Republican Party

The Demise of the Republican Party, and Duverger's Law

Melding socially liberal businesspeople, non-warmongering Democrats, and avowed libertarians into a new party

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RepublicanDemise
Benjamin Dixon Show

The Republican Party is falling apart. Last night during a townhall in Wisconsin, the three remaining Republican presidential candidates essentially refused to say that they would support whoever turns out to be the party's nominee. In addition, the spat over state legislation in Georgia and North Carolina aiming to salve the wounds of social conservatives over gay marriage went in opposite directions. In Georgia, at the behest of the business community, the Republican governor vetoed such legislation. In contrast, as a sop to social conservatives the Republican governor of North Carolina signed similar legislation into law. With the business wing of the Republican Party fighting with the party's social conservatives, can it long endure? If not, what happens next?

French sociologist Maurice Duverger formulated in 1951 the principle that "the simple-majority single-ballot [plurality or first-past-the-post rule] system favours the two-party system." Of course, Duverger's law has been challenged many times by other researchers, but others have found strong evidence that the law holds in the main. In other words, in such electoral systems citizens tend to vote strategically rather than sincerely. (Proportional voting or run-off electoral schemes tend toward multi-party systems.)

The last time the death of a major American political party—the Whigs—led to the creation of new party with the ability to capture the presidency and significant numbers of seats in Congress was in the 1850s. The Whig Party emerged in opposition to Andrew Jackson's populism in the 1830s and attracted support from the economically dynamic sectors of the U.S. economy. It died by 1854 when its northern and southern wings split over slavery. Duverger's law held sway and lots of northern Whigs went on to found the Republican Party.

It is perilous to try to compare disparate political eras, but are the current splits among Republicans enough to bring about its demise and give birth to a new party with national scope? A recent poll finds that Gary Johnson who may be the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate this year pulled double digit support from both Clinton and Trump. If the GOP shatters at its national convention in July, are there any political entrepreneurs who have the vision to replace it with a coalition of socially liberal business-oriented Republicans, non-warmongering Democrats, and the 20 percent of Americans who are self-consciously libertarian? Stay tuned.

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  1. …Gary Johnson who may be the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate this year pulled double digit support…

    You can’t tell me THAT’S not a masturbation euphemism.

    1. Also, didn’t he win the nomination? I seem to remember reading something about that.

  2. “with a coalition of socially liberal business-oriented Republicans, non-warmongering Democrats and the 20 percent of Americans who are self-consciously libertarian?”

    That’s what 21% of the population?

    The GOP has been deserving a fall since about the mid-1800’s, so, naturally, I don’t expect it to happen. Here’s hoping though.

    1. Approval voting removes the strategic aspect from most decisions (the only purely strategic move is to vote FOR everyone else and leave the guy you hate blank…but that will not only be rare it will be of little value). Only with that can this type of coalition form. Even with the dissolution of the Rs. I don’t see any change to these types of results until Approval Voting is adopted more widely.

      1. Indeed, it is rather incredible that the article failed to mention Approval Voting, doubly so given that Reason is libertarian. Approval Voting is the simplest solution to the problem of Duverger’s Law, and it produces compromise winners, which libertarians arguably are. Without Approval Voting, the US will continue to have only one more party than China:
        http://ivn.us/2016/04/06/u-s-j…..han-china/

  3. Last night during a townhall in Wisconsin, the three remaining Republican presidential candidates essentially refused to say that they would support whoever turns out to be the party’s nominee.

    No reason any of them should.

    If Trump or Cruz fails to reach 1237 but has the most delegates, why should they support a nominee who finished behind them or worse, didn’t even run?

    If Trump wins the nomination, why should Kasich support a nominee who is basically a Democrat? If Cruz wins, why should Kasich support a nominee who isn’t well-liked in Washington? Going along, reaching across the aisle, that’s the spirit. Look where that got John McCain, after all!

    1. Kasich is basically a Democrat.

      1. Kasich is basically a Democrat.

        Not if you ask him. Trump I don’t think would give a shit if someone accused him of being insufficiently Republican, but I think Kasich would take offense at the notion.

        1. And yet, to hear him tell it, anyone who cuts Medicaid or Medicare is uncharitable and will burn in hell for all eternity. The Divine Right of Welfare is an interesting fusion of concepts.

        2. Not if you ask him.

          And If I did, his denials wouldn’t be any more or less evidence of his hubris laden delusions of grandeur; suffice it to say, the man is off his rocker.

