Why Today’s GOP Crackup Is the Final Unraveling of Nixon’s ‘Southern Strategy’

Tea Party rebels are exposing the deep rifts between country-club elites and social-issue hard-liners.

John Boehner
Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, walks away from the microphone during a news conference after a House GOP meeting on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 in Washington. The federal government remains partially shut down and faces a first-ever default between Oct. 17 and the end of the month. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

By William Greider

Fresh chatter among Washington insiders is not about whether the Republican Party will win in 2016 but whether it will survive. Donald Trump—the fear that he might actually become the GOP nominee—is the ultimate nightmare. Some gleeful Democrats are rooting (sotto voce) for the Donald, though many expect he will self-destruct.

Nevertheless, Republicans face a larger problem. The GOP finds itself trapped in a marriage that has not only gone bad but is coming apart in full public view. After five decades of shrewd strategy, the Republican coalition Richard Nixon put together in 1968—welcoming the segregationist white South into the Party of Lincoln—is now devouring itself in ugly, spiteful recriminations.

The abrupt resignation of House Speaker John Boehner was his capitulation to this new reality. His downfall was loudly cheered by many of his own troops—the angry right-wingers in the House who have turned upon the party establishment. Chaos followed. The discontented accuse party leaders of weakness and betraying their promises to the loyal rank and file.

At the heart of this intramural conflict is the fact that society has changed dramatically in recent decades, but the GOP has refused to change with it. Americans are rapidly shifting toward more tolerant understandings of personal behavior and social values, but the Republican Party sticks with retrograde social taboos and hard-edged prejudices about race, gender, sexual freedom, immigration, and religion. Plus, it wants to do away with big government (or so it claims).

The party establishment, including business and financial leaders, seems to realize that Republicans need to moderate their outdated posture on social issues. But they can’t persuade their own base—especially Republicans in the white South—to change. The longer the GOP holds out, the more likely it is to be damaged by the nation’s changing demographics—the swelling impact of Latinos and foreign-born citizens, and the flowering influence of millennials, the 18-to-30-year-olds who are more liberal and tolerant than their elders.

Read more at The Nation

The Democrats Face a Revolution

The crowd cheers as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally and concert at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa January 30, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich - RTX24R4K
The crowd cheers as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally and concert at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa January 30, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich – RTX24R4K

By Molly Ball

MASON CITY, Iowa—They say this Democratic candidate for president—the one running against Hillary Clinton—can’t possibly win a national election. But Susan Sarandon, the Oscar-winning liberal actress, was here to remind the people of this small Iowa town that they’d heard that line before.

“Last time, the people of Iowa didn’t listen to the machine,” Sarandon said, russet-colored hair framing her famous face as she looked out on the Music Man Square, an indoor fake streetscape commemorating the birthplace of the famous musical’s author. “They said he was unelectable—a black man with a funny last name. Well, here we are again, facing the machine.”

In Sarandon’s telling, the unkempt socialist senator from Vermont is the Barack Obama of 2016. To many Sanders supporters, Obama’s successes—from the Iowa caucuses to tough [sic] two national elections—render moot the argument Clinton is once again making that she’s the only one who can win.

“I think he’s more radical than the other people we’ve had, and I like that about him,” Taylor Raska, a 28-year-old bartender with a nose ring, mismatched earrings, and lines of cursive writing tattooed on her arms, told me. An ardent environmentalist who’s tired of politicians, Raska believes the old system must be smashed for a new order to take its place. “Everything’s going to change!” she said, savoring the beautiful thought. “We are in this amazing period—it’s awesome to be a part of. Everything is changing!”

People who feel like they’re struggling against long odds are fed up with the solutions that have been tried. There was a plant in Mason City that made filters, but it went to Mexico some years ago, a 62-year-old named Sue McKee told me. She teaches the GED class that the laid-off men in their 40s, 50s, and 60s come to, desperate to work again and needing a high-school diploma for the first time in their lives. “We shouldn’t make it so hard for people,” she said. On Monday, she planned to register with the Democratic Party and caucus for the first time in her life.

Read more at The Atlantic

Is Donald Trump a Sociopath?

From Therapists Confirm Trump’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Concerned therapists break silence to warn the public

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

By Randi Kreger

A few mental health professionals were concerned about my last blog, “Does Donald Trump Have Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Their concern was that American Psychiatric Association’s guidelines warn clinicians they should not diagnose public figures.

I’ve pointed out that I am not a therapist but one [of] many journalists who have explored whether Trump has a personality disorder characterized by grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one’s superiority; a lack of empathy, lack of truthfulness, and the tendency to degrade others. If clinicians cannot explore these things, thank goodness that journalists can.

However, his continued popularity has some concerned prominent clinicians ignoring the “Goldwater rule,” which declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual’s mental state without examining him personally and having the patient’s consent to make such comments.

“That mental-health professionals are even willing to talk about Trump in the first place may attest to their deep concern about a Trump presidency” writes Henry Alford in a November 11 edition of Vanity Fair. His psychological profile Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In! (link is external)quotes a variety of clinicians who are confident that the billionaire’s high profile and documented history of grandiose behavior makes the diagnosis obvious.

