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The Death Of The Republican Party – OpEd


I’m writing to you today to announce the death of the Republican Party. It is no longer a living, vital, animate organization.

It died in 2016. RIP.

It has been replaced by warring tribes:

Evangelicals opposed to abortion, gay marriage, and science.

Libertarians opposed to any government constraint on private behavior.

Market fundamentalists convinced the “free market” can do no wrong.

Corporate and Wall Street titans seeking bailouts, subsidies, special tax loopholes, and other forms of crony capitalism.

Billionaires craving even more of the nation’s wealth than they already own.

And white working-class Trumpoids who love Donald. and are becoming convinced the greatest threats to their wellbeing are Muslims, blacks, and Mexicans.

Each of these tribes has its own separate political organization, its own distinct sources of campaign funding, its own unique ideology – and its own candidate.

What’s left is a lifeless shell called the Republican Party. But the Grand Old Party inside the shell is no more.

I, for one, regret its passing. Our nation needs political parties to connect up different groups of Americans, sift through prospective candidates, deliberate over priorities, identify common principles, and forge a platform.

The Republican Party used to do these things. Sometimes it did them easily, as when it came together behind William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt in 1900, Calvin Coolidge in 1924, and Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Sometimes it did them with difficulty, as when it strained to choose Abraham Lincoln in 1860, Barry Goldwater in 1964, and Mitt Romney in 2012.

But there was always enough of a Republican Party to do these important tasks – to span the divides, give force and expression to a set of core beliefs, and come up with a candidate around whom Party regulars could enthusiastically rally.

No longer. And that’s a huge problem for the rest of us.

Without a Republican Party, nothing stands between us and a veritable Star Wars barroom of self-proclaimed wanna-be’s.

Without a Party, anyone runs who’s able to raise (or already possesses) the requisite money – even if he happens to be a pathological narcissist who has never before held public office, even if he’s a knave detested by all his Republican colleagues.

Without a Republican Party, it’s just us and them. And one of them could even become the next President of the United States.

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Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

One thought on “The Death Of The Republican Party – OpEd

  • February 16, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    The first two points are also shared by some members of the Democratic party, although the percentage may be very small relative to the Republican party. But the rest on the professor’s list from market to corporate taxes to merger and consolidation and bailout and cutting social programs are shared by many democrats as well. All have managed imperialist agenda very well, as the Republications. All have tendency to kill men, women, babies, and children, particularly in the Middle East. All have destroyed Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and the Palestinian people, among others. All are supporters and defenders of Israel expansionary policy at the expense of the Arab countries. All have drained the Federal budget by spending more and more on the war industry. All have bombed defenseless countries. All have penalized the poor and lower social groups but have given the financers the freedom to make fraud and loot. For example, President Clinton eliminated the Steagall Act and allowed financiers and banks to gamble. When they win, it is American success stories; when they lose the bets, tax payers will bail them out. President Obama provides more freedom for the bankers to loot, and at any time bankers will go for bail-in to cover loses by using people’s deposits. All have enacted laws by which manufacturing jobs are exported to foreign countries at the expense of the American workers. All are going after pension and social programs. For example, in Illinois most democrats and republicans have gone after cutting pension funds. Similar moves have been implemented in other states as well. In Fact, in one state the governor uses her liberty to reallocate pension funds for other use. Finally, large corporations finance democrats and republicans, with the exception of Senator Sanders. It is not surprising that Americans are supporting Senator Sanders and Mr. Trump. For Senator Sanders, it is the time to refine his foreign policy to differentiate his views from all other players.


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