The last gasps of the Grand Old Party

14 death rattles

Jeffrey Denny
4 min readMar 24


Jeffrey Denny

“You know it, I know it, and the American people know it.”

Dan Aykroyd’s 1990s impression of Bob Dole on Saturday Night Live might be remembered more than anything the late Senate Majority Leader and GOP presidential nominee actually said.

Parody or not, it perfectly captures the obvious about Dole’s Grand Old Party today: It’s become a tragic oxymoron. Even party leaders know for whom the bell tolls. And it’s not the Democrats ringing the bell. The GOP is canceling itself.

It’s a chronicle of a death foretold as America is running out of typical Republicans.

In most of our lifetimes, by 2045, whites will be a minority. “Racial minorities [are] the primary demographic engine of the nation’s future growth, countering an aging, slow-growing and soon to be declining white population,” Brookings Institution predicted using Census estimates.

Christians declare America a Christian nation. But Americans are leaving Christianity like fussy toddlers removed to the vestibule during high mass. We’re switching religious identity to atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” Pew Research found, adding, “If recent trends in religious switching continue, Christians could make up less than half of the U.S. population within a few decades.”

And despite the Catholic conservative-stacked Supreme Court that flashed back centuries for preordained excuses to overturn Roe, they defied most Americans that support freedom from government intrusion into the fundamental privacy of reproduction. Even conservative Christian Kansas overwhelmingly rejected an abortion ban.

Perhaps most telling, golf is in the rough, with mixed reports whether it’s living or dying. The golf industry declares it’s “not dead yet” like in the old Monty Python sketch.

As a Washington writer who’s done work for decent, old-school Republicans like Dole who were mostly socially liberal and fiscally conservative, I feel terrible for today’s GOP. While a lifelong Democrat, I’m not smacking my lips over a schadenfreude snack.

In fact, it’s hard to watch the Republican Party desperately act out — rather, lash out — as it’s rat-cornered by the destiny it created.

Challenging times test who we are. For today’s GOP, as the going gets tougher, the tough get vicious. The party’s death rattle is tragic on many counts:

  1. Being stuck with Trump as 2024 front-runner.
  2. Being captive of, pandering to, and leveraging the dregs of America — the loud and proud base that still worships Trump — while abhorring them. Wealthy Republicans know their base loves Trump not despite his countless depredations but because of them. But whatever it takes to cut taxes and regulations is just good business.
  3. Dismissing or spinning the “patriot” J6 violent riot that attacked and killed Blue Lives in a bloody insurrection to appease the base. Cold War Red-scare Joe McCarthy falsely alarmed his Republican base that communists were secretly plotting to overthrow our government. What would McCarthy say about today’s Republican fellow travelers and useful idiots who actually plotted and openly tried by force? And how armed MAGA militia cosplayer dregs of the party, not Al Qaida, are Homeland Security’s #1 domestic terror threat to America? (Rhetorical questions.)
  4. “The Honorable” Kevin McCarthy bending over forward to tongue-shine MAGA representative jackboots to become “Speaker” of the House.
  5. Handing the Democrats and the oldest president ever their greatest midterm victory against expectations, turning the “Red Wave” into a paper cut. Giving “Speaker” McCarthy a paper-thin majority that depends on, and thus empowers, ridiculously notorious liar George Santos.
  6. Attacking Democrats on urban crime to excite the bigot base, which knows nothing about cities except what Fox News feeds to rile them. Being tough on crime as a wedge issue to disgrace Democrats as weak on crime stops at the white man, white collar, and the former resident of the White House.
  7. Fueling hate against nonwhite immigration, even legal, when our economy is desperate for workers, as business leaders know.
  8. Spreading ignorance about climate action when every major corporation is worried about climate destruction — not to be “woke” but for long-term survival.
  9. Not caring — tacitly loving — how their official state media, America’s #1 source of news, knowingly spread outright election lies to please and incite the base — even to violent insurrection — for ratings and more millions. If Republicans care so much about America, why haven’t they denounced Fox’s democracy-endangering lies? (Rhetorical question.)
  10. Making America Safe To Hate Again — inspiring the base to freely express their nativist white supremacist homophobic revulsion for marginalized people by attacking “wokism” because, like bullies, they’re too cowardly to stand behind their hate lest they be “canceled,” aka, called out as the haters they are.
  11. Making anti-“woke” the unifying theory of the GOP. Decent reasonable Republicans know the woke dog whistle that people can hear is just politics. But they must drape themselves in craven shame because the almighty base can’t get enough of it.
  12. “The Honorable” “U.S. Representative” Marjorie Taylor Greene is the new face of the GOP and the perfect running mate for Trump ‘24.
  13. Flop-sweating desperation to spin gold from mulch with the Hunter Biden witch hunt. Something better than the Hillary-Benghazi sound and fury that turned up nothing. While dismissing manure-loads of actual factual Trump and child shenanigans to enrich themselves from the presidency.
  14. Not caring how low the GOP has fallen from the days when Republicans declared that they, and only they, stood for good old American values such as decency.

As the party’s dictator used to tweet, SAD!!!

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.



Jeffrey Denny

A Pullet Surprise-winning writer who always appreciates free chicken.