Glenn Beck, conservative talk-show super-host, has announced he's quitting the Republican party. His reasons have to do with their betrayal over, well, everything (immigration specifically--but probably ObamaCare, etc.). HotAir's Allahpundit observers:
I take Beck at his word, but as for the millions of grassroots righties who’ll be pumping their fists and shouting “yeah!” as they listen to this, let me tell you what I’ve learned from blogging two presidential election cycles. Not only will they not leave the party, even if Jeb Bush is the Republican nominee, by next summer they’ll consider it treason to the cause of conservatism if a RINO like me decides that I’m staying home in November because it doesn’t much matter which royal family’s princeling actually assumes the throne. Team Blue will smear Team Red many times in many ways during the campaign and Prince Jeb will say all (or most) of the right things to convince righties that we could do worse, just like we could have done worse than McCain or Romney, and that combination of partisan anger and ideological interest will gradually transform the next election into The Most Important Election of Our Lifetimes, a contest in which no true patriot can remain neutral. It’s happened twice before, it’ll happen again.Ace over at AceOfSpades fires back:
Allah keeps chortling, saying, "No you guys will be back," but I don't thinkhe understands.
Something has changed.
No, we won't be back. Not in the way he means it. If AllahPundit means that I, for example, will still prefer a more conservative president over a less conservative one, sure, of course, but then, Communists preferred the more liberal Bill Clinton over the less liberal George Bush, without actually supporting the Democratic Party with anything stronger than a velleity.
In 2014, the Establishment went all out to defeat its foes not just on the electoral battlefield, but in the battlefield of the mind as well. They wanted to teach the upstarts a lesson: You have not only lost, but you will always lose; you will not be permitted to win, ever. The entire Party will rise up to crush you should you signal any intention of bucking our Rule.
I warned them about something then: A hopeless soldier is a soldier who will desert the field.
Yes, Establishment GOP, you can teach us that you will always lie to us, stab us in the back, humiliate us and crush us; but if you teach us that, be aware we are learning another lesson, too. Not just that "The Establishment Will Always Crush You," but the lesson that There is no hope in any kind of conventional politics for those of us who want better than this Pile of Shit the two parties give us.Is this the end of the Republican party? Was Glenn Beck the cork in the bottom keeping it afloat?
The Omnivore Doesn't Think So
Remember that what "got" the Whig party was the Civil War. That's what it took to kill an entrenched national party--and that happened by a splintering so severe that the northern Whigs turned to Lincoln and the southern Whigs got invaded. For all the talk of a Second American Civil War, unless you think that looks likely, (and right now? Not even close) the drivers for change are simply not that severe. However, this dynamic does bear looking at: There are two forces at work in this narrative that are interesting:
- Game Theory and 3rd Party Politics
- The Problem With The Plan(s)
Game Theory and Third Parties
While there is a fair amount of data on voting strategies and Game Theory, the key points are that: (A) Under Game Theory you want to maximize the power of your vote and (B) Our manner of presidential elections encourages compromise voting where the candidate closest to you with the best chance of winning is preferred over a better candidate with a greater chance of losing. None of this should be news, exactly--but where does that leave 3rd Parties?
The answer is that a vote for a 3rd Party is an attempt to maximize the power of your vote--but it is maximizing it not in the general election--but in the impact that voting has on the behavior of the party you used to belong to. In fact, in the American system, it is a zero-sum event: when you punch the ticket for the Green Party (sorry, Green Party) you throw away all of your vote-power in the general election in order to try, desperately, to move the Democrats further left. In other words, a 3rd Party Vote is playing a whole different game than a general-election-vote normally plays.
Put another way: The 3rd Party Guys have given up entirely on the major-league game to go and try a shot in the minors.
The problem for would-be Greens, though, is that your voting-power on the behavior of the party is extremely limited. Yes: it's "virtually non-existent on the national scale too"--but at least there it adds a minute amount--but still a scalar value--to a whole (Forget about the Electoral College for a minute, would you?). Imagine that each vote equals "1 point" towards a candidate winning. A 3rd Party Vote isn't just a 1pt deficit--it could represent negative points. Your voting Green to influence the Democrats? It may show up to them as a good thing you're not voting for them. They are literally happier not having your vote. Why?
The reason why is that your 3rd Party Vote--a zero in their column and a zero in the other party's--only shows up to the Democrats as an opportunity cost--and that cost--the cost of trying to "win you back"--has to be weighed against "all the normal people we'd lose by promoting your fruity theories." Sure, you think your theories are great--but the national election is a capitalist meritocracy with a zero-sum win-condition: if your ideas aren't selling? Then they're not 'great,' guys--sorry.
This is why not only are 3rd Parties a poor idea from a general election standpoint but are also a poor idea Game Theory-Wise from an "I'm really mad standpoint." Yes, the GOP would like to have Glenn Beck vote for them--sure--but if that vote comes at the cost of their total destruction, it's not worth it.
This brings us to point number 2.
The Lack of A (Rational) Plan
As The Omnivore has covered relentlessly (some would say to the point of boring distraction) the GOP Establishment has not so much betrayed conservatives as looked reality square in the face. The drivers for conservative behavior are based far more on outrage than logic.
Yes, having a zillion illegals voting Democrat will be a horrendous lose-condition for the GOP. If that happens, it's a terrible thing. The way to stop it, however, is not to try to take the Department of Homeland Security hostage in order to roll back an Executive Order the courts have already nullified. Yes, it would feel good--but no, it would not work. It was never going to work--remember that negative value cost The Omnivore mentioned above? That's at play with the plan right here.
Sure: We have to get rid of ObamaCare. You know how you do that? Reconciliation! (It's the latest GOP plan). It's unstoppable! Brilliant! Totally gonna work this time, guys! Let's read:
Using the fast-tracking procedure offers some advantage for Republicans, largely because a reconciliation package can’t be filibustered.
But it’s not going to be easy. First, House and Senate Republicans need to agree on a budget resolution, which could be difficult with fiscal conservatives calling for spending cuts but defense hawks looking for more money for the Pentagon. And, of course, President Barack Obama could veto any reconciliation bill that reaches his desk.So let's see? This plan--uses a tricky Senate rule--but it requires party unity--which is in short supply right now--and, when that plan comes together? It's dead in the water because Obama will just veto it. It's a symbolic victory. If the A-Team's plans worked as well as this one? They'd all have been shot dead a long time ago (Sorry BA, Sorry Face).
Still, Republicans are hoping the procedural maneuver will get them closer, at least symbolically, to gutting the president’s signature health care law.
No--no, reconciliation isn't the way to go. The way to go is to win the 2016 presidential election, while keeping the House and Senate and then cutting a deal with a minority of remaining Democrats by giving them something they want for their votes. Implicit in that is probably also having a plan for the repeal of ObamaCare that doesn't throw the country into chaos like a SCOTUS ruling coming this summer might.
That right there--that shit you just read? That is the stuff no one in the fray wants to hear. It's hard. It means compromising (both to win big and to work with whatever Democrats are still in office). It's an eat-less-and-exercise message and it's not going to win morale-booster awards--but if the Tea Party was ready for prime time?
That would be their approach.
The Omnivore is pretty sure Boehner and McConnell know this too. The Omnivore is pretty sure they'd like to see the above happen. Why aren't they telling their constituents this plan?
Gosh, guys, why do you think?