A radical political party, the Republican Party, now enjoys more power in Washington than at any time since the 1920s. The GOP wants to eliminate not just Obamacare but most of the rest of the welfare state; to slash taxes to the point where the federal government has no alternative but to shrink into nothingness; to eliminate most restraints on capitalist activity pertaining to investment, the environment, and working conditions; to deny women their reproductive freedom and minorities voting rights equal to those of whites. In some quarters of the party, the mood has become apocalyptic. This militant GOP wing now resembles a club of Old Testament prophets, warning everyone to follow the path of the righteous or face hellfire and damnation. This end-of-times scenario has encouraged a refusal to compromise. Republican majorities in Congress denied Obama virtually every one of his legislative ambitions during his last six years in office. They even called for government shut downs and defaults on the payment of government debts as a price worth paying to get their way. They haven’t yet gotten their way and still may not. But in rendering Congress an ineffectual instrument of governance, they have accelerated decay in the world’s oldest and once most important democracy. Donald Trump has become president of a democratic polity long rotting from within.
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