The Republican Party goes to the TFG
Now that primary season is upon us across the country, it’s very interesting to see what was once the Republican Party being eliminated by its former leader, the former president. Last Tuesday, The Former Guy (TFG as he is known in the cyber world) had candidates challenging what were once regular Republicans in the primaries in West Virginia and Nebraska.
TFG has become the major issue in Republican politics this year. A Republican politician is either TFG-approved or not TFG-approved. The question that gets the TFG’s approval is whether or not a candidate supports the TFG’s big lie that the 2020 election was a fraud. That’s it.
The kind of candidate who is willing to sell his soul for a TFG endorsement is truly a sad character. But the TFG’s endorsement is powerful. His supporters vote. His endorsed candidates in West Virginia won, with one defeating an incumbent. His endorsed nominee in Nebraska lost, but there were very bad foreign circumstances involving allegations of sexual assault.
So far, the TFG-endorsed candidates are winning and winning big, but that’s the main thing. So, primary by primary, the TFG essentially took firm control of what was once the Republican Party. I think we can do without the name “Republican”. This party has no connection with the Republicans of another vintage.
Today’s TFG party is much closer to Viktor Orban’s far-right politics in Hungary. They are only distantly related to Ronald Reagan and certainly no connection to former party heroes Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.
This new party is being built in two ways. The first we described above where TFG challenges members of the current party in the primaries and wins. This is causing a major shift towards an even more far-right stance among current party regulars and key challengers. Even if the current regulars of the party go even further to the right than that they went, they find themselves overwhelmed on the right by challengers.
The other way the new party is built is to have the old guard surrender simply to avoid a main challenge. In Iowa, we saw such a surrender from the former Republican party to Trump at the state fairgrounds early last October, when Grassley’s Iowa Republicans lined up to embrace the trump ring:
Senator Chuck Grassley gave a moving 25-second explanation of why he was accepting former President Donald Trump’s endorsement last night: only because it would help him politically.
The 88-year-old senator briefly took the stage with Trump in front of a crowd of thousands of energized Trump fans in Des Moines on Saturday night.
“I was born at night, but not last night,” Grassley said, standing next to Trump. “So if I didn’t accept an endorsement from someone who has 91% of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn’t be too smart. I’m smart enough to accept that endorsement.
Kim Reynolds, Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson were all there to plead with Trump and submit to his new political order. We wonder how smart this will look as the January 6 Committee begins to reveal Trump’s deep involvement in the attempt to overthrow our government.
In exchange for Trump’s endorsement, Grassley et alia silently agree to support Trump’s Big Lie. They also sign the even more extreme policy of what was the Republican Party. This includes an absolute ban on abortions, an end to same-sex marriage, and an end to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare.
It also includes the ungodly entanglement of church and state in which the Republicans charged to get Ronald Reagan elected. Historian Heather Cox Richardson made some observations about this in her sub-pile newsletter on Thursday:
“The modern Republican Party came to power in 1980 promising to reduce government intervention in the economy. But this was never a very popular position and, to win elections, party leaders married into the religious right. For decades, party leaders have managed to deliver economic freedoms to business leaders by hurling increasingly extreme rhetoric and occasional victories at the religious right. Now, however, this radicalized minority leads the party. He threw overboard the idea of smaller government to spur economic growth and embraced the idea that a strong government must impose the religious and social beliefs of its base on the rest of the country.
This religion-based government wants to control not only individuals, but also businesses. We are witnessing not only the apparent reversal of the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion, but also the criminalization of contraception, attacks on the rights of homosexuals and trans people, laws giving the state the power to design school curricula, the fury against immigrants, the banning of books and a reorganization of the nation around evangelical Christianity.
It’s not your mother’s Republican party anymore, nor your grandfather’s… nor his grandfather’s.
The Republican Party today is not about equal rights and opportunities, as Lincoln’s party was. It is not about using the government to protect ordinary people, as Theodore Roosevelt’s party was. It’s not even about advancing the ability of corporations to do what they think is best, as Ronald Reagan’s party was.
The modern Republican Party is about using the power of government to impose the beliefs of a radical minority on the majority of Americans. “
For those who support the current radical turn in what is now a party based on loyalty to Donald Trump, they had better be ready for when Trump’s wrath turns against them. It always turns to the cult of personality.