from the evidence-based world. I have written about that elsewhere, for example in my Diary Undeluding the Deluded, and will go on doing so. In particular, I will explain how to use the theory from The Evolution of Cooperation, by Robert Axelrod, to design interventions, as part of my Grokking Republicans series.
Above all we have to vote the scoundrels out of office, and fix voting so they can't get back in while they remain a minority. That means outlawing gerrymanders and voter suppression, and creating a new SCOTUS-proof preclearance list. To do that we have to organize and GOTV.
But the key point for the longer term is that each of their ideological factions other than the 1% is shrinking, while Democratic Latinos in particular are growing. And the 1% do not have enough natural allies to maintain their oligarchy when their unnatural allies, their assorted Useless Idiots, are not there to back them up, or are no longer interested in doing so because the 1% will not have the power to give them anything in return.