Will the GOP Break Apart in 2016?

Peggy Noonan: “I have not seen a political cycle so confounding in my lifetime, and it could continue into a year of the most historic kind. If you love politics—the excitement, the unknowability, the to-and-fro—this is the year for you. If you take unhappy U.S. political trends seriously—the shallowness, the restiveness, the division of our polity—you will feel legitimate concern.”

“We could see a great party split in two. That, I think, is what I’m seeing among the Republicans, a slow-motion break. The question is whether it will play out over the next few cycles or turn abrupt and fiery in this one. Some in Washington speak giddily of the prospect, wondering aloud if the new party’s logo should be a lion or a gazelle. But America’s two-party system has reigned almost since its beginning, and it has kept us from much woe. It has provided stability, reliability and, yes, progress. The breaking or splintering of one of those parties would be an epochal event.”

“If the GOP breaks it will be bitter. The establishment thinks they are saving the party from the vandals—from Trumpian know-nothingism. But Republicans on the ground think those in the establishment were the vandals, with their open borders, donor-class interests and social liberalism.”

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  • frankelee

    If Peggy Noonan thinks something could happen, that should tell you something about how likely it is.

    • LordDart

      Now, now…she’s brilliant when it comes to interpreting trends…from yard signs…

      • Ann_Elin

        Only after a pot, or two, of bourbon for breakfast.

  • Hagar32Grady

    Peggers has been soooo wrong soooooo many times….I just hope she is right this time. (I mean correct …she is always Right ‘-) ….If she is correct this time I will “Savor” her prognostication.

    • evave2

      You know, I don’t believe she actually has RIGHT ideals. I think when she met Ronald Reagan she fell into AWE and has spent the rest of her life putting things into little boxes and making it all come out right for HER ideas of Reagan’s ideas.

      I think she is a fan who never got over being a fan.

  • APV

    “Some in Washington speak giddily of the prospect, wondering aloud if the new party’s logo should be a lion or a gazelle.”

    It should be an orange skunk, symbolic of Trump and the cannibalized Boehner.

    • Make sure that stripe is still white though. The base will eat that up.

      • montag

        Most appropriate since the GOP is largely comprised of white stinkers.

      • Trajan8

        Yellow-bellied?

      • BarryR

        The Creamsicle Party.

    • It should be the Tea Party Snake – recognizable, and honest.

    • jpic

      How about a rattler? Poisonous for the entire country.

      • Snakegirl Lyn

        I’m thinking more like zombies than reptiles. Reptiles have an honest place in this world and are actually valuable to the world. Zombies? They shamble about decaying as they go, will eat you alive if given the chance, and have died but don’t have the good sense to lie down and accept it. Sounds like a much more accurate description of the gop/tp than describing them as reptiles (snakes).

  • wtrash123

    Wow! Such a profound analysis from PeggyNoonan, that nobody else could see coming!

  • Nick Scanlan

    Wishful thinking but it’s not going to happen. Republicans know they would be shut out completely if they splintered.

    • cmb

      And all the GOTP candidates (except Kasich?) have pledged to support Trump if he wins. So she must be anticipating Trump running 3d party after some primary and/or convention shenanigans.

    • Texas Kelly

      A centrist Republican party playing the “liberal” Democrats against the extremist Tea Party could easily claim the dominant role in a three-party system. They would have to make some changes to their platform, but they’re only changes that they should’ve made decades ago.

      It’s frankly astonishing to me that the establishment doesn’t understand that a breakup is for the best. Long term, hitching the wagon to the Tea Party is a recipe for irrelevance.

  • S1AMER

    As long as there’s racism and xenophobia and homophobia and jingoism and fun stuff like that, they’ll be some glue to hold the GOP together.

    • moderatesunite

      however, in a multi-party system that kind of appeal could well shrink to getting only 10-30% of the vote, as it has in most other western democracies

      • YankeeClipper

        It’s at that level in the U.S…..and they all vote Republican.

