It will come as no surprise to anyone who has been watching American politics for the last twenty or so years, but the Republican Party is out of ideas.
The party that used to pride itself on a slavish adherence to ideology—just listen to Paul Ryan talk about discussing Ayn Rand at college parties—is now the party that has its lips surgically attached to Donald J. Trump’s flabby ass.
Nothing else matters except making sure that you are on the right side of Trump and his rabid supporters come primary time. Whatever position you need to take at the moment, regardless of how insane or damaging to American institutions it may be, is the path you must follow lest you find yourself the target of an internet broadside.
Even the conservative think tanks—those wonderful organizations full of people spewing intellectual sounding opinions that are really just old school John Birch Society screeds in a fancy new wrapper—have abandoned the veneer of ideology. Take the Claremont Institute. This organization, of which Trump’s favorite insurrectionist supporting lawyer John Eastman is a senior fellow, has abandoned any sort of pretense of principled ideology. Glenn Ellmers, also a senior fellow like his compatriot in the sewer John Eastman, recently published a stunning opinion piece where he stated:
“Let’s be blunt. The United States has become two nations occupying the same country. When pressed, or in private, many would now agree. Fewer are willing to take the next step and accept that most people living in the United States today—certainly more than half—are not Americans in any meaningful sense of the term.”
Think about this paragraph for a moment. Ellmers is essentially “othering” anyone who does not support Trump and declaring them forbidden from being considered a part of the American experience. If you thought that was bad wait until you see what he wrote a few paragraphs later:
“Practically speaking, there is almost nothing left to conserve. What is actually required now is a recovery, or even a refounding, of America as it was long and originally understood but which now exists only in the hearts and minds of a minority of citizens.”
Yep, he puts pen to paper and actually calls for a refounding of the United States by a minority of its citizens. This is a scary path, but it is the path the Republican Party chose when it nominated, voted for, and tried to reelect Donald J. Trump. It’s the same thought process that enabled thousands of people to foment a violent insurrection on January 6th, 2021 that culminated in the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
This is not the Republican Party of William F. Buckley, George Will, and the country club set of yore. This is the Republican Party of AM talk radio, Newsmax, social media, and Donald J. Trump.
No longer can the Republican Party lay claim to ideals. It is about the pursuit of power in order to impress its minority will on the majority of Americans, who despite what Glenn Ellmers think retain their right to their “Americanness” despite their political beliefs not aligning with a coterie of people who have hitched their star to a proto-fascist.
Lest you think this is a trend restricted to the national level witness what is going on in Texas with regard to voting rights. Or Florida doing what Florida does when it comes to voting rights, public health, or really anything that matters to people. Or Ohio’s latest bald faced gerrymander that will keep sexual assault enablers like Jim Jordan in office with no worry about reelection save for a potential primary challenge to his right. Imagine that, someone to the right of Jim Jordan. Now that is a truly horrifying thought.
The Republican Party of 2021 has abandoned ideas and focused on one thing: Imposing its minority opinion on a majority of Americans.