The First Shots of the Republican Civil War Have Been Fired – Bring on the Insanity

goplogoAnyone who’s been following politics for the last few years had to see this coming.  Since the tea party burst onto the scene, the right-wing radicals of the GOP have been frothing at the mouth to take over the Republican party.

The tea party was originally embraced as a PR stunt to try to “rebrand” the GOP following eight years of a disastrous Bush presidency. It was also the racist response to America’s first black president. Sure, most Republicans will never admit either of these things, but make no mistake, those two issues were the driving forces behind why the tea party was pushed so heavily by conservatives.

But now that they’ve unleashed the monster, they don’t know what to do with it.  And the fact is, I don’t know if there’s anything they can do.  The tea party has incredible funding.  Not only does it have the funding, but tea party Republicans are often the die-hard voters that turn out in large numbers during primary season.

Meaning that many of the Republican candidates for president or congressional seats will have to appeal to these right-wing radicals the tea party has energized.

And there’s the problem for Republicans.  See, tea party policies are extremely popular with the far-right base that often determines which candidate will represent the GOP in the general election.  However, these radical candidates don’t often appeal to the majority of Americans.

The recent shutdown is a prime example of this.  While many Republicans actually supported the shutdown, the vast majority of Americans not only rejected it—they blamed Republicans for it.

Even before the shutdown began you had Republicans calling the whole idea of shutting down our government foolish.  And even in the face of indisputable reality that the shutdown wouldn’t be successful in defunding “Obamacare,” tea party Republicans continued to insist that they wouldn’t support reopening the government unless it included gutting “Obamacare.”

See, when it comes to tea party Republicans, they really don’t care about reality.  These people live in a world where what they want to be real is more important than what’s actually real.  Who cares if the Affordable Care Act was deemed Constitutional?  They don’t feel that it is—therefore it’s unconstitutional.

Who cares if President Obama was overwhelmingly reelected by the majority of Americans?  They don’t like him.  Therefore any and all actions to oppose him are acceptable.  I really believe that these people would rather see our nation collapse into the abyss if it meant defeating President Obama on something—anything.

See, according to the tea party, President Obama is “destroying the United States!”  So, I guess it’s okay for them to do it—-to stop him from doing it?  Because that makes perfect sense.

Even many Republicans can’t reason with these people.  Many long-tenured Republicans are having to pander to the tea party out of fear of facing a primary challenger and losing their seat in Congress.

That’s why people like Ted Cruz are so dangerous for the Republican party — because Republicans love him.  The GOP is at risk of being torn apart by its own ignorance.  Tea party-backed politicians like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul can spout off whatever nonsense they want, much of which is completely fictional, and as long as it sounds like something tea party voters want to hear—it’s going to gain them support.

It doesn’t even matter if what they’re saying or doing is disastrous nationally for the party as a whole — they don’t care because it’s good for them.

Because no politician is safer in their position right now than a tea party-backed conservative in a “strongly Republican” part of the United States. 

Which is great for them, but disastrous for Republicans in more moderate districts and states which face voters that aren’t right-wing radicals.  Someone like Ted Cruz can pretty much say whatever asinine statement he wants because his Senate seat is safe.  He doesn’t care that his statements, when published nationally, make the Republican party look terrible.  His behavior and actions boost his standing with the tea party, but they make his entire party look like a group of out of touch radicals determined to divide and destroy our country.  And he’s perfectly fine with that.

So while Republicans like John McCain or Jeb Bush make comments alluding to the need for the GOP to “calm down” or “move on” (both comments obviously directed at people like Ted Cruz), it doesn’t matter to the tea party fringe.  Their seats are safe.  It just emboldens them to act even crazier and get even more accolades from the majority of delusional voters in their districts and states.

And right now, you’re seeing the first real shots being fired within the GOP.  Tea party Republicans built on unwavering support from their radical base vs. more moderate Republicans that see the bigger picture nationally for their party.

Because while I rarely agree with Republicans like McConnell, McCain or Boehner—they know these tea party antics are a threat to their party.  Our government can’t function with an “all or nothing” approach to governing, forced on us by people who live in a conservative land of make believe.

But that’s how the tea party operates.  They see “negotiation” as them saying, “This is what we want—or else.”  In short, they don’t negotiate—they use blackmail, extortion and hostage-taking tactics to try to force the opposition to do what they want.

Doubt me?  Just look at what they do to members of their own party.  There’s already talk of tea party operatives working to find tea party-backed challengers to defeat current GOP members of Congress who voted to reopen the government.  Those conservatives didn’t give in to their demands, so they’re threatening to find “real conservatives” who will.

And this is only going to get worse for the GOP.  Unless moderate Republicans in the party find some kind of large system of financial support to combat tea party radicals, their party is doomed.

Because make no mistake, the civil war within the GOP has already started.  It’s going to be messy, it’s going to be ugly and it’s going to shake the entire party to its very core.

And at the end of the day, the whole ordeal will simply reek of irony.  The tea party, a mechanism meant to lift their party to new prominence after eight years of failed Bush policies, becoming the very thing that destroys the party from within.

While I’m not 100% certain how it’s all going to go down, I do know one thing for sure — it’s only going to intensify drastically heading into next year’s midterm elections.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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