Insanity Defined: Why the Interminable GOP Primary Season is a Win for the Left

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On February 24, 2012, writer Cameron Joseph of The Hill wrote a blog post entitled, Long, Damaging Presidential Primary Has GOP Considering Changes to Its Rules. In it, he quotes John Ryder, an RNC committeeman from Tennessee, who commented on the untenable primary process for the Republican party: “People do have concerns this has gone on longer than they would like and cost more money than they would like and created more thunder and lightning than they would like.”

In the same article, Joseph includes a statement from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, not a candidate in 2012, but surely with his eyes toward the future. Christie observed with his unique combination of aggressive condescension, “This was the dumbest idea anybody ever had…You’re running against an incumbent president who will not have a primary, so your idea is make ours longer so we can beat each other up longer?”

In response to the belief of some GOP strategists that the endless primary season of 2012 was a major drag on Mitt Romney’s chances for presidential success, the Republican National Committee voted to schedule the 2016 nominating convention much earlier. This time, the fun occurs in late June of next year as opposed to the end of August.

My argument this week: we may yet be eight months from the Iowa causes, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. The experience of the 2016 voter is already a battered one, abused by the rhetorical swill of 14 official candidates representing the Grand Old Party. And if that’s the case, Republican efforts to bump up the convention are a moot point – which makes it another great election cycle to sit on the left.

Bernie Sanders’ surprisingly (to some) robust challenge to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is wrought with suspense and tension, but seems rather unlikely to prove an embarrassment to the nation, the party or the candidates themselves. As our own Rmuse put it in an ironic June 3 headline, According To Polls Most Americans Are Socialists Like Bernie Sanders. Although Sanders and Clinton certainly have differences on a variety of issues, there’s no doubt that the politicians’ views are more mainstream than anyone calling themselves a contender on the right. To date, neither Bernie nor Hillary has referred to the immigrant population as a nest of rapists and murderers. So there’s that.

Beyond the sheer length of time the Republicans are affording themselves to proudly wave their ignorance like a parade flag, the party seems to have failed to learn other lessons from 2012 as well.

On March 18, 2013, Benjy Sarlin of TPM wrote 6 Big Takeaways From The RNC’s Incredible 2012 Autopsy. The column, a condensed review of the much-ballyhooed report examining the underlying causes of the Romney shellacking, offered a half dozen important recommendations the party must make actionable if they are to compete in 2016:

  1. Pass Immigration Reform Yesterday 
  2. Listen To Minorities
  3. Gays Aren’t Going Away
  4. Epistemic Closure Is Real
  5. Look To The States
  6. Stop Being The Rich Guys

Ummm…..nope. The Republican candidates of today aren’t listening to any of that noise. Jeb Bush is the only one who will have a serious conversation about immigration policy. Donald Trump and his biggest fan Ted Cruz are driving away the Latino vote in droves. Bobby Jindal has offered legal representation to government employees who’d rather not recognize marriage equality as the law of the land. Mike Huckabee’s talking points are the product of total ideological isolation. And only Marco Rubio suffers the indignity of being left out of the millionaires’ club.

It’s a hilariously perverse state of affairs. It’s one thing to reject every word that comes out of President Obama’s mouth as the crazy talk of a Kenyan, Islamic socialist who hates American and freedom. It’s quite another to reject the wise counsel of your own team, opting instead to adopt the same tactics that failed before, yet expecting different results. It is, as the title of this column alludes, the very definition of insanity.

Evaluating the sideshow that is once again the Republican primary slug fest, Democratic leader Hillary Clinton has wisely adopted a less-is-more approach to media engagement. This is clearly an privilege afforded to the defense. But even the formidable offense of Bernie Sanders is fact-based, articulate, human, populist and devoid of ad hominem attacks. A few of the reasons that he’s enjoying huge crowds and gaining momentum instead of disgusting the country in a mostly bipartisan way. Go figure.

16 Replies to “Insanity Defined: Why the Interminable GOP Primary Season is a Win for the Left”

  1. Well we all know that money drives politics. And since Citizens United – the lynchpins have been removed.

    Result- every money lusting Republican eager to gather up all of the free money that the nimrods are so gleeful to hand out, is jumping on the Nomination Bandwagon.

