The former VP of the Berkeley College Republicans:
“The giant, unstated truth of American politics of the last decade is the staggering, insane levels of bad faith that Republicans have shown in federal governance, and the unwillingness of mainstream Democrats or supposedly neutral observers to take it seriously.
“The story of what has happened to the GOP is actually a very, very simple story. They had a Presidency which they fully supported under George W. Bush, and it was an immense failure, a failure of a presidency of the kind not seen in generations.
“The GOP’s response to this was not to introspect, but to become a defiant, salt the earth opposition party. Rather than look inward to try to understand what had happened to them such that their governance was such a failure, they decided upon the election of Barack Obama that complete and total opposition – to everything – was the way to go. This was documented at the time – you can read the reporting about a meeting of GOP leadership after the 2008 election (but before the inauguration) where they made a tactical decision to 100% oppose everything Obama did, no matter how reasonable, because by rejecting everything they would deny him the appearance of bipartisanship and thus make it look him he was the radical one. They united themselves in this opposition.
“And it was immensely successful. It took years before anyone other than liberals like Krugman or Jon Chait noticed what was happening. It took Obama about 3 years to realize himself, to realize that you can’t negotiate substance with the GOP because refusing to negotiate was the substance. That’s the definition of reactionism. There was nothing Democrats could to prevent this from happening.
“While this was bad, what was worse was the combination of (i) the GOP’s hollowed-out hatred was an immense success and (ii) their base didn’t know they were being cynical lying sacks of shit. Eventually, even the party officials themselves bought their own nonsense. You can’t live for years with a knowing lie – you eventually convince yourself that the lie is in fact the truth.
“And so we’re now in a position with a party which has no ability to govern anything at a national level, but no one other than liberals realize it. And because they have so thoroughly poisoned the well against liberalism as an identity, no one listens to us liberals. The GOP’s toxic stew of empty, hateful resentment led them to elect Donald Trump, because the only actual qualification for being a conservative nowadays is hating liberals, and Trump was the most straightforward and vicious in his hatred.
“This party is poison. And we may be way too far down to benefit from any antidote.”