It’s Shoot Out at the OK Corral Time for Would-Be Republicans

Republicans are Now in Three Camps. Time to Make Some Choices and Settle Up

 How Many Types of Republicans are There? Let’s Count Them

At this point, one wonders why anyone would claim to be a Republican, but that is another conversation. Deciding who might carry such a mantle forward is important for all of us, as will be discussed shortly. Time for the principles to face off and settle matters. By my math, there are three groups that claim at least sometimes the title of “Republican.”

Group I is what we used to call Rockefeller Republicans. They are pro-business, anti-deficit, small government folk. Most think it natural and important for the US to take a leading role in international affairs. They are a small group these days. There are some who might consider themselves part Group I, but they actually are Group II alumni.

Group II has a lot of members who espouse Group I values, and some more conservative and reactionary views. But none of that matters. These are mostly Republican office holders. There are some courageous exceptions, especially at the local level. However, mostly these folks are in it for power, period. They will say or do about anything to hang on. This includes voting to not certify a national election. And doing so right after a deadly mob attacked the capitol, seeking exactly that outcome.

Almost to a person, they know the arguments they foment or support are BS. They are, to use the politest term I can muster, the scum of the earth at the heart of America’s illness. If I could trade off all of them and in exchange had to accept another year of COVID-19, I am ready to buy more masks. These people are a far more dangerous disease. Hanging on as well are some regular citizens who have been Republicans in the past and do not know where to go now. Unfortunately, Category II constitutes the largest of these groups.

Group III consists mostly of the MAGA crowd. Add in an array of racists, fascists, xenophobes, conspiracy theorists, and anarchists. Republican is a title of convenience. This really consists of two subgroups.

There are the passionate Trumpsters, who are that way for a host of excuses. Most of the QAnon and Evangelical followers show up here. The rest are outright haters who have no use for democracy, equality, or much of anything else the rest of us value. Groups like Oath Keepers and Proud Boys are typical of this bunch.

So, Who Owns/Runs the Republican Party?

Something between a debate and a civil war is going on now in Republican circles. My bet is that we will know definitively who takes home the marbles soon enough. We will know when we see how the Senate votes in the impeachment trial. My money is on Group II, with a good bunch of Group III along for the ride. It would be nice to be wrong.

A conviction requires several Republican senators voting what they know is right. Failing that, at least seeing this as an opportunity to kill off Trump as a burden once and for all. If it was a secret vote, I expect there would be votes to spare. In the open, I don’t see enough morality or courage to go around the room. I hope I am surprised, and enough people do step up.

So, What Is Plan B?

I have long thought the Republican party is beyond redemption and restauration. The last two years in particular have proven the point. Too many so-called leaders have sold their souls. They are too corrupted, too far gone to ever be considered worthy again.

I seriously doubt Group I can ever reclaim their party. There would be too many fights in too many places. It would be guerilla warfare everywhere. Trump is already threatening to start a MAGA party. Why bother? He largely has one. It is likely to continue with or without him. At this point, better for Real Republicans to wash their hands and start something new. Build something based on values and philosophy, not personality cults.

Calling the Lincoln Project

The Lincoln Project already has much of the talent in Group I.

I can think of no better next step than for them to start the drive for a new conservative party. A party that is right of center but not off the map. Thousands of Republicans changed their registration in the days after the sedition attack. Few registered as Democrats- most became Unaffiliated. Given organization and spokespersons, such a new party could hit the ground running. They could gain millions of registered voters quickly. The country would be well served for it.

This would not be easy. Most states make establishing an electorally effective third party very hard to do. That is actually a good thing, and it’s one this new party could overcome. They could do so in 1-2 election cycles, given the base they start from. Why this route rather than trying reform? No less than Steve Schmidt says it best. Schmidt is a founder of the Lincoln Project and a life-time Republican strategist. If you missed this short statement, you need to see and hear it:

We Are Where We Are

As we have discussed before in this blog, Trump fed and let out into the daylight the ugliest sides of our country. Too many in power today refused, time after time, to call him out or to even criticize him. You cannot do that over and over and expect to have any moral standing to lead going forward. A malignant and dangerous strain is afoot now. We need both a left of center and right of center party going forward to restore the American ethos. This will not get better left untreated or with time. A cure is required.

This is not some new or untested theory, by the way. In the 1850’s the Whig Party lost its way and its moral foundation over slavery. Many who had been Whigs could not stand by any longer. They left, started a new party called the Republicans. Their first presidential candidate was Abraham Lincoln. History calls again.

Be sure to tune in on Friday. If luck holds, we are going to talk about something BESIDES politics! Won’t that be fun for a change?

          Bill Clontz

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