          His platform aligns way more with TEAM BLUE than with TEAM RED. In fact, had he run as a TEAM BLUE-skij, there is a very good chance he would be clobbering Herself, Teh Smartest Woman in the World(tm), right now.

      2. Kasich was Lucifer himself to Democrats, back when he was in the House trying to balance the budget. Republicans feared he would run for President and be too conservative.

        Now he’s basically George W. Bush, without trying to appease socons, but with all the warmongering.

        1. “If you elect me, I’ll instigate no less than three major destabilizing wars.”

    2. Trump won’t support anyone else cause he feels like any outcome other than him as the nominee is it getting stolen from him

      Cruz won’t support Trump after he insulted his wife (and to a lesser extent wiped his ass with the constitution).

      Cruz may support Kasich, though unlikely since he has said Kasich shouldn’t even be on the convention ballot due to the 8 state rule.

      1. The 8 (?!?) state rule is stupid. It was the 5 state rule in 2012, and it was stupid then, because it kept Ron Paul off the ballot. National nominating conventions are supposed to be raucous. If a libertarian outlier wins 4 states (like Ron Paul did, on delegate counts at least), what’s the harm in letting his delegates vote for him? It’s a convention, not a coronation.

        It should only take 2 states to nominate someone, one to nominate and one to second the nomination. Of course, that would still leave Kasich out in the cold, but maybe Rubio could sneak back in.

        1. But the folks in the smoke filled room *want* it to be a coronation. Who cares what the rank and file want?

          1. As they’ve already said – *they* decide who gets the nod, not the People. Hell, The People aren’t even *Outer Party*, they just need to shut up, do what they’re told, and keep those checks rolling in. Let the professionals run their ‘team’.

  4. The Whig Party emerged in opposition to Andrew Jackson’s populism in the 1830s and attracted support from the economically dynamic sectors of the U.S. economy.

    We could do with more Whiggery today.

      1. [narrows gaze at HM and Paul]

    1. We could do with more Andrew Jackson populism too.

      1. Trump supporter or sarcasm?

        John broke my meter.

      2. We could do with more Andrew Jackson populism too.

        I’m only in favor of populism when the populace is educated about rights, freedom, and our republican (not to be confused with GOP) structure. When populism devolves into “take theirs and give it to us,” it’s just another kind of authoritarianism.

      3. He ended the second bank. Ending the third (Fed) would be a good thing.

    2. We could do with more Whiggery today.

      So Mercantilism and tariffs?

      1. Since we’re probably getting that part anyway…

  5. I know I convinced my mom, who thinks libertarians are just another word for liberal, to vote for Gary Johnson if Trump wins the nomination. I’m not saying it’s a libertarian moment, because it isn’t, but it does hold that if enough support leaves then it could result in conservatives either moving libertarian or starting their own conservative party. I prefer the later as if it becomes a three party system, then it will most likely becomes a four party system.

    1. T: The problem is that Duverger’s law strongly suggests in our system that four parties are ultimately unsustainable – they will converge two parties in pretty short order.

      1. But wouldn’t it be nice if one of those two parties leaned libertarian-ish?

        1. IT won’t happen; people go into politics to rule others. Libertarianism to be enacted by political means requires people who altruistically go into politics to not rule others.

          No chance.

          1. Hey. Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was consul once, and dictator twice.

            1. For every Cincinnatus there are a thousand Commodi.

          2. Thomas Jefferson cut the federal budget in half and repealed all internal taxes.

            1. But he owned slaves, so… invalid argument.

              1. plus, he talked like a fag

                1. And he not only was white, he wore white wigs to emphasize it.

  6. While I would like to be optimistic, I hardly think the Stupid Party shooting themselves in the foot over a Presidential nomination is going to be the end of Team Red. Last I checked, there is almost no chance they lose the House in November, and probably a decent shot they retain the Senate as well. Most of the governorships and legislative seats are probably reasonably safe as well. This smacks of the same sort of 2004 Endless Republican Hegemony is at Hand and 2008 Endless Democratic Hegemony is at Hand sort of nonsense we’ve seen before.

    The Evil Party is in worse shape if Hillary gets indicted. You would have a non-Democrat, warmed over commie get the nomination and probably get beaten by Donald-fucking-Trump of all people. They wouldn’t control the House, likely not control the Senate in November, and would still be getting their asses handed to them outside of large urban areas and far left coastal states/cities. I would be hopeful that there would be a lot of soul searching going on if that happened.

    1. The Evil Party is in worse shape if Hillary gets indicted.

      Which is why she won’t be. The Dem machine will call in every favor to make sure that doesn’t happen.

