Are we at a turning point in history?

None of us has the ability to perfectly predict what current event will be meaningful one hundred years from now. Some things are easy (the attacks on 9/11 for instance), but others are much harder to predict. It’s starting to feel possible, maybe not yet likely though, that we’re witnessing a real split in the republican party. In a simplified version of reality, the party has two groups. It has the classic republicans who feel strongly about free-markets, deregulation, private solutions over government involvement, individual responsibility, low taxes, and those kinds of things. These are the fiscal conservatives who are more likely to be socially liberal, or at least agnostic on social issues. The party also has the social conservatives. This group is where the white nationalists thrive. This is the group that is anti-immigration, feels the “fabric of America” is slipping away (which I can’t explain other than America becoming a more diverse pool of ethnicities), they have, or at least had, strong opinions about morality and decency, and this helps fuel their dislike of “gay culture” that they see as flamboyant, gratuitous, and indecent. At the same time, they balked at the way the government made them be fair to minorities. They way the government had anything to say about the way of life (that was great for them, even if less so for others). People who felt that we were once the base of the democratic party, but found themselves without a satisfying political home when the democrats became the party of civil rights, and stopped being the party of the KKK. That’s when the adoption of the southern strategy and the inclusion of the Reagan Democrats paid off, and brought a big win for Reagan. His characterization of government as something to be feared hit home, and his attacks on the welfare queen driving a Cadillac fit well with their feeling that they were being pushed out of the society they once dominated. And the party has balanced these two groups ever since, and somehow managed them well. The fiscal conservatives seemed to become more socially conservative and the social conservatives became more fiscally conservative. They had a comfortable balance. Trump is disrupting that.

Continue reading “Are we at a turning point in history?”

What’s a RINO?

Todd Starnes has a piece on FoxNews today about all the people who want to take Trump down. “Mainstream media, Dems, RINOS: They all want to overthrow Trump.”  It’s a strange read to me. The premise (that all these people want Trump gone) doesn’t seem far from the truth, but the thing that gets me is the use of “RINO,” Republicans in name only.

Isn’t Trump the quintessential RINO? He’s different from classic (at least over the last few decades) republicanism. He’s against free trade (republicans have long supported free trade). He’s for increasing the deficit to “prime the pump” and stimulate the economy. That’s something that democrats fight for, not republicans. He’s praised health care systems of countries with single-payer, and himself has said that single-payer is a good idea. The GOP has strongly supported integration of religion and politics (not that the democrats haven’t, but religiosity and frequency of church attendance does correlate with republicanism). Trump only recently started talking about religious values.
 
So, is he a RINO himself? Or did that definition change to any registered republican who doesn’t support Trump? I guess in Todd Starnes world the answer is yes.