Ron Brownstein asks a pertinent question: "Is the GOP's extremist wing now too big to fail?" To answer that question, he cites polling data indicating that 75 percent of Republicans want a big future role for Trump in the party. Even more disturbing is that a majority of Republicans (55%) "support the use of force as a way to arrest the decline of the traditional American way of life." That confirms what Doug Muder wrote about the resurgence of the confederate mindset.
The essence of the Confederate worldview is that the democratic process cannot legitimately change the established social order, and so all forms of legal and illegal resistance are justified when it tries…
The Confederate sees a divinely ordained way things are supposed to be, and defends it at all costs. No process, no matter how orderly or democratic, can justify fundamental change.
If our democracy is to survive, that wing of the Republican Party must be defeated.
While we focus a lot on who the insurgents are and what they want, precious little attention has been paid to what constitutes a conservative alternative. I would suggest that, at least at this point, there isn't one. To demonstrate, we might consider what Minority Leader McConnell actually stands for—other than tax cuts for the wealthy and retaining power. The answer: nothing.
Republican consultant Stuart Stevens captured the problem with his book titled, "It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump." During an interview with David Corn, here is what he said:
[Stevens] once believed in GOP ideals and ideas. Now he saw it all as a huge con...In these pages, Stevens self-flagellates, calling himself a “fool” for his decades of believing—and lying to himself—that the Republican Party was based on “a core set of values.”...
“The Republican Party has been a cartel,” Stevens said excitedly. “And no one asks a cartel, ‘What’s your ideological purpose?’ You don’t ask OPEC, ‘What’s your ideology?’ You don’t ask a drug gang, ‘What’s your program?’ The Republicans exist for the pursuit of power for no purpose.”
He huffed that the Republican Party had not merely drifted away from its core positions, as sometimes occurs with political parties...You have to ask, ‘Does someone abandon deeply held beliefs in three or four years?’ No. It means you didn’t ever hold them.”
Back in 2011, David Roberts presciently wrote that Republicans had become the "post-truth party."
Republicans...talk about cutting the deficit even as they slash taxes on the rich and launch unfunded wars. They talk about free markets even as they subsidize fossil fuels. They talk about American exceptionalism even as they protect fossil-fuel incumbents and fight research and infrastructure investments.
In short, Republicans have mastered post-truth politics. They’ve realized that their rhetoric doesn’t have to bear any connection to their policy agenda.
When it comes to the party that billed itself as "fiscally conservative," we now know that they never really cared about budget deficits and that the whole notion of "trickle down" economics was a sham that simply funneled money to the wealthy. Even most of the party faithful have now abandoned the kind of military adventurism that led to the invasion of Iraq because it was a total fiasco. Finally, the party that claimed to support "family values" embraced a twice-divorced man who bragged about "grabbing p*ssy."
So what remains of a conservative agenda to build on? NeverTrumper Jennifer Rubin suggested that it's time to junk the entire GOP and start from scratch. But it's interesting to note what she offers as an alternative: "responsible internationalism; free trade and robust immigration; tolerance and the rule of law; and market economics with an ample safety net." While we can quibble around the edges of that agenda, it is basically the Democratic platform.
It should come as no surprise that Republicans embraced a "liar-in-chief" when the entire enterprise was built on lies designed to accomplish nothing but maintain power for no purpose. That is why there is no real GOP alternative to Trumpism.