    Mr. Jindal said it best- “We’ve got to stop being the Stupid Party”.

    They’ve not even raised their foot off of the gas pedal.

  2. I’m scared of Donald Trump. The Teahadist voting habits are based on hate & are easy to rile-up . I resist comparing him to Hitler..but. Don’t say he can’t be elected.

  3. All Trump is now- is talk. Even Hitler served in the military.

    He might be elected- but it’ll take a Hail Mary Pass for that to be accomplished.

    What office has he been elected to? None.

    Yet Obama was a Senator before he ran, and every Republican liked to whinge about him being a ‘community organizer’ instead.

    Tea Baggers are indeed easy to rile up, and just as easy to manipulate into doing something even more stupid, by anyone.

  4. you have to admit, if the dnc was to create a real manchurian gop plant, trump has done it. hes going to kill jeb, and marco. hes going to kill the rove ailes koch poster boy walker. hes going to alienate much of the usa. just watched his hour long improv diatribe, in az, and it was classic. note the whole audience was mostly white, the baggers have a new god, and it ‘trumps’ the klown kar….

  5. Worry me none,the Biggest clown will be the biggest loser and Trumpty Dumpty will have a great fall,because his 15 minutes of hate fame is about to be OVA. [WINK] you betcha’

  6. The Dixiecans did this to themselves. It is the fulfillment of the ‘southern strategy’ and they got what they wished for. They have to double down on stupid, because if they don’t, they will alienate their ‘base’. The would-be ‘establishment’ candidates can’t walk back any of the dung-bag crazy, because they will be immediately attacked by at least a half-dozen of the hustlers running, plus the agit-prop RW ‘media’. Catch-22 on steroids.

    Course, I would never count out the insider-beltway-‘liberal’ hacks in the media like C. Matthews, Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, Cokey Roberts, NPR, Tom Friedman, et al, to come to the rescue.

  7. Who in America…
    Is or Would be willing to vote for Political Party whom political party motto was…AND STILL IS…
    “We Will Not Let Fact-Checkers Alter Our Campaign” in 2012…
    when American Electorate Called out their out-of-touch talking points with American Electorate; Republican Political Policies and Proposals, all geared or engineered by KOCH Brothers, ALEC and Multinational Corporations TO MAKE AMERICA GREECE by their puppet(s)in States as well as in Congress that are actively at work destroying jobs, economy and social safety nets just like the Ultra Conservatives in Greek that the far-right are doing to Republicans in our own nation.
    Republicans had proven to themselves and our nation… they are their own worst enemy… to themselves and comparative analysis of to the worse terrorist in the World… IS or ISIL is GOP.
    Heads-Up Republicans… Bernie Sanders GOT 2016 PRESIDENTIAL WIN!!!

  8. In all honesty, I’m a bit worried.
    The theory of Trump going the distance then dropping out to endorse Walker has me a little uncomfortable.

    If the dems don’t get out and vote…I fear what could happen.

    Ease my mind….PLEASE!

  9. Just keep in mind how sure Karl Rove was on election
    night of 2012 that Romney was going to win. Now think
    about how Walker stacks up against Romney as a can-
    didate and you’ll feel much better about America’s
    future. Jah bless.

  10. Well, the GOP don’t want Trump to get much further and they’re pretty powerful. As soon as he’s spent his nut, he’s out. The sooner the better!

  11. Don’t be so sure. Repubs at the national level have no control of the candidates and the voting base. The repub base thinks like Trump.

  12. It’s not just the southern repubs. My brother born in Michigan who still lives here is a RWNJ all the way. He supports the Confederate flag! We don’t do politics at all. He was not raised in a repub home. He’s hateful just like all the other repubs we see and hear.

  13. Unfortunately, there are plenty of “your brothers” in Michigan. That’s how you got Snyder, and he’s almost as bad as Walker and Scott. Get those unions back and get going on the Dems that are left there.

  14. On the upside to this, the sun is shining in FLA, because the current voting districts need to be redrawn again, after just being done so in 2012. The Florida Supreme Court ruled the map as unconstitutional, and the gerrymandering has fallen through! Now, if we can get rid of the voter ID laws, then non-GOP voters might get a chance to turn things around, at least down here.

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