Looking back on GOPLifer predictions

From its beginnings after the 2008 election, the GOPLifer project was driven by foreboding. Republicans had, through a combination of denial and neglect, allowed dangerous forces to build. Absent some drastic intervention from the party’s sharper, braver minds, it seemed obvious that those forces would continue to gain energy and eventually blow the party apart.

Prediction was central to the blog’s mission. The entire project was an interpretation of an emerging future. If those projections failed to materialize, then perhaps the rest of the project’s assessments should be questioned. With that in mind it was necessary to constantly revisit old predictions as a weathervane for the future.

Reviewing old predictions one miserable pattern becomes clear. GOPLifer was wrong whenever it assumed the best about the party’s future and right about nearly everything else.

What GOPLifer got wrong can be boiled down to two words: Donald Trump. The reason is simple. I was right about the absolute loathing for Trump felt by nearly everyone in the party infrastructure. I was right that party leaders and grassroots organizers saw him as a catastrophic threat. I believed that prominent figures in the party possessed the courage and the influence to stop Trump and the alt-right from seizing control of the institution. That’s what I got wrong.

I never seriously considered the possibility that Paul Ryan would take the stage on national television to help Donald Trump steamroll opposition at the convention. It never occurred to me that a figure as prominent as Scott Walker would be so spineless as to back Trump. Across the better part of a decade my predictions about the party were largely on target until I placed some faith in the character of our leadership. The Republican Party as an institution is far weaker and sicker than I ever dared imagine. My predictions for the future of the party were consistently too conservative, too hedged.

What did the blog get right? For years I argued that the GOP was descending into a white nationalist party. The party’s growing appeal among lower income whites motivated by race was no surprise. I described it in the results from the 2012 election.

Before the first votes were cast in the 2012 Republican primaries I described what they meant for the 2016 race. The party had exhausted its supply of credible Presidential successors. The 2012 nominating field foretold a 2016 race which would be dominated by nutjobs. In the summer before the 2012 election, GOPLifer described the Republican demographic nightmare taking shape in polling data and historical trends.

In 2010, while the press was treating her as the Republican Presidential frontrunner, GOPLifer explained why Sarah Palin would never try to hold another elected office. For years I shouted that the Tea Party was nothing more than a vehicle for white racial fears. As such, the rise of the Tea Party was not a sign of renewed Republican energy, but a prelude to complete irrelevance.

When Republican leaders released their 2012 autopsy explaining the need for minority outreach, I explained why this goal would be very difficult to reach.

While Republicans crowed over the 2014 midterm results, GOPLifer identified the “death-cross” hiding in the data. Those results demonstrated that at the Presidential level, Republicans now faced a “Blue Wall” large enough to lock them out of competition for the White House for the indefinite future. I explained that Virginia and New Hampshire were now beyond reach for a Republican nominee. I also explained that Georgia was moving into play at the federal level. Also in 2014 I explained that Republicans had a 0% chance of holding the Senate beyond 2016.

Late in 2014 when Jeb Bush was assumed to be the Republican front-runner, GOPLifer explained why he was doomed. The blog explained that the 2016 nomination would belong to the guy who threw away the racist dogwhistle in favor of an explicit white nationalist (“Neo-Confederate) campaign. At that time, months before Donald Trump entered the race, that candidate was Ted Cruz. Cruz instead finished second to Trump.

Last summer I explained how the Trump’s campaign paralleled the collapse of the party’s most recent ancestor, the Whig’s. That combination of racism and regionalism is a political death spiral. Political parties can and do die.

With Trump came a series of GOPLifer miscalculations based on underestimating Republican cowardice. The blog identified the reasons why Republican criticism of Trump failed, but down to the wire I still overestimated the willingness of leaders to take a principled position against Trump at the convention.

What’s still ahead? Trump’s deficit will widen as we approach Election Day. Futility feeds a landslide. If he could get within five or six points uneasy Republicans might close ranks. That’s not going to happen. With no hope for victory, people who have voted Republican in the past will abandon ship in droves. Senate and Congressional races will be a bloodbath. Republicans will definitely lose the Senate, might lose the House, but will almost certainly avoid a super-minority (40 seats or less) in the Senate.

This is the end of the road for America’s second party. There is no force left with the influence or vision to restore some relevance to this coalition. At the state level across much the country the party remains dominant, but those state parties in places like Texas and Georgia have nothing to offer voters in the rest of the country. They are held together by nothing other than the paranoid delusions of aging (dying) white racists. Meanwhile a younger generation is emerging which is solidly hostile to the GOP, even in deep red states.

The future of the Republican Party is that there is no future. A Republican nominee for President in 2020 might enter the race in tight competition with third parties.

In retrospect, the blog managed to accurately diagnose the party’s condition and predict the consequences of our direction. Meanwhile, it utterly failed to steer the party away from calamities. It would have been nice to be a little less right and a lot more influential. In the end GOPLifer was a fine writing outlet and a political failure.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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120 comments on “Looking back on GOPLifer predictions
  1. 1mime says:

    Here’s a well written comment by Randy Abraham to a Talking Points Memo article about the problems Paul Ryan will face if Dems retake the senate and the presidency. It is found in the comments section, and begins “Dear Republican Elite”. It is a lengthy, outstanding history of the last 8 years of political obstruction by the Republican Party. I hope you’ll take time to read it. One of the best summaries on this subject that I have ever read. If you are unable to locate the comment, I’ll post in its entirety.


  2. tmerritt15 says:

    After making my post last evening, which mentioned Dan Evans, I thought of his response to the Vietnamese refugee crisis. Below are three links from the Seattle Times describing his response.




    These articles give a sense of the Republican party in Washington state during that period. That was somewhat typical of the former Rockefeller wing of the Republican party and is the party to which I refer. It was conservative economically, but at the same time tolerant. It was willing to work across the partisan divide to address problems. It tended to be skeptical of big government programs and looked for a commercial solution or using regulations or legislation to nudge businesses in the proper direction. Profit was not always the motivating factor, but facilitating a civil society was the key element. That is the Republican party I would like to see. However, I may be just dreaming. One can contrast that to the intolerant, White Nationalist GOP of today.

    BTW, Washington has generally been a progressive moderately liberal state, since the early 20th Century. The Grange pushed through an initiative, which adopted what was known as a blanket primary. That allowed the people to vote for whomever they pleased of the major parties on the primary ballot. All candidates of both parties where listed. The top candidates of the major parties were then listed on the general election ballot. There was no party registration. Of course that was Democratic and Republican, since those have been the two dominant parties.

    That is how Dan Evans became governor as a Republican, despite this generally being a Democratic state. The people liked his moderation and his ability to work across the partisan divide, but at the same time not being wed to big government programs.

    Unfortunately, the parties did not like the blanket primary and sued to overturn it. They first succeeded in the Washington State Supreme Court. SCOTUS eventually upheld the ruling. An open primary was then adopted. After one or two elections, the present top two primary was adopted, either by initiative or by referendum; I am not sure. The top two system passed muster with SCOTUS and that is what we presently have. California has follower and Arizona is moving in that direction as well. Other states are considering the top two method.

    Going back to the Vietnamese refugee issue. That struck a personal nerve with me, particularly as a Vietnamese War Vet. At the time the articles to which I linked appeared my dental hygienist was a lovely young mother who had been Miss Vietnam Washington for a year. She is the daughter of boat-people who relocated to Washington during that period. They married and raised a family. The children have been successful and blended into society. You can not tell me that accepting them was a mistake.

    • 1mime says:

      Great story, wise, sensitive, pragmatic politics. Evans deserved the vote of confidence the citizens of WA gave him. Three terms in office! Politics today is so different. People who “stood out” were celebrated for their statesmanship in earlier times, now, it is all about party. And, we wonder why we have no leaders…..

    • Creigh says:

      To a certain extent the crazy on the Republican side tends to be a regional thing. Outside the old Confederacy there are some more pragmatic people. Also, I see more of a tendency towards pragmatism and moderation in executives than I do in legislators.

