Political parties seem to suffer through internal battles periodically, but the current state of the GOP is much worse than what Democrats went through some 25 years ago, when organized labor and old-style liberals fought against the Democratic Leadership Council for the soul of the party.Pretty much.
I still remember going to post-election events during the 1980s and watching Al From, then president of the DLC, blame his party’s presidential defeats on liberals and organized labor, only to have someone from the party’s liberal wing whale on From or Will Marshall, the DLC’s first policy director, as Republicans impersonating Democrats.
Now, libertarian and tea party elements of the GOP are in open warfare with pragmatists and institutionalists. Republicans in the House and Senate taunt each other on a daily basis in newspapers or on cable television, which is only too happy to provide a platform.More platform! More platform!
But while the GOP has lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential contests, the races have been close enough that party ideologues have ready excuses – bad candidates, a long war in Iraq and Afghanistan, an unfair media, etc. As a result, they have not yet confronted their political problems the way Democrats did, particularly after Michael Dukakis’ defeat in 1988.Let's have a "dangerous election for the GOP" in 2014 and get the House back two years before we get President Hil.
But Republican control of the House, which could well extend at least through the rest of the decade, particularly if another Democrat wins the White House in 2016, should not obscure what is happening. Party infighting and the weakening of the party’s pragmatic impulses will continue to erode support for the party until the obvious happens.
“The only remedy for a party that is deluding itself is a major defeat,” (my em) says Marshall, thinking back to the 1980s.
That is already making 2016 look like a potentially dangerous election for the GOP.