The GOP is missing and nobody seems to notice
It would make a great plot for an episode of Banachek. Folks our age surely remember George Peppard in what would have been his iconic role had it not been for The A Team. Banachek was an insurance investigator (at least for 17 episodes) who had all of our modern gadgets – mobile telephone in his car, his friend Felix had a facsimile machine and he investigated one case where they watched a clip on a Video Cassette Recorder, a big table-sized sucker. Ultramodern all the way.
Anyway, his cases always had that element of sleight of hand, bait and switch, a feint. Banachek, therefore, would be the perfect detective to find out what happened to the Republican Party. Has it been kidnapped or even killed and replaced with a body double? Did it go missing of it own accord or was there foul play involved?
Getting to the bottom of this mystery would take a sleuth the caliber of Thomas Banachek to unravel. What happened to the GOP? There is was, on stage, with 16 candidates vying to be the party’s next standard bearer and presidential candidate. Then, suddenly, they were all gone, replaced by a dour troop of true believers all too willing to don brown shirts in service to an unfeeling despot in training determined to remake the world in his own image.
The Tea Party was bad enough, a group willing to bring government to a standstill unless they got their way, but it was just a faction the GOP was coming to learn how to live with. True, they were enough to drive House Speaker John Boehner out of Congress but Paul Ryan seemed to be able to handle them.
The scent of blood and balls has been enough for almost all Republican leaders to shuck off the false skin of democracy in favor of embracing raw, naked power.
There wasn’t anyone ready or looking for when the Tea Party morphed in the T-Party and a loud minority of approximately 30 percent of the populace got its steely claws tightly around the balls of the American political system. The scent of blood and balls has been enough for almost all Republican leaders to shuck off the false skin of democracy in favor of embracing raw, naked power. Yet they still call themselves Republicans and act as if nothing has changed in their philosophy and world view
Many old ‘Pubs would say, “Hey, no, that’s not true. We’re still fighting for the same principles we always have been.”
Wrong, and I can solve this little piece of reality with only one little nugget of fact (although studies have shown facts have no effect if you don’t want to believe.) So, here is the kicker – who many conservatives and proud members of the Grand Old Party out there remember Ronald Reagan in loving terms? There is no judging here, I didn’t like him but to my mind Reagan was the god of modern conservatism, not withstanding Barry Goldwater or William F. Buckley Jr.
Clearly he set the bar for the Republican Party for a generation. The question is – could Ronald Reagan win a Republican primary election today? I have heard this question tossed about and debated by the sage wags from Olympus on high and I must agree with what they said. No. No, he probably couldn’t. He would be said to be “soft on immigration” and too anti-Russia. And I don’t think he ever would dishonor the First Amendment the way Trumpists do.
I could be wrong. Reagan might fit in but anyone can see Republican values have changed. Anyone who could trash Sen. John McCain as Trumpist Roger Stone did when he said McCain would “burn in hell for all eternity” for his opposition to Trump. Others called him a fraud and even a traitor. I don’t see Reagan taking to that.
Before I start to sound like a bamboozled follower of Reaganomics, let me go all the way and say that all that is perfectly fine. It seems clear that there is a constituency in America for a nationalistic, fascist-leaning political party. (Calm down, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with Fascism as a political philosophy. Those are the policies being forwarded by Trumpists and they have every right to try to get voters to elect their candidates.)
In Europe there are all sorts of far right parties and they all seem to be able to get their governments to run. There are all sorts of parties in their systems – far and near right, centrists and even communists. Whoever garners the most support get to run the government.
That is democracy.
The sleight of hand for which we need Banachek is that this new T-Party is hiding behind the mask of the Republican Party. What happened to all those Nixon “cloth coat Republicans” he was so proud of? They were the “Silent Majority” that needed to stand up and be counted, he said. We need our favorite Polish sleuth to explain how one party started in the 2016 election (the GOP) and a whole different party (the T-Party) showed up in Washington.
The situation we have is that while most Trumpists might be Republicans, many middle American Republicans would not be Trumpists (if they had a choice). So let the Trumpists be Trumpists. You don’t need to call yourselves Republicans. Then Nixon’s middle Americans can decide what type of political party they want to be a part of. I’m figuring there are quite a few of the old “Blue Dog” and “Reagan” Democrats who would want to join up too.
The answer to tribal divisions causing gridlock is to change the tribes.
There is no reason we have to be limited to just two political parties. There are more than two schools of political thoughts in America, why should we all be wedged into the so-called “Right” or “Left”? The answer to tribal divisions causing gridlock is to change the tribes. Trump would love it. He gets a party named after him and the lily-livered GOP leaders would get their own party. Disaffected Democrats wouldn’t have to put up with Nancy Pelosi. The rest of us who truly believe in social justice would be stuck with her.
So there you go, reality solved.
The electorate I see today is the T-Party (20-25 percent), the Demo/Republicans (about 40 percent) and the Liberal Democrats (about 20 percent), with such as the Libertarians and Green parties accounting for the rest. Those middle Americans with mostly good sense would be the largest party (and I’d still be way over to the left with the Lib Dems) while all of these groups would have to vie for more voters to win, not just “play to the base” and shit talk their rivals.
I think that is the solution Banachek would reach. Like I said, Banachek’s cases always involved a twist, some bit of misdirection. Where was the missing GOP? Why, it had been split in two and the pieces hidden behind the guy with the Mussolini scowl and an even worse tan job that John Boehner.
The mystery has been solved and Banachek gets to collect his 10 percent of the insurance policy recovery value.