      1. I concur.

      2. Maybe Hillary will nobly step aside in favor of the “less controversial, more electable,” E. Warren. Probably, I think.

        1. And maybe Trump will similarly stand down in favor of the less objectionable Rush Limbaugh. It could happen, if it looks as though his candidacy would be extremely disruptive, and his poll numbers look poor.

    2. Exactly. Every 8 or 12 years we hear one party or the other is going away, but they’re both like Freddy Krueger.

      1. Except that talk is always about how they won’t be able to win national elections in the future for some reason, this is categorically different.

        It isn’t about whether Republicans can win elections, it is about whether the party itself will splinter

        1. It’s already done that. It splintered a hundred years ago when Teddy Roosevelt ran against Taft in 1912 and got Wilson elected. It happened again with the Reform party (and Donald is, in a way, just a rehashing of that affair, with his main positions being protectionism and anti-immigration).

          In order for the GOP to go away, it doesn’t just need to splinter, but the splinter faction needs to become bigger than the GOP itself, not just for one election, but long enough to build a reliable base of donors and enough of what passes for public trust these days to get a reliable set of voters making up at least a third of the voting public. The GOP may splinter, but in a few years the splinter will disintegrate and the old party will glue itself back together as always.

    3. The problem is the Republican coalition as currently constructed is no longer sustainable.

      It is equally likely that the party completely self destructs, splinters, and over time one of those splinter parties assumes the role of the dominant party as it is that there is a civil war within the party with various factions either splintering off into powerlessness or being purged from the party leaving the name “Republican Party” in place with a completely new look and new coalition.

      Either way by the 2028 election the electoral landscape will look nothing like it does today.

  7. I find it interesting that the Republican party, the godawful mess that it is seems more democratic than the Democratic party.

    The GOP has fielded a large number of candidates, and as a party, everyone seems to refuse to throw their support behind the nominee simply because they’re the nominee. Sure, the crop of candidates are pretty awful, but as politics goes, I wish every race were more like this. Our political processes could all do with a little more disagreement, in my opinion. As someone who lives in a town where everyone pretty much agrees on everything, it’s refreshing to see things come down to the wire.

    1. Here in MA, I hear the following smug assurances by Democrats weekly:

      “We Democrats are in great shape; our nomination process has been stately and orderly, with the voters selecting the nominee based on her ideas and their confidence in her abilities.”

      The fact that these assurances are entirely disconnected from reality is what I find most breathtaking.

    2. Now c’mon. Read the Seattle Times comments. There is significant disagreement over whether Seattle loves Communism or is truly in-love with Communism.

  8. Both parties are falling apart. Part of the discord in the GOP is because blue-collar voters abandoned (or were abandoned by) the Democrats. When they all showed up to vote for Trump, all hell broke lose.

    The Democrats are choosing between a corrupt old lady who should be indicted, and an even older commie.

    1. “The Democrats are choosing between a corrupt old lady who should be indicted, and an even older commie.”

      I might be too cynical but that doesn’t sound like too much of an issue for them.

      1. It will be an issue at the end of their convention when the unveil one or the other doddering old fool to the American public.

        1. “It will be an issue at the end of their convention when the unveil one or the other doddering old fool to the American public.”

          I hope you’re right. I see people cheering, critics quickly falling in-line, and the old fool getting the White House.

        2. I think Hillary and her queen makers will be surprised by how many Bernie supporters turn to Trump after being robbed by her super delegates. Whether it will be enough to change the election, I do not know.

          1. More proof of their sexism!

    2. Both parties are falling apart.

      God, please let it be so.

  9. I think I’m at the point where I just want to watch the whole thing burn. It can’t be too much worse than what we’ve got, right?

    1. It can and it will. When systems break down, people inevitably look for a strongman to fix their problems, and have no issue giving up what’s left of their freedom to let him do his work.

      1. Well, again, we still have guns, so go ahead strongman! Give it your best shot!

        1. *ahem* … The strongman, or woman, would have the military at their disposal. Your rifle or pistol ain’t doing shit against drones and SEALs.

          1. Similar to that which was said to the rebels in 1775. And the Vietcong. And the Taliban (twice).

          2. Your rifle or pistol ain’t doing shit against drones and SEALs.

            Won’t need to. The drones and SEALS will be pointed in the same direction as my gun.

            1. … You hope.

              1. Well, as a retired bomber pilot, I can assure you that no bomb would have ever left my jet with an intended target of an American citizen. I’m not the in the minority.

