A former conservative activist has a fascinating explanation for the Republican Party's implosion

Donald Trump’s success in the presidential race remains somewhat mystifying.

How has he managed to not only lead the Republican primary, but sustain his lead?

And what, exactly, has happened to the Republican Party that has allowed him to rise to the top?

We read an interesting theory on the state of the Republican Party from on Facebook by someone who asked to be characterised as a “former conservative activist who has worked in Republican primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

We got permission to excerpt some of it as long as we didn’t reveal the person who wrote it. This person didn’t want to get in trouble at work.

In short, the Republican Party was a stool supported by three legs: national defence, free-market economics, and social values.

The Republican Party, mostly thanks to former President George W. Bush, has failed on the first two legs. And the country shifted so significantly on the last one and there’s nothing a Republican can do to change it.

As a result, the Republican Party is in disarray and Trump is taking advantage.

Here’s the full explanation:

Ronald Reagan used to describe the Republican Party as a kind of three-part coalition. Each part was primarily motivated by its pet issue: national defence, free-market economics, traditional values. Together these comprised a “three-legged stool” that supported the party. Saw off any of the legs and the stool collapsed–taking the party down with it.

Trump makes no sense when viewed through this lens. He doesn’t know enough about foreign policy to count as being strong on national defence. He’s not a free-markets guy at all. No one would mistake him for a social conservative.

So how can he be so popular? How can he stand so tall without any legs of the stool? I think the answer is that the stool is gone. All three legs have been ground to dust. Donald Trump is just the first candidate to realise this.

Let’s look at each leg of the stool and see what happened.

National Defence. The disastrous, useless, forever wars of the Bush administration shattered the illusion that GOP Hawks were safe hands in which to trust our defence. Even still, the standard Republican answer to threats is to repeat the failed strategies of the past. Invade, bomb, brag, bluster. No thanks.

In other words, voting Republican won’t make us safer.

Free market economics. The financial crisis, the Wall Street bailout and the auto bailout all happened under a Republican presidency. So it’s clear the GOP isn’t actually committed to free market economics. Instead, it appears to be committed to free market sounding policies whose actual effect has been the destruction of American manufacturing, the erosion of labour’s wage, the stagnation of the middle class and the growth of a plutocracy of the ultra wealthy. No thanks.

Voting Republican doesn’t keep the government from meddling in the economy or create widespread prosperity.

Social values. This was the latest one to go. It died the day the Supreme Court of the United States, comprised of six GOP Justices, ruled that the constitution requires legal recognition of gay marriage. This ended to decades long delusion that conservatives might overturn Roe v Wade or successfully defend traditional marriage, family values, religious liberty.

Voting GOP won’t accomplish any of the goals of social conservatives.

Reagan’s stool was wobbly for years. Now it is gone.

Donald Trump is what comes after the GOP’s claim to the mantles of national defence, free markets and traditional values are demonstrated to be frauds and failures.

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