To recap some of the latest developments. We have watched the possibility of Republican support for immigration reform rise and then dramatically fall, as Tom Edsall explains here in charting the decline in the fortunes of Marco Rubio as soon as he stood up for a path to citizenship. Christianists are seeking to end the ban on tax-exempt churches’ endorsing candidates. The recent Pew report found the following among regular Republican primary voters (in Edsall’s words):
Republicans who say that they always vote in primaries (and whose views consequently carry more weight) are much more in favor of their party’s turning in a more conservative direction. Data provided to the Times by Pew shows that 58 percent of Republicans who always vote in primaries advocate more conservative stands, while 37 percent call for moderation, a 21-point split. Republicans who do not always vote in primaries are more evenly divided, 50-44.
Insofar as support or opposition to immigration reform is a proxy for more or less positive attitudes toward Hispanics, the Pew study shows a decided tilt among Republicans. Thirty-six percent of Republican voters say that the party’s stance toward immigration is not conservative enough, compared with 17 percent who say it is too conservative. Crucially, among Republicans who always vote in primaries, the division shifts further to the right, 41-14.
In North Carolina, the state GOP has launched a brazen attempt to disenfranchise minority voters, acting more like Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood when they came to power rather than a moderate Western political party. And in Washington, Robert Costa is reporting that the House GOP won’t force a government shutdown this fall but that they will “instead use the debt limit and sequester fights as areas for potential legislative trades.” They are going to hold America’s credit-worthiness hostage again – even though such a debt limit crisis would be far more damaging to the economy than even a shutdown, as Chait notes here. But perhaps damaging the economy is the point. The GOP has to minimize any economic growth that might redound to Obama’s benefit – in order to discredit the policies that have obviously worked for the past five years in favor of policies that have been proven failures elsewhere.
And when you look at presidential prospects, you find most of the GOP energy on the far right. And a strategy to keep it that way by ditching the whole notion of impartial debate moderators in favor of far-right talk-show hosts – Limbaugh, Levin and Hannity, for Pete’s sake – as the arbiter of primary slugfests.
We now have pretty solid evidence that the GOP will respond to Obama’s second term exactly as they did his first: total opposition to everything and anything the president supports, sabotage of the economy, and brutal gerry-mandering and voter suppression to give their white base one last chance at a majority. Actual policies? It’s hard to disagree with Newt Gingrich – and not just on healthcare.
I predicted it would get worse before it got better; what we now learn is that it will get worse before it gets worse before it gets better. And the real beneficiaries of this will likely not be the GOP – but Roger Ailes and Hillary Clinton.