      • tmerritt15 says:


        You are somewhat correct, however the “Politics of Crazy’ extends across the nation on the Republican Side. The discussion of the Vietnamese Refugees is from the 1970’s. Dan Evans was the Washington Governor from 1965-1977. He served in the Navy during WWII and was deployed to the Pacific immediately following the War and is 90 now.

        Washington is almost like two states. The urban area West of the Cascade Range is totally different from the eastern rural side. Approximately 60-65% of the population lives in the Combined Greater Seattle Metropolitan Area. The politics in the Metropolitan Area is generally moderate to liberal with the actual City of Seattle being very liberal. Much of the agricultural eastern side is extremely conservative and supports Trump. There is one major city, Spokane, on the Eastern side. It tends to be moderately conservative. There are two other metropolitan areas on the Eastern side. They have large Hispanic populations and their local political process generally discriminates heavily against the Hispanic populations. Litigation is presently ongoing to open up the electoral process in those areas. You can imagine how this reflects in our statewide government. We have our own mini-grid lock. Currently the state senate is Republican and the house is Democratic. However, in the long run the progressive side tends to dominate.

      • Creigh says:

        We’re in a sort of similar situation in NM, split legislature, 2 pretty solid Democratic congressional districts and one very conservative mostly rural district. We have a Republican governor (Susana Martinez, female and hispanic). She was sometimes mentioned as a national candidate but is not nearly conservative enough to get through a Republican primary. On the other hand, she’s trying to bring back the death penalty, maybe with an eyento future campaigns – perhaps challenging Martin Heinrich’s Senate seat in ’18.

  3. flypusher says:

    I’m watching that contemptible little worm Preibus spinning for Trump on MTP. It’s interesting that he’s speaking in such generalities about Trump’s immigration plan- it’s going to be fair, it’s going to be tough, etc., blah, blah. It’s been over a year, there ought to be far more detail than that.

    Todd isn’t applying the screws anywhere near enough. Also apologies to worms.

    • 1mime says:

      Martha Raddatz subbed for George Stephanopoulas (ABC, This Week) this morning and she totally lost control of the guests. Alex Castellanos was the Republican member of the quartet with Stephanie Cutter, and two other guests whose names I did not hear (females – Black and Hispanic). It was a lesson in deflection from Castellanos….if HRC is watching, this offered a good primer for Trump….But everyone talked over one another making it impossible to maintain a conversational thread much less understand what was being said.

      Missed opportunity. These television hosts are not hard-nosed enough…they allow the guests to run the show and do not follow up on unanswered points. BBC, we need you!

    • 1mime says:

      BTW, a fun piece of trivia – readers have been asked to suggest who the Donald Trump debate stand in should be when Hillary begins her preparation. The leading name? Alec Baldwin! He will be perfect.

  4. flypusher says:

    From another forum- that is supposed to be a FaceBook post making the rounds, but I’m not on FaceBook so I can’t verify. But I’ll bet it’s real:

    “Ok people, soap box moment………
    Millions of Trump supporters feel this way about Donald J. Trump…..
    “We don’t care if the guy swears… or how many times he’s been married…or who he voted for, or what his income tax return shows. We want the problems fixed. Yes he’s an egomaniac, but we don’t care. We know he’s not a racist, or bad to women, or all the other things the liberal media is trying to label him with. We know he’s raised a good family, and that says a lot about him.
    The country is a mess because politicians suck, the Republican Party is two faced & gutless, and illegals are everywhere. We want immigration laws followed. We want it all fixed!
    We don’t care that Trump is crude, we don’t care that he has changed positions, we don’t care that he fights with Megan Kelly, Rosie O’Donnell, and so many of the elected establishment. We don’t care that Rubio, Cruz, Ryan, the Bush’s, and so many other top old and new Republicans refuse to endorse him for their own selfish reasons, and we know what they are. We don’t care that he doesn’t know the name of some Muslim terrorists, we don’t care that he tried some businesses that didn’t work out.
    This country is weak, bankrupt, our enemies are making fun of us, we are being invaded by illegals, we are becoming a nation of victims, where every Tom, Ricardo and Hasid is a special group with special rights to a point where we don’t even recognize the country we were born and raised in, AND WE JUST WANT IT FIXED. And TRUMP is the only guy who seems to understand what the people want.
    We’re sick of politicians, sick of the Democratic and Republican Party. We’re angry about the Iran deal, the budget, treatment of Israel, military weakness, lobbyists, special interests, overpaid politicians with their self serving bills and back room deals, trade deals, loss of jobs, manipulated economic numbers, businesses fleeing, and even the phoney pay for play Clinton Foundation.
    Americans are no longer going to be fooled, and the movement is out to change the direction we’re taking. Trump may not be a saint, but he doesn’t have lobbyist money holding him, he doesn’t have political correctness restraining him, and all you know is that he has been very successful, a good negotiator, he has built a lot of things, he’s flexible, and he’s also not a politician. And he says he’ll fix it. And we believe him because he is too much of an egotist to be proven wrong or looked at and called a liar.
    Public service has become elected greed. This may be our only chance to have a non-politician, despite his flaws, try and correct the mess, at least for 4 years. We must take the shot, because the consequences of putting Hillary Clinton in office are frightening. There is a tidal wave happening, and its going to overcome much of what’s happened to this country. ”

    Shooting a hole it that argument is like the proverbial shooting of fish in a barrel. Trump isn’t going to fix a damn thing. He has no plan, he has no clue, and he has no relevant qualifications. Don’t even start with that malarkey about “hiring the best people.” His campaign is a train wreck, he’s on his 3rd campaign manager (anyone want to give me odds on her lasting until Nov.?), and the ground game is a mess. But this guy can totally run the country. You “know” he’s not a racist, despite his history of bigoted comments and committing actual discrimination, and now hiring the likes of Bannon. You don’t care about all the character faults that scream “he is not suited to be CIC.” You believe him because he’s an egoist- that’s a new delusional wrinkle, congrats. I thought I had heard it all.

    This reaffirms my choice to not do FaceBook. There’s only so much stupid I can take each day.

    • 1mime says:

      America is a big country with over 324M people. It appears that more of them are dumb asses than I thought possible. And, their votes count just like my vote. At this juncture, all we can do is hope that somehow those who are still on the fence (!!??) will either not vote or vote come to the realization that a vote for Trump is a vote against our country’s interests. I cannot fathom a presidency under Trump. I cannot fathom Republicans taking the Senate and it is sure to happen if they take the presidency. I don’t think I have ever had as much concern in my voting experience about an election. So much is riding on this. Gosh I hope Ryan is correct but I am more like Homer in my caution. There are times when I clearly understand the concerns of the founding fathers about limiting the vote to educated people. I’d settle for common sense.

    • There are no fish in the barrel, just one big fish spitting a lot of bubbles. Behind all the distractions, all you need to know is in this one piece: “AND WE JUST WANT IT FIXED. And TRUMP is the only guy who seems to understand what the people want.

  5. 1mime says:

    I came across a link to the RNC 2012 Autopsy Report, and read through it, focusing on the methodology/target groups/participants, etc. outlined in the report’s beginning, then on each area’s recommendations, per my interest. It’s a 74 page report, but each section has summaries for your reading pleasure. Then I googled critiques of the report and came up with a Talking Points Memo 6-point critique, which I link below.

    It appears to be a solidly researched, honestly written report. Likewise, the TPM critique spoke to the recommendations that they felt were most significant. I’ll leave it to you to compare the two in light of how the Republican Party utilized the autopsy report.

    Hindsight is helpful if one learns from the lessons of history and uses the best of them to make constructive, positive changes. It is amazing that since this report was issued in 2013, following the 2012 election, that the Republican Party has seemingly spent its resources and energy on obstructing governance by the Democratic Party rather than apply the lessons and recommendations of the report to their own party.

