EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
Will the blue wave overcome the red undertow? As this is written, votes are still being cast and yet to be counted. Yet, in many ways, the striking results are already in. Republicans have become the party of President Trump—a party that has decided they must lie about the core of their gospel. Democrats, with an establishment defined by resistance to Trump and defense of what was, are increasingly driven by a progressive activism that is forcing a far bolder agenda. The market fundamentalism that for so long dominated our politics is exhausted. Beneath the paranoid posturing, blatant lying, shameless xenophobia and racism with which Trump roils our debate, a political sea change has begun, more important than the results of this year’s blue wave or red undertow.
What is stunning about the Trump GOP is that it is not prepared to defend or even fess up to its core principles. Ever since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have championed a market fundamentalism, pumping for cutting taxes on the rich and corporations, purportedly to stimulate investment, and slashing social support to motivate the poor to work and balance the budget. They were the party of free trade, balanced budgets, and small government. Not surprisingly, Trump and the Republican Congress made top-end tax cuts and repeal of the Affordable Care Act the centerpiece of their agenda. When repeal failed in the Senate, they pushed lawsuits to have the ACA declared unconstitutional and administrative measures to undermine its protections.
Yet, in the campaign, Trump and other Republicans found they could not defend either initiative. On tax cuts, they initially promised that they would benefit the middle class the most and pay for themselves. When it was clear no one was falling for the con, they chose simply to stop talking about it. Even with the economy humming, they no longer made the case that the rich need more money and the poor less.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.