        • moderatesunite

          I know, what I mean is that in a multi-party system the party containing those people wont ever get much more than that

  • southerndemnut

    I can barely stand to read what Peggy Noonan writes almost as much difficulty as listening to her on television. 90% of what she says is wistful nostalgia that has little relevance today. Even if this is something of a sighing emotional piece meant to evoke pity, it is not entirely inaccurate. If anything, the party’s logo should be an angry dog.

    • TexasLou

      Was thinking the same way.

      While Sarah Palin’s word-salads on the other end of the sophistication spectrum, I find Noonan’s equally difficult to take,

      • evave2

        Oh Lordie, it is word-salad. This idea and that idea and then the dolphins come to take her away to Calgon.

    • montag

      Or a mama grizzly.

      • southerndemnut

        Maybe but since we are quickly hurtling towards a Trump nomination, and his narcissistic alpha male rhetoric, an angry dog applies to so many real and perceived things today and historically about this candidacy. I think we are even past Mama Grizzly, we are onto a Michael Douglas “Falling Down” phase.

    • lostintheswamp

      reading peggy noonan is pretty awful, but not as awful as listening to her … and i like the angry dog logo – maybe a little foaming at the mouth so there’s no doubt about how mindlessly angry they really are ….

      • Snakegirl Lyn

        Gotcha covered up above lost. ^^

    • Snakegirl Lyn

      Or perhaps a rabid one.

  • ne2indy

    Splintering the Republican party would be grand. Get rid of the electoral college for starters. It’s unfair and favors states with large populations while other states are ignored. Plus it’s what retains the two party system. You could win the popular vote and still lose the election. Isn’t that what happened to Al Gore? Never mind the underhanded doings by Katherine Harris in Florida.
    I think the original idea of the electoral college was because they only wanted educated people & landowners to vote. Today most people have at least a high school education so we can think on our own.
    Peggy Noonan and her big ideas are unreliable anyway.

    • Nic Starling

      You REALLY want to see small states and places with less population get ignored? Then get rid of the electoral college. Because that’s exactly what it prevents. If we go to straight popular vote, candidates would only need to visit populous states and favorable large cities. Our system would become MORE polarized, not less.

      • That’s the biggest myth of the electoral college. It’s completely ineffectual if that’s its purpose. (Published in 2011, so “previous election” refers to 2008.)

        • kevinb

          CGP Grey is the absolute best at explaining stuff like this. Glad to see more people bringing him up.

          • I’ve been a big fan of his for awhile. He’s educational gold.

        • Sardu

          These are great! Thanks for posting this if only to show me another great channel to subscribe to.

      • oldhandatthis

        I’m not sure about the polarization bit, but I agree candidates would become more focused on big cities and states.

    • The electoral college benefits small states by taking away electoral votes from large populations to give the small states a 2-vote floor, even when their populations don’t merit it. This shifts the weight of electoral college votes towards small states. However, both small and large states are ignored if the partisan tilt of a state is lopsided, because if you win a state, you get all of their votes. So this focuses all the attention on the swing states, regardless of population.

      What keeps the country in a two party system is the First-Past-The-Post voting system we use, instead of an alternative-vote or some other method. This allows third party candidates to be spoilers, so no one votes for them out of fear of letting their second choice fail and leaving a third shitty choice to win. Thus only the two biggest parties receive any attention – or you get a Ralph Nader scenario.

      • Buford2k11

        like in Maine…

    • The Electoral College gives disproportionately greater influence to smaller states than they would get with a more proportional system because it guarantees 3 electoral votes to states that would get fewer if it were based solely on proportional population.

    • John Herling

      Do people who only watch Fox News really think on their own when it comes to politics?

  • growe

    Open borders and social liberalism from the establishment?
    Wow Xanax Noonan must still be mood-enhancing like it’s New Year’s Eve!

    Some of the (ghost)writing is more interesting than a Peggy ‘I wrote speeches for Saint Ronnie’ standard piece. (Ronnie King of Amnesty and Open Borders).

