The Republican brand is fatally damaged. I don’t mean this in a political way, but in a societal way.
The birth of the internet was as revolutionary as the invention of the printing press or the invention of musical notation. The “ground rules” for any medium are laid down during an early period, when the cliches of a form are established and all the “low hanging fruit” is picked. We have just gone through such a fertile period with the invention of the internet — we are almost certainly in it now, but many of the basic rules have already been established.
Certain overwhelming tropes and cliches of the Internet have become enshrined, and will be with us far longer than any of us expect. No one can be sure exactly which ones, because we are still in the moment, but it is assured that certain of our jokes, cliches, and forms of communication will persist for millenia.
For example, LOLcats, picture memes, Impact font, repeating gifs, FAQs, and many other tropes of our day will persist.
What does this have to do with the Republican party?
During this “Garden of Eden” period of the internet, current prejudices were writ large and enshrined. The Nazis, for example, will be bad guys forever now.
People will still know who the Nazis were a thousand years from now, and that is not because they were a type of evil never seen before or again, but because our culture enshrined them as bad guys. Our cultural prejudices, which at the moment of the invention of the internet held the Nazis as the biggest bad guys instead of the Huns or the Jacobins, have elevated the evil of the Nazis to literal legendary status.
The neocon Republicans were nowhere near as bad as the Nazis. However, they happened to be the biggest hypocritical jerks in the world at the moment that the internet was invented. The internet came to life around the mendacity of George Bush and its crew. A large part of our earliest dialogue came from complaining about, plotting to stop, and actively resisting George Bush.
You can see this now, when conservatives have adopted so many liberal protest strategies. Even the NRA is using the language of the civil rights movement. The language of modern debate was literally invented to talk about what jerks the Republicans are.
To make things worse for them, this is a global problem. The internet marked the moment that we moved from national culture to international culture. To make a simple analogy, the internet gave the Muslim world a voice at the exact same moment Bush and company was invading them. It also made it clear to the entire world that America did not agree with or in any way support Bush. This reciprocal knowledge fed the fires of antirepublican culture, and so many incredibly creative and long-lasting cultural institutions came out of making fun of Republicans that I have difficulty naming them all. I will point out the Colbert Show as one proof that parody and satire metastasized into something new and powerful as a response to the Republicans.
Because they were the biggest annoyances at the wrong moment, the Republican brand is forever fatally damaged. Internet culture is against them in general and in specific. The youth of America want nothing to do with them, and the entire world considers them villains and murderers.
The remaining Republican party is made up of people who are too dumb to notice this. The Republican leadership is selected from an ever-thinning strata of individuals intelligent enough to lead but not smart enough to see what has happened. The 2012 Republican nomination process demonstrates amply that the average quality of Republican candidates has dropped sharply and shows no sign of reviving.
Nothing anyone can do can possibly turn this around. It is as if it were writ in stone. There will be no miraculous resurgence like the Democrats after the Civil War. It is not politics that have turned against the Republicans, it is language and culture itself.
Honestly, I’m thrilled. The Republicans deserve to be disbanded for their crimes against Iraq, Afghanistan, and America. This total repudiation of Republicanism delights me. It delights me to watch rich fools like Rince Priebus go down with the ship. It couldn’t happen to a more perfect bunch.