Radio Atlantic: What Happened to the GOP?

George Packer argues that the Republican Party has chosen power over democracy, and that its corruption began decades ago.

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Observing antidemocratic “power grabs” by state Republicans, George Packer writes that “the corruption of the Republican Party in the Trump era seemed to set in with breathtaking speed. In fact, it took more than a half century to reach the point where faced with a choice between democracy and power, the party chose the latter.”

To understand how the party of Lincoln became the party of Trump, Alex Wagner spoke with Packer on this week’s Radio Atlantic. Listen to hear Packer describe the three “insurgencies” that explain the transformation of the GOP over the past half century. An ideological revolution that began with Barry Goldwater became a coup for power with Newt Gingrich (a.k.a. “The Man Who Broke Politics”). Afterwards, moderate Republicans became an endangered species, the Tea Party emerged as a major force, and Trump’s brand of corrosive politics became, Packer says, “inevitable.”