Once again, the party of personal responsibility wasn't there when the bad things happened.
Gallup reports that a critical mass of former Republicans are now calling themselves "independent":
...percentages identifying as independent in 2020 and thus far in 2021 have been unusually high compared with prior presidential election and odd-numbered years. Thus, the current level of independent identification ranks among the highest Gallup has measured in any quarter since 1988, with the high being 46% in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Increased independent identification has mostly come at the expense of the Republican Party, with the 25% of U.S. adults currently identifying as Republicans down from 29% in the fourth quarter. Republican Party identification has not been lower since early 2018 and is just a few points above the low of 22% in the Gallup telephone polling era, registered in the fourth quarter of 2013. During that quarter, GOP favorability sank to a record low during a federal government shutdown over disputes about the Affordable Care Act.
We make fun of this all the time on The Professional Left Podcast: "Ah'm an INDEEPINDINT!" is the coward's way to pretend their voting habits were not responsible for everything Republicans did.
Over 500,000 deaths. The January 6 insurrection. An utterly scammy Florida Man who steals donations from his own supporters.
Same as it ever was. One mere Republican president ago, lied them into war, attempted to privatize their Social Security, and deregulated the economy to a housing bubble crash. But there was an out for the Dubya voter -- the Tea Party!
The Republican voter always expects cheap grace, which anti-Nazi theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer defined as "the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance." It's reframed by modern evangelicals as "I'm not perfect, I'm just forgiven." No, you are not forgiven. Not until you repent and change your bad habits to good ones.
Calling yourself an "independent" and voting consistently Republican in the general elections? You're to blame for everything that the Republican Party has done in your lifetime.
It doesn't help that the mainstream media loves to distribute cheap grace to the Republican Party. Ask Chuck Todd. It took MSNBC and CNN over two years to admit that The Tea Party was actually reprogrammed Republicans, who put on funny hats to pretend they never voted for Bush. Any new "never-Trumper" movement on the center Right is bound to get lots of media attention in order to foment a "horse race" for upcoming elections.
And while the Republican voter can report to Gallup that they're "indeepindints," we are ready and waiting for the next Dick Armey and Glenn Beck-type to attempt to slap a name on the new organizing principle that is a "get out of MAGA free" card. There's massive funding available to do this, always. Beck got paid a million bucks to promote the Tea Party.
We are watching.
No rebranding this time. No Tea Party, No "Third Way," No "No Labels." Burn the lifeboats.