The Decline of the Republican Party — First Gradually and then Suddenly

Herb Bowie
6 min readApr 7, 2021
Credit: iStock / alphaspirit

Ernest Hemingway supplied two of his characters in The Sun Also Rises with a pair of memorably terse lines.

‘How did you go bankrupt?’ Bill asked.

‘Two ways,’ Mike said. ‘Gradually and then suddenly.’

Mike’s answer has been quoted endlessly since then, probably because it seems to perfectly encapsulate a recurring modern sensation of having things firmly under control, then seeing them start to slip slowly from our grasp, and then the next minute realizing we’ve lost hold completely.

And now, in 2021, the modern Republican Party seems to be taking its turn in Mike’s spot, sliding slowly — and soon suddenly — downwards along this sort of trajectory.

Let’s examine some of the indicators.

Ideological Bankruptcy

Just today I saw reported a Fox News interview in which host Chris Wallace challenged Senator Roy Blunt over his attacks on the Biden infrastructure plan, suggesting that the Republicans had lost all credibility when it comes to concerns about our national debt, since it had increased by more than $3 trillion during the Trump presidency, even before the pandemic hit.