The Republican Party’s future

Here’s the state of Britain’s right wing party, supposedly being torn apart by Brexit:

Alan Duncan, a junior minister in the Foreign Office, said of the Tory MPs who had triggered the confidence vote: “This is an act of irresponsibility, foolishness and national vandalism.”

“Any attempt to replace the prime minister in the middle of all this is utterly reckless and brainless. Anyone who has done this should be ashamed of themselves. They are not acting in the national interest.”

If Mrs May lost a vote of confidence or decided to resign, it would plunge the party into a formal leadership contest; there is no clear frontrunner to replace her and any contest would be highly divisive and could take weeks to play out.

Now let’s look at the condition of the right wing party in an English-speaking nation facing no Brexit crisis, which has a healthy economy that has been growing for 27 straight years, and no immigration crisis:

Mr Morrison owes his current eminence (if, again, that is the right word) to a cabal of what a senior Liberal calls a bunch of “crazy, right-wing nutjobs”. In August they defenestrated the man, Malcolm Turnbull, who had called and won the previous election, and had attempted to govern as a pro-business and socially liberal centrist. One of the cabal, Peter Dutton, a vituperative populist, failed to secure Mr Turnbull’s crown. In the ensuing scrimmage, which did few of its participants credit, Mr Morrison won it almost by accident. The most competent moderate, Julie Bishop, was swiftly trampled. . . .

In politics, says one senior party member, you used to make progress through compromise. “Now, it’s, ‘If you don’t give me something I want, I’ll blow the place up.’” Perhaps Mr Abbott and his like really do have a death wish. Perhaps they fancy that defeat by the Labor Party will have a wonderfully purgative effect, clearing the wets out of the Liberal Party and allowing their faction to enjoy unadulterated rule. What is nearly certain is that a grand old party faces a whipping next year. The question is whether it can survive at all.

As I keep telling you, there’s something in the water. (Or the internet?) I’m sure that some commenters will say that politics is always like this.  Actually, this is much worse than usual.  I predict that the US Republican party will be torn apart by a similar crisis, at some point in the next few years.

PS.  This also caught my eye in the Australia article:

As if in support, the women’s minister, Kelly O’Dwyer, said in a leaked discussion with colleagues that the party’s leaders were seen as “homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers”.

Anti-women? So it’s not just Brazil, the Philippines, the US, Italy, and Russia.  Add Australia to the list of countries featuring increasingly misogynistic leadership.  Is that enough to count as a trend?  Maybe Time’s “Man of the Year” should have been, “The angry, homophobic, misogynist, authoritarian, gas guzzling, macho male.”

PPS.  This made me smile:

“Now, it’s, ‘If you don’t give me something I want, I’ll blow the place up.’”

Trump has said that if Congress doesn’t give him the new Nafta, which is quite similar to the old one, he destroy Nafta entirely.

What should the Dems do?  Feed the beast, or see if Trump is bluffing?

 


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35 Responses to “The Republican Party’s future”

  1. Gravatar of Bob Bob
    12. December 2018 at 10:16

    Pew has what I think is the most important chart for understanding our political climate:

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/12/29/pew-research-centers-most-read-research-of-2016/ft_18-02-15_generationsbirths_projected/

    Imagine that your generation, born in the midst of a massive post-war baby boom, surged to political power in the 1970s as you grew to voting age and entered the workforce. Your interests dominated policy across the English-speaking world, as you outnumbered the generations that came before and after. Despite nominal differences between political parties, they generally pushed pro-market economic policies and conservative social policies. Now, after 30-40 years of relative political hegemony your generation is pushed up against the edge of the average life-expectancy with only the decline in sight. Your power isn’t quite shrinking, but the cracks are starting to show.

    I think that the explosion of misogynistic nativism is basically the global mid-life crisis of the boomer generation.

  2. Gravatar of P Burgos P Burgos
    12. December 2018 at 10:31

    Does Xi Jinping count as part of that right wing trend?

  3. Gravatar of Kgaard Kgaard
    12. December 2018 at 10:44

    Much of the anger on the right is principled: There is no need for such an extreme degree of centralization of law anymore. But we seem to be stuck with it — particularly given that there are no new lands to go settle. If you don’t like the existing legal framework you can’t LEAVE. You are trapped. There is no exit, which only leaves voice. So the “voices” are getting louder.