                1. Maybe, but irrelevant; the drones and seals will be sitting idly in the bases; it’s the SWAT team that will be battering down your door in the middle of the night before you can find your glasses let alone your rifle.

          3. I don’t know very many, if any, military members who would be willing to march on Americans. I’m sure there’s one or two out there who would do so, but they’re not automatons.

            Tricked into it, maybe, but I don’t think that would last long and then heaven help the trickster.

            1. It may not happen soon, but military members are not some special class, immune to populist arguments against the scary “them.” When that “them” becomes you, it’s a problem.

              1. Can’t anyone else hear the speech?

                “These Libertarians are enemies of Law and Order. They want anarchy. We only want to keep the peace. They resist us with weapons. All we want to do is make America a peaceful, prosperous land, and they only seek to murder us. We have to do what we need to in order to protect the nation from these anarchists.”

                You don’t think military members would be susceptible to this? Their training is essentially nothing but “order” and they love to blow some shit up. What makes you think they’d care if it’s you they blow up? It’s not *them* after all.

                1. You don’t think military members would be susceptible to this? Their training is essentially nothing but “order” and they love to blow some shit up. What makes you think they’d care if it’s you they blow up? It’s not *them* after all.

                  It’s more likely that the military would split between those loyal to the government and those loyal to the people/constitution. The latter would be the largest group.

                  This has happened many times in civil wars. It happened here with the example of Robert E. Lee remaining loyal to Virginia instead of the federal government.

                2. Being one of them, I know for a fact that everything you’re saying is utter bullshit. I don’t know any military member, at all, that would fall for any of that crap.

              2. It may not happen soon, but military members are not some special class, immune to populist arguments against the scary “them.”

                The oath is to the Constitution, not the government.

                1. Cops take a similar oath. So did the active Army troops who cleared out Bonus Army campers. Or just ask Esequiel Hern?ndez about the unwillingness to fire on fellow Americans, for a somewhat more recent example.

                  Theseus is right. The framing of how they’re used, along whichever side wins, will determine if it’s legitimate or not. And the ones giving the orders will stack the deck in their favor.

          4. Funny – ask Al Qaeda what can be done vs drones and SEALs.

            Especially when half the drone operators and SEALs walk away.

            The problem, as usual, is getting a sufficient mass of disobediance that coercion is no longer an option – it happened in the UK with the Poll Tax. But that was back when the people of the UK still had balls.

      2. ^Sadly, this.

      3. Which explains Trump.

        1. And Comrade Bern. He may dress it up like a kooky but nice old man talking about “Democratic Socialism, like Denmark” but make no mistake: he’s a Communist. He’s admitted in the past (e.g. many years before runnig for pres) to believing in state control of the means of production. Now, maybe he’s “evolved” since then, but I wouldn’t want to bet our economy on it. As a Communist, he’s every bit the authoritarian strongman that Trump is.

          1. All the worst communists dressed up like kooky but nice old men. The plainer the dress, the more likely you were to be sent off to be ‘re-educated’ (murdered).

    2. Well, think of the worst possible society you can possibly imagine. Khmer Rouge, North Korea, ISIS, Nazi Germany, the USSR, whatever. Are we still better than that? Then it can get worse.

      1. True, but those other places were never the shining beacons of liberty which the US once was, for all our flaws.

      2. I mean, at that point I’d be dead, so selfishly speaking, it can’t get much worse (for me).

  10. How about this- if total votes cast are less than fifty per cent of the total number of eligible voters, the seat remains empty.

    1. What happens when total votes counted are 107% of the number of eligible voters?

      1. You’ve re-elected zombie Mayor Daley?

    2. Throw in that any district so voting no longer receives any government money nor sends any taxes, and I’m in. Hell, I’d be in if it merely cut taxes for all non-entitlements.

    3. Raise it to 67% of registered voters and requiring the winner to get 67% of *that* vote – and I may start actually considering it ‘democratic’.

      That Austin Uber vote still pisses me off to no end. *10%*! of the populace voted against Uber and that was enough to get them tossed.

  11. “If the GOP shatters at its national convention in July, are there any political entrepreneurs who have the vision to replace it with a coalition of socially liberal business-oriented Republicans, non-warmongering Democrats, and the 20 percent of Americans who are self-consciously libertarian? Stay tuned.”

    The long awaited Libertarian moment? -Nein, nope, not gunna happen, how many articles have been written on Reason purporting the genesis of this long awaited moment, geeez…

    1. I think the point that Matt and Nick are trying to make with the ‘lib’tn moment’ is that individuals are securing more choice and freedom for themselves in spite of the national political scene and process.