    The Democrats literally split into 3 parties in 1948 and took 40 years to reset. The GOP has always had three main wings to balance. That’s the price of “not” having a more fractured and multiparty election system.

    I can’t figure out why Peggy’s establishment handlers asked for this angle?

  • Nic Starling

    Even the Whigs were progressive compared to today’s GOP. It’s true, modern Republican ideology is closer to the Know-Nothings. If that’s who they want to be, more power (less power) to them.

  • OBX47

    The GOP has taken a dead end road; it is the road they have selected and whatever happens, I think at this point, the country will be better off without the Republican Party. What they did in the past is over and done; what they have done is the present is to work to destroy this government and this country, not to mention their efforts to destroy the separation of church and state that has worked so well in this country for centuries.

  • Adam_T

    I actually more or less agree with Peggy Noonan and I think she’s on to something here (I could have done without her flowery language though.)

    I actually wrote this on Dave Leip’s political forum yesterday:

    I think the large majority of Trump voters are the middle aged working class whites (probably mostly white males as well) who are mainly voting on economic issues. I think what has happened is this:

    Working class whites shifted to the Republicans first under Nixon (actually in the south, first with Goldwater, but anyway.) Nixon’s strategy was called ‘The Southern Strategy’ but, I think it is more accurate to call it the ‘working class whites strategy.’ However, Nixon appealed to these people on the basis of social issues (‘the silent majority’) and not on due to any economic issues (Nixon: “we are all Keynesians now.”) Also, Nixon and then Ford, obviously because of Watergate and subsequently, Ford’s pardon of Nixon, lost a lot of these new Republicans back to Jimmy Carter and the Democrats.

    My guess is, is that had Jimmy Carter appointed Paul Volker as his first act as President and given him full authority to ‘whip inflation now’ and not waited until 1979, that inflation would have greatly diminished, the economy would have started to turn around, and even with the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Carter would have been reelected and he would have kept these working class whites largely in the Democratic Party for another generation. (Obviously this part is pure speculation, but the rest isn’t.)

    However, Reagan was reelected with his ‘Reaganomics’ (aka more or less, Monetarism, supply side economics voodoo economics and trickle down economics) and he reaped the benefit of Paul Volker’s actions. However, he also got most working class whites of his day to believe that it was his entire agenda of deregulation (started under Carter), slashing social services, tax cuts mainly for the wealthy, strong support for the Federal Reserve and free trade that was responsible for ‘Morning in America.’ (and some of those things may also actually have contributed.)

    However, Ronald Reagan was first elected 36 years ago, and for today’s working class whites he is either a distant memory, if remembered at all, and for some of those that aren’t aware of what his ‘Reaganomics’ supposedly accomplished, they not only may not revere him so much, but they likely hold part of his agenda as responsible for the growing income inequality and their difficulty in general of being able to find secure and reasonably well paying work.

    So, while Ronald Reagan was able to make this largely unnatural alliance of working class whites and the ‘country club’ establishment work, due almost entirely to the appalling greed of these country club establishment Republicans in taking virtually all of the gains in income from productivity increases for themselves, and also in switching the tax ‘burden’ so much from themselves to everybody else, that naturally this coalition has mostly fallen apart, and the middle aged and, to the degree they exist, younger working class whites are largely anti establishment and don’t care very much for the 1% (or more accurately the 1% of the 1%.)

    I hear this on radio shows in that a lot of the older working class whites are still largely pro free trade and still argue that wages need to be kept low in order to not see jobs shipped overseas, while a lot of the younger and middle aged working class types are almost entirely suspicious of free trade and, while still largely being anti union and believing wages shouldn’t rise too much, they also are unhappy that their wages haven’t risen much at all since they started working.

    Also, I think we are seeing a gradual, albeit slow realization, even among these Republicans, that not only is the ‘American dream’ slipping away for most Americans, and especially for those with lesser education, but their hope of becoming part of the 1% is now pretty much just a pipe dream. It had been argued, and likely with some accuracy that most poorer Republicans did not mind laws, regulations and taxation that favored the wealthy, because they thought they would become wealthy themselves some day. I don’t hear that so much anymore.

