Democrats vs Republicans. Not exactly new or novel, the two have been duking it out politically for more than a century and a half. Sometimes the Republicans win, and sometimes the Democrats win. And as political analysts become increasingly happy to remind us as we near yet another midterm election, sometimes the power swings are massive.
But those swings all have one thing in common, they’re transitional. The GOP has a great cycle and goes +54. Then the Democrats chip away over the next 2-3 cycles, and go +56 which the GOP chips away at. There is a natural ebb and flow that keeps either side from “permanently” tipping the playing field.
But every once in an almost never, there is a cataclysmic event, like a meteor sending the dinosaurs off to star in Steven Spielberg movies, that changes more than just the dynamics, it fundamentally changes the landscape, in a much more enduring way. And I think we just had one of those events.
The last time it happened was back in 1964. Back then, the Democrats ran the south like a mom and pop bodega. And then, the unimaginable happened, President Lyndon Baines Johnson did the right thing, and signed into law the Civil Rights Act that he had fought so hard for. And just like that, the entire political calculus changed, to the detriment of the Democrats. The best line in the movie LBJ is when Johnson turns to a smiling aide after the signing, and drawls, “What the hell are you smiling about? We just lost the south for a generation!” It turns out that LBJ low balled his prediction, we’re now midway through the third generation following the signing, with little change in sight. The red southern wall is the plug that keeps the Republican party on life support.
But as we survey the carnage of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation battle, it seems to me like Donald Trump and the GOP may finally have had their “LBJ” moment. The Republican party is already at a disadvantage. They really are the party of “angry old white dudes,” and the racist, white male dominance platform they espouse to keep their base happy is not conducive to attracting minorities that are sick and tired of getting poked with the shit end of the stick.
But there just aren’t enough angry old white dudes, and the actuarial tables make that problem worse every day. The GOP has actually survived on women, more specifically white women. They have appealed to white women by a variety of means, most notably safety and good old fashioned “family values.”
But Donald Trump screwed the pooch. The coronation of “President P*ssy Grabber” has been a rallying cry for women since day one. The cardinal rule of politics is, “When you’re in a hole, stop digging,” but Trump keeps throwing dirt around like he has stock in Caterpillar. Trump has made the situation worse by glorifying in his obvious disdain for women, slyly making it a feature of his rallies for his largely white male audience, whom he obviously thinks have the same disdain for women that he does. The warning signs are already there, as witnessed by the Democrats over performance in the special elections held since Trump’s inauguration, as well as the 2017 Virginia state election.
But the Brett Kavanaugh nomination was the hot needle poked into the last nerve. Trump can actually be forgiven for the initial nomination of Kavanaugh, since the Ford, Ramirez, and Swetnick allegations were “hidden land mines,” they only surfaced after Kavanaugh had been nominated. But once those allegations broke, the only sane thing to do was to pull the nomination. After all, it wasn’t like there weren’t other conservative judges who couldn’t accomplish the same goals, without all of the incendiary baggage. But Trump has the IQ of Sakrete, so he did what he always does, he doubled down in the face of opposition. Not only did he defend Kavanaugh, he actually tried to make Kavanaugh the victim of all of those vicious, conniving female sexual assault survivors, and their sob sisters in the Democratic party. That was the double barrel birds to women that will do the most lasting damage.
Any man who has ever been married can tell you that a wife is the only thing in the world with a longer memory than his mother. Both of them can put a Pentium processor to shame when it comes to memory, and like the processor, they’ll never let you forget it. And the damage isn’t limited to Glorious Bleater himself. In their fawning subservience to Trump, in order to appeal to his base, pretty much every GOP politician out there has tarred himself with the Trump brush. They are all mini-me’s of Trump, and will share in the spoils of his recklessness. This is especially true in the Senate, where with the exception of Lisa Murkowski, they all stood one by one to affirm that women don’t mean jack.
It has been 54 years since Lyndon Johnson turned the Democratic party into an apparently permanent pariah in the south. But the simple fact of the matter is that women are now the numerical majority in the population of the United states, and that even applies to the parts of the US that are south of the Mason-Dixon line. President George H W Bush ushered in the “year of the woman” in 1992 with his nomination of Clarence Thomas, but Bush didn’t personalize the attack on women the way that Trump did. If Trump has alienated white women, all the gerrymandering in the world won’t save the GOP, because those women were a large part of the gerrymandering equation. LBJ unintentionally built the “southern wall” with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and it may well be Trump who finally demolished it with Brett Kavanaugh. I love irony.