      I don’t disagree with them on that point, I just disagree with them on degree and the importance of it, especially in the context of a demonstrably more authoritarian state.

      The other part of the argument that I absolutely disagree with them on is the rise of the ‘independent’, non party-affiliated voter. Sure, so there are more people who say in polls that they’re reluctant to identify with a monolithic party label. Great. Excellent. But how are those preferences revealed? Bernie Sanders, Trump and in the end, Hillary.

      1. Libation Moment?

        1. This would be an accurate shortening of Libertarian Moment

    2. Even if the libertarian moment did come, we still wouldn’t believe Reason if they reported on it. They’ve become the boy who cried “libertarian moment!”.

  12. Any notion that Gary will draw more than one or two percent in the national election is a pipe dream.

    1. My Son says we need to return to the Norse God polytheism thing and I tell him “right, as soon as we elect a Libertarian president”

      1. You didn’t name him William, did you?

  13. I think people are misreading what’s happening to the Republican Party. They’re not falling apart. They’re being overwhelmed by Democrat socio-demographics flooding into the Republican Party.

    That’s bad from an ideological perspective but not from a party preservation perspective. It’s the Democrats who should be worried.

    The short version of the argument is that just as the white, blue collar, middle class in the late 1970s came to believe the Democratic Party only cared about minorities and the very poor–and flocked to Reagan in the form of Regan Democrats–so the white, blue collar, middle class of today has come to believe that the Democratic Party only cares about gay rights activists, black lives matter, illegal immigrants, environmentalists, feminists, et. al.–and they’re flooding in to support Donald Trump. In fact, those Democrat interest groups have spent a lot of time and effort over the last eight years demonizing the white, blue collar, middle class for being racist, stupid, and selfish–or in other words for being white, blue collar, and middle class.

    Why would the white, blue collar middle class continue to support the Democratic Party under those circumstances? Where does a hard-working Irish Catholic construction worker fit into that plan?

    1. In fact, those Democrat interest groups have spent a lot of time and effort over the last eight years demonizing the white, blue collar, middle class for being racist, stupid, and selfish…

      ^This

    2. Where does a hard-working Irish Catholic construction worker fit into that plan?

      Reliable source of tax revenue?

      1. hard-working Irish Catholic construction worker?

        Where?

        1. I think I saw one on This Old House once.

          He was in the background with a shovel anyway.

        2. I worked with one once. Electrician. Nice guy.

    3. In most states you have to be a registered Republican/Democrat to vote in the primary/caucus (or to be contacted by pollsters), right? Your hypothesis holds water if the ranks of registered Republicans has swelled due to Democrat/Independent atrophy in the last decade…which from what I’ve seen it hasn’t.

      1. Trump did his best numbers in open-primary states, which strongly suggests a wild swing of non-Republicans swooping in to cast a vote.

        1. No doubt there will be crossover support from Dems and Independents. However Ken’s “short version” assumption above only holds water if the “polls of registered Republicans” showed Trump losing badly…which they don’t.

        2. In fact, he’s polling at 50% among registered Republicans.

          http://www.nbcnews.com/politic…..ly-n546951

          1. ….

            ….

            is it me…

            ….

            Or….

            ….do I smell a DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?

            1. Countering unsubstantiated wishful thinking with facts gets you called a troll. Got it.

              1. no, not a troll. a former GOP hack who used to nag here nonstop. i don’t think you’re him (accusing other people of “loving” the gop wasn’t his problem). but the M.O. is similar.

          2. “A Bloomberg poll in late January had Trump ahead in the GOP field but with looming problems unifying the party: 42 percent of Republicans who did not support Trump said they could not be convinced to support him.”

            http://www.bloomberg.com/polit…..ary-voters

            If that holds true, then 21% of registered Republicans cannot be persuaded to vote for Trump.

            He better hope he’ll be getting a lot of support from Democrats in the general election.

    4. And so the Republicans shifted the left of JFK while the Democrats moved just to the right of Lenin, about 20 years ago, and now the solid block of blue collar “Union” (at least in mentality if not so much in practice anymore) Democrats are now swamping the party to support the populist Trump?

      So, I guess in terms of semantics, there will continue to be a Republican Party, but what it once was will be dead and gone. We will have the old Democratic Party fully evolve into the Republican Party, while the new Democrats will be fully the Old Progressive Party reborn and in control.

      In short, where we once had Republicans (for the right), Democrats (for the soft left), and Progressive Party (for the fringe left) we will now have Republicans (for the soft left), Democrats (for what was once the Progressives), Socialists (for the Marxists), and the right will be categorized as insane.