Read more at Psychology Today

Meet IL Governor Bruce Rauner — Poster Boy for War on Middle Class

World News Forum

by Robert Creamer

Gubernatorial Candidate Bruce Rauner Attends Election Night Gathering In Chicago

Rauner makes me long for Blagojevich, who tried to sell Obama’s senate seat, or Quinn, one of the most incompetent governors in Illinois history. Hell, I’d take Ryan over Rauner, given the choice. Illinois politics suck more than at anytime I can remember, in the 61 years I have lived in Illinois (all my life!). Personally, I want Rauner to be impeached or otherwise forced from office.

Last fall, Illinois GOP candidate Bruce Rauner spent $63.9 million — $27.3 million of his own money — to buy the right to occupy the Illinois Governor’s mansion.

Now that he’s in office his first moves have confirmed that he is the poster boy for the War on the Middle Class.

Rauner is a hybrid of the worst traits of Mitt Romney and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In fact, you could say he personally embodies the reason why — even…

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The Nation Magazine Endorses Bernie Sanders

From Bernie Sanders for President

With integrity and principle, the Vermont senator is calling Americans to a political revolution.

 Senator Bernie Sanders greets supporters at a campaign rally outside the New Hampshire State House on November 5, 2015. Reuters/Brian Snyder
Senator Bernie Sanders greets supporters at a campaign rally outside the New Hampshire State House on November 5, 2015. Reuters/Brian Snyder

By the Editors of The Nation

A year ago, concerned that ordinary citizens would be locked out of the presidential nominating process, The Nation argued that a vigorously contested primary would be good for the candidates, for the Democratic Party, and for democracy. Two months later, Senator Bernie Sanders formally launched a campaign that has already transformed the politics of the 2016 presidential race. Galvanized by his demands for economic and social justice, hundreds of thousands of Americans have packed his rallies, and over 1 million small donors have helped his campaign shatter fund-raising records while breaking the stranglehold of corporate money. Sanders’s clarion call for fundamental reform—single-payer healthcare, tuition-free college, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, the breaking up of the big banks, ensuring that the rich pay their fair share of taxes—have inspired working people across the country. His bold response to the climate crisis has attracted legions of young voters, and his foreign policy, which emphasizes diplomacy over regime change, speaks powerfully to war-weary citizens. Most important, Sanders has used his insurgent campaign to tell Americans the truth about the challenges that confront us. He has summoned the people to a “political revolution,” arguing that the changes our country so desperately needs can only happen when we wrest our democracy from the corrupt grip of Wall Street bankers and billionaires.

 Americans are fed up and fighting back. Seen in isolation, the Fight for $15, Black Lives Matter, the climate-justice movement, the immigrant-rights movement, the campaign for a financial-transactions tax, and the renewed push for single-payer healthcare may seem like unrelated causes. Taken together, they form a rising chorus of outrage over a government that caters to the demands of the super-wealthy, while failing to meet the needs of the many. They share a fury at a politics captured by special interests and big money, where pervasive corruption mocks the very notion of democracy.

In Bernie Sanders, these movements for greater equality and justice have found an ally and a champion. In contrast to the right-wing demagogues who exploit these crises to foment division, the Vermont senator has reached into a proud democratic-socialist tradition to revive the simple but potent notion of solidarity. We must turn to each other, not on each other, Sanders says, and unite to change the corrupted politics that robs us all. His campaign’s funding reflects this commitment, spurning the support of corporate super-PACS and relying instead on millions of grassroots donors. Thanks to his campaign’s integrity, Sanders alone has the potential to unite the movements emerging across the country into one loud, irresistible demand for systemic political change.

Read more at The Nation

MoveOn Endorses Sanders After He Wins 79 Percent Support in Member Vote

The progressive group says it will “mobilize aggressively” for the Vermonter in Iowa and New Hampshire.

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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and wife, Jane, smile as the crowd cheers at a town hall on January 9, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo / Jae C. Hong)

By John Nichols

With polls suggesting that the Democratic race is getting tighter in the first-caucus state of Iowa and the first-primary state of New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders has won the support of one of the nation’s most prominent progressive networks.

The activist group MoveOn endorsed the Vermont senator after 78.6 percent of its members backed him last week in an online “primary”—which drew 340,665 votes, a greater total than is likely to participate in the February contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“This is a massive vote in favor of Bernie Sanders, showing that grassroots progressives across the country are excited and inspired by his message and track record of standing up to big money and corporate interests to reclaim our democracy for the American people,” MoveOn.org Political Action Executive Director Ilya Sheyman said Tuesday. “MoveOn members are feeling the Bern. We will mobilize aggressively to add our collective people power to the growing movement behind the Sanders campaign, starting with a focus on voter turnout in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Read more at The Nation

What the GOP Gets Wrong About ISIS

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Mike Blake/Reuters

Seen from the ground in Syria, the positions staked out by Republican politicians are crazy. And that’s because they have no real alternative to Obama’s policies.

