{{show_title_date || "Matthews: A reunited GOP will spell trouble for progressives, 3/18/13, 8:00 PM ET"}}

A reunited GOP will spell trouble for progressives

Updated

Let me finish tonight with the circular firing squad now assembled in the Republican party.

But, first, let me start at the beginning:

The Republican Party began in the years heading up to the Civil War as a merger. You had the Whig Party. You had the abolitionists. The Whigs were the establishment—moderate in their politics, ready to make practical political decisions, like running popular generals for president.

The abolitionists were the true believers. In 1860 they united behind Abraham Lincoln. I wonder if they’d do that again in 2016. What do you think?