    I also hear at least some of these callers say that while they support Trump, in general, they really don’t care for most wealthy people.

    Finally, had it not been for Ronald Reagan winning over these working class whites to the Republicans based on economic issues after Jimmy Carter failed to keep them for the Democrats when given one last chance, while the Democratic Party would likely still be liberal leaning and the Republican party would still being overwhelmingly conservative on social issues, these issues would probably be more like they were to the parties in the 1960s and 1970s, with both parties being more mixed.

    It was the possibly permanent and still increasing switching of working class whites, who are generally socially conservative, that greatly enlarged the social conservative base of the Republican Party and greatly diminished that base in the Democratic Party.

    • MC Planck

      A nice analysis, but there is a far simpler answer: Trump’s voters are the people who want white male privilege to be restored instead of abolished.

      • evave2

        They are the people who bought Reagan’s Morning in America, and never noticed that household income only went up because they sent the wife out to work. Nowadays it takes two salaries to maintain one household. But the Trump voters don’t see cause-and-effect, do they? Reagan policies = end of the middle class.

      • Snakegirl Lyn

        Restored and enshrined.

    • southerndemnut

      Fed Governors and Fed Chairs, once appointed, cannot be sacked until their terms ends, although I suppose there are ways of removing someone if there is subterfuge. This was part of the checks and balances for the Fed like the Judiciary the President has influence over the process in the beginning but the Fed has a certain level of independence without fear of repercussion. Arthur F. Burns, Nixon’s Fed Chair whose two terms lasted until 1978, as well as Carter’s initial selection, G. William Miller, both believed in an expansionist monetary policy. Burns was unusually susceptible to political influence which Nixon exerted to his fullest extent. Higher levels of inflation were deemed acceptable through most of the 70s because the economic engine kept going. Carter has one of the better records of job creation among Presidents, but everything hit the fan after OPEC II. The combination of additional energy inflation plus the resultant downturn in the economy created a double-negative for the Carter Administration. Eventually, Carter did appoint Paul Volker, who correctly surmised that it was necessary to bring down inflation, even if it meant going into recession, would be the most appropriate long-term solution. Volker did begin to tighten interest rates under Carter but not as drastically as under Reagan. If we would have gone into recession as deeply as we did in 1982 to combat inflation in 1980 Carter would have been tanked before the election even began. A President should certainly not play games with the economy to win an election (although some, notably Nixon did try) Carter was caught between a rock and a hard place. The sins of the 1970s came to bear by 1980 and when the music stopped he was the odd man out. Had Ford been elected in 1976, he certainly would not have been able to run in 1980 and a Democrat would have surely been elected considering. http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2012-08-20/how-volcker-launched-his-attack-on-inflation Great article on the subject – especially if you read Part 2 & 3.

      • Adam_T

        Had Arthur Burns, appointed by the Republican Nixon been asked to step down by the new Democratic President Jimmy Carter, I think he probably would have done so. There would have been no perceived threat to the independence of the Federal Reserve Chair, just that a new President of a different party wanted to move in a different direction.

        It’s quite clear though that Jimmy Carter did not initially agree with the findings or Milton Friedman that argued against, if not outright disproved the Phillips Curve, so he had no reason to appoint Paul Volker initially.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillips_curve

        Had Carter agreed with Friedman and appointed Volker upon taking office (assuming Burns agreed to resign) Volker’s medicine would have initiated a major recession as it did under Reagan, but Carter would not have cut welfare and other support programs at the same time, so the worst effects of the major recession would have not been as severe for the most badly harmed.

  • wtrash123

    Peggy gets an “A” in Journalism 101!
    She’s been taking good notes before her midnight snack every night.

  • Wynstone

    You could see a once great party split in two. What we have now is a party divided between anti-science religious zealots that are the flipside of the Taliban coin and anti-equality class warriors. Neither of which have noble intentions if unchecked.

    • I think it could still technically qualify as great if it applies to size.

      • Snakegirl Lyn

        It’s rapidly losing even that.