    What has the Republican Party learned, and what have they changed? What lessons accrue from past defeats and successes in achieving control of Congress along with many state legislatures and governorships, Have these successes blinded the Republican Party to the changing demographics in our country? Do they see no need for change? Is the Autopsy Report still a valid template for the GOP, or, is it too late?

    Click to access rnc_growth_opportunity_book_2013.pdf


    • tmerritt15 says:

      Thank you for posting the links to the Autopsy, the Talking Points Memo and the link to the Politico article. I saw that one a few days ago. I did read through the Memo and also read the Politico article.

      In my opinion, the conservative groups of the GOP decided to ignore the Autopsy Report and basically doubled down on the conservative policies for the 2014 election. When they were successful in that election they were convinced that the approach of doubling down was correct. However, as Lifer indicated so well in his Blue Wall post in November 2014, the turn out was low and a lot of the success rested on gerrymandering. The success that the GOP had in 2014 contributed mightily to the take over of the party by the Alt-Right and Trump. There is a long standing refrain in the GOP that all they need to do is nominate a strong conservative and they will win. The 2012 loss was rationalized because Romney was not conservative enough.

      The low turnout in midterm elections has been killing the Democrats both at the national level and the state level. Partly that is due to weak Democratic state and local organizations. However, the national Democratic party has realized that problem, as has Hillary. Consequently Hillary is putting a considerable amount of effort into rebuilding the state and local organizations. The party is returning to the 50-state approach that was championed by Howard Dean.

      With the re-emphasis on the state and local parties, I believe that the Democrats will do better at the state and local levels this year than many people expect. Assuming that Hillary wins, she governs reasonably well and the state and local parties continue to be supported, I think that will result in a lot of dividends in 2018. Since many of the gubernatorial races are in the off year, hopefully the Democrats will do well in 2018. That will help set the stage for reversing some of the gerrymandering in the redistricting following 2020. Also having strong state and local organizations will help to limit the losses that are sure to occur at the national level in 2018. That in itself will also help the Democrats significantly in 2020.

      In a recent post, Lifer indicated that he thought 2020 would be a crucial year for the GOP. As I indicated in one of my replies, I also think that 2020 will be a crucial year. I really would like to see a reformed GOP develop, that is a party that is moderately conservative and basically right of center. Such a party would be truly interested in governing and would have the interests of the 99% at heart. Such a party would be somewhat similar to the GOP that I grew up with during the 1950’s. It would basically be a modernized version of Eisenhower’s party. That party lasted until the early 70’s but it started to disintegrate under Nixon’s Administration. That would also be similar to the GOP that we had in Washington State during Dan Evans time as governor. That was basically the party of the Rockefeller Republicans. But they were all purged from the party as “RINOs”. I may be wrong but I suspect that is the type of Republican party that Lifer would like to see. It is also the type of party whose candidates I could consider supporting again, despite the fact I am now a confirmed Democrat.

      Of course I live in in Seattle, the city that was once called the “Seattle Commune in the Soviet of Washington” during the Great Depression, so I may have a rosier picture of the situation than others. Even today that is somewhat true, since we have a socialist on the City Council and have an extremely progressive (almost socialist, but she is a Democrat) candidate, Pamela Jayapral, for our Congressional Representative. That seat is open this year. Incidentally I live in both of those districts and voted for neither. Washington does have a top two primary, so Both Jayapral and the candidate I voted for is on the ballot. We will have to wait and see and also hope that the geopolitical challenges are handled reasonably successfully. I am very hopeful and believe that if Hillary is elected she will be up to the challenges.

      • 1mime says:

        Let us hope, TMerritt. The more I study this election and the people and issues within it, the more I worry about the future of our country. People are not using good judgement and they don’t seem to even care. It’s discouraging.

        I’m glad you found the GOP report and its critique interesting. It is important to read studies like these to get a sense of what went wrong and what solutions exist. Yet, reading without implementation is futile, and as you noted, the big GOP congressional wins dispelled any interest in making changes when their base was rewarding the status quo.

      • Creigh says:

        tmerritt, you write “I really would like to see a reformed GOP develop, that is a party that is moderately conservative and basically right of center.” I always wonder what right of center really means. I get the conservative part. We need new ideas, we need people who get up and say “Let’s change X, let’s do this instead.” But we also need people who say “Wait, let’s think this through, is this really wise, the old ways might still be the best ways.” So we need progressives and conservatives, but there’s no reason for the Rs to always be the conservatives and Ds to always be progressives. I guess what I’m saying is, why does the argument have to be left vs. right, whatever those terms mean? Are you really going to defend the need for a right of center party, and what does that really mean?

      • tmerritt15 says:

        Creigh, you have a good point. I don’t necessarily think the Republicans have to necessarily be conservative or that there needs to be a right – left division. That is just the way it has been for almost a century in American politics. During the Progressive era, i.e. Theodore Roosevelt’s time and during Lincoln’s time the Republican party was more progressive and liberal than the Democratic. However since then the orientation of the two parties has largely reversed. The major reversal began when the Democrats began the push towards desegregation after WWII and the Southern Democrats resisted. I will be making a post shortly with some links to Washington State’s Dan Evans and his response to the Vietnamese refugee crisis as an example of what I would like the Republican party to be.

    • Creigh says:

      Yes it’s true that even today the Rs are not always the conservatives – think school vouchers and Social Security “reform.”

      • 1mime says:

        Republican support of vouchers and block-granting Social Security are totally consistent with the conservative POV. Conservatives think public education is a tax pit and that their tax dollars should follow the child not the district (mostly, their children); likewise, block granting Social Security is fundamentally different than the New Deal promise, but totally in sync with the “small government” mantra of the right. Just as is the Ryan proposal to block grant Medicare for seniors….which means “caps” and controls that will radically change health care for our elderly.

        What am I missing here, Creigh?

      • Creigh says:

        Mime, in these cases Republicans are calling for change and Democrats are resisting change, that was all I was pointing out. Although I suppose one could say Rs are just rolling back previous changes…

        I’m trying to think of what kind of motivating principles could organize factions in the way that the labels “left” and “right” have done in the past, but not coming up with a coherent theory yet. “Big government” vs “small government”? Who the heck wants big government for its own sake??

      • 1mime says:

        Republicans have been pushing vouchers since the 80s. That was “their” way to funnel tax dollars into private education under the guise of “special” programs for disadvantaged students. Ultimately, it would end the Dept. of ED and the public school system not to mention teacher unions. Vouchers have failed just as demonstrably as have Charter Schools, the next attempt to privatize education using tax dollars, with the same loopholes – they did not have to meet anything but minimum standards to gain tax revenue and they had total control of curricula, student selection and rejection. Social security changes were made first during LBJ’s administration when he ended the the social security trust fund and merged payroll taxes into the General Fund. Needless to say, that helped inflate the General Fund to pay for Johnson’s expansion of the safety net but it didn’t protect Social Security for the long term. Reagan made the next change by making the employer portion of the FICA taxes taxable for SS recipients once you cross a certain minimum income threshold. This inflated Reagan’s General Fund coffers again at the expense of the SS recipients.

        So,. yes, Republicans have introduced these ideas, and it is important to not reject new ideas out of hand. But have no doubt, these two “changes” had very self-serving goals.

        We don’t disagree with who gets credit for changes, but we may disagree as to motive.

    • Nick Danger says:

      The GOProject uses bullet points to list Republican governors who are good for the party, naming Nathan Deal, Sam Brownback, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Bobby Jindal.

      What a difference four years makes! Only Kasich is left with a positive national reputation. I know nothing about Deal, so he’s disqualified. I don’t hear anything good about Jindal anymore. Both Brownback and Christie are widely hated.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      Indeed. Yes he is. CRAZY about covers it.

