I suspect that many Republican politicians sincerely see their own party as composed of sober businessmen, plus crazy people wearing tricorne hats, plus crazy people waving fetus selfies, plus crazy people jabbering about Mexicans. The behavior of establishment Republican politicians can be seen as trying to placate/gull the various crazies so that the real work of the business lobbies can finally get done.
Amusing sentences (“fetus selfies”). In thinking about this, I am inclined to differentiate between two aspects of the Republican base. On the one hand, there is the Tea Party. On the other hand, there is the Trump/Fiorina Party.
At one point, I thought that the Tea Party’s issues were the bailouts, government spending in general, and Obamacare. On those issues, I am with the Tea Party and I share their disappointment with the Republican establishment, as represented by John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and John Roberts.
The Trump/Fiorina party looks different. Trump wants to appeal to xenophobia, and Fiorina wants to mobilize the right-to-lifers. If the Republican establishment would prefer to be softer on immigration and less obsessed with the abortion issue, then I am with the establishment.
Of course, Democrats and the media do not see this distinction between the Tea Party and the Trump/Fiorina Party. They use Tea Party as an all-purpose boo-word. So they treat Trump and Fiorina are synonymous with Tea Party.
But to me the difference matters. And I am struck by the disappearance of what I thought of as the Tea Party as a factor in current politics. I hope that in the next several months the Tea Party comes back and the Trump/Fiorina Party recedes.
In an essay that I saw after writing this, Jerry Taylor makes the case that the Republican race, and in particular Rand Paul’s poor showing, is an indication that libertarianism is weak among the masses. And he also throws some cold water on my own hopes:
According to a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, more than half the Tea Party is made up of the religious right while only 26 percent—the smallest ideological bloc within the group—can be loosely described as Libertarian. And Tea Partiers have always manifested a large degree of nativist populism.
Have a nice day.