It looks like HR1, a bill to strengthen our voting rights, will be filibustered in the Senate because, as a number of Republican leaders put it; Republicans will never win another election were it to pass. This may be so, but the bigger question is why would this be true?
One clue might be found in the lack of a party platform in the 2020 election campaign. Platforms are important as they are statements of values and direction for a political party. This calls into question what the GOP is about.
In the past few decades the central theme of the GOP has been to undermine and weaken our government; the very instrument through which we seek protect our civil liberties, deliver swift and equal justice and provide for the general welfare. These policies might work well for the rich and powerful, but not so much for the rest of America.
Another clue is the steady stream of seething vitriolic rhetoric generated by the GOP in its condemnation of liberals, moderates and members of their own party when they disagree with the shifting positions of their reactionary leaders. What is worst is that this has metastasized into racial and class divisions leaning on authoritarianism.
This poverty of ideas lacks appeal to many voters whose view for America is more democratic and egalitarian. As one conservative recently quipped, what are conservatives conserving?
There is some hope for the Grand Old Party’s return to its former grandness. A large number of members have recognized the impending danger of this authoritarian threat and may splinter off to start anew. Of course this will mean short term disaster for traditional conservatives, but in the long term, the ideas and ideals that made the party so grand will return to the forum of democracy. Just as a body needs a left and right arm, so does democracy need the perspective of a loyal opposition.
Senator Collins has groomed the image of being a moderate and perhaps she might be persuaded to support HR1 and lead the GOP back to its former grandness.