Kim Messick

Donald Trump is the Last Whimper of the Angry White Man: What’s Really Behind His Stubborn Lead

Now that the first Republican debate is more than a week behind us, we should pause for a moment’s reflection on what we’ve learned about the party, its candidates and its electorate. If taken seriously, this question suggests others about the state of our national political media. None of the answers are very edifying, much less comforting.

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Republicans’ Private Terror: Why They Despise the Modern American State - and Embrace Fanaticism

As I write this, more than a week has passed since 47 Republican senators decided the leaders of Iran needed an American civics class. Their March 9 letter moved from the relatively arcane– how to distinguish treaties from “executive-congressional agreements” and both from “mere executive agreements”– to the comparatively straightforward: presidents come and go, the Republicans observed, but senators can last forever. (Or at least for “decades.”) Their lessons imparted, the 47 (can it be long before a movie tells their story in the fashion of “300”?) wished “clarity” upon the mullahs and signed off, doubtless to prepare their next text — a postcard on the Federalist Papers, perhaps, or an email on the blessings (or the curse) of judicial review. The latter, it goes without saying, will not be issued until the Supreme Court rules on the latest Obamacare case.

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How Libertarianism Would Actually Curtail Human Freedom

It has long been customary to divide the Republican Party into three “camps”: big business or “Wall Street” Republicans, the religious right and neoconservatives or “national security” Republicans. The third group, it must be admitted, somewhat unsteadily combines neoconservatives proper (such as William Kristol) with old-fashioned defense hawks (such as Donald Rumsfeld), but perhaps this is the Republican “big tent” we keep hearing about.

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The Conservative Crackup: How the Republican Party Lost Its Mind

In a recent article, I argued that the Republican Party has been captured by a faction whose political psychology makes it highly intransigent and uninterested in compromise. That article focused on the roots of this psychology and how it shapes the Tea Party’s view of its place in American politics. It did not pursue the question of exactly how this capture took place — of how a major political party, once a broad coalition of diverse elements, came to be so dependent on a narrow range of strident voices. This is the question I propose to explore below.

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