And there it is! The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
A Republican intellectual explains why the Republican Party is going to diehttp://www.vox.com/2016/7/25/12256510/republican-party-trump-avik-roy
Avik Roy is a Republican’s Republican. A health care wonk and editor at Forbes, he has worked for three Republican presidential hopefuls — Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio. Much of his adult life has been dedicated to advancing the Republican Party and conservative ideals.
But when I caught up with Roy at a bar just outside the Republican convention, he said something I’ve never heard from an establishment conservative before: The Grand Old Party is going to die.
“I don’t think the Republican Party and the conservative movement are capable of reforming themselves in an incremental and gradual way,” he said. “There’s going to be a disruption.”
Roy isn’t happy about this: He believes it means the Democrats will dominate national American politics for some time. But he also believes the Republican Party has lost its right to govern, because it is driven by white nationalism rather than a true commitment to equality for all Americans.
“Until the conservative movement can stand up and live by that principle, it will not have the moral authority to lead the country,” he told me.
This is a standard assessment among liberals, but it is frankly shocking to hear from a prominent conservative thinker. Our conversation had the air of a confessional: of Roy admitting that he and his intellectual comrades had gone wrong, had failed, had sinned.In 1955, William F. Buckley created the intellectual architecture of modern conservatism by founding National Review, focusing on a free market, social conservatism, and a muscular foreign policy. Buckley’s ideals found purchase in the Republican Party in 1964, with the nomination of Barry Goldwater. While Goldwater lost the 1964 general election, his ideas eventually won out in the GOP, culminating in the Reagan Revolution of 1980.
Normally, Goldwater’s defeat is spun as a story of triumph: how the conservative movement eventually righted the ship of an unprincipled GOP. But according to Roy, it’s the first act of a tragedy.
“Goldwater’s nomination in 1964 was a historical disaster for the conservative movement,” Roy tells me, “because for the ensuing decades, it identified Democrats as the party of civil rights and Republicans as the party opposed to civil rights.”
Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He himself was not especially racist — he believed it was wrong, on free market grounds, for the federal government to force private businesses to desegregate. But this “principled” stance identified the GOP with the pro-segregation camp in everyone’s eyes, while the Democrats under Lyndon Johnson became the champions of anti-racism.
This had a double effect, Roy says. First, it forced black voters out of the GOP. Second, it invited in white racists who had previously been Democrats. Even though many Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act in Congress, the post-Goldwater party became the party of aggrieved whites.
“The fact is, today, the Republican coalition has inherited the people who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — the Southern Democrats who are now Republicans,” Roy says. “Conservatives and Republicans have not come to terms with that problem.”
The available evidence compiled by historians and political scientists suggests that 1964 really was a pivotal political moment, in exactly the way Roy describes.
Yet Republican intellectuals have long denied this, fabricating a revisionist history in which Republicans were and always have been the party of civil rights. In 2012, National Review ran a lengthy cover story arguing that the standard history recounted by Roy was “popular but indefensible.”
This revisionism, according to Roy, points to a much bigger conservative delusion: They cannot admit that their party’s voters are motivated far more by white identity politics than by conservative ideals.
So they deny the party’s racist history, that its post-1964 success was a direct result of attracting whites disillusioned by the Democrats’ embrace of civil rights. And they deny that to this day, Republican voters are driven more by white resentment than by a principled commitment to the free market and individual liberty.
“It’s the power of wishful thinking. None of us want to accept that opposition to civil rights is the legacy that we’ve inherited,” Roy says.
He expands on this idea: “It’s a common observation on the left, but it’s an observation that a lot of us on the right genuinely believed wasn’t true — which is that conservatism has become, and has been for some time, much more about white identity politics than it has been about conservative political philosophy. I think today, even now, a lot of conservatives have not come to terms with that problem.”
This, Roy believes, is where the conservative intellectual class went astray. By refusing to admit the truth about their own party, they were powerless to stop the forces that led to Donald Trump’s rise. They told themselves, over and over again, that Goldwater’s victory was a triumph.
But in reality, it created the conditions under which Trump could thrive. Trump’s politics of aggrieved white nationalism — labeling black people criminals, Latinos rapists, and Muslims terrorists — succeeded because the party’s voting base was made up of the people who once opposed civil rights.