      More “not racism” from the Trump surrogate/supporter Governor Paul LePage:

      “Maine Gov. Paul LePage says people of color are the ‘enemy’ in Maine’s war on drugs: ‘You shoot at the enemy'”


      Here is a choice excerpt of his madness:

      “Look, a bad guy is a bad guy, I don’t care what color it is. When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red, don’t you?” he said. “You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that. I just can’t help it. Those are the facts,”

      That my friends kinda sounds like a modernistic call for good old fashioned genocide (if you ask me). Colored people=current enemy. You see the enemy=shoot ’em!

      Reacting to this horrific statement with a succinct tweet is Maine’s favorite son and prolific horror writer Stephen King.

      “Our governor, Paul LePage, is a bigot, a homophobe, and a racist. I think that about covers it.”

      “LePage also repeated his oft-touted line that he believes 90% of drug offenders in Maine are black or hispanic out-of-staters.”

      “Maine’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union promptly pointed out that if black or hispanic offenders are getting arrested more often than white offenders (in a state that is 95% white) it’s likely due racial profiling.”

      “According to the governor, Maine police are nine times more likely to arrest people of color for selling drugs than white people, even though we know white people are just as likely to commit drug offenses. This alarming disparity in arrests raises significant concerns that Maine law enforcement is participating in unconstitutional racial profiling,” the ACLU’s Maine executive director, Alison Beyea, said in a press statement, citing studies that black and white people use and sell drugs at similar rates.”

      “The National Drug Intelligence Center has not done a report on drug trafficking in Maine in over a decade, but according to a 2003 report, white dealers are mostly to blame for the state’s heroin and prescription drug problem.”

      It has been quite the revelation about how revolting the political scene is in Maine.

      If there is to be an electoral cleansing blood bath of Trumpism out of the Republican Party on November 8, 2016, it personally can’t come soon enough for me.

      I don’t know how much more I can take this of ceaseless orgy of ignorance, indecency and casual racial bigotry.

      A morning scroll through the top stories on the Google News page shouldn’t require a barf bag.

      • 1mime says:

        I heard a clever term used for the process of ending Trumpism, it was termed a “Trumpectomy”. Pretty good, eh?

  6. RobA says:

    This is how the media needs to treat demonstrably false comments by fact free morons: just shut it down. Dont even hold debate, which legitimizes the argument. Just shut it down.

    To be clear, debate is a great thing, as long as both sides have defensible positions. Can you debate the merits of abortion? sure. Can you debate at what point a fetus becomes viable? Sure. But you can’t have a valid debate if PP practices eugenics or not, anynore then you could have a valid debate on if aliens have infiltrated our ranks in the form of humanoid shape shifting reptiles.

  7. 1mime says:

    Surfing 538 this morning and came across this excellent piece which is dated (July 15) but prescient in view of how the Trump campaign is changing. The man has no core principles. Immigration – the very issue on which he launched his campaign, is now “meh”…It would be interesting to see this writing team re-visit their original article given what we know now of Trump’s “position softening. How does one keep up with this chameleon?

    Trump will do and say whatever it takes to win. People like that are not only despicable for their shallowness, they are dangerous and deceitful. Trump must think (and he could be correct), that his lock on his core base is so firm that he has the luxury of a wink, wink on even this pivotal issue. That he is “courting” the Black community is a real test of his lock on his base. Mr. Trump, have you no shame, sir?


  8. Sir Magpie De Crow says:

    The latest WTF moment from Mr. Pivot himself, Donald J. Trump.

    It is his most recent effort to get votes from African-Americans. It is a tweet of course and it is something else. Prepare yourselves.

    “Dwayne Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African Americans will VOTE TRUMP!”

    Besides the fact that this poor woman hasn’t even been laid to rest by family and friends…
    Please notice the fact that NBA Star Dwyane Wade’s name in the tweet was misspelled. Trump spells it Dwayne Wade.

    Note to all future Republican presidential nominees:

    If you are going to exploit a black celebrity’s fresh personal tragedy for personal gain, at the very least you should spell their name right.

    Beyond that… I have no words fit to print in response to such callousness.


    • First and foremost, my sincerest wishes to Dwyane Wade’s family and those four children who just lost their mother. Their loss strengthens our collective resolve ever more.

      That aside, not that there isn’t anything to say, but there’s nothing to say. I’m just going to wake up a little bit earlier on November 8th (I’ve already requested to have the whole day off) to cast my vote, and it’s one I’m going to be proud of.

      • flypusher says:

        I’m there the first day of early voting!

      • A Non Mouse says:

        I’m not necessarily enthusiastic about Secretary Clinton. She seems to be, more or less, a generic Democratic candidate, which is perfectly okay. Given the alternative, though, I’m beginning to feel pretty enthused about pushing that little lever next to her name in a couple of months.

      • 1mime says:

        I think HRC is going to surprise a lot of people with her ability to govern. Given the alternative, you should be very excited to pull that lever. Here’s an earlier campaign Trump – the “real” Trump, not the one who is now “softening” on immigration, and “reaching out” to Blacks….It is my hope that peoples’ memories are long enough to remember T’s early rhetoric. In case any have forgotten the early Trump days….He and Bannon make the perfect couple…

      • A generic democrat candidate is probably exactly what we need right now, to be honest. In times of stress it’s always tempting to go for one extreme or another, so it’s really reassuring to see that enough people have overcome this instinct and chosen someone moderate and politically-central.

        Right now, the American republic looks like it’s in bad shape politically. The best thing for it might be a few decades of rule by generic, predictable, reliable people. Once things get settled down then it might be time once again for the brilliant disruptors.

      • 1mime says:

        As much as I hope that Clinton defeats Trump and has her chance to demonstrate her competency, I am equally concerned about re-taking the Senate. I see that possibility as far from assured, despite many who disagree. A slim win defeats seating new more progressive justices on SCOTUS due to existing filibuster rules. Given the large number of Democratic Senate seats up for re-election in 2018, unless Clinton could replace every aging liberal-leaning member of SCOTUS during her term, a change in filibuster rules would work to the advantage of the party who prevails in ’18, which is a risky proposition.

        The failure of the Democratic leadership to build at the local and state level has crippled the party in terms of fielding competitive national candidates. Too often, people are put up for national office without name recognition or political experience. To their credit, the Republican Party has made this a priority and have achieved control of a plurality of state legislatures and governorship’s. Same party governors prevent vetoes of legislation. Legislatures draw voter districts and pass laws that cannot not make it through Congress. This sets up inevitable appellate and SC legal challenges which courts have been more conservative friendly in years past. The work that the GOP did to achieve state and national dominance has enabled them to survive a decade of terrible policy and willful ignorance of social and cultural shifts in the nation and within their own base – with little consequence. Is it any wonder that the party decided to ignore the 2013 autopsy report? Why change when what you ARE doing is affirmed by your voter base?

        Democrats should dominate the 2016 election but because of the work the Republican Party has done to strengthen their party’s base at the local and state levels, neither the U.S. House nor state legislative majorities will be lost. This is in spite of an abysmal performance of the Republican Party in Congress over the past 8 years, and despite a despicable presidential candidate. If Dem leadership had used the previous 8 years to prepare for an expected weakened Republican Party in the 2016 election, there would be more assurance of capturing the necessary 60 seats in the Senate and 30 seats in the House for a Dem president to implement a new agenda. They did not do so, partly, because they were in survival mode – fighting one battle after another from a belligerent, obstructionist, demanding, united Republican Party majority, and partly due to leadership malaise. For a President Clinton to function effectively, she needs a SC that is not as partisan (I want fair, not stacked) and a House that will work with her on appropriations. What are the odds of that happening, and how will that impact the Dem Party’s chances in 2018? Politics is a long game – chess, not checkers.

