Dear Diary 

The battle for the soul of the GOP: The TnPs are coming for their pound of flesh!

For years, the self-proclaimed real conservatives (mostly the pundit class) have been telling us that GOP is losing the WH races because it's just not nominating sufficiently pure conservatives. Nominate a real conservative, and the secret, silent stay-at-home conservatives will flock to the polls!

And for years, the nomination battles in the GOP have raged between the establishment pragmatist times, and the fire-breathing ideologue types (with religious nuts, GOP's third open locus of power, making an occasional token showing). And each time, when GOP loses, we hear: "We should have nominated a real conservative!"

McCain, a consummate establishment type, tried to address this with Palin nomination. Palin was supposed to be that 'real conservative' who'd bring the stay-at-home conservatives to the poll. And for a while, the con was working: the populace has been largely accepting of the claim that Palin is the proverbial 'real conservative'.

But now that Trump is on the scene, and the inner workings of the right-wing body politic lie exposed, we see the reality: this the fourth locus of power on the right. In addition to the establishment, the fire-breathing ideologues, the theocons, there's the 4th pillar -- the torches-and-pitchforks populists (TnPs).

THEY are the ones who the conrep talking heads were dreaming of bringing to the polls. THEY are the stay-at-home republican voters (they aren't conservative in any sense) who were targeted with the Palin nomination.

All that talk about a 'real conservative' nominee bringing the silent conservative voters to the polls? It was all a lie.

The name of the game is not conservatism. it's POPULISM. That's where GOP's hidden reserve of power lies -- to all of ours' deep and abiding regret.

This is straight from the 'be careful what you wish for' school of thought... Without TnPs, conservatives are impotent -- and with them, conservatives aren't conservatives.

I think this has been brewing for a while. For years now, when GOP played pretend as bringing 'silent conservatives' to the polls, they were really flirting with the TnPs. But until now (well, until 2008), it's all been at the level of dog-whistle politics; and now it's laid bare for all to see.

Trump is the price GOP is paying for having been selling its soul in exchange for turnout for all these years, arguably even decades, all the way back to Southern Strategy. The bill is due, and the giant mutant chickens have finally come home to roost.

P.S. No, this is not a concern trolling. I am torn between genuine concern for our nation, and an unabashedly schadenfreude-tinged digging inside the right-wing body politic. Still, understanding is understanding.

07:15:56 on 03/30/16 by danilche - Category: Philosophical


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