West is but the latest of the neo-Nazis this year running in Republican primaries in safe Democratic districts where there are no serious Republican candidates. In this race, the incumbent Democrat, running unopposed, got 3,757 votes, while the bigot, Steve West, got 1,485 votes and all four Republicans totaled 3,003 votes. While West has little chance of winning (and has been repudiated by the Missouri Republican Party), he certainly is getting attention. These bigots are also further sullying the GOP's name.
At least in the short term, the fact that neo-Nazis and such are crawling out from under their rocks is quite worrisome. But assuming — and I don’t think it’s a safe assumption, but it’s the likelier course — their 15 minutes of fame end quickly, the long-term effect could be further mass abandonment of the GOP.
- • Silent Generation, born 1928–1945: 52% R, 43% D
- • Baby Boomers, born 1946–1964: 46% R, 48% D
- • Generation X, born 1965–1980: 43% R, 48% D
Most Voters Not Shifting Rightward with Age
Voters younger than 73 haven’t exhibited any rightward shift. GenXers and Booomers have remained fairly stable in political affiliation in recent years. And Millennials are the first group where more white voters lean D; in the older groups, it’s voters of color who provide the Democratic edge. Add this to the decreasing share of the voting public that is identified as white, and you see nothing but trouble for the Republican Party.
Given these trends, it’s little wonder the GOP has resorted to increasingly brazen efforts to prevent people of color from voting. The only way for Republicans to hold power now is by rigging the system.
If there is a blue wave this November, particularly at the level of state legislators and governors, there will be a chance to help make elections fairer again. Voter-restriction laws could be repealed, or at least new laws prevented.
In other words, 2018 could be the GOP’s last stand.
Trump Card? Or Deck Against Us All?
One odd implication of all this is that, in purely electoral terms, it could be in progressives’ interest (not that Democrats are universally progressive, but in my opinion there is no comparison between them and today’s Republican electeds) for the Hair Furor to remain in office for a full term rather than resigning or being impeached. He continues to drive voters away from the GOP and to motivate Democratic and progressive citizens to become engaged.
Perhaps outweighing that factor are two others:
I continue to believe that, on balance, the country, and the world, will be better off the sooner the Orange Julius departs the Oval Office. I consider him too unhinged, too damaging to the culture, and too incompetent.
In pure Machiavellian terms, perhaps the best way that could happen would be if his McDonald’s habit were to take him out. That wouldn’t result in the kind of right-wing backlash that either impeachment or resignation would generate. (You can bet that, no matter the real reason for a resignation, D.T. will blame the left.)
Yes, a President Pence would be as bad or worse on policy in most respects, and wouldn’t stir up as much opposition because he’s not a raging man-baby. But in a scenario where Democrats control Congress, I believe his ability to tear everything down would be much less than the current monster’s. It’s a close call, and I’m open to persuasion on that point (I welcome your comments), but that is how I’ve seen things fairly consistently since November 2016.
If we make it through this current, very dark time, I believe there is a great opportunity looming on the horizon, and it’s not very far away. It won’t happen by itself — we need to go all out against the GOP’s voter-suppression machine and Russia’s meddling in order to flip the Congress this November — but if we are successful, even partially (i.e., ending GOP control of one house of Congress), the future begins to look significantly brighter.