Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Someone asked me...

...recently what I thought of a piece in Vox, "A Republican intellectual explains why the Republican Party is going to die."

The Republican intellectual in question is a guy named Avik Roy and he's described as:

...a Republican’s Republican. A health care wonk and editor at Forbes, he has worked for three Republican presidential hopefuls — Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio. Much of his adult life has been dedicated to advancing the Republican Party and conservative ideals.

Mr. Roy's Wikipedia page opens with:

Avik Roy is an Indian-American journalist, editor, policy advisor, political strategist, and investment analyst. While working as an investment research analyst, Roy began blogging in response to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, from a critical point of view. The blog was republished at National Review Online, and moved to Forbes in 2011. Roy has published two books about the Affordable Care Act, as well as research and proposals though the Manhattan Institute, where he is a senior fellow.

Roy has advised three losing Republican Party presidential candidates. He was a health care policy advisor to Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign and was the senior advisor to Rick Perry's 2016 campaign. After Rick Perry withdrew from the race, Roy joined the 2016 presidential campaign of Marco Rubio as a policy advisor.

I'm a little familiar with Roy, having seen him on TV a few times talking about the ACA. My reader quotes the following from the piece (my emphasis):

“Conservative intellectuals, and conservative politicians, have been in kind of a bubble,” Roy says. “We’ve had this view that the voters were with us on conservatism — philosophical, economic conservatism. In reality, the gravitational center of the Republican Party is white nationalism.”

And comments:

In other words, the "conservative" principles are only applied in the ways that they serve white nationalism -- low taxes means no government programs to lift minorities out of poverty -- low regulation means that corporations can run roughshod over the poor, etc.

I'm not exactly sure how to respond except to note that when aging white people launched the tea party movement back in 2009 to oppose the Affordable Care Act (among other things) they remained staunch supporters of the entitlements that benefited aging white people, namely Social Security and Medicare. Funny how that works, isn't it? Socialism for me, but not for thee.

The article in Vox raises the question, "Is the Republican Party 'driven by white nationalism rather than a true commitment to equality for all Americans?' "

Roy seems to think so:

“I think the conservative movement is fundamentally broken,” Roy tells me. “Trump is not a random act. This election is not a random act.”

And I agree. I can think of at least three anecdotes from my own life that back up Roy's claim that "Trump is not a random act."

The first was when a Republican told me she thought there was no racism in America. Really? I wanted to say. One of the two major political parties is racist! But, believe it or not, I bit my tongue.

That's one of the myths Republicans tell themselves, though: Everyone in America has an equal shot. If you don't make it it's because you're stupid or lazy or just defective in some other way. And I want to say, come with me and visit some of the poorer neighborhoods on the South or West Side of Chicago (I promise we won't get out of the car!) and tell me your life would have turned out just the way it did if you had grown up there. I know mine wouldn't have.

I had two parents, one who worked steadily while the other stayed home and made sure we had everything we could possibly want. (Except mayonnaise and top-shelf toilet paper.) Although my mom and dad both drank (sometimes too much), drug use was something we only heard about on TV or in school. Gangs? Violence? Jail time? Again, TV or school. Oh, and those were cushy schools. Really, my entire upbringing was pretty cushy. In fact, there was never any doubt that I would graduate from college someday and live a comfortable middle-class existence just like my parents. It was pretty much a given at the time I was born.

So Louis C.K. is right when he says in the video above, "If you're white and you don't admit that it's great you're an a-----e!"

The second anecdote was when a Republican relative told me recently that Barack Obama was nominated in 2008 because the Democrats were "looking for someone who was black, but not too black." I turned around and walked away. (Another example of my emerging self-control!)

Republicans just can't seem to get past the fact that President Obama is black. And they'll never admit that he got there -- and succeeded -- because he was uniquely qualified for the office. No, they seem to think, it was some sort of Affirmative Action. (As I was walking away that same person tried to make the familiar Republican comparison between Obama and Jimmy Carter, that other "failed" Democratic president.)

Finally, a tweet just the other day asked, "What would Republicans say about a black nominee for president who had five children by three different wives and talked about money and women the way Trump does?"

You know the answer, "Typical f-----g n----r!"

Am I right?

What I want to say to Republicans is "That's why you have Trump. Because he appeals to the worst racist elements in your party."

Roy believes "Democrats will dominate national American politics for some time."

I'd be careful to write the GOP's obituary just yet. A lot of people have made this mistake before -- about Republicans after Watergate and about Democrats in the early years of George W. Bush's administration.

But I do think over time the U. S. could resemble California more and more. Ever since the Democrats took control of all branches of government there everything seems to be improving in the Golden State. (Can you believe they went from a seemingly intractable budget deficit to a budget surplus?) Now, might that have something to do with the tech boom in Silicon Valley and a resurgent Hollywood? Sure. But maybe having a "sane" party in charge helps too.

1 comment:

Ed Crotty said...

Two things remain to be seen - whether the rank and file of the Republican party will acknowledge the racism, and second - if they will repudiate it. Both would be a great act of patriotism. I'm not optimistic.