    All these problems could be solved if the governments of the US, UK and elsewhere would allow peoples freedom of association — freedom to secede in place from the larger entity, at least on some points. But they don’t. So they deserve the resistance they are getting.

    Is it misogyny to be upset at the rule prohibiting male-only spaces? Or just rational indignation.

  4. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    12. December 2018 at 10:55

    As I keep telling you, there’s something in the water. (Or the internet?) I’m sure that some commenters will say that politics is always like this.

    Scott,

    no I’m going to say politics was much worse than current politics. 1968 was worse than 2018, that’s for sure. Not to mention all the decades before.

    Even media like Vox.com agrees with me.

    Maybe people just became more sensitive? I don’t know.

  5. Gravatar of Kumano Kumano
    12. December 2018 at 11:26

    Long time blog reader. No point on this article, just want to say I love your content and keep up the good work!

  6. Gravatar of Brian Donohue Brian Donohue
    12. December 2018 at 11:39

    It’s populism versus the establishment, and in the US, the impact seems to be having a similar impact on both parties. I mean, Bernie?

    Have you heard of ChapoTrapHouse? I wouldn’t have guessed a bunch of wistful commies who get almost everything wrong could be hilarious, but they often are.

    Anyway, these guys are pulling down $1 million+ a year (in $5 increments) from Pateron and have a pretty huge following (though the mainstream media mostly ignore them), and they and their ilk seem hellbent on making 2020 a replay of the 1972 election.

  7. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    12. December 2018 at 12:52

    I am sceptical of any set of strung together fashionable boo words as representing any sort of reliable comment.

  8. Gravatar of XVO XVO
    12. December 2018 at 13:01

    They removed the estrogen mimicking chemicals from our frying pans and plastics and the world is changing as a result.

  9. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    12. December 2018 at 14:34

    I predict that the US Republican party will be torn apart by a similar crisis, at some point in the next few years.

    The leadership crises within the GOP are actually a lot less severe now than they were back in 2011-15.

  10. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. December 2018 at 14:45

    Bob, Maybe, but those views are more pervasive among the over 70-year olds than among the boomers.

    Burgos, Yes, to some extent. Of course it shows up in different ways in different countries. Xi is certainly nationalistic.

    Kgaard, You said:

    “Is it misogyny to be upset at the rule prohibiting male-only spaces? Or just rational indignation.”

    When I read this sort of comment I wonder whether the writer doesn’t follow the news, or is just blind. Let me ask you guys one question. How many times has Trump expressed support for powerful men who are unquestionably guilty of sexual harassment? (I.e. not someone like Kavanaugh.) How many times has he expressed sympathy for their victims?

    When did appropriate pushback against the excesses of left wing PCism turn into a defense of every crude racist and sexist comment made by politicians?

    Christian, I recall 1968, and it was nowhere near as bad as today. At that time, it was still regarded as important that politicians tell the truth. They did not always do so, but it was a problem when they did not.

    Brian, I also expect the Dems to blow it in 2020. I have no confidence in that party.

  11. Gravatar of Mark Bahner Mark Bahner
    12. December 2018 at 15:19

    “I predict that the US Republican party will be torn apart by a similar crisis, at some point in the next few years.”

    As I commented on the Niskanen Center blog, the Republican Party has no future with demographics like this:

    Makeup of U.S. House of Representatives prior to midterm elections:

    Women: Democrats = 78, Republicans = 26
    Blacks: Democrats = 48, Republicans = 3
    Hispanic/Latino: Democrats = 30, Republicans = 13
    Asian/Indian/Pacific Islander: Democrats = 16, Republicans = 0

    Additions to House in 2018 midterms:

    Total Added: Democrats = 63, Republicans = 37
    Women added: Democrats = 35, Republicans = 2
    “People of Color”: Democrats = 23, Republicans = 1

    I don’t think it will take the Republican Party being “torn apart by a similar crisis”…demographics alone will doom them, absent a major change in strategy.

