HOW THE REPUBLICAN PARTY GOT TRUMPED, IN SIX STEPS
Disclaimer: I'm not a political expert. That said, seeing as nobody has been right so far this election season, the bar is pretty low...
- •Before the 1980’s, religious and fiscal conservatives didn’t have much to do with one another. And, if you think about it, why would they? How much do a Wall Street bond trader and a Southern Evangelical really have in common anyway? In fact, Evangelicals loved Carter because he was a born again Christian.
- •But, with both of those special interests too small to get anything done on their own, they paired up underneath the banner of the Republican party. Such an arrangement can only be orchestrated at a high level between leaders of each faction (the so-called “establishment.”)
- •This worked fairly well to often defeat the Democratic party (who themselves didn’t require the conjoining of two otherwise unaligned groups — social liberals are also usually fiscal liberals), and the wants of both interest groups were achieved.
- •Three things came together in 2015 to unravel this alliance:1) a growing portion of social conservatives who no longer cared about fiscal conservatism 2) a method of communication that wasn’t controlled by party leaders and wealthy donors 3) a leader to embody this frustration
- •These three elements arrived in the form of:1) A big part of the Republican party who, while still socially conservative (anti-immigrant, etc) found themselves left behind in a portion of the economy that hadn't recovered from the great recession (manufacturing, etc). 2) Social media, which bypassed the gatekeepers of traditional power and media and enabled the proliferation of rumors and anger about the current state of the country. 3) Donald Trump, who seized upon this frustration in the form of an “us vs. them” narrative.
- •And here we are.