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(RNS) — For decades now, though major media has spoken and written about “the” Republican Party as if it were a fixed, coherent thing, it has been unclear exactly what has been holding this ideologically diverse group of people together. Indeed, one may need to go all the way back to the middle of the 19th century — when the party was founded explicitly to fight slavery — to find Republican ideological coherence.
For most of the latter half of the 20th century, and especially since the Reagan revolution, the party has claimed to be skeptical of big government — while at the same time insisting on a monstrously large, powerful and unaccountable government program in the form of an empire-sustaining military.
Party - Government - Decisions - Sex - Reproduction
The party also argued for a government robust enough to regulate the most intimate decisions a human can make about sex and reproduction: from contraception, to homosexuality, to the creation of embryos, to abortion.
In response to the so-called “war on terror,” a party that was supposedly skeptical of government authority gave huge amounts of money to a largely unaccountable surveillance bureaucracy through the cynically named “Patriot Act.”
Election - Republican - President - Trump - Question
The election of a Republican president like Trump has made the question of GOP identity even more perplexing. Long in favor of markets unencumbered by externalities like tariffs and social programs, the president’s party now sits by as he makes tariffs the administration’s primary foreign relations tool.
At home, meanwhile, Trump is pushing for a huge infrastructure plan that would put more than a trillion dollars on the U.S. credit card, saddling my children and their children with a maddeningly large debt.
Trump - Republicanism - Talk - Show - Hosts
Trump’s new Republicanism is supported by many conservative talk show hosts and public intellectuals.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson bemoans the “usury” of credit card and payday loan companies (because they hurt the country’s poorest), which...
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