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mazingerz88's avatar

Would you agree with this Republican political consultant's belief that the Republican Party as a moral governing force has collapsed?

Asked by mazingerz88 (25168points) 1 week ago

Here is his NYT article.

I Hope This Is Not Another Lie About the Republican Party

But it might be lost forever.

By Stuart Stevens
Mr. Stevens is a Republican political consultant.

After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential race, the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, commissioned an internal party study to examine why the party had won the popular vote only once since 1988.

The results of that so-called autopsy were fairly obvious: The party needed to appeal to more people of color, reach out to younger voters, become more welcoming to women.

Those conclusions were presented as not only a political necessity but also a moral mandate if the Republican Party were to be a governing party in a rapidly changing America.

Then Donald Trump emerged and the party threw all those conclusions out the window with an almost audible sigh of relief: Thank God we can win without pretending we really care about this stuff.

That reaction was sadly predictable.

I spent decades working to elect Republicans, including Mr. Romney and four other presidential candidates, and I am here to bear reluctant witness that Mr. Trump didn’t hijack the Republican Party.

He is the logical conclusion of what the party became over the past 50 or so years, a natural product of the seeds of race-baiting, self-deception and anger that now dominate it.

Hold Donald Trump up to a mirror and that bulging, scowling orange face is today’s Republican Party.

I saw the warning signs but ignored them and chose to believe what I wanted to believe: The party wasn’t just a white grievance party; there was still a big tent; the others guys were worse.

Many of us in the party saw this dark side and told ourselves it was a recessive gene. We were wrong. It turned out to be the dominant gene.

What is most telling is that the Republican Party actively embraced, supported, defended and now enthusiastically identifies with a man who eagerly exploits the nation’s racial tensions.

In our system, political parties should serve a circuit breaker function. The Republican Party never pulled the switch.

Racism is the original sin of the modern Republican Party. While many Republicans today like to mourn the absence of an intellectual voice like William Buckley, it is often overlooked that Mr. Buckley began his career as a racist defending segregation.

In the Richard Nixon White House, Pat Buchanan and Kevin Phillips wrote a re-election campaign memo headed “Dividing the Democrats” in which they outlined what would come to be known as the Southern Strategy.

It assumes there is little Republicans can do to attract Black Americans and details a two-pronged strategy: Utilize Black support of Democrats to alienate white voters while trying to decrease that support by sowing dissension within the Democratic Party.

That strategy has worked so well that it was copied by the Russians in their 2016 efforts to help elect Mr. Trump.

In the 2000 George W. Bush campaign, on which I worked, we acknowledged the failures of Republicans to attract significant nonwhite support.

When Mr. Bush called himself a “compassionate conservative,” some on the right attacked him, calling it an admission that conservatism had not been compassionate.

That was true; it had not been. Many of us believed we could steer the party to that “kinder, gentler” place his father described. We were wrong.

Reading Mr. Bush’s 2000 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention now is like stumbling across a document from a lost civilization, with its calls for humility, service and compassion.

That message couldn’t attract 20 percent in a Republican presidential primary today. If there really was a battle for the soul of the Republican Party, we lost.

There is a collective blame to be shared by those of us who have created the modern Republican Party that has so egregiously betrayed the principles it claimed to represent. My j’accuse is against us all, not a few individuals who were the most egregious.

How did this happen? How do you abandon deeply held beliefs about character, personal responsibility, foreign policy and the national debt in a matter of months? You don’t.

The obvious answer is those beliefs weren’t deeply held.

What others and I thought were bedrock values turned out to be mere marketing slogans easily replaced.

I feel like the guy working for Bernie Madoff who thought they were actually beating the market.

Mr. Trump has served a useful purpose by exposing the deep flaws of a major American political party. Like a heavy truck driven over a bridge on the edge of failure, he has made it impossible to ignore the long-developing fault lines of the Republican Party.

A party rooted in decency and values does not embrace the anger that Mr. Trump peddles as patriotism.

This collapse of a major political party as a moral governing force is unlike anything we have seen in modern American politics. The closest parallel is the demise of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, when the dissonance between what the party said it stood for and what citizens actually experienced was so great that it was unsustainable.

This election should signal a day of reckoning for the party and all who claim it as a political identity. Will it? I’ve given up hope that there are any lines of decency or normalcy that once crossed would move Republican leaders to act as if they took their oath of office more seriously than their allegiance to party. Only fear will motivate the party to change — the cold fear only defeat can bring.

That defeat is looming. Will it bring desperately needed change to the Republican Party? I’d like to say I’m hopeful. But that would be a lie and there have been too many lies for too long.

