Why do I think the Republican Party is beyond redemption? I view their policy positions as mostly appalling, but that’s not the reason. I’m going to disagree with pretty much any conservative party, after all. It’s more about the underlying nature of the party leadership and what it believes it has to do in order to win. Over just the past decade or so, the Republican Party:
- Chose Donald Trump as its presidential nominee.
- Has openly strategized about suppressing the Black vote because Black voters heavily favor Democrats.
- Played footsie with insane conspiracy theories like QAnon.
- Spent the entire Obama presidency ginning up fake scandals.
- Lied relentlessly about its dedication to reducing the deficit.
- Lied equally relentlessly about its dedication to passing a health care bill.
- Lied (and lied and lied) about the impact of its tax bills on the rich.
- Has killed untold thousands of people by making mask-wearing into a partisan football during a pandemic.
- Has openly appealed to racial bigotry as a way of increasing its share of the white vote.
- Denied the obvious reality of destructive climate change solely for partisan benefit.
- Is currently doing its best to convince its base that the entire 2020 election was fraudulent.
This is, needless to say, not an exhaustive list, and none of it has anything to do with conservative policy. It speaks solely to the moral judgments of the party’s leaders, and these moral judgements are now so ingrained that I see no hope they’ll ever be abandoned. Perhaps in a different media universe they would have already paid a price for this, but in a conservative media universe dominated by Fox News, talk radio, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page they can get away with almost anything. Most Republican voters probably don’t even know their party has sunk to this level.
The key question is whether it’s possible to convince moderate conservatives to care about this kind of stuff. Or, like so many of us, are they willing to give it a pass as long as Republicans do the things they want them to do? It’s a discouraging thought.