There’s an excellent article over on the New Republic this month, The Republican Party, Not Trump, Is the Real Threat to American Democracy by Jeet Heer. In it, Heer quotes analysts and theorists who argue that, while Trump is undoubtedly crazy and incompetent, he isn’t the real problem—or, at least, he’s only a symptom of the problem.
The real problem, says Heer and his sources is the Republican Party, which has turned into a massive, ideologically driven, and fanatical organization, more like the old Communist Party that anything else, which sees absolutely no reason to compromise or work with Democratic Party members to achieve some kind of results.
Thus, writes Heer, “… some Trump critics lately have argued that he’s not the disease at all. ‘The problems we face run deeper than the Trump presidency,’ Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, the Harvard political scientists and authors of the recent book How Democracies Die, wrote in The New York Times in January. ‘While Mr. Trump’s autocratic impulses have fueled our political system’s mounting crisis, he is as much a symptom as he is a cause of this crisis.’ The crisis, as they see it, is that ‘the norms that once protected our institutions are coming unmoored.’”
And in particular, the villain of the tale is the GOP. Writes Heer, “It is not… a crisis of American democracy at all, but a sickness in the Republican Party—one that took root with Newt Gingrich’s ‘Republican Revolution’ in the 1990s, and which has only metastasized within the GOP since. …”
Heer, as well as Levtsky and Ziblatt, argue that the only way forward, and perhaps the only way to save American democracy, is to reform the GOP. It needs to somehow move back to being the center-right, moderate party it was before Ronald Reagan.
The question, though, is how such a thing could happen. Right now, the GOP looks incapable and unwilling to stop its slide toward Fascism, and the nation’s slide toward dictatorship. It could be, then, that only the total defeat of the party, and its replacement by something else, can save Conservatism in America…or even could save America itself.
The Little Professor