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41 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

Personally, I believe both parties little more than toadies to oligarchy. But the proposition of the current Republican party as a moral beacon is too preposterous an idea for sane consideration. In that regard, the fool is the litmus test that defies any and all comparison

filmfann's avatar

The Republicans will return to the wilderness, only to reappear in two years, decrying that Trump wasn’t really a Republican.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why did it take this guy so long? The republican moral compass started loosening around the time of Ronald Reagan.

Gingrich and his cronies (Gingrich was speaker of the house until he left in a pout) made it worse.

What you see today is the logical result of 35 years of depravity.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I don’t think the average American Republican would agree at all. No Christian I know would vote Democrat for many reasons, it’s morally impossible.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I personally know of several Democratic pastors. So you premise doesn’t hold water.

We have early voting, this year there will be three polling place for early voting. Usually it is only one for seven to ten days before the election or primary.

The GOP party has followed Trump down the rabbit hole,

ragingloli's avatar

Where they ever a “moral governing force”?

@KNOWITALL That just shows the bubble you live in. Or do you honestly believe that the 65 million people (vs the 63 million that voted for drumpf) that voted for the democrats in 2016 are all atheists?

chyna's avatar

I’m a Christian. I’ll be voting Democratic Party. I hate how trump treats women and people in general. That’s not a Christian attitude.

mazingerz88's avatar

@ragingloli Putin supporting anti-abortion could be enough to win him the Republican Presidential Primary.

ragingloli's avatar

Honestly, it should be “morally impossible” for a christian to vote for the orange personification of the 7 mortal sins.
National Catholic Reporter

KNOWITALL's avatar

@chyna We are not the same. It’s all good.

mazingerz88's avatar

@ragingloli Thanks for the link. Disturbing but enlightening. 100 million for trump’s golfing? Makes me wonder how much it is now. Minus the salary he boasted of not getting. The sort of silly and pathetic display of false-modesty only hypocritical fools do.

mazingerz88's avatar

@ragingloli Looks like 138 million dollars so far. trump’s golfing cost paid by taxpayers Could reach a quarter of a billion dollars or more given the chance. Where are the Republican “conservatives” when the country needs them?

Strauss's avatar

The “Republican Party as a moral governing force” has been on the decline at least since the late 1990’s when Newt Gingrich, ad Speaker of the House, turned partisanship and obstructionism into the bloodsport it has become today. During his two decades in Congress, he pioneered a style of partisan combat—replete with name-calling, conspiracy theories, and strategic obstructionism—that poisoned America’s political culture and plunged Washington into permanent dysfunction, now exemplified by Mitch McConnell’s obstructionism. At one time both parties saw room for negotiation and compromise. Now the Republican mantra seems to be “You compromise, you lose!”

mazingerz88's avatar

@Strauss Thank you. I first heard the same analysis from a dear friend long ago and she asked me more than once to not forget what happened in the 90s in Washington. She passed away in 2018 sadly. I miss her.

What do you think about Joe Scarborough? I think he was a neophyte politician during the reign of Gingrinch and these days he’s very critical of his own party to the point of being bewildered with how their so called party of Lincoln had now become the party of a TV show host.

canidmajor's avatar

@KNOWITALL You must know a shitload of wildly intolerant Christians. Literally most of the Christians I know, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and evening my friend who is a Catholic priest (and I really doubt that any of them are less “Christian” than you) cannot, in good moral conscience, support either this administration or the party that enthusiastically backs it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@canidmajor It’s difficult to equate morality to any political party with all the evidence to the contrary.

And I never once said I’m a good Christian here or anywhere else. I have a lot to continue working on and every discussion here teaches me more about love, patience and forgiveness.

canidmajor's avatar

@KNOWITALL ” It’s difficult to equate morality to any political party with all the evidence to the contrary.”
Good point. Then don’t.

Soubresaut's avatar

By “moral governing force,” does the author mean he used to view the Republican Party as a moral authority/moral leader of sorts? Or as a party which tried to make sure that certain core values shaped/informed its policies?

Strauss's avatar

@Soubresaut I think it is the latter. The Republican Party as it exists today seems to have no guiding principles except for “Not-Democrat”.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@KNOWITALL “It’s difficult to equate morality to any political party with all the evidence to the contrary.”

And yet you did just that. Maybe it’s only difficult when you get called on it.

Soubresaut's avatar

@Strauss—thanks, at least then the author meant the better of the two options. I don’t really agree with either sentiment, but at least there’s that.

To the OP: I appreciate that the author is at least considering that the Republican Party hasn’t been “hijacked,” but that it created within itself the circumstances for Trump to succeed within it… But just to nitpick his wording, I don’t know that the party’s moral governance can really have “collapsed” if it “those beliefs weren’t deeply held” to begin with—it’s not a “collapse” if what collapsed was a merely an illusion, is it?

