The GOP Meltdown Continues: Sarah Palin and Tax the Rich Edition

No sooner do Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan go after each other, than Sarah Palin gets into the mix:

Sarah Palin will work to defeat House Speaker Paul Ryan by backing his primary opponent in Wisconsin, the former Alaska governor told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Palin said in an interview that airs Sunday on “State of the Union” that her decision was sparked by Ryan’s bombshell announcement to Tapper last week that he wasn’t yet ready to support Donald Trump, the Republican presumptive nominee. Palin endorsed Trump back in January.

I think Paul Ryan is soon to be ‘Cantored,’ as in Eric Cantor,” Palin said, referring to the former Republican House majority leader who was ousted in a shocking upset in 2014 when challenger Dave Brat ran to his right in a Virginia primary.

The challenger that Sarah Palin and Michelle Malkin are boosting to replace Paul Ryan is this crackpot:

Is it possible that Ryan could lose? Probably not. But it was improbable that Cantor could lose, too. In the new Trumpist GOP, anything is frankly possible.

Including, apparently, the presumptive GOP nominee calling for higher taxes on the rich:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Sunday he is open to raising taxes on the rich, backing off his prior proposal to reduce taxes on all Americans and breaking with one of his party’s core policies dating back to the 1990s.

“I am willing to pay more, and you know what, the wealthy are willing to pay more,” Trump told ABC’s “This Week.”

He has since backed off of that somewhat, saying that any tax plan would be renegotiated in Congress. But it’s pretty clear where Trump’s instincts are on this.

The big question now is whether Paul Ryan or Donald Trump will set the GOP’s course from here. Will the Republican Party remain an institution dedicated to advancing the interests of billionaires above all else while throwing sops to its racist and religious base? Or will it become a nativist party that advocates for a soft, protectionist socialism for whites only?

The most interesting battle this year won’t be between Republicans and Democrats, but within the Republican Party itself. Reaganomics has clearly failed, and the only ones who don’t know it yet are the GOP’s wealthy donors and a few Bloomberg types who want Reaganomics tempered with liberal social policy.

But none of the rest of the country wants Reaganomics anymore. Not even Republicans. How that reality plays out within the GOP civil war will be fun to watch.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.