The Republican Party has lost its ability govern. In states and in Washington, the GOP is passing laws hurting the people it’s supposed to serve and preventing government from functioning effectively. They’ve built an unsustainable coalition that relies on exploiting fear and prejudice to pass economic policies that disproportionately benefit the wealthy and large corporations. Now, the wheels are coming off of the machine.
In Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback’s massive tax cuts have left his state a wreck with huge revenue shortfalls and anemic growth. In Louisiana, former Republican Governor Bobby Jindal squandered a $1 billion surplus using the same formula. Their free market fanaticism forced underfunded schools to close early in Kansas and left defendants without public defenders in Louisiana.
Here, in North Carolina, Republicans crow about economic growth and a AAA bond rating while the rest of the nation watches with shock and bemusement as the state sanctions discrimination against LGBT citizens. Make no mistake, the protest by companies wasn’t just because of House Bill 2. No, HB2 was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Those companies watched the politicization of the UNC system and the debacle of firing President Tom Ross. They watched election laws designed to make it more difficult for minorities to vote. And they watched legislators bullying and deriding teachers while leaving funding for schools and pay for teachers near the lowest in the nation. While those companies would like to operate in North Carolina, they obviously felt the need to make their voices heard. Unfortunately, the legislature isn’t listening.
In Washington, the Senate made rejecting Obama a governing philosophy. Anything and everything he proposed was dead on arrival, regardless of its merit. The House voted more than 50 times to repeal Obamacare instead of looking for ways to fix it or make it better. Our courts are struggling because the Senate refuses to confirm judges and the Supreme Court is making decisions that lack a majority because of the GOP’s refusal to even consider an Obama nominee.
Now, the Party of Lincoln has nominated a reality TV star for president who built his campaign by belittling and ridiculing people who don’t look or act like him. He’s rejected traditional conservativism in favor of self-promotion. He lies with impunity and insults anyone who dares to challenge him. Instead of rejecting him, most of the GOP is falling in line behind him.
GOP leaders want to blame “leftist mobs” or Obama for all of their woes. But they’ve created this mess themselves. They perverted the conservatism of Reagan to adopt an extreme free market ideology that rejects the role of government and to get it passed, they preyed on the fears and anger of the very people who are left out when their economic policies take effect. Now, that coalition is falling apart.
The party has been taken over by the angry mob. Trump is its personification. Conservatism has been perverted into acceptance and exploitation of discrimination. The party has become largely reactionary and apparently lacks the ability to govern. For the good of our state and our country, it’s time to take the levers of power away from Republicans until they can find their way again.