        I’m deeply concerned about lack of organization within the Democratic Party. A political institution cannot survive simply by being the default party, it cannot survive by only winning the presidency, and it will not thrive if it does not have a cohesive plan that is implemented. Democrats must do the work and commit the financial resources and time to build from the local level – to identify and develop talent, and move these seasoned, younger people into positions of leadership. Finally, they have to incorporate the needs and interests of new, burgeoning classes of voters (Millennials, Hispanics, Asian Americans) or they will forever be in a defensive position. These groups will be looking for a home and if Dems don’t offer them a meaningful place in the organization, they will find a party that will. A REpublican Party that may finally dust off the 2013 autopsy and begin to implement its smart recommendations.

        In spite of the willful disregard by the Republican Party of its manifest for change, they have managed to gain and maintain majorities in both houses of Congress and SCOTUS, until Justice Scalia’s death. The Democratic Party leadership has passively watched their downward spiral even as the Republicans continue to block Pres. Obama’s agenda. There have been Dem successes, but they were too few or too modest, with the big ones unmet – immigration reform, trade, tax reform, gun legislation, labor and environmental policy. The greatest successes have been in social policy and, to a limited extent, in expansion of health care to millions of Americans.

        The Democratic Party’s immediate future is largely cast for 2016. What the party does going forward to make the necessary organizational changes will predict what the future holds. Progressives should not be content to simply win because the Republicans suck, nor to hope that the natural demographic shift will accrue to the Democrats benefit. That passive approach is not nearly enough. The nation is shifting left of center and the Democratic Party can either be a leader or ride the coat tails of this political and social change. There is an opportunity now with the Republican Party in disarray, to lead. Before Dems can lead, they have to build. That is imperative in order to advance a progressive agenda that expands changes that are happening in our country. Or, the Democratic Party can wait for more Donald Trumps.

        I believe in the progressive agenda but I am also a practical judge of what it takes to implement. Democrats have their work cut out for them. It is lucky for them that so do the Republicans.


      • *applause*

        That is all.

    • flypusher says:

      I’m disgusted but probably beyond being shocked by the despicable way that POS tries to use other people’s tragedies for his gain. More concern trolling. Please vote against this offense to basic decency. The Wade family doesn’t deserve this insult on top of terrible injury.

  9. Bobo Amerigo says:

    You said:

    Trump’s deficit will widen as we approach Election Day.

    They why is 538 showing a Trump increase in support in all three of their views, now-cast, polls-plus and polls-only?

    Email? Trump kinda pivot to something kinda the same-or-different on immigration? What?

  10. 1mime says:

    Lifer, you have just one voice – passionate, informed, and honest, but your party was not ready to listen then and they aren’t listening now. If your goal with the blog was to provide well-reasoned examples to guide the Republican Party to critical self awareness to bring about change, the responsibility for failure rests solidly and solely on the shoulders of the GOPe – not you. You have succeeded in broadening the education and awareness of those of us who did choose to read your work.

    When I signed up to follow your blog in early 2015, I asked, ” What do you get from your readers? As a moderate conservative…how are your views informed by your reader comments?” What I didn’t understand then, is that you hoped reasonable members of your party would be your primary audience. Further you hoped they would learn from and apply the lessons of political history you shared to make changes within the Republican Party. They didn’t, but the rest of us have grown as a result of your tutelage. That is an achievement even if it was not your original goal. I believe you have been informed by your readers just as you have informed us. You provided a sounding board for concerned, smart people of different ideologies to learn from history and share concerns and information about how our country is being governed. It probably surprised you that this disparate family of readers when given a civil, intelligent platform to exchange ideas, made sense, (yes, even the blue dogs among us!) and fundamentally wanted the same outcome you seek – a fair, effective governing process that is inclusive of many ideas and needs. One that works for most people.

    Things couldn’t continue as they were. There had to be an accounting for years of obstruction, vitriol, and self-serving agenda willingly condoned and practiced by the members of the Republican Party. 2016 may offer the beginning of a long journey for Republicans but without a decisive loss, I fear it will take much longer. You’ve done what you could.

    • tmerritt15 says:

      1Mime, I thoroughly second your thoughts. I personally started following this blog in late 2014 following the 2014 elections. I happened across a link to it somewhere and found that my thoughts paralleled many of Chris Ladd’s thoughts. At that time, I felt that the GOP contest would be a showdown between a more moderate, mainstream Republican and an extreme conservative who was very anti-immigration and anti-government. At that time my guess was that the two would be Jeb Bush and Cruz, respectively. I did not expect Trump, but most others did not either.

      I feel that Chris Ladd has done a great service and has furthered the civil debate in the US. Unfortunately intelligent civil debate, with respect for the opinions of others has been severely lacking in the American political sphere.

      I conclusion, I am sorry for Chris that he has been frustrated in his original goals, but nevertheless he has accomplished a great deal.

    • tuttabella says:

      Mime wrote: “You hoped reasonable members of your party would be your primary audience.”
      Lifer, I noticed that in your early intreactions with OV (aka Objv). You would tell her things like “I wish I could make you understand,” or “I want to reach out to conservatives like you.” I am guessing you will never forgive her for supporting Trump, but she has a mind of her own, and you can only do so much. 🙂

      I think you were aggravated by some of us (Captain Sternn and me), but we can’t stand Trump, so we can’t be all bad. I do sometimes feel that you hold us partly responsible for the Republican Party’s sorry state. Well, both Cap and I respect and admire you, for different reasons. I admire your intelligence and calm nature. Cap likes that you are a rugged activist not afraid to spend hours in the snow to get your message across, and the fact that your blog has a wide audience and thus a measure of influence, even though your political views are so different from his own.

      By the way, I found your blog on the Houston Chronicle because I followed OV there, and because from the name of your blog I thought it was a pro-life site.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        The day of my very first visit to the blog the topic was a comparison between the Roman Empire and the US, which I found impressive, and I was also immediately struck by how civil everyone was.

      • >] “Lifer, I noticed that in your early intreactions with OV (aka Objv). You would tell her things like “I wish I could make you understand,” or “I want to reach out to conservatives like you.” I am guessing you will never forgive her for supporting Trump, but she has a mind of her own, and you can only do so much.🙂

        Wouldn’t presume to know the feelings going on there, but broadly speaking I don’t think it’s a matter of forgiveness or not. It’s the delusion, the averting one’s eyes from the truth of what’s going on that’s really infuriating.

        Donald Trump is a bigot and and there are surely more than a few of his supporters who have genuine economic anxieties and concerns for both this country and themselves. Their intentions are honest and they just want someone to show them the way.

        Those people, more than any others, are the ones that are truly, truly infuriating, because none of what I just said matters one iota in the face of the irrefutable truth that Trump is a bigot and they are endorsing such a man for the highest and most powerful office in the free world, willingly and consciously setting aside reasoned arguments, facts and principles for someone who stokes their anger and tells them what they want to hear.

        When we talk about the “stain of Trump”, it’s not so much Trump himself that represents that smear as the millions of people who sacrificed something truly sacred in their ill-fated judgment.

        Lincoln famously said that “the fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation”.

        History will not be kind nor will it soon forget where people stood, no matter how much they might soon wish it to.

      • 1mime says:

        Beautifully stated, Ryan. At some point, reason has been overcome by a conscious, deliberate decision to willing risk great tragedy for our country. Anyone who follows this blog and can still vote for Donald Trump, is really wasting their time. They, like the party Lifer has painstakingly described, have learned nothing. And, they have no excuse.

      • flypusher says:

        “Donald Trump is a bigot and and there are surely more than a few of his supporters who have genuine economic anxieties and concerns for both this country and themselves. Their intentions are honest and they just want someone to show them the way.”

        I could understand overlooking the bigotry (understand, but not approve) if he was actually campaigning on an economic plan that helped, but he’s peddling the same old trickle-down dreck. The suckers refuse to acknowledge that, and it’s getting close to impossible to feel sorry for them.

      • Creigh says:

        Yup, Fly. I think Joe Biden said something like “Don’t tell me what your priorities are. Show me your budget and I’ll know what your priorities are.”