  • alrudder

    If you love politics and hate the GOP, 2016 will be a great year

  • CSears

    I see no permanent breech. The FiCons have no votes and the SoCons have no money. So the FiCons and the SoCons will kiss and make up. That may not be this fall. But they will have their make up sex.

    I say this because Trump has no second act. Sarah Palin had no second act although it is inarguably true that Trump is the logical extension of Palin. That said, I don’t see anyone on the horizon with their draw. And that said, I never heard of Palin before 2008. So what do I know.

    The SoCons will forever be in search an alpha idiot.

    • PoppyLee

      FiCons? SoCons? I know you’re trying to say something, but you’ve left out a big part of the puzzle.

      • realnrh

        Financial ‘conservatives’ (who think having no taxes is an ideal state) and social ‘conservatives’ (who think the government should let anyone do anything they want unless it offends fundamentalist Christians).

        • PoppyLee

          Ah, of course. Thank you. I agree with you that Donald is the logical extension of Palin. Both alpha idiots. There’s no there, there.

          • Adam_T

            I think Trump has demonstrated that while he is genuinely thin skinned and petulant, that he is also highly intelligent and may or may not actually believe much of anything he says.

            He is doing stunningly well for a first time candidate and he should not be understimated.

  • Coterie

    “…the unknowability…”
    Nonsense. Just count lawn signs.

    • evave2

      She makes up words, doesn’t she? She is her own sui generis.

      • Coterie

        “mulier sui fecit”

        Thanks. Google.

  • evave2

    Does anybody know what the bedrock Republican principles Noonan and David Frum and Michael Gerson all cling to? Did they not notice that the GOP has turned into a party which advocates many things they do not seem to believe? Is it that they think the GOP was selling ‘stuff’ to the rubes over the years to get the ‘wise men’ of the party elected? I know these are rhetorical questions. I doubt they themselves could answer them.

    Frum’s Atlantic (?) piece, mid-December, which I read, was enlightening in that he recognized that the GOP had been selling their voters a mess of pottage for quite a while and ‘that’ is why the voters had turned against the GOP establishment. His four prescriptions were reasonable. But he could not get to the fact that the people who vote GOP have no reason to trust after 30yr of lies what the GOP is doing.

    Reagan took over the GOP establishment, but he hired all the ‘usual suspects’ (like Jim Baker) who explained to him (after he lowered taxes) that what he was now doing was ‘revenue enhancements’ not actual taxes. So the GOP establishment owned his administration to a degree. But the voters who voted GOP were promised Morning in America but didn’t notice at the time that their actual worth was declining because sending the wives out to work lifted income.

    It took decades for things to truly level off and then begin to decline. I am shocked that Americans’ net worth is lower than 1999 levels. Well, the policies Reagan began did that, so I guess shocked but not surprised.

    The GOP sold their voters on hating everything the Democrats stood for; I doubt I could ever get a GOPer to recognize that things went south for the Middle Class once the anti-union stuff began to take effect.

    • Wynstone

      I think some party faithful are clinging to memories and don’t abandon the party now simply out of having no place to go. If they quit and become independent, they are rudderless and without the fraternity they have cherished.

    • Snakegirl Lyn

      Yup. Union anything has become outright anathema to them. I’ve been simply amazed at the number of people who will happily cut their own throats, all the while claiming it’s unions holding the knife. It’s unreal.

      BTW- there was an interesting piece on Salon a few days back on Reagan. I believe it was an excerpt from a book. (I’ll post a link if I can find the article again.) The excerpt was terrifying in how it described Reagan as the most uninformed, as well as having little to interest in becoming informed, president in our lifetimes, save perhaps Bush the Lesser. Reading Noonan makes me wonder if she either took drugs to make her forget or has simply decided that she’s only going to remember the “good times” as it were. Reading that article actually made me think that the rot and decay that we are witnessing in the republican party today actually set in with Reagan’s administration, not BTL. Of course, BTL furthered and broadened the rot and decay, but things really started going to shit with Reagan. It’s not surprising then that things on the right/hard right are the way they are; they’ve been headed down this path for at least 4 decades, and the wise saint that Peggy Noonan, Frum, and other bewildered conservatives claim to remember never actually existed. Also not surprising.