  12. Gravatar of Mark Bahner Mark Bahner
    12. December 2018 at 15:26

    “I think that the explosion of misogynistic nativism is
    basically the global mid-life crisis of the boomer generation.”

    This reminds me of movie lines that I probably don’t remember well, and I’m too lazy to find the movie (some “chick flick”, I expect):

    Mother: “You’re not middle-aged, I’m middle-aged!”

    Daughter: “Only if you’re going to live to 120, Mom.”

    Speaking as a person at the *end* of the Baby Boomer generation, I’m only having a “mid-life” crisis if I’ll live to 120. :-) So most of the Baby Boomer generation are *well* beyond “mid-life”. :-) …. or :-(

  13. Gravatar of Ben J Ben J
    12. December 2018 at 16:03

    In the Australian case, the cost to the government of the clumsy leadership spill looks like it could be significant at the next election.

    The government was trailing in the polls (two-party preferred) before the spill by 51/49, and is now down to 55/45(!). Poll averages are marginally better for the government, but not by much. The current polling is despite an unusually unpopular opposition leader.

    The government had an important byelection after Turnbull was ousted in the spill, and a week before the election day, publicly proposed (without any previous hint) to move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. What an issue for regular Australians to care about! Costless pandering to the 12% of that electorate that is Jewish? Sure… except it almost cost us the FTA that was being finalised with Indonesia. Shambolic. Predictably, the government lost the by-election to a popular independent, despite fielding a very strong candidate.

    The current group of conservatives in the government seem fixated on clumsily pleasing the opinion writers of the News Corp papers, and it’s killing them in the polls.

  14. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. December 2018 at 16:27

    Mark, Yes, I’m 63 and a typical boomer. I was born in 1955, and the boomers are usually described as born in 1946-64

    Ben, Thanks for that info. (BTW, did you mean 1.2%, not 12%?)

  15. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    12. December 2018 at 17:22

    And now the Yellow Vests in France!

    But then again, perhaps the populists have reasons to be cynical or skeptical of the elites.

    Sometimes immigration is just labor bashing. Sometimes foreign-policy is just craven coddling of commercial interests at the expense of human rights, such as in Saudi Arabia or China.

    The globalists have been sermonizing from the very pinnacles of moral righteousness. The populists are skeptical.

    It will be fascinating to watch the GOP in the post-Trump era. Does it become the party of Jeb! Or will a new Trump-like figure reassume the crown?

  16. Gravatar of Mark Bahner Mark Bahner
    12. December 2018 at 18:48

    “Or will a new Trump-like figure reassume the crown?”

    It seems to me that if Donald Trump runs in 2020, he’ll be defeated (unless the Democrats run someone with negatives as high as Hillary Clinton’s were).

    I also think the House will stay Democratic.

    Those two things should show Republicans that someone like Trump (i.e., mainly appealing to elderly angry white men) simply can’t win going forward.

  17. Gravatar of Ben J Ben J
    12. December 2018 at 19:17

    Hi Scott,

    I wasn’t clear – I did mean 12% but was not referring to the whole Australian electorate.

    According to census data, 12.5% of the population of the electorate where the by-election was held (Turnbull’s former seat – Wentworth, in eastern Sydney) are Jewish.

    The government was particularly concerned about this byelection as they hold a very slim majority. The loss of the additional seat moved them to a more precarious position, and they were at small risk of losing other MPs under a recently brandished constitutional quirk that the High Court determined made some MPs ineligible over the last year or so.

    In that light you can better understand an 11th hour announcement to move the Israeli embassy.

  18. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    12. December 2018 at 19:33

    GOP is fine, odds are on another 40 year ascent.

    Beto is the new McGovern.

    Obama was JFK / LBJ

    Trump is Nixon 2.0

    Millennials are Boomers

    It takes 24 years total from 68-92 until Dems wake up and run 2 center-left moderates on “age of Big Govt is over.

    —-

    The only thing interesting IMO is that we haven’t yet found our next Hunter S Thompson, some center-left critic who artistically helps Dems to come to terms with their beta status and urges them to Fear & Loathe.

    SCOTT GREW UP IN THIS, WHICH IS WHY IT’S SO SAD HE’S WORKING SO HARD TO NOT SEE IT.