@KNOWITALL—the people you know who refuse to vote Democrat because of their beliefs about abortion—do they believe that abortion is wrong, or do they believe that the correct way to prevent abortions is for states to find loopholes in SCOTUS rulings on law, and for politicians to work for decades to stack the courts in their political favor on specific issues? Because those two things aren’t the same.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Darth You people just dont care to hear anyone else’s truth but your own.

@Soubresaut Morality is not just about one issue. People can’t handle abortion discussions here, we’ve tried and it always devolves.

Darth_Algar's avatar


I’m sorry, what truth would that be? Would it be your bizzare claim that it would be morally impossible for Christians to vote Democrat?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Darth_Algar That’s the entire premise of the question, moral superiority. It’s not as if I brought it up out of the blue haha!
I live in Trump country, I hear it all day every day. From abortion to socialism they really feel their way of life is threatened as never before. There is literally a movement for all Christians to vote Rep across the board on social media.
Sorry if I’m the one telling you the first time but many Christians feel that way. Not just for abortion, there are many factors. I shared a website with another jelly that would blow your mind if my few polite words did, sir.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Not all Christians feel that way !

You don’t get it; your little bubble thinks that way, but not every Christian !

Soubresaut's avatar

@KNOWITALL—the question isn’t about moral superiority, though. The author only states that the GOP does not truly align with his values, though he (mistakenly) used to think it did.

He also is not measuring the Republican and Democrat parties against one another. That was something you introduced, stating that the average Republican wouldn’t agree with the author because they feel the Democratic Party is worse—which, I feel I should point out, isn’t actually disagreeing with the authors’ position, but sidestepping it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Tropical I never said ‘all’ did agree but if you thibk your brand of Christianity approves of Shout My Abortion and late term abortion, that’s not across the board. Leave it at that.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Do you think you’re telling me something I don’t know? I grew up surrounded by these kind of hateful, bigoted Christians who think, no demand, that the law should reflect their particular interpretation of their religion.

And you, after your “no Christian I know would…” statement , were informed, by other Christ here, that they would vote Democrat, your response was basically to dismiss them.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Darth_Algar Nope, it’s their right to vote as they see fit.

What do you expect me to say about Christians who don’t care about one of the most meaningful commandments relating to ethics? Those are God’s commandments to His followers, at least those that believe in the bible.

The Ten Commandments, also known in Christianity as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship. These are fundamental to both Judaism and Christianity. The text of the Ten Commandments appears twice in the Hebrew Bible: at Exodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–17.

ragingloli's avatar

Well, you could call them false christians, for voting for a party that embodies their professed beliefs even less than they imagine the democrats.

chyna's avatar

Commandment 1: You shall have no other Gods before me. (That would include the worship of money which I feel the Republicans do worship, especially trump)
6: you shall not commit adultry (that would be trump cheating on all 3 of his wives)
7: you shall not steal (not paying the taxes that is due the government is stealing)
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor (lying about people, for example lying about Fauci’s motivation in reporting cases of Covid is wrong)
9.: you shall not covet your neighbors wife (refer back to #6)

I don’t think we should pick and choose which commandments we demand our leaders to follow.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@chyna Since we don’t live in a theocracy, this is all just opinion regardless.

canidmajor's avatar

@KNOWITALL This is just a bit disingenuous, don’t you think? You go on at great length about the moral bankruptcy of Dems, citing your Christianity as a base for your political views and then brush it off with that?

Strauss's avatar

Conversation that took place the day before election day 2016:

Me: “Tomorrow is the day. I’ve already cast my vote for Hillary!”
Other person: “You’re voting for a criminal to be President?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@canidmajor No, actually I posted two factual sentences in relation to my area in Trump country. I tried to be polite and answer all the following posts as best I could, not being a theologian.
I actually made it a point not to go into detail about the ‘moral bankruptcy’ (your words not mine) of the Democratic party.
There is supposed to be seperation of church and state but alas, religion and human nature make that very difficult.

Soubresaut's avatar

@KNOWITALL would you mind clarifying something for me? Do you feel that you are speaking on behalf of others, or on behalf of yourself? I am having a hard time understanding who you feel you are speaking for (and to a lesser extent, to what purpose).

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Soubresaut I don’t think so, you haven’t earned my trust and this is not a safe space.

Soubresaut's avatar

@KNOWITALL I’m sorry you feel that way, but thank you the honesty in your response.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Soubresaut I just know that here, it won’t lead to positive change.

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