      • evave2

        Who/What is BTL? OH, it is Bush the Lesser! Got it.

        Peggy, in her book about meeting/joining Reagan, discusses seeing his foot before she saw him and it is QUITE a disquisition on that foot. Really creepy.

        She does appear drugged or something; Chris Matthews has her on Hardball quite often and she does not appear to be able to order her thoughts, you know? Of course, we are all older and I myself am on 7 different medications. Sometimes things gets a little fuzzy for me too.

        My daughter lives in Las Vegas NV and they have a GOP governor (Sandoval) and I have to say he is ‘not’ crazy. I asked her what makes him a Republican, because she never tells me hideous things he does: she said, he hates unions. He would walk a mile in a blizzard to screw over a union.

        (She works Democratic political campaigns so it’s not that she’s disloyal, she’s just practical. She wants a Dem, but she just doesn’t hate Sandoval. She’s a better person than I, for this kind of future, I’ll hate all the Republicans and go to confession and ask forgiveness. It is so hard for me to view people like Noonan or Frum or Gerson with any kind of compassion. They don’t know what the party they belong to really is, they thought selling garbage to their voters to get the ‘worthy’ like GWB elected was ok. And they ‘still’ don’t get it.)

  • I hope so. I would love that.

  • Jack Smach

    Why post anything by Noonan? Always avoid any Sunday AM show with Noonan. Boycott all Noonan!

    • evave2

      Oh come in, in the spirit of holiday cheer (and I am three sheets to the wind having drunk a bottle of Moet champagne with Husband) enjoy her for just being batty.

      The GOP ‘establishment’ is nuts and it’s high time they noticed it TOO.

      • Red Phillips

        Oooh, tsk tsk… PWI.

  • GatorLegal1

    The GOP is not going to break up. They will continue to get more extreme all through this year – even as they lose the Presidency again and lose control of the Senate – and all the way through 2018 as well, thus driving whatever’s left of the moderates in their party to either vote Democratic or not at all. 2020 will be a transition year. The new census, along with accelerating demographic changes, will force their hand that year, and this will continue into 2022 and 2024. As a result they will almost certainly (IMO) choose to tone down and moderate their positions and may even start isolating and turning against the extremist factions of their party by that time. Their only other path would lead toward irrelevancy; IMO, there is not room for two conservative parties in a country as diverse as ours. Democrats would win a lot of three-way races, and they know it, even though they don’t act like it now. (The extremist factions in the GOP are pushing the envelope as far as they can now, and they don’t plan to stop. As a party, I think that choice will be made for them during their desperate attempts at self-preservation to stave off obsolescence circa 2020-2024 as I describe above, although I don’t expect they will do any much more house-cleaning than is necessary for them to win any given election. The GOP currently controls something like 60% of all governorships and state legislatures; that is reason enough alone to conclude their party will not splinter)… Just my 2cents

    • southerndemnut

      The vagaries of the two-party system our country has will ensure the survival of the Republican Party (at least in name and apparatus) for the long-term future. Even if Hillary wins in 2016 and 2020, the Democrats take back at least the Senate, if not the House at some point, the GOP will rise again. The question is whether that will happen sooner or later and what will it look like. Even if Hillary wins in 2016, takes the Senate, the House may very well stay in the GOP hands. Through the effects of gerrymandering and demographic dispersion, it will be difficult for the GOP do really go into a deep minority, at least not in the foreseeable future. However I will say, that if the GOP loses the White House in 2016, there will be a real day of reckoning in that party. Not this white paper and lip service thing that occurred after 2012 knowing that the 2016 race would be open. A Hillary Presidency would force the GOP to face the reality that they may go 16 years without occupying the White House. I suspect there will be a Presidential candidate from outside the old white base that will rise up and become a strong force that will move the party in that direction. Marco Rubio could have had the opportunity to do that, but with the rise of Trump, that idea has been squashed for this cycle. The GOP could theoretically exist as a sort of permanent minority party doing well enough in Congressional elections to never allow the Democrats to control the entire legislative process while perennially losing the White House, but I don’t see that happening. The Obama coalition may prove enduring for a while, in the same way the New Deal coalition did for Democrats more or less through 1980, and the GOP’s Nixonian/Reagan did until Obama arrived.