      • goplifer says:

        It might sound strange, but I always liked the Cap’n. Don’t get me wrong, I found him consistently irritating, but if you’re looking to refine an outlook you need people who will needle you. Plus, he reminds me of lots of people I grew up. He reminds me a lot of home, good and bad.

        And yes, it was frustrating that I never could quite reach readers like OV, and lot of others who used to hang around the Chron page. If the party was going to survive they were the people who needed to come around. It’s too late now and even with more time it probably wouldn’t happen.

      • 1mime says:

        “If the party was going to survive….”

        Lifer, you don’t want the Republican Party to “survive” in the present state, you know it needs to change. If the Republican base refuses to demand change from the party, change you know is necessary, mere survival is fundamentally the status quo and that’s not good.

  11. Griffin says:

    Why/how are you not a professional pundit yet? Your predictions have been far more accurate than those of CNN “analysits” and insiders.

    “Meanwhile, it utterly failed to steer the party away from calamities. It would have been nice to be a little less right and a lot more influential. In the end GOPLifer was a fine writing outlet and a political failure.”

    A writing outlet for ideas is all it had to be. You’ve maximized your effects with the limited resources you have. If the top party bosses of the GOP couldn’t stop Trump and white nationalism then there’s no way you ever had a chance to save the Republican Party itself but your advocacy of centre and centre-right ideas may pop-up again in a new party or at least some of its advocates.

    Anyways here’s some more stuff on the Alt-Right. Oliver Willis takes a look at the movements and its leaders: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/08/25/what-alt-right-guide-white-nationalist-movement-now-leading-conservative-media/212643

    Also far-right racist Vox Day has released his manifesto of Alt-Right beliefs: https://voxday.blogspot.com/2016/08/what-alt-right-is.html

    Oh this movement is awful, but at least they’re open about it. I don’t think such a misanthropic belief system can sustain itself without eventually burning out, especially since it seems to attract leaders who are either con-artists or psychotics.

  12. 1mime says:

    Getting back to the election for a moment, the NC Voter ID appeal is sitting in SC Justice Roberts lap. The O administration is fighting hard for fairness. Here’s more on current activity in this case.


  13. mbryanaz says:

    Ladd’s analysis is, as always, compelling. The alternative prediction laid out in the comments by HSAS is also interesting, and I would love it Mr. Ladd to consider in a future post how the various factions of the GOP might use their continuing power in Congress, and in state governments, during a Clinton Presidency.

    I think HSAS’s prediction of continuing obstructionism is prescient. The blatant unwillingness to negotiate and compromise to achieve even partial policy aims is not historically normative behavior by a major party. The GOP for the past several cycles seems unable to advance any meaningful agenda, and are only haltingly able to cooperate in the minimal task of making the federal government continue to operate. Clearly, this is a symptom of the internal strife in the GOP caused by the continuing encroachment of the far-right into the party’s congressional caucuses. When the far-right cannot dictate party policy, they seem set on preventing any policy from being advanced by the GOP — other than preventing the Dems from achieving anything. The Democratic party’s legitimacy in the eyes of the far-right of the GOP seems to decline covalently with the GOP’s own power and relevance. If there is psychological mechanism that explains the seeming connection, it’s nature eludes me.

    Even if the the GOP loses the Senate, they will still misuse cloture rules to prevent much from happening, not to mention what could be done if they (likely) continue to control the House during a Clinton Presidency. Ultimately, I think they will force a break in the continuity of the Senate’s rules by their intransigence, much to the detriment of the institution and it’s legitimacy. The mischief, stalemate, and crises they can create is limited only by their imagination. How much worse could these trends become in a Clinton Presidency? Will Clinton have to further deepen the autocratic trend in the Presidency that has been forced on Obama to implement policy? How might that affect the de facto constitutional order? How will the far-right respond?

    Something scares me even more than continued political stalemate and its deleterious effects on our politics. As the GOP continues to show its weakness as a vessel for delivering the policy preferences of the far-right, how many of the activists and ideologues of that faction will look outside of the political system for their remedies? Already the far-right has inspired a great deal of domestic terrorism over the last few decades (almost all of it focused in the so-called “alt-right” white nationalist faction, the very faction now given a taste of power by the Trump campaign). Even if only a tiny minority go this route, it could become a major threat. How much worse might political violence become if the hope of a relatively peaceful political victory becomes more and more obviously foreclosed? How might the alt-right be emboldened, politically and otherwise, by seeing “their” candidate getting 40-45% of the national vote? I would be very interested in Mr. Ladd’s take on how the Trump campaign might affect the alt-right’s role in inspiring domestic terrorism over the coming years, and how they might continue to infiltrate and influence the GOP.

    • flypusher says:

      Why we can’t have nice things anymore:


      I can’t blame the Founders for assuming that members if Congress would behave like adults. We need some equivalents of software updates on our checks and balances- something that punishes elected reps for not taking care of the business needed to keep the country going- things like filling empty judicial seats, and emergency funding for acts of Nature like Zika.

      • 1mime says:

        As stated in the article, “utter intellectual decadence of the Republican Party”….”eroded the strategic thinking — and indeed basic interest in legislation”…

        What a sad state of affairs.

    • 1mime says:

      One point in response to your excellent comment – we have already witnessed the loss of control of the Sanders’ revolution by its titular leader, Bernie…and the difficult start his movement has experienced in launching the initiative. Millennials may share the same lack of patience as the emboldened White Nationalist movement, but other than lots of noisy vitriol, I haven’t seen any militancy. What I have observed is the inability to coalesce into a functioning, focused organization, although it may be premature to make that pronouncement. The White Supremacist folks have the benefit of age, a much deeper anger and threat of violent retaliation. They certainly lack respect for government when it conflicts with their concerns. I’ll leave it for Lifer to prophecy what action(s) this group might take.

      • rulezero says:

        From my own observations, the main reason that the Democratic Party doesn’t hold majorities is lack of initiative. You can talk about gerrymandering and voter suppression until you’re blue in the face – they’re symptoms of the problem. If Dems would really get up and get angry the way Pubs do, they’d likely hold both houses of Congress.

        But, Dems don’t vote in midterms. If I remember correctly, the 18-29 demographic is the most unreliable for turnout. Add to the fact that Debbie WS couldn’t find her way out of paper bag as far as really pushing registration and turnout and you get a Republican wave in off years. A great deal of retired, mostly older white folks who sit and watch Fox all day to the point that they’re furious which motivates them to vote.

        If, somehow, Bernie or anyone else can really motivate people, especially young people, to vote in midterms, I think that would be significant.

        If a miracle happens and the SCOTUS rules gerrymandering is unconstitutional, maybe that would really motivate people.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t disagree with your criticism of Democrats for not GOTV in mid-terms, and have great frustration on that very point with the Dem party leadership. Dems are more “candidate” sensitive…note the huge turn out when inspiring candidates such as JFK and B.Obama have run….The party apparatus isn’t in GOTV but we agree that it is a weak part of their organizational structure and it costs the party. Part of the reason may be that a larger segment of the Dem Party is working class Americans. These people have a much more difficult time getting time to vote until they are highly motivated by major elections. The Dem Party needs to do a better job of educating their voter base as to the importance of mid terms. I don’t fault the party for not using vitriol and hyperbole to motivate the base – let the Repubs have their FOX news. A media which is having its own come to jesus moment now, not that its viewers will connect their rhetoric and their management…..unfortunately.

        Another failure is the party’s lack of recruitment and preparation of talent for local and state offices. Here is where gerrymandering has been a real wet blanket on what little efforts they have made. I disagree with you about the impact of gerrymandering and voter suppression. These are real problems and they have locked out meaningful opposition in especially those states which are more diverse. I also believe gerrymandering is an unconstitutional abridgment of voting rights, and hope the SC can find a way to dismantle this procedure. It’s devastates the democratic process. Voter suppression is key in tight races. It’s demoralizing, and it works to depress voter turnout of minorities. If it didn’t, Repubs wouldn’t use it. If there is one thing the Republican Party can be very confident about, it is their organizational structure. But this cycle, even that structure failed to control the election process, giving them the indubitable present of DJ Trump as their mascot.

