After 30 years of Reaganism, Bushism and now Trumpism, a devolution of the GOP and conservatism to pure nihilism and the demonization of FDR, the New Deal, Civil Rights, the Great Society, hell even the Enlightenment and math… we are in a Cold Civil War.
You heard it here first!
In summary- It was started by hard core conservatives in response to the evolution of our society in the 30s-60s. They hated the New Deal, hated unions, hated Civil Rights, hated Feminism, Secularism – literally everything that most people accepted as expansions of fairness and democracy (economic and political). Many were religious and previously uninvolved in secular politics. They started organizing in the mid-60s after Goldwater, rightwing millionaires creating think tanks. They gained steam in the late 60s around a perceived breakdown of law and order, in the north and especially the south (the Southern Strategy converting southern Democrats to Republicans over issues of culture, race).
Early 70s saw organization around school bussing and textbooks (not Roe v. Wade, believe or not, abortion didn’t become an issue until the 80s). Some people got on board because of Reagan and his exploitation of fear and the integration of Christian groups (Moral Majority, later Christian Coalition) with JohnBirch Society reactionaries and old fashioned conservatives. In 1976 a coalition nearly gave Reagan the GOP nomination over Ford but ultimately even they considered him too far out of the mainstream. Then in 1980 with hostages in Iran and 17% interest rates his rhetoric was mainstream enough.
Then came talk radio, a powerful mouthpiece for propaganda, pure and simple, and the culture wars were on. Christian conservatives announced that Democrats weren’t just wrong they were evil. Now we weren’t having mere political debates it was that their way was the righteous way decreed by Jesus and liberalism was Satanically inspired. Thrice divorced Newt Gingrich weaponized this thinking with the help of Frank Luntz who focus group tested phrases that would turn rational political positions into emotional battles, demonizing Democrats. Roger Ailes’ Fox News magnified that as the embodiment of his idea for “GOP TV” that he proposed to Nixon in 1968. It didn’t get done until 1996 when Rupert Murdoch committed to losing hundreds of millions of dollars to be a cable TV propaganda arm of the Republican Party. They lost money for a decade, but won elections.
Now we have a generation of Republicans raised not on Abraham Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt or even Reagan, but instead on Rush Limbaugh and the myths of the Reaganism, Republicanism, Christianism. Republican liberals were alienated, then the moderates. There are no more rational statesmen in the party anymore like Dole, Kemp, Ford. They’ve all swallowed a form of conservatism that Goldwater and Reagan wouldn’t recognize. And so here we are in a Cold Civil War where Republican refuse to work with Democrats for the sake of the country, they’re willing to pervert the electoral system to suppress the vote and gerrymander states in toxic partisan ways and most importantly lie – lie as a matter of course, because the ends justify the means.
If millions of Americans can be helped by something, but it was proposed by a Democrat, they have to be against it. Even if now it’s been in existence on the ground, saving lives, they’re committed to ending it and if people die, that’s a price worth paying for Republican victory. This would sound like a dystopian science fiction story if we weren’t living it, right now in real time.
Of course we’re talking about the ACA, but imagine this group of Republicans could have gotten control in 1939. Six years into Social Security they would have overturned it. Medicare would have been overturned in the 70s. Nothing is accepted, sacred, sacrosanct. Anything can be upended.