      Great.

      1. The Democrats will likely shift to the middle–like they did under Bill Clinton.

        Well, after he got his ass handed to him in ’94 anyway.

        They won’t do it without getting beat first. They still think it’s the Republican brand that’s hurting.

        They’re sort of where the Republican establishment was when the Tea Party first got rolling.

        These Trump Democrats aren’t a real threat, are they? Nah, couldn’t be.

        1. Hmm, I’m not so sure. Compromising with the party that just handed you your ass isn’t really moving to the left (or right) in the most meaningful sense. After losing congress, they had no choice. Obama arguably moved toward the center after losing congress too, but as a matter of political necessity. The rest of the party has only moved further and further left. I’m not sure they have much to gain from moving toward the center. They’re already going to pick up a lot of the more moderate socially liberal educated Republicans (who may bring a lot of donation money with them) without having to court them at all, because they’re finally more afraid of populists than progressives, and the minority blocks are still growing (voting blocks the democrats haven’t nearly fully exploited yet as they have fairly low voter turnout).

          Not to mention that, imo, the classical liberal sentiment is in decline. Formerly free market Republicans are throwing it away for Trump, former moderate Democrats are throwing it away for (or to compete with) Sanders. So why move to the center to appeal to a declining demographic? I think the long run trend is toward a socialism vs. populism dynamic.

  14. That’s why you see Trump running to the left of Paul Krugman on free trade and doing so well in the Republican primaries. The socio-demographic he’s appealing to has been Democratic since the New Deal. Have you seen the turn out numbers in some of these primaries? Have you seen how many people are registering Republican?

    The developing rift isn’t between the Republican establishment and the Tea Party over their real level of commitment to fiscal conservatism and low taxes. The developing rift in the Republican Party is between traditional Republicans and traditional socio-demographics that have been the bread and butter of the Democratic Party since the New Deal.

    And when I see the Republican Party breaking under the strain of all the Democrats who are jumping off of the Democratic Party like a sinking ship, I don’t think, “How will the Republican Party survive”? If the Republican Party splits in two, it may lead to the extinction of the Democratic Party in an environment of single member districts.

    1. Your argument would be spot on 30 years ago when Reagan stole over the Blue-Collar Democrats. Now it just sounds like you are trying to deflect why your beloved Republicans suck so badly.

      1. Where did he say how much he loves republicans?

        it reads like a pretty impartial analysis from what i see.

      2. I’m not a big fan of the Republicans–not that it matters.

        A lot of people used to call me a Bush basher around here–not that it matters.

        What I said would be true or not regardless of whether I were a Republican.

        If I were an undercover operative typing from RNC headquarters, what I wrote would still be true (or not) regardless.

        1. It would be true that recent defections from the Democrats is the driving force behind Trump’s rise?

          Citations needed, otherwise this is just an untested unconfirmed hypothesis.

          1. is the driving force

            it can certainly be a contributor without being a “driving force”

            independents are the largest voting bloc in the US (40+%)

            Many (most?) of those have actually gone to Dems in the last few cycles. That some who have previously voted for dems are switch to Trump isn’t either implausible, or desperately in need of supporting data = the turnout #s reflected in the recent cycle (link below) show a very large rise in people showing up at the polls. that growth is higher in both open, close, and mixed primary states.

            also, maybe worth reading =

            Donald Trump’s Strongest Supporters: A Certain Kind of Democrat

          2. Well, no hypothesis is any better than the last data point that either confirms or excludes it.

            We won’t know for sure unless Trump wins the nomination outright and we see the results in the general election.

            In the meantime, talking about what we think is happening and why isn’t exactly absurd. It’s the way we make sense of the world.

            We read articles about it. We discuss the articles in the comments section with interesting people we respect.

            That’s what the comment section is for.

            1. Gilmore’s article does back up your contention. Further in an attempt to counter your statement regarding “recent” Democratic flight I found the following Gallup poll showing the Net Dem affiliation advantage moving from +30 in 2008 to -6 in 2015. Holy Shit.

              http://www.gallup.com/poll/181…..tates.aspx

              I’ll give that starting that chart at 2008 captures a high water mark post Bush, but I can’t argue with a 36% swing. m

              mea culpa

    2. Your analysis has something to it. There’s been a lot of head scratching as to why Trump has done particularly well in ‘open-primary’ states. I jokingly postulated it was committed Democrats conspiratorially voting for trump to disrupt the process. But really, that’s a wild theory that doesn’t wash. Occam’s razor suggests that in a state with an open primary, people traditionally aligned with one party or the other can become promiscuous in their voting if they feel a reason to be so.

