The GOP is a post-political party | Columns | Tampa

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Maybe we deserve to be ruled by a nihilistic party that takes Marjorie Taylor Greene seriously.

On October 13, a 15-year-old boy allegedly shot and killed five people, including his brother and an off-duty cop, in a neighborhood east of Raleigh. The suspect suffered a single gunshot wound – it is unclear whether he was self-inflicted or shot by police – and is in “serious” condition. If and when he leaves the hospital, he will be charged as an adult, which means in North Carolina he faces up to 40 years behind bars.

The Mayor of Raleigh, like so many mayors before her, stepped forward in front of the cameras to offer her condolences and to urge that this time be different, knowing that it won’t be, knowing that while we might be momentarily horrified by the violence, we became so accustomed to senseless murder that this senseless murder would be swept from the front pages just in time for the next one to arrive.

But calls for gun reform have been met with the usual retorts that it’s inappropriate to talk politics at a time like this. So we won’t mention that North Carolina allows any hormonal teenager to own a rifle or shotgun; there is no age limit. And we won’t talk about how the state’s Republican-led General Assembly defeated bills aimed at remove weapons from dangerous individuals and fund advertising campaigns imploring parents to practice gun safety around their children.

We are inundated with guns. And yet, we can’t imagine that being solely inundated with guns is somehow related to being solely inundated with gun violence.

Meanwhile, last week, Republican-appointed federal judges blocked President Joe Biden’s student debt relief program from taking effect and effectively declared the entire Consumer Financial Protection Board unconstitutional. , siding with Republican lawyers who believe predatory lenders should be shielded from regulation.

And Republican politicians, on the verge of reclaiming majorities in Congress, have declared their intention to hold hostage and possibly default on the country’s debt, which would spell economic disaster. As far as I can tell, their proposed cure for inflation seems to be a combination of starving the poor, deporting immigrants, and encouraging the Federal Reserve to overcorrect the economy in recession, which seems almost certain to happen. produce.

And, of course, tax cuts, the cure for all possible ills.

And even.

This weekend, ABC News published a survey showing that voters preferred Republicans by double digits on crime and the economy.

To be clear, I’m not looking here at voters who lack faith in Democrats, or even voters who don’t share Democratic political goals. It’s up to voters with the slightest faith in the Republican Party to do, well, whatever is productive.

Such an expectation grossly misunderstands what the GOP is.

It is a post-political party, a party in which advancing ideas is less important than choosing fights. Thus, every policy is a blast from the past: tax cuts and deregulation, appeals to the false nostalgia for the safety of segregated suburbs, and revanchist sexual and gender norms. Each “idea” is inherently atavistic, a personal manifestation of whatever grievance Fox News stirs up: attacks on woke corporations or Marxist professors or transgender athletes or drag queens or immigrants or librarians or social media companies.

But I’m afraid none of that matters. American policy is reactive. If the economy is struggling, if gas prices are rising, if violent crime can be successfully demagogued by racist propagandiststhe ruling party is punished.

Never mind that the Saudis cut oil production to harm an administration that has timidly denounced human rights abuses. Never mind that inflation is not just an American story, but rather a global replay of pent-up demand and supply chain issues as well as government intervention. Never mind that the Trump administration ran record deficits in an expansion while demanding that the Fed keep money cheap. Never mind that Biden has already added more jobs to the economy than the last three Republican administrations combined. It doesn’t matter that the states that voted for Donald Trump are far more violent than the states that voted for Biden.

And it doesn’t matter that one of the two main parties openly despises democratic standards.

It is the aspect of American politics that I have found most infuriating – and depressing – over the past six years.

A major party has pledged not only to do nothing about guns or climate change, but to sabotage the global economy, undermine institutions designed to continue to protect consumers, attack reproductive rights on which women have counted for generations, undermine the very foundations of American democracy, to renounce any claim of seeking compromise or working for the common good in favor of a feverish extremism. If the polls are accurate, voters are about to reward them.

By double digits, Americans say they trust Republicans on the economy, inflation and crime. Again, not because the Republicans have come up with a plan to deal with these things; They did not do it. Not because they will offer new perspectives on those conversations; they won’t. But because, as in 2010, swing voters seem woefully unable to connect current events to causal events that happened more than six months ago.

They say you get the government you deserve. Maybe a country that has accepted that it can do nothing to stop a deranged teenager from massacring bystanders deserves to be ruled by a nihilistic party that takes Marjorie Taylor Greene seriously and considers the authoritarianism of Ron DeSantis like freedom.

I hope we don’t find out.


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