  19. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    12. December 2018 at 20:57

    the Republican Party has no future with demographics like this

    And yet, relative to 2016 presidential vote, the only race Democrats did better with was Whites. Republicans did substantially better than Trump did in 2016 with Cubans, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans, and identically with Blacks.

  20. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    12. December 2018 at 22:25

    Morgan, You said:

    “Trump is Nixon 2.0”

    Let’s hope so.

  21. Gravatar of Julius Probst Julius Probst
    13. December 2018 at 01:40

    Good post.

    Jorda, Schularick, and Taylor have done some convincing work on financial crises and rising “populism”, or rather nationalism and right-wing votes.

    https://www.boeckler.de/pdf/v_2017_11_10_schularick.pdf

    On the other hand, we have countries like Poland and Hungary, which have grown much faster than Europe and still are shifting towards authoritarian regimes.
    We have more right-wing voters now in Germany and Sweden, etc.

    As an economic historian, I am starting to believe more and more in “cycle theory”. Not necessarily economic cycles a la Schumpeter (even though there might be technological cycles), but rather political and institutional cycles.

    We have a period of hyperglobalization, global capital flows, massive migration like in the early 1900s, followed by a backlash and shift towards isolation and autarky.

    Now after the second wave of hyperglobalization from the 1990s onwards, we see again the shift towards autarky and nationalism.

    We now how it ended in Europe last time. This time will be better, but by how much?
    And when will this cycle end and what is needed to restore sanity?

    No idea…

  22. Gravatar of Salem Salem
    13. December 2018 at 01:56

    “Now, it’s, ‘If you don’t give me something I want, I’ll blow the place up.’”

    Hasn’t this always been the flip-side of compromise? People only give things away in a compromise if the other side has the ability to walk away.

    I agree with most of what you write, but left unsaid is the decreased flexibility of modern western governments, which are less able to accommodate these rising movements than a generation or two ago. Politics is always like this in terms of rising and falling movements, but normally they powers that be give them some of what they want, and that’s not happening – leading, as you say, to unusual crises. But why?

    I think it’s mostly institutional accretion, where there just becomes less and less space to manoeuvre over time as agencies and policies fossilise, but it might also be demographic change, or the increased power of the state vis-a-vis its citizens – maybe there is simply no need to accommodate if you think you can rule regardless of discontent.

  23. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    13. December 2018 at 05:22

    My sense is that many on the right want more socialism, but don’t want to admit it or want leftists running things. They are not socially liberal, for one thing, so they’d like ot keep transgendered people in the closet. But, they hate their jobs or are retired/disabled with what they feel is insufficient income and wealth, like so many others, and they’d love to work less for more money and have more flexibility in their lives.

    All the Trump supporters in my family, for example, are retired/disabled. They always complain about how low their social security/SSI benefits are, but decry socialism. They hate the idea of people unlike them getting government benefits, but they want more for themselves.

  24. Gravatar of Matthias Goergens Matthias Goergens
    13. December 2018 at 06:30

    Scott, if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend Dominic Cummings’ “How the Brexit referendum was won” https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/01/dominic-cummings-brexit-referendum-won/ It’s a long piece, but very worth it. By one of the key people behind the leave campaign.

    There’s more on his blog.

  25. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    13. December 2018 at 07:11

    Jackson, Teddy, Nixon, Trump so technically he’s Jackson 4.0.

    Each hired to stomp HARD on a large new generation that forgot who the Home Team is in America.

    Scott as soon as the Millennials learn, like the Boomers did before them, to FEAR & LOATHE (accept they are the visiting team, the small states are the home team)…

    Trump will no longer be needed.

    Let me repeat this Scott, AS SOON AS the right senses that the left has realized they are vulnerable and weak and must play the game as the player with the weaker hand…

    Red America will think Trump is too brutal, a wartime general during peacetime.

    —–

    NONE OF THIS IS GOP being torn apart.

    Scott, the biggest shift of voters in 1972 to Nixon were YOUR GENERATION.

    You dirty hippie boomers ran away from Camelot and Vietnam and by 1980 you were desperate to vote for the nice friendly version of Nixon.

