Robert Reich predicts a grim political future for the GOP as House Republicans scramble to pick a speaker
Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich is weighing in on the political chaos unfolding within the Republican Party as a small group of House Republican lawmakers attempt to flex their muscle to block Rep. Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) bid for House Speaker.
According to Reich, the issues plaguing the Republican Party are based on a bigger issue.
"It’s the mindless hostility of a political party that’s lost any legitimate reason for being," Reich explained as he continued with a grim prediction about the party. "For all practical purposes, the Republican party is over," he declared.
He began with a brief overview of intraparty fighting as he highlighted a similar series of events that transpired in the 1990s, opening the door for what he describes as "cultural conservatism."
"In the 1990s, Newt Gingrich and Fox News’s Roger Ailes ushered the Republican party into cultural conservatism – against abortion, contraception, immigration, voting rights, gay marriage, LBGTQ+ rights, and, eventually, against transgender rights, teaching America’s history of racism and, during the pandemic, even against masks," he wrote.
Reich continued, "At the same time, cultural conservatism was for police cracking down on crime (especially committed by Black people), teaching religion with public money, retailers discriminating against LBGTQ+ people, and immigration authorities hunting down and deporting undocumented residents."
He noted how this type of political behavior opened the door for the bigger problem the party is facing now: political agendas influenced by "resentment and authoritarianism."
"This cultural conservatism was inconsistent with limited government – in effect, it called on the government to intrude in some of the most intimate aspects of personal life," he explained. "The party line became confused, its message garbled, its purpose unclear."
Reich went on to explain how Trumpism further expanded the problem. "Trump turned the Republican party into a white working-class cauldron of bitterness, xenophobia, racism, anti-intellectualism and anti-science paranoia, while turning himself into the leader of a near-religious cult bent on destroying anything in his way – including American democracy," he wrote.
He added, "A political party is nothing more than a shell – fundraising machinery, state and local apparatus, and elected officials, along with a dedicated base of volunteers and activists. The base fuels a party, giving it purpose and meaning."
Reich also emphasized that: "Today’s Republican base is fueling hate. It is the epicenter of an emerging anti-democracy movement."
According to Reich, the scene currently playing out with Republican lawmakers is a power struggle featuring "culture warriors" and "hate-filled authoritarians."
He later added, "What we are seeing played out today in the contest for the speakership of the House involves all of these phases – what remains of the small-government establishment, the cultural warriors, and the hate-filled authoritarians – engaged in hopeless, hapless combat with each other."
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