1. The Republican Party is increasingly dominated by the wingnuts.
2. As a result, Republicans in non-wingnutty states lose elections: general elections if they’re wingnuts themselves, primaries if not.
3. As a result, non-wingnutty Republican officeholders either leave politics or leave the GOP.
4. As a result, the Republican Party is still more dominated by the wingnuts.
Can you say “Whigs”?
A reader writes:
Wouldn’t it be better if the GOP were filled with John Lindsays and Mac Mathiases than Newt Gingriches and John Cornyns? The goal, I would think, is to enact good public policy rather than to have “our party” win. So long as the debate is between a center-left party and a hard-right party, we’ll have to face the likelihood that the hard-right guys will win every now and then, especially when the economy or other uncontrollable factors conspire against us. If it were center-left v. center-right (let alone plain old center), the downside of losing would be significantly mitigated.
I agree, I’d rather have a center-right party. But we don’t, and it’s worth calling that out. And I doubt that a new center-right party can be created under the Republican banner.
There’s a strong political logic that tends to generate a two-party system when the elections are winner-take-all. When the Federalists collapsed, the Whigs emerged; when the Whigs collapsed, the Republicans emerged. I don’t doubt that if the Republicans collapsed there’d be something to take their place. From what I see right now, the sooner the better.