By Patrick Hilsman

As we come to the end of a year of terror—actually, of horror—and we enter a year of terrible campaigning by some horrible candidates for the presidency of the United States, one might wish the Republican frontrunners would step back from the path of religious zealotry, racist paranoia, and torture envy. But … no.

As the debates in mid-December and the sparring since have showed us, they are detached from many realities, but especially the reality on the ground in Syria, which I have been covering firsthand with frequent trips there since 2012.

So, now, back in the United States, I watch in consternation the nauseating spin about Radical Islam, carpet bombing, waterboarding, surveillance of everyone, blaming refugees. The Republican “strategies” for dealing with the so-called Islamic State sound like a laundry list of the monumental failures from the 9/11 decade.

Was it “political correctness” that knocked down the twin towers and kidnapped and tortured my friends? No, it was something much more sinister, and something much more sophisticated than these candidates seem to realize, or to be.

There is a reason, of course, for them to deflect questions about military tactics against ISIS. There are no easy answers, and even the difficult options are severely limited. No realistic proposal for tackling the jihadi group will play well with primary voters and all of the candidates know it. Presumably, this is why the Republican candidates have taken the discussion into the realm of paranoid fantasy and insinuation, where they seem much more comfortable.

Read more at The Daily Beast

Courage on Trial in China

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Credit Dadu Shin

BERLIN — In April 2011, I was kidnapped by the Chinese undercover police at a Beijing airport and detained at a secret location for 81 days. After my release, the government charged me with tax evasion, even though most of the questions during my confinement centered on my political activities. They demanded that I pay back taxes and a fine totaling $2.4 million, and when I asked why the shakedown, one official replied, “If we don’t penalize you, you won’t give us any peace.”

I decided not to give them peace. I contacted Pu Zhiqiang, one of the few courageous lawyers willing to defend political activists who suffer abuse at the hands of China’s authoritarian regime, to file an appeal. Zhiqiang took my case. I was impressed with his thorough preparation and clear thinking. In court, he was sharp, persuasive and fearless.

Over the years, Zhiqiang has defended many journalists, petitioners and human rights activists. His legal advocacy, along with his valor and superior skills, made him a target for political persecution. The leadership sees his rising influence as a threat.

After being detained for the last 19 months, Zhiqiang was put on trial on Dec. 14 by the Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and for “inciting ethnic hatred,” based on seven of his microblog posts that criticized Communist Party policies. The government found him guilty on Tuesday and gave him a three-year suspended sentence. The verdict automatically strips Zhiqiang of his attorney’s license — and eliminates the platform from which he has given voice to the voiceless.

As the world gushes over China’s economic power, no one should forget that its rise comes at the cost of freedom and human rights. Sadly, many people inside and outside China have resigned themselves to the fact that the judicial system submits to the power of the Communist Party.

Read more at The New York Times

Malala Yousafzai slams Trump: His idea to ban Muslim immigration is ‘full of hatred’

Malala Yousafzai (Facebook)
Malala Yousafzai (Facebook)

Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai condemned Donald Trump’s views on Muslims on Tuesday, at a somber ceremony to remember the 134 children killed in a Taliban attack on a Pakistani school a year ago.

“Well, that’s really tragic that you hear these comments which are full of hatred, full of this ideology of being discriminative towards others,” Malala told AFP, in response to recent comments by the US Republican presidential candidate.

Trump has been heavily criticized for calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States after a Muslim husband and wife killed 14 people in a shooting rampage in California, an incident classified as a terrorist act.

The event was organized by peace prize winner Malala and her family, and two survivors of the attack, Ahmad Nawaz, 14, and Mohammed Ibrahim, 13, took part.

The massacre saw nine extremists scale the walls of an army-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, lobbing grenades and opening fire on terrified children and teachers.

“There are these terrorist attacks happening, for example what happened in Paris or what happened in Peshawar a year ago,” Malala said, referring to last month’s Islamic State attack in Paris that killed 130 people.

Read more at The Raw Story

Why Asian Americans don’t vote Republican

(Credit: AP/Matt Rourke)
(Credit: AP/Matt Rourke)

By Cecilia Hyunjung Mo

During the recent No Labels-hosted Problem Solver Convention in New Hampshire, things got a little uncomfortable.

When Joseph Choe, an Asian American college student, stood up to ask a question about South Korea, Donald Trump cut him off and wondered aloud: “Are you from South Korea?”

Choe responded, “I’m not. I was born in Texas, raised in Colorado.” His answer prompted laughter from the audience, and nothing more than a shrug from the GOP presidential candidate.

Although Trump probably did not intend to offend, this interaction likely reminded Choe and other Asian American voters that being Asian often translates to being perceived by fellow Americans as a foreigner.

However innocuous Trump’s question may seem, this is exactly the sort of exchange that could, in part, be pushing Asian Americans – the highest-income, most-educated, and fastest-growing segment of the United States – toward the Democratic Party by landslide margins.

In the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama won 73 percent of the Asian American vote. That exceeded his support among traditional Democratic Party constituencies like Hispanics (71 percent) and women (55 percent).

Read more at The Washington Post

And just guess who it is that Asian American voters overwhelmingly favor?