Yesterday in Alabama the Republican Party lit the fuse that will blow it up and possibly destroy it. That auto-destruction has been in the making for some time; one could even argue that ever since the presidency of Ronald Reagan there’s been a just-below-the-surface death wish within the GOP. But the extremely narrow defeat of US Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore in Alabama, the reddest of “red” states, by a leftwing, pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage Democrat, Doug Jones, revealed that festering chasm, that unhealable division, that raging civil war, as never before.
Of course, there will be those who argue—and rightly, with some facts and reason—that the Moore candidacy and the issues swirling around him personally contributed mightily to the defeat. The all-of-a-sudden appearance of over a half-dozen women, claiming some form of sexual harassment, despite it having taken place—supposedly—forty years ago, took its toll in support for the judge. And the massive injection of hundreds of thousands of Hollywood pro-Jones dollars, and a frenetic get-out-the-black vote campaign, certainly helped do him in.
But, in the end, it boiled down to a vigorous and constant bombardment by fellow Republicans and by the elites. And it revealed the bitter and viciously unrelenting struggle between the “Establishment party”, the party of Washington DC and of Congress, of the big time lobbyists and major donors—and those millions of grass roots voters who for the past thirty years have more or less blindly followed them, and, at each election, have entered the voting booth to pull the GOP lever. In Alabama those elites, through a variety of factors, were able one more time to avoid electoral disaster.
“You have no other place to go—you have no other choice,” the refrain has always been. “It’s us, or those damnable Socialists in the Democratic Party!” And, so, millions in the grass roots have, docilely and continually, obeyed. And on rare occasions, a decent Republican has found his way into Congress, but their numbers were far and few between. Mostly, even the better candidates who arrived along the Potomac found themselves surrounded by the glittering temptations of money and power, or, if they resisted, veritable exile and being shunted off to some obscure role or responsibility. Who, indeed, could resist such enticements? After all, Senator Jesse Helms died nearly ten years ago…and there are few who could come close to his stamina and principles, or, for that matter, his ability to “play Washington and not be played by it.”
The so-called lessons about yesterday were already prepared and written weeks ago by the GOP establishment types. Here is their script: (1) Moore’s loss would be blamed on himself because he was a flawed candidate (with totally unsubstantiated charges against him taking a toll), and (2) if those lowly “rednecky” voters in Alabama had only supported the more “moderate”—and establishment—candidate, Luther Strange, all of this could have been avoided.
The national GOP, thirty Republican US senators, and a goodly portion of the so-called “conservative” media never let us forget that. From the pompously officious Neoconservatives Marc Thiessen and Steve Hayes and other Neoconservatives on Fox, to “conservative movement” journals like The Weekly Standard and National Review, the prepared refrain was the same: “If you had listened to us, if you had avoided the attempt to leave the ‘reservation,’ things would have worked out.”
“Mind your manners, you yokels, and let us make the decisions and run the country!”
Those Republicans—from the voluble US senators and House members to the various consultants and pundits, and those “conservative movement” honchos—all those creatures of the Establishment “swamp,” feared a Moore victory and preferred, in effect, a Doug Jones triumph to having their power and authority challenged and compromised. True, they have had to deal with that great usurper, Donald J. Trump, and they are still grappling with how to approach him, at times begrudgingly going along, at times acting like the offended school marm, condescendingly telling him what to do and how to do it, warning him about his tweets, telling him to be “more presidential.” And attempting to sabotage his agenda if it did not suit them or if he did not listen to them. This latter strategy is the preferred one employed by Congress, where the president’s agenda is as popular as the measles.
They have their minions even scattered strategically within the administration, including possibly that most brain-dead of brain-dead has-been-but-wannabe power players, Nikki Haley.
Their refusal to support Moore, their withholding of support (including financial), their encouragement of efforts to undermine his campaign at every turn—the constant drum beat, the constant harping on “believe the women,” while certainly not the only factors, were still major ingredients in loss.
But even worse were their public expressions of disdain and seething hatred, their upfront condemnations based on unverified, obviously political and trumped-up accusations, their consistently negative approach…they had to protect their rabbit hole on the Deep State preserve. It was that simple…and Roy Moore threatened that.
But what they have done, in effect, is not just manage to defeat Judge Roy Moore; after all, he is just one man, one controversial political figure in one Southern state. They have illustrated once again that, to quote John Milton’s Paradise Lost, they would “rather reign in Hell rather than serve in Heaven.” And so that increasingly public war—for that is what it is—between the “deplorables” and those I would call the “despicables”—now will rage even hotter and become even more severe. Steve Bannon's efforts are only a foretaste and a harbinger for what is to come.
Back in 1992 we had an inkling of what would eventually occur in 2016. Pat Buchanan and his “Buchanan Brigades” announced that the giant Establishment prophylaxis imposed over the rank-and-file, over the grass roots, had its potential weaknesses. Back then, far too many traditional conservative Republicans did not understand, did not see that they were being, as it were, used—that there was a sharp disconnect between “them and us.” But since then, and continuing with such eminent paragons of intellectual conservatism as George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, Bush Jr., John McCain, and Mitt Romney, and the failure to complete almost any promise to voters, even the most loyal of the “deplorables” began to see what was happening.
Of course, the diehard “party regulars” and those who supped at the Establishment’s hind tit and many good souls who continued to cling to the party line, still gave the GOP victories. The standard promises flowed like streams of honey: we will repeal Obamacare, they said; we will protect the border and build the wall, they declared; we will end unfair trade deals, they stated; we will give you lower taxes and less government, they assured us; we will defend our traditional culture and institutions, they boasted.
And none of it got done, even with Republican control of Congress, or with a Republican president (Bush II) between 2001 and 2009.
And then came Donald Trump in 2016 who proceeded to sweep aside those dwarf-like national GOP candidates for president, those cardboard epigones of the Republican branch of the Deep State. He not only proclaimed a nationalist conservative, pro-American agenda, he actually believed it…and set about implementing it, if in a fragmentary manner, after his election.
Yet, winning the presidency was, as we now see, the comparatively easy part. With the terrible onslaught coming constantly from the Mainstream Media and the Democrats, the president also faced the stubborn determination from within his own party, from the “Despicables”—those GOP and “conservative” denizens of the DC swamp—to weaken and derail his agenda. By no means could a Roy Moore be permitted to come to Washington—not another “swamp drainer,” no way! And thus this campaign in the reddest state in the Federal union took on a unique hue—with establishment “swamp creatures” piling on and harassment accusers miraculously, as it were, coming out of the woodwork to chip away at the normal support that a conservative would enjoy in Alabama.
And it worked, one more time. But it worked at the expense of the future of the Republican Party, for we now see fully its elites in all their grim and grimiest power-flexing and ugliest severity. That glimmer of unease that Pat Buchanan noted back in 1992 with his “pitchfork brigades” has grown into a raging blaze of discontent and rebellion. No, that rebellion was not able to win in Alabama yesterday, missing the mark just barely in unique circumstances. But it isn’t going away. There will be more contests, and there will be more bitter battles. It will mean the end of the Republican Party as we have known it for the past thirty years.
No use to desperately cry out for the “legacy” of Ronald Reagan to save us; that plea falls on deaf ears, lies cold, exhausted and long past. It is time for the Deplorables to break those party chains, to rise up unafraid with the nationalist conservative agenda against the Despicables, and take no prisoners. It is time to defeat dozens, perhaps hundreds of Republican incumbents and send them home.
It is time to turn Reagan’s picture to the wall.