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Many will mark this first week of March, 2016, as the beginning of the end of the GOP as it is currently constructed. The party has a terminal disease and its end will probably be marked as November 8, 2016.

What will that end look like? The headline will surely say that Hillary Clinton will be president. It is extremely likely that she will have a Democrat-controlled Senate. It is less likely but highly probable that the House will be under Democrat control.

In actuality, the true damage will be illustrated by a number of factions that will begin to go their separate ways. The Tea Party, the evangelicals, and the moderates in the former GOP will be looking for new leadership and a new direction. Each faction will look to form a national party with the intention of being the successor to the old Party of Lincoln. Two other factions will seek to choose sides and determine the winner, the conservative media and the billionaire donors.
At that time, also, the post-mortems will begin. Fingers will be pointed and blame will be placed. Of course, none of those factions will take the share of the blame which they most richly deserve.
Others will apply their erudite analysis to the underlying causes of why this huge political animal suffered such a sudden and dramatic death by eating itself alive.
I would like to propose some root causes for the self-destruction of the party that I so admired during the time of Reagan.

1. Adversarial Foreign Policy. This is the concept that found its roots in the Eisenhower administration in the 1950sbwith the Domino Theory and evolved into the concept that America could only be strong only if it was facing a strong enemy, be it Kruschev, Castro, Ho Chi Min, Mao Tse Tong, Castro some more, the Soviet Union, Moammar Khadafi, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and now Bashar al-Assad. It is possible that Republicans over the years have shifted their focus from Enemies Foreign to Enemies Domestic such as Jimmy Carter, Bill and Hillary Clinton and of course the arch-enemy Barack Hussein Obama. It is my belief that this philosophy has led to the destructive partisanship that has contributed to the fall of the Republican Party.

2. The Southern Strategy. Originated in 1968 by the Nixon campaign, the GOP surrendered the black vote to the democrats and pursued the white vote by demonizing the blacks and catering to the Southern Whites. Currently, it is most effectively recognized as dog whistles referring to policies that sound positive and democratic but usually have a discriminatory purpose such as voter suppression, states rights, and religious liberty. The problem is that this strategy only worked only as long as white male voters were in the majority. Demographics have changed greatly.

3. If we tell voters the truth about what we really believe, no one will vote for us. This began during the time of Reagan with the Laffer Curve, Voodoo economics and trickle-down. The core Republican policies served the donors and the constituency but was sold to the electorate by lies.

4. The end of the Fairness Doctrine and the emergence of the Conservative Media. The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was—in the Commission’s view—honest, equitable, and balanced. (WikiPedia) The Fairness Doctrine ended in 1987 and Rush Limbaugh went national in 1988. Fox News even adopted the slogan of the Fairness Doctrine by calling their coverage “fair and balanced”.

5. Republicans as the “holier than thou” party. The rise of the Religious Right goes back to the mid-90s when evangelical Christians became active in supporting Republicans. In exchange, the party offered the Pro-Life anti-abortion issue. The party that favors war, the death penalty, is opposed to universal health care and a living wage became the Pro-Life party.

6. Republicans began to believe the lie. Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and it seemed to open the floodgates of overt racism. The word muslim was a dog whistle for ni**er. Conservatives truly believed that the presidency of a black American could not be legitimate. Extreme partisanship became the rule of the day. Originalism and going back to the Constitution became the rationale for conservatives to reject our country’s liberal principles.

Many will rightly point to individuals in the Conservative movement to helped bring about its downfall in particular Donald Trump. Trump is simply an opportunistic actor who brought focus to the destructive forces and removed the last block and tumbled the pyramid.

It is now up to the pundits to predict the future and for the historians to predict the past.

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