      Everything you say is absolutely true– working class whites largely being abandoned by the Democrats– a party of social-justice technocrats that no longer works for or is interested in the concerns of people just trying to earn a living, but has become the party of the .3%.

  15. When Jacket said “libertarian moment,” he meant “of inertia.” See, the moment of inertia is mass times the square of the distance from the center of rotation. Libertarians have historically been very small, but because they’re so far outside Washington, the center around which the political world revolves, they’ve had an outsized presence. They were implacable even if imperceptible. Now that more and more people are identifying as libertarian, the mass of the movement has gained tremendously while at the same time moving closer to the center. As a result, the inertia hasn’t changed all that much. So the “libertarian moment” really just means we still aren’t going anywhere.

    1. You should draw that up in a shear-moment diagram.

      1. Oh my god, yes!

  16. The Republican party is dying.

    They hold 31 of 50 governorships, 54 of 100 Senate seats, and 246 of 434 House seats. It’s dying, I tells ya…

    1. Yeah, add that to my point about turnout.

  17. The Republican Party is falling apart.

    People keep saying this yet they GOP has seen 30-70% higher turnout in this primary cycle than in the previous 2.

    And why should anyone care if the GOP ‘falls apart’, ‘falls together’, or ceases to exist in any recognizable form? A party is just an aggregate of constituent interest groups. Those interest groups only glom together when they have shared interests. If the party dissolves and re-forms along different lines, its neither good or bad or anything really, unless you are someone who has some vested interest in retaining the pre-existing makeup of that party.

    Which i’m not. And i don’t think anyone who writes @ Reason is.

    I don’t think what’s happening is unusual or particularly concerning, except from one specific angle =

    that the cohort that Nick has always tried to suggest is some untapped monolithic bloc – the “Independents” who are socially liberal and (sorta?) economically conservative?… they aren’t who you thought they were. And they only believe in that formula on a superficial level, when really what they want is something more akin to a Demopublican hybrid like Trump rather than a “Libertarian” candidate.

    1. when really what they want is something more akin to a Demopublican hybrid like Trump

      Be careful what you wish for, indeed.

  18. So a party that controls the house and senate and most state and has the most governors is falling apart? Is the President so much more important that all that? Both parties suck,but,only the Obama could turn WV into a red state.

    1. Is that unbelievable? If the natural tendency is for there to be two parties, a party that gets too big and has clear factions is likely to splinter.

      1. ^ This.

    2. As: Well, the Whigs controlled both houses of Congress in 1840 and were gone by 1850. Governorship totals are trickier to figure out.

  19. people go into politics to rule others.

    Exactly.

    NOBODY EVER RAN FOR OFFICE SO HE COULD LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE.

      1. And that’s why you’ll lose — you won’t play robin hood, and lie with every other word, and promise sweet deals to connected people, and so forth.

  20. Capitalism needs better champions than many of the stooges in the private sector or the Republicans who apologize for even pretending to support it.

  21. The Republican Party is falling apart.

    That makes perfect sense, if you’re a Republican in the David Brooks School of Republicanism sense.

    1. if you’re a Republican in the David Brooks School of Republicanism sense.

      lol

      there are certainly some groups being left out in the cold in this new reformulation.

      1. David Brooks himself admits he “missed the Trumpvolution” because he– if I recall the exact words– doesn’t mix with that class of person.

        1. +1 no one he knows voted for Nixon

        2. I would applaud him for accidental mild-self-awareness, but i think he probably thinks himself otherwise “quite worldly and experienced” with all sorts of people, and considers the Trump-people to be some bizarre minority difficult to come by. rather than the other way around = that he’s the cloistered minority who shares nearly nothing in common with a vast array of Americans… and never quite fit in anywhere except as the “token non-liberal” voice at a paper consumed mostly by rich liberals.

  22. “are there any political entrepreneurs who have the vision to replace it with a coalition of socially liberal business-oriented Republicans, non-warmongering Democrats, and the 20 percent of Americans who are self-consciously libertarian?”

    No, what brought together the fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and hawkish conservatives who made up the GOP’s three legged stool had far more in common, then the above groups mentioned.

  23. In addition, the spat over state legislation in Georgia and North Carolina aiming to salve the wounds of social conservatives over gay marriage went in opposite directions. In Georgia, at the behest of the business community, the Republican governor vetoed such legislation. In contrast, as a sop to social conservatives the Republican governor of North Carolina signed similar legislation into law.

