Grande Old Elephant, I hardly knew ye

I’m not a history buff.  But I do love a good story that’s rooted in fact and not the typical hero worship, half-truths, and fiction written by the winners or current incumbents.

One mystery is what happened to the Republican party.   I remember them positively as a teen (yes, in an ancient era) as the party of economic opportunity.  That was long before its hijacking by first religious fundamentalists and then the super-rich.  Going back much further, the party roles were reversed.  How can you not root for Abe Lincoln and the GOP, fighting for justice to end slavery against the wealthy landowners?

According to Bring Back the Party of Lincoln,  the recent change in the GOP isn’t new.  Republicans are historical flip-floppers.  Author Heather Cox Richardson concludes,

Twice in its history, the Republican Party regained its direction and popularity after similar disasters by returning to its original defense of widespread individual economic success. The same rebranding is possible today, if Republicans demote Reagan from hero to history and rally to a leader like Lincoln, Roosevelt or Eisenhower — someone who believes that the government should promote economic opportunity rather than protect the rich.

Change is inevitable, especially amid a changing electorate that reduces the Republican power base every year.  The only question is when.

While anything is possible, it’s unlikely to happen soon.  The Super Recession was nearly as bad as the Depression.  It had no effect on the party.  There have been various Republican branding initiatives.  They’ve gone nowhere.  The party has virtually shut down Congress.  Not a budge.  And there is no savior in sight.

Instead the party has used its power to enfranchise its legitimacy by redrawing voting maps and giving the rich even more influence.  It’s drawn the Democrats far right of where they were 30 years ago, thus providing far less GOP maneuvering room.

I suggest nothing is going to happen until the party runs out of all its tricks and loses both houses of Congress and the Presidency at the same time and that’s probably 20 years away at best.

 

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