Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Meet The Republican Party. Or Echidne's View Of It.

I rarely write posts based on nothing but my own opinions.  Here is one, just because this is my blog:

The way I understand the inner workings of the Republican Party is that it is the party of the owners (the capitalists, if you like), and ultimately what its policies will do is transfer more power to those who already own a lot of financial power. 

Because a very unequal country in terms of income and wealth distributions cannot provide enough votes for the "party-of-the-owners," the Republicans in those inside circles had to invent a different carrot (or whip) to get votes from those whose actual interests are not served by the Republican economic policies. 

That carrot was the search for hind-brain motives:  

The fear of The Other, the anger at those who are perceived as now getting a larger share of the crumbs falling off the dining tables of the rich:  The minorities, the uppity women, the immigrants and migrants. 

To that was added the promise of the opium of the people:  Right-wing, patriarchal religious beliefs would be supported so that the crumbs would fall to the right people, and so that the rest of the status pyramids would stay the same as they have always been.

Finally, the Republicans were able to get patriotism interpreted as closely equal to Republican values.  They also succeeded, perhaps far beyond their expectations, in dividing the rest of the country into camps which now hatehatehate each other.

The hidden contract seems clear to me:  The Republican inner circles wanted most of the wealth in the country, and how that can be achieved is clear from the Reagan era onward. 

What all those other necessary votes for the Republican Party would get is the satisfaction of all their hatreds against "the Others" and the promise that their fundamentalist religious values would rule, though only below the top echelons of the rich.  But the real goal of those in power inside the party was about getting all the wealth into the right pockets.

Thus, a banana republic, with most wealth belonging to a small number of individuals and their corporations, was the real plan all along.  But here's the weakness in that plot:

In order to get to that goal, the Republicans had to ride the tiger they had set free through first the right-wing radio shows, and later through Fox News and and other similar propaganda machines.  And that tiger is now hungry for blood. 

The  rise of the Tea Party was the first sign that the tiger is trying to shake its rider off, and this new Trump Reich is the flowering of that movement.  When such initially right-wing radicals as Jeff Flake now feel he no longer belongs to the Republican Party, well, we know something is rapidly changing:  The tiger called "hatred" is going to toss off its rider called "moneyed interests" and probably eat that rider for breakfast.

But that change is not yet complete.  Hence the most recent piece of news about the need to protect those powerful-yet-fragile banks against the little people called consumers:

The Senate voted Tuesday night to kill a controversial rule that would have allowed Americans to file class-action suits against banks instead of being forced in many cases into private arbitration.
The move by the Senate followed a similar action by the House in July to rescind the rule. President Trump is expected to sign the repeal legislation, providing a major victory for the financial industry.
Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote after the Senate tied 50-50. All but two Republicans — John Kennedy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — voted to repeal the rule. No Democrats or independents supported the move.
Moves such as this are a feature of the Republicans as the "party of the owners."  The focus on tax cuts for the rich in recent debates about how to "reform" the tax system is also part-and-parcel of that, and so are the many executive orders reducing any type of corporate regulation or any type of attempt to protect the environment if it would cost firms money.

What the Bannon-wing of the Republicans wants is something different:  They want those implicit promises in the Republican hate campaigns to be made explicit and to be fulfilled:  A world in which the whites rule over other colors and a world in which men rule over women.  They also want it clearly understood that the only fundamentalist patriarchal religion which is allowed is of the Christianist flavor. And maybe (though just maybe) they want most white men to share in the Republican wealth.

There's a battle between those two interpretations of the party.  I cannot tell which will win.  But I doubt that the near future will be pleasant for any of us.


Some of the above is an exaggeration, to make the underlying patterns clearer.  I'm willing to accept that there are Republicans with better motives than the ones I assign to that inner circle, and I'm equally willing to accept that a pretty nasty summary can be made of the Democratic Party and what it stands for these days, though one big reason for that can be found in the past successes of the Republican Party:

The way in which the Citizens United SCOTUS decision and similar moves have given money more power in politics than the billionaires could ever have imagined.  Money is now the first prerequisite for entering into the politics, and, sadly, money is pretty concentrated in certain pockets.