    What comes after Trump in the GOP IMO is a socially moderate tech Billionaire – think Zuck, who continues to bribe small states with Econ policies that favor them vs blue urban markets.

  26. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    13. December 2018 at 08:26

    @Mark Bahner:

    “It seems to me that if Donald Trump runs in 2020, he’ll be defeated (unless the Democrats run someone with negatives as high as Hillary Clinton’s were).”

    The incumbent almost always wins if the economy is booming. If ours still is in 2020, Trump wins again as weird and awful as he is. If the looming recession happens around then, he loses.

    Yes the Dem candidate matters, in the sense that they have to be better than HRC, but who isn’t?

  27. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    13. December 2018 at 10:03

    Michael Sandifer, what you write largely rings true with the Trump supporters I know, especially your last sentence. Reminds me of an old joke about backwards Russian peasants. A Genie appears to a peasant and tells him he’ll grant him anything he wishes for on the condition that his neighbor will get double what he requests. The peasant thinks for a while and says to the Genie “I wish to be blinded in one eye!”

  28. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    13. December 2018 at 10:59

    Everyone, Lots of good comments, I don’t have much to add.

    Morgan, You said:

    “What comes after Trump in the GOP IMO is a socially moderate tech Billionaire – think Zuck, who continues to bribe small states with Econ policies that favor them vs blue urban markets.”

    You have quite an imagination.

  29. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    13. December 2018 at 12:08

    Tom Brown,

    Well said.

  30. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    14. December 2018 at 15:22

    Scott, you don’t remember Reagan…

    AFTER Millennials learn that GOP policies are better for Economy like Boomers did…

    GOP just runs a NICER VERSION OF TRUMP, and Millennials are so grateful they are not being given Trump 2.0, they landslide him into office.

    In my easy to grasp model, Dems are on their way to another McGovern for 2020, so think Beto…

    And I do think humans learn faster now, so I’m not sure we need a Carter to bumble around and solidify the new young Econ con voters before they learn the lesson.

    My Zuck take is based on hearing he really does want to run for POTUS and he KNOWS he can’t possibly win as a Dem.

    This won’t shock you, but Facebook really is the social network of the GOP. Zuck knows it. Facebook alone got Trump elected.

    So I have this notion that Zuck might make sure Trump wins in 2020 by simply being truly neutral and letting GOP voters fake news meme the shit out of the platform the Free Speech is supposed to work.

    And I think Trump might happily back Zuck in 2024 in return.

  31. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    15. December 2018 at 22:17

    msgkings: “The incumbent almost always wins if the economy is booming. If ours still is in 2020, Trump wins again as weird and awful as he is.”

    The economy won’t turn bad in the next 18 months so right, a strong chance Trump will win.

  32. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    15. December 2018 at 22:41

    @Todd K: Well sure, definitely a big possibility. But no one on earth has a clue when it’ll happen. We’re all just educated (or not) guessers.

  33. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    16. December 2018 at 05:03

    Todd,

    Trump may resign early in a plea deal. If he was intelligent, he would have already.

    The idea that we won’t have a recession before the next election is fanciful. No one knows, but recession expectations seem to be rising. That’s all it takes is the sentiment is strong enough and the Fed doesn’t adjust to offset increased demand for money.

  34. Gravatar of Mark Bahner Mark Bahner
    16. December 2018 at 19:00

    “Yes the Dem candidate matters, in the sense that they have to be better than HRC, but who isn’t?”

    You’d think no one could be worse than HRC, but I can see some possibilities:

    1) Bernie Sanders is much, much further left than HRC, and is even older than Donald Trump(!) So he’d probably be worse.

    2) Joe Biden: Joe Biden?! He couldn’t even beat HRC, and he’s much older than when he couldn’t beat HRC.

    3) Kamala Harris. Extremely little experience. From California. I don’t think a black woman can get elected president.

    So I think there are actually several potential Democratic candidates in 2020 who are weaker than HRC.

  35. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    16. December 2018 at 22:53

    @Mark B: Couldn’t agree more which is why they have no chance of being nominated. Or I guess that’s strong but, do not bet on any of those.

    For exactly the reasons you just gave.

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