    Also, did I wake up this morning in some Bizarro World where libertarians think legislation aimed at saying the state can’t force people to do business with others against their will is bad thing?

    1. Cocktail parties!

      1. In other words, it would make sense if I drank enough?

        1. Doesn’t everything?

    2. BD: Pointing out what happened doesn’t not imply endorsement.

      1. Point taken.

        It just seems a rather long discussion of war where there were no actual hostilities beyond “two elements of the same party disagreed on an issue”.

      2. Pointing out what happened doesn’t not imply endorsement.

        At face value, that’s true, Ron; however, it is equally true to state that, just because you may not like the means employed, doesn’t mean you agree with or endorse the end result, i.e. “The end justifies the means.”

        Another way of putting is, in discrete logic terms: It is entirely possible to derive a true conclusion from false premises.

        I am convinced that view, however inconvenient or “impure” it may be, is the default MO for Reason these days, and has been for some time.

        Also Ron, why is it TEAM RED seems way more often to have to bend and cede ground on various and sundry issues, whilst TEAM BLUE rarely draws such ire: Is the consensus that TEAM BLUE is simply too economically intractable, ideologically speaking?

      3. Correction: “…doesn’t mean you DON’T agree with or endorse the end result…”

  24. Melding socially liberal businesspeople, non-warmongering Democrats, and avowed libertarians into a new party

    Um what exactly do those 3 groups have in common? You are assuming that businesspeople will be “fiscally conservative” let alone that “social liberalism” is in fact a libertarian attitude toward social issues and that they are anti-war or that “non-warmongering Democrats” actually support elements of the libertarian agenda.

    1. Case in point: Maria Cantwell.

    2. Welcome to Reason.

      When a Republican promises cuts to everything except the military, the entire brand gets ‘supposedly’ affixed to any and all labels (despite the same Republican wholly shutting down the government in recent history), but when the offerings from Democrats varies from an ‘overwhelmingly pro-war in all situations’ voting history to a ‘pro-war once involved’ stance, we still give them full faith and credit as thought a non-warmongering Democrat was actually a thing.

    3. Agree. 40% regulatory capture, 40% social welfare and anti-immigration, then 20% avowed libertarian. Cool story bro.

  25. You know, for a dead party, Reason sure does pound on it awfully long, hard, and fast.

    1. Wait, necrophilia isn’t cool anymore? Someone warn STEVE SMITH!

    2. ewwwwwwwwww

    3. +1 Oingo Boingo

  26. It died by 1854 when its northern and southern wings split over slavery

    Yes, and we all know how that turned out.

    The racist Republicans, intent on preserving the institution of slavery, strode out upon the oppressed landscape. It wasn’t until the Democrat leader, brave Abraham Lincoln, rose up and declared war on the racist republicans, seizing victory, and finally turning the tide of history away from oppressing the slaves.

    And the struggle continues today, with Democrats firmly on the right side of history.

    1. Is this about KKK Senator Robert Byrd, who showed everybody the true colors of the modern liberal?

  27. Maybe if all the people speculating about the “libertarian moment” would join the Libertarian Party, the moment could be accelerated.

    Just a thought.

  28. Recycling!

    Yes?

  29. Yeah, like of all the blog entries to rerun now, why this?

  30. I’m more impressed that it was up for over six hours before anyone put a June comment on it.

    Must be an intern running the site this weekend?

  31. I’m more impressed that it was up for over six hours before anyone put a June comment on it.

    Must be an intern running the site this weekend?

    1. Must be an intern running the site this weekend?

      Nope, the sqvirrels appear to have manned the helm, Dr. Anacreon; otherwise, triple sec, cheetos, and handjobs would be evidence of a spanner in the works….

      Also, thank you for the warm welcome back, I see your multiple myeloma is in remission and manageable; I hope your pain is also tolerable these days as well.

      Oh, and I wasn’t working ER when we last spoke; I was employed by a free standing surgicenter (I’m employed at a private hospital in Odessa Oblast’, currently, as is my wife). But it’s been a few years, no? *grins*

  32. What happens if Trump becomes President of the US AND the EU. What then?

    http://hotair.com/archives/201…..are-state/

  33. Wow. I’m in the 20%. Woohoo!

    I don’t share your optimism about the RP, Ron. There’s too many “libertarians” whose concern over limited government only extends to the possibility that a Black person might get a dollar of tax money who keep voting for these retrogrades the RP keeps nominating.

  34. Ha didn’t even realize it was a rerun. Paying replies, giving a shit, generally making a JacknAce outta myself.

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