MEMBERS ONLY: It’s Different This Time

I can’t say for certain what it’s like in other countries, particularly those with parliamentary governments and multiple major parties, but I suspect that people are forever calling for “crushing” this party or “defeating” that party as a matter of course. It’s natural to want your party, or at least the parties closest to your ideology, to be one top and that means beating the opposition.

That’s certainly how it is in the United States with our two-party system. Or it used to be until Mitch McConnell broke the Senate, the Tea Party broke the House, and Donald Trump finished the job. Until now, there has never been a concerted call for the wholesale destruction of a political party in modern times.

Yes, the crazies in the John Birch Society probably called for the “secret Commies” in the Democratic Party to be executed but even if they did call for the party itself to be eliminated, no one took them seriously. The same went for any militia nut screaming about how gay marriage would make all our sons gay and how we needed to kill all the libs. Even when they became the mainstream of the party, such talk wasn’t given much credence despite the growing body count.

Conversely, on the left we have a fringe that…also wants to destroy the Democratic Party. From complaints that the party is hopelessly corrupt to whining that “both parties are the same” to literally saying that both parties work together in a giant conspiracy that only the “woke” can see, the left’s version of the Birchers demand the Democratic Party be annihilated. Curiously, they never seem to demand the GOP, the party the Democrats are supposed to be exactly the same as be destroyed. And the press just loves to give the left-wing fringe air time during elections. “Democrats in disarray” is a favorite narrative even though these people aren’t actually Democrats and the Democrats aren’t actually in disarray.

The things these two groups have in common is simple: They’re both full of shit. They’re useful idiots propping up the Republican agenda by normalizing it. If the Democrats are the source of all evil, than anything Republicans do must not be so bad.

The problem is that lie only works as long as Republicans stay within certain moral and ethical boundaries. And those days are long gone.

With the GOP’s ongoing slow-motion coup, power grabs, massive voter suppression, outright treason, and embrace of white nationalism and fascism, there is no longer any possibility of comparing “both sides” without being roundly laughed out of the room. Every time the press, deeply addicted to the “both sides” narrative, tried to lament the “lack of civility” from the left as a way to blame both sides for the state of the nation, they were dragged so badly the road rash has yet to heal. Even just last week, as Republicans pretended to be offended that the left could be so partisan over a Supreme Court nominee, the words “Merrick Fucking Garland” where typed so many times on social media that if someone had found a way to monetize them, they would be the richest person in history.

There is now a widely understood change in American politics. The Republican Party has ceased to operate by any of the rules of decent society and is, in fact, openly trying to overthrow the government of the United States in plain sight.

This has lead to an entirely new phenomenon in which a growing chorus of voices, my own included, are no longer calling for the defeat of the Republican Party but its absolute destruction. It’s no longer a matter of “I want my side to win.” The GOP has become so off-the-walls corrupt and dangerous to the continued existence of American democracy that it has to cease to exist for the good of the nation.

But don’t take my word for it.

“The Republican Party has shown they will not stop Donald Trump’s abuses of power, and that they will continue remolding themselves in Donald Trump’s image unless they understand there’s a price to be paid at the ballot box,” Boot said. “I think, essentially, the Republican Party, as currently constituted, needs to be razed to the ground, it needs to be destroyed — and maybe, maybe, maybe out of the ashes we can build up a more reasonable center-right party which is something this country needs.”

That was Max Boot, a lifelong Republican operative.

If the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt and Reagan is to be redeemed and resurrected, then the party of Trump must be obliterated. Annihilated. Destroyed. And all of the collaborators, the complicit enablers, the school of cowards, need to go down. Maybe something can regenerate from that.

I don’t view it so much differently than I view a forest fire. A forest fire is part of a natural cycle of the forest. The forest burns, and through its burning and destruction, it is regenerated and made healthy again. For the Republican Party and the conservative movement, with its rot, its corruption, its indecency … before there can be any talk of restoration, there must be a season of burning.

That was Steve Schmidt, a lifelong Republican operative.

Schmidt and Boot join a number of other conservatives who are openly calling for the crushing defeat of the Republican Party in November and for the next several election cycles until the party has no choice but to reject the extremism currently gripping it. Unlike the fringe left, these voices are not loony tinfoil hat wearing idiots. These are highly respected people in their field. George Will, the right’s leading intellectual, is among those calling for the downfall of the Republican Party.

This did not happen after the collapse of the Bush administration. By 2006, Republicans were abanding the party in droves to become “Independents” but that was because they were embarrassed by the undeniable failures of the GOP. They were still Republicans, they just didn’t want to take responsibility for what they had enabled. No one was seriously calling for the destruction of the party and certainly, no one was doing it because they felt the GOP was a serious threat to democracy. If anything, the people who said they were no longer Republicans wanted the GOP to become more extreme, a dynamic we will surely see again when Trump and his Republican Party crash the economy just as Bush and his GOP did. But this time, a significant part of the right finds the extremism intolerable and is demanding the destruction of their own party.

It’s important to keep in mind that they haven’t suddenly become liberals. Will is still a far right prick who loathes the poor and middle class. However, he’s not onboard with fascism and white nationalism and there’s something to be said for that. If you don’t think so, consider this: Men and women from every political stripe went to Europe to fight and die to stop the Nazis. Some things transcend the political spectrum.

The calls from the left are just as clear. The Republican Party must be burned to the ground. This is not the usual talk of compromise and bipartisanship you hear from liberals and progressives. It’s different this time. As the Republican Party makes it clearer by the day how out of control they are, so does the left become clearer on what needs to be done.

I’ve been calling on the left to understand the fight we’re in for two years now. I understood the second Trump was illegitimately elected that white nationalism would grip white Republican voters like a fever and that Republicans were done with democracy in America. This is not a fight that ends when we take back the House and Senate and then the White House; this is a fight that ends when the Republican Party is so broken and defeated that it can no longer exist as a national party. It must be snuffed out of existence long enough for either a new center-right party to take its place or for American politics to realign itself into a multiparty system.

But whatever the future holds, it cannot include the Republican Party and a United States with a free and open democracy. The two are now absolutely incompatible. One of these things must die for the other to survive and I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to sit back and let the American experiment end in failure because of Donald fucking Trump.