    • John Herling

      Using their control of state governments, the Republicans can continue to gerrymander after the 2020 census.

  • abctefg

    Go Dolphins!

  • realnrh

    It’s only confounding to someone who’s still amazed that Mitt Romney’s lead in the critical Yard Signs In Peggy Noonan’s Neighborhood Election didn’t hold up at the national scale.

  • ralph_wiggam

    Will the GOP Break Apart in 2016?

    Short answer: yes.

    Long answer: yes please.

  • Lee

    The republican party should be called the party of people who don’t get it. After a series of losses enlightened organizations recalculate, so to speak, and change direction. The republicans, in true form of angry entitled types, instead decided to move even further right, and push anyone that can even remotely be interpeted as being a moderate out of their little gang. They no longer function like a modern political party, but like a cult.

  • fgtayl01

    The force of Anybody But Hillary is too strong to let that happen this year.
    But a Republican presidency could make Boehner look like a uniter.

  • peterjohn936

    The party won’t fall apart. Most of the Republican Congressmen will get reelected. And to the Republican Congressmen that is the only thing that matters.

  • UnionLeague

    A shattered and shrunken GOP can only help the country.

  • Vera

    If the radical social conservatives broke from the GOP to an actual third party Tea Party, rather than a faction of the Republican Party it could be the best thing to happen to the USA in a century. An isolated fringe party would be marginalized, it would force states to reconsider how they draw district lines, a more moderate GOP would attract some voters from the Dems and allow for cross party alliances and restore a balance to a healthy state where the serious elected officials negotiate policy. Eventually the power of the Tea party would be diluted to the point where they fade into an historical footnote like the Whigs.

  • mhandrh

    Should that happen, someone would have to tell me the downside because I don’t see one.

  • Wags

    Dear Peggy Noonan: Please explain to me precisely how establishment Republicans are “socially liberal.” This is a serious question, as I am really trying to think of one example of this but I simply can’t. Maybe I’m missing something. Please enlighten me. Thanks!

    • Snakegirl Lyn

      I know. That statement cracked me up too.

  • CB123

    I think the potential for the GOP to formally break apart is next to nil, but Noonan ignores the fact that parties broke up or folded with regularity until the 1850s. It wouldn’t be an unprecedented event, nor would it be a catastrophe.

  • mjcc1987

    Well, when you invite hate, fear, loathing and foster racism, homophobia, sexism, and cater exclusively to the rich and powerful, well, you get this…………

  • PoppyLee

    The GOP is already broken apart. The question is, will they ever get it back together?

  • YankeeClipper

    “The establishment thinks they are saving the party from the vandals—from Trumpian know-nothingism. But Republicans on the ground think those in the establishment were the vandals, with their open borders, donor-class interests and social liberalism.”

    Peggy Noonan, desperately trying to back pedal away from her status as a member of the GOP establishment.

  • Jon

    I think in the short term it would help the Democrats because the conservative vote would be split into two factions. In the long term though it might help the mainstream Republican group because I think what would happen is that the more mainstream group would drift towards the middle of the political spectrum and then we would have three groups – a liberal, a conservative and a middle of the road group. Most Americans I think would tend to call themselves moderate/middle of the road so in the long term I think it would help the mainstream Republican group.. That is my theory.

    • SoundTownSal

      And I think that could be a good thing. In the past, many moderate Republicans were intelligent, hard-working people–earnest about government, etc. I always think back to the Republicans on the Watergate Committee. Not sure there are any today who could hold a candle to some of those people. From Margaret Chase Smith to Sarah Palin.