The Republican Party is in Terminal Decline!

It seems that every day, on the sites I read, increasingly bizarre stories are coming to light about Republicans: politicians and voters. I can’t help but conclude that the whole edifice is crumbling and the party is splitting apart at the seams. On the basis of what I’m seeing, I’m pretty sure the Republican party is collapsing, and in five years, it will be a footnote in history. And not before time!

From a blog comment thread:

you conveniently left out the fact that there are now many secular scientist who are saying the same thing concerning the demise of [modern evolutionary science]. I hope this thread stays posted for another 5 years. I know this sounds petty, but I would love to come back 5 years from now and say “I told you so”

Why The Collapse?

Reports of the imminent collapse of our intellectual opponents are everywhere.

I suspect it is a form of confirmation bias. If you spend your time at heavily left-leaning websites, you get a view of Republicanism that panders to your desire to see it defeated. I’m sure you get the same from the other side if you frequent Wingnut sites.

It is very easy to deceive ourself.

The Demise of Scientology

I don’t believe that either the Republican party, or evolutionary biology is in any danger of imminent collapse.

This post was actually motivated by my increasing involvement in the community of people concerned about abuses in the Church of Scientology. For this group (e.g. the folks commenting at Tony Ortega’s Blog and the Ex Scientologist Message Board) Scientology is on the verge of collapse.

I do (tentatively) believe those who say the church is in trouble. I can list a dozen reasons to think the ex-scientology community is right. There are leadership woes, court cases being lost, PR disasters. It feels like the end.

Still, it is very easy to deceive ourself. Perhaps I should be skeptical.

But, in this case, I’m going to choose not to be.


The ex-scientology community is full of people who’ve suffered real harm from the church. If you’ve never gone down the rabbit hole of how Scientology works, I’d encourage you to read Jon Atack’s Piece of Blue Sky. It is worse than you think!

There are good folks I’ve met there, who have lost their children, who’ve lost their houses and income, who’ve lost decades of their life. Folks who’ve been forced to have abortions, divorces, who’ve been prevented from receiving healthcare, folks who’ve spent years in scientology prisons, whose parents signed over their guardianship to the church when they were children, and who were routinely physically abused.

I hope corporate Scientology is collapsing, but whether it is, isn’t the point. Celebrating its defeats gives a lifeline to a mother who hasn’t seen her kids for five years, and empowers someone who’s childhood was an blur of abuse. To them it is important to know that, this too shall pass.

There are times to speak up for critical thinking, and times to shut up and be a social animal.

So perhaps I should allow myself some Schadenfreude at the Republican humiliation in Washington too.


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10 responses to “The Republican Party is in Terminal Decline!

  1. I share your hope for the party collapse, but I don’t see it happening. I have no evidence other than an observation that fanatics of any stripe tend to fade gradually in historical terms and not collapse dramatically in current-events terms. If my wishes came true, this particular subgroup of Republicans would become irrelevant and marginalized, leaving only the more sane group of Republicans who don’t scare me (even as I still disagree with them).

    Now, for Scientology as an organization, it seems like the public shell is intact, so maybe they’ll just suddenly implode.

    OK, I’m low on facts, high on wishful thinking … this is not looking good on that last post’s pyramid of argument.

  2. Why would the Republican party collapse? Congress’s incumbency rate in 2012 (which, as may be noted, was after Debtceilinggate 2011) was 90%. There is certainly no good evidence I’m seeing for either the Senate’s or House’s incumbency rate falling below 80% anytime soon.

  3. Ian

    @David, @pithom – I’m pretty sure the Republican party is going nowhere, the intent was for the first two paragraphs to be hyperbolic, the first deliberately sarcastic. Sorry if I misjudged the tone!

  4. Ian

    …I’ve edited the post a little to make it clearer.

  5. I’d rather you were right in the first place. I think I want the hyperbole to be true. Alas …

  6. Peter

    The paradox is that the Republican brand is becoming ever less popular at a point in time where opinion polls seem to suggest an increasingly conservative population, at least where some key questions about the role of government are concerned. On social issues the trends are split. Stepping back from the moment to look at the last decade or so, I think the GOP is at a fairly consistently solid advantage when the issue is something like guns and at an increasing disadvantage where it is something like gay rights. But I suspect the advantage still lies with them because the gun rights crowd is still more broadly likely to vote that issue. I think the point is that it is not clear that the current unpopularity of the Republican brand in any sense translates into a more stable or growing base for Democrats going forward.

  7. Ian

    Thanks Peter. I think the more significant questions around Republicanism are demographic appeal rather than purely policy appeal. I think their problem are because they’ve backed themselves into certain policy positions that have a big impact on key voter demographics. So their undoubted appeal on certain topics just doesn’t get chance to translate, because they also trigger too many people’s red lines. But, as I said in the post, I’m not claiming any special knowledge on this, that’s just from what I read. And because I am quite heavily left-leaning generally, I’m very happy to believe that what I read tends to play to my biases.

  8. Peter

    My guess is that another complexity for both parties going forward is going to be an increasing pointed split between statists and libertarians in each. The civil war along these lines is already clear on the Republican side, but the broad narrative of such a split among Democrats also seems clear to me. So we could end up with a kind of “Mexican standoff” between the libertarian wings of the two parties and the two different flavors of statism offered by their statist wings.

  9. Peter

    Toward the rift between libertarians and statists, I think that a legacy of Dubya is that he forced certain types of people in the GOP who had to that point papered over implicit contradictions in their own positions to really choose where they stood for, and many decided that they could not stand for Bush’s “Big Government” (in several senses) conservatism.. This led to the swelling of the Ron Paul wing of the Party and helped to fuel the Tea Party movement (although some progressives have tried to label them as racists, and there are probably some racists among them, the core of it has been almost as much a rebellion against Bush’s legacy as Obama’s administration). I am sensing that a certain forcing of positions on the Democratic side is beginning as well as we move through the Age of Obama (and right on schedule: it was at about this point in Dubya’s presidency that you could sense a growing stridency to the GOP libertarians). .

  10. Peter

    Sorry “Choose what they stood for”

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