        They deserve each other.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s a clear, tough 4-point plan for the Republican Party to follow to get back on track and win in 2018 and 2020. It’s hard-nosed and, given the lack of GOP acknowledgement of their fundamental problems, is probably the plan Repubs will execute rather than do any re-building. It’s worked so well for the GOP in the past that why wouldn’t it again? The leopard, she ain’t changing her spots.

        For those who still believe that the hard-core Republican Party membership thinks they need to change, consider the message in the article: “The larger the margin, the greater the chances a Clinton administration will overplay its hand, handing Republicans a clear opportunity to repair the damage in 2018 and 2020.” From that point, the authors offer the RX for how to handle a Clinton term – terminally.

        Republicans have learned NOTHING. If they retain either/or both houses of Congress with candidates as “poor” as Trump and Clinton, why should they? The status quo has been working for them for a very long time.


    • Armchair Philosopher says:

      Well said. We’ve had these moments in our history before, but I also can’t help but wonder if this time will end more violently. The Red Scare ended with one simple question about decency, but this current conspiratorial moment doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

  14. Archetrix says:

    Those of us from Wisconsin are well acquainted with the Wisconsin GOP “mafia” (Ryan, Priebus, and Walker) and how they place winning and the accrual of power above any kind of concern for the wellbeing of the people of the country or the state.

    • 1mime says:

      And, yet, Walker and Ryan continue to be re-elected!

      • Archetrix says:

        Republicans in Wisconsin have redrawn districts to dilute Democratic votes so that Republicans need only win 44 to 45% of the vote to control the legislature. See here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/05/24/wisconsins-state-legislative-districts-are-a-big-republican-gerrymander/

        Walker has packed the state supreme court and even the board of regents of the university system with his cronies, and digging out from all that will take Democrats a long, long time, if they are even able. Only a supermajority of Dem voters could achieve it. The Wisconsin Democratic Party has proven no match for this Republican gain of power.

      • 1mime says:

        Sounds like the Republican hierarchy “needs some traffic problems” in WI!

      • 1mime says:

        Walker’s political survival has disappointed me in the people of WI, especially knowing how he has achieved it. I compare WI to KS and Gov. Brownback, who has been less slick than Walker, but they are both cut from the same arrogant, sneaky cloth. And this man, Scott Walker, is thought of as a “rising star” of the Republican Party!

        As Fly has noted, a mighty low bar for excellence, indeed.

  15. flypusher says:

    Since we’re looking back, let’s also enjoy some of the humor this train wreck spawned.

    Mr. Rainbow has some fine production value!

  16. Stephen says:

    My understanding is the Wig’s split over slavery. The GOP is splitting over racism and anti-intellectualism.

    Lately the Democrats have been more conservative than the Republicans. If you look at the current Republican platform it is pretty radical, not conservative at all. The more conservative Democrats and Republicans repelled by their party may yet form a new conservative party.

    You can see the strain between Hillary supporters and Bernie supporters in the primary. Can that coalition stay together? Hillary’s biggest support are Blacks who are really conservative socially as are Hispanics. As I said before both were very winnable by the GOP.

    A new conservative party without the GOP’s negative baggage could actually win them and with a good scoop of white voters form a majority. Anyway you look at it an all white majority is not going to be possible anymore.

    Jessie Jackson was ahead of his time. When he started his rainbow coalition it was a minority. Now it is the Obama coalition and a majority. The fact is many white people are saying to the effect we are with them.

    Shortly Democrats will have problems of their own because when the current GOP self destruct those tensions within their present coalition, without having a common enemy to fight, will start to tear them apart. I agree that we are in for plenty of political turmoil. I just think our traditions and institutions will keep us as a country from self destructing. And we will sort this out without another civil war.

    If you ask most Americans what they are they would not say a Floridian or a New Yorker or whatever but an American. In pre-civil war times State identification was before Federal . Not anymore. We will do what we have to , to keep our national identity even learn to live with diversity. The values you treasure Lifer will not die out but may be carried by a new banner. Thank you for this blog and all you and commentators have taught me.

    • Fair Economist says:

      The problem I see for the country going forward is how large the group of upfront white nationalists is. A recent poll found 65% of whites would consider voting for an anti-immigrant anti-trade anti-nonChristian party. That’s about half the total voting population, and explains why Trump’s support is holding up relatively well in spite of a mindbogglingly bad campaign. Some of these people would have reservations about a such a party if they were actually voting, but basically about 40% of Americans are hard-core bigots.

      So what do we do? In a two-party system this group will control one of the parties. There are not so many bigots in the elite, and Republican party officials are less like to be bigoted to this extent, but they can’t defy the wishes of their voters too much. In a three-party system the bigots will be the plurality party.

      The least bad path forward I can see is a nationally dominant Democratic party opposed by a white nationalist Republican party that can never gain power due to the “Blue Wall”. This is not a good situation. First, single-party rule is prone to corruption and to poor decisions. Plans get better and crooks get caught if there is effective opposition, and there won’t be in that situation. Second, stuff happens and the future Republicans might manage to get control one election, and that could potentially be catastrophic given how shameless even the current Republicans are getting about voter suppression. FInally, our political system is very subject to paralysis with two very hostile parties, and there’s a real chance of some catastrophe resulting from that, like governmental default, or paralysis during a crisis.

      I wish I could see a better solution, but I don’t. I don’t think it will go away soon either. The Silent Generation – basically, people who grew up before the Civil Rights movement won in the 60’s – is the most bigoted, but there are plenty of white nationalists/supremacists under 70 and even under 30. It will be many decades before it’s a small enough group that it won’t be able to hijack one of the parties in a two-party system.

      • mbryanaz says:

        I see the base of the GOP and the base of the Dems both trying to scrape the barnacles of the neo-liberal class off their backs. Could it be that the plutocrats, multi-nats, and bankers will find themselves without a party instead of dominating both? I think that’s possible so long as we have campaign finance system that makes their money less central to our political process.

      • 1mime says:

        What bothers me in the immediate future is that the ultra right Freedom Caucus is quietly biding their time to shut the whole budget process down. I don’t think we have to wait too long to see them in action. It will be interesting to see how Bernie’s revolution proceeds…it got off to a rocky start….and what would happen if T won. His budget is very protectionist on the entitlement programs (if he doesn’t change his mind), and he also has pledged to cut taxes even more…so, where is America’s operating capital going? You either operate with debt ($18T and counting), and if T wins, more debt, or you make huge cuts. Outside of SS and Medicare, about the only areas left are: defense; NASA, NIH, FEMA, the Interior department…to name a few….Do we really want to cut these programs? FEMA can’t keep its flood maps updated due to funding cut backs…they’ve become more of a government red cross instead of being able to do the preventative work they’re capable of….

        I don’t speak against change as long as the change is an improvement….what I consider an improvement might not be the same as anyone else, and therein lies the problem……Either way, I concur that our current stalemate is hurting our country’s ability to move forward.

  17. I think we need a voice of reason, and GOPLifer is very good at that. I hope you continue.

  18. tuttabellamia says:

    I like how “GOPlifer” is defined in various ways in today’s entry — as a solitary person (Chris Ladd), as a blog, which would seem to include all of us who have every posted here, and even as a “project,” which implies there is a goal. However, the goal of saving the Republican Party was mostly Chris’s. I think the rest of us were here mainly to participate in civil discourse about politics, and to improve the political landscape overall, not just in terms of party, Republican or otherwise.

  19. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    Alternative prediction:

    Trump naturally grows closer in the polls due to his folks reigning him in a bit, the media preferring a closer race, and third party candidates sticking around to keep Hillary and Trump moderately close.

    Hillary wins by much less than 9%, the Democrats barely eek out a 50-50 Senate (maybe 51-49), and pick up House seats but don’t come close to winning it back.

    Obstruction occurs, Trump fades away, and Ryan/Cruz emerge as the loudest Congressional voices.

    2018 – The GOP pulls the Senate back (almost assuredly will happen), and the House remains moderately the same.

    2020 – Cruz and Ryan battle for the nomination against Hillary who is running on an “ok” presidency marked by political obstruction.

    I still think, much like 1992 and the Democrats, the GOP is one candidate away from flipping things back to normal. I don’t think Ryan or Cruz is that candidate, but the political map in 1988 was almost as bad for Democrats as the map is in 2016 for the GOP.

    The candidate matters, and the right candidate at the right time can make a world of difference.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      “Trump naturally grows closer in the polls due to . . . the media preferring a closer race.”
      Very funny reference to the power of the media to skew results.

      • 1mime says:

        Might I suggest that the media wins either with a “subdued, on-script” Trump or a man who spews ridiculous verbiage. Why would the media not prefer the flamboyant Trump for their 6pm news? It will be interesting when this race is all over to document the time T has compiled in the news arena. If his intent is to expand his image and brand, he has certainly achieved that goal. He has dominated the media, for better or for worse.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      HT, so you’re saying things could easily go back to normal, and the whole Trump episode would be considered a fluke, a nightmare the Republicans will want to forget?

      I get the feeling that Mr. Trump, in addition to mobilizing a certain branch of the party which won’t be shut down easily, has also transformed the entire identity of the party. I don’t think it will be that easy to turn back the clock and proceed as if nothing happened.

    • 1mime says:

      Homer, what in your view, is “normal” for the GOP?

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I love the field of FUTURE STUDIES.

    • A Non Mouse says:

      Ooh, these are fun! Here’s another:

      Hillary wins this fall, by somewhere between 5% and 10%. Democrats take the Senate, maybe the House, if the margin is closer to 10%.

      2018 – GOP retakes the House, narrowly fails to take the Senate.

      2020 – GOP runs Ted Cruz on a “true conservative” platform, loses to Clinton in a Mondale-esque margin.

      2022 – Democrats able to retain both houses of Congress as a result of favorable redistricting and demographic change.

      2024 – GOP runs Paul Ryan on a center-right platform. Democrats run Tim Kaine, who wins narrowly. GOP takes the Senate, Democrats retain the House.

      2028 – GOP runs a candidate not currently on the national scene on a platform remarkably similar to that of Bernie Sanders, and wins with 273 electoral votes.

      2032 – Democrats run Paul Ryan on a center-right platform, win narrowly.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        “Democrats run Paul Ryan”
        It will be interesting to see who does switch parties over time.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s good, Non Mouse! I liked the way that turned out…

      • 1mime says:

        I thought about starting a “what if” scenario with a Trump win, but just couldn’t do it )-:

      • If a 10-point-ish margin is what Clinton needs for Democrats to retake the house; barring calamity, they’re going to get it. Trump’s ‘campaign’ is unprecedented for its lack of GOTV efforts and campaign infrastructure in modern political history, so a little guesswork is unavoidable, but it’s likely that the polls are actually overestimated Trump’s support by a couple of points.

        Barring something YUGE, calling November a competition would be generous. It’ll be a damned electoral slaughter.

      • 1mime says:

        If anyone thinks for one second that Republicans are ready to go down with the ship, think again. IF you are correct and the Clinton win is big, unless she can take the House, her domestic agenda is toast and she may have to move much closer to the center than planned.
        That shouldn’t surprise anyone here but frankly, Ryan, I’ll bet you a new collar for Sophie that the House will stay red…….and this is a bet I would love to lose….Sophie, what’s your favorite color?


      • Sophie’s a beautiful black lab, but her collar’s still in pretty good shape right now. I’ve always wanted to get her a nice blue scarf though. 🙂

        So, what am I in on this for? What do you want if you win?

      • 1mime says:

        I won’t try to be clever, I’ll settle for an “atta girl” …..

      • 1mime says:

        But, back to the blue scarf for Sophie…..I will happily send Sophie her scarf if your predictions materialize, Ryan.

  20. Sir Magpie De Crow says:

    That was… a bit of a downer.

    But I can’t fault the conclusions. One of the brilliant aspects of GOPlifer is that I had an opportunity to interact and learn things, to learn of different perspectives. I no longer was conversing in a bubble of other like minded individuals. The conversations on this site were actually very intellectually stimulating, and remarkably civil. I became more fully aware of how not binary American society really is in regards to politics.

    So to GOPlifer I will disagree on the assertion this blog was a political failure. One thing this election cycle has taught us is unlikely situations can come out of nowhere, and can spring forth from the parts of the world that we are not aware of. And that it takes time for movements are new ideas to emerge.

    Who knows what seeds have been planted by the work done here.

    Here is an example from music history that might provide a sliver of hope.

    The Sex Pistols (which actually isn’t a favorite band of mine) played a performance in Manchester, England on June 4th, 1976 at Lesser Free Hall.

    The audience was modest sized to say the least, but in attendance were young people who would go on to form some of the most important bands of all time in the genres of rock or alternative music. These are some of the bands that formed as a direct result of that performance. i adore much of the work these musicians would later create.

    Joy Division (later becoming New Order)
    Morrissey (Who would form The Smiths)
    The Fall
    Magazine (who would later influence people like Thom Yorke of Radiohead)
    Simply Red

    My point being is simply this:

    It is possible that years from now those who developed their ideas or desire to become activists on GOPlifer may have an explosive positive influence on American politics in the wake of this apparent collapse of the GOP.

    Maybe GOPlifer could be the Lesser Free Hall of rational conservatism’s revival in the 21st century.

  21. vikinghou says:

    Well Chris, I’d say that your prediction track record has been more accurate than most of the professional pundits and columnists out there. Indeed, a few of them even took note of your “blue wall” observation, most notably Lawrence O’Donnell. So I think you can be proud of yourself.

    With regard to the disintegration of the GOP, I’m hoping the denouement will not be accompanied by violence or even right-wing domestic terrorism. I’d be interested to know if you have the same concern.

    • 1mime says:

      If I am not mistaken, Lifer is already on record noting that violence is likely as the White Nationalist movement progresses in numbers and open activity. We’ve watched the Bundy situation, gun rights proponents, and many other groups openly challenge the U.S. Government on many fronts. Individualism can go too far when it becomes so self serving and presents through aggression, of whatever form.

    • Stephen says:

      I first learn of Goplifer from Lawrence O’Donnell. And MSNBC from a local newspaper conservative columnist who wrote that good information and opinion could be gotten from that network. I had stop watching Fox several years before as it was complete nonsense. I do have conservative news sources but Fox is not one of them.

    • 1mime says:

      Didn’t know where to stick this comment but it needed to be put “out there”. We’ve talked about the problems in our justice process, and, yes, this is O.T. It is important not to forget that buried under the campaign brouhaha serious problems are still going on. Here’s a link that is chilling on the difficulty of tracking police misconduct. As with the gun legislation issue, if laws prohibit or make record keeping impossibly difficult to access, how will anyone be able to accurately assess and assign problems in order to develop solutions?


      There was a related column in the Houston Chronicle 8/26/16 by a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis at the U of TX at Austin, a Dr. Amanda Woog. She formed the TX Justice Initiative, which publishes state custodial death data since 2005. She said: “Our project revealed stunning figures. Nearly 7,000 people died in police, jail, and prison custody in 2005-15. More than 1,900 of them were not convicted of a crime, many of whom were being held in jail pretrial….and Black people were disproportionately represented, comprising 30% of the custodial deaths, but only around 12% of the TX population.” To their credit, TX and CA are the leaders in arrest-related and custodial death reporting. They have been collecting state custodial death data for decades. Unfortunately, they also have more than 425,000 people locked up in prisons and jails.


    • 1mime says:

      Saw this article today in WaPo and it directly speaks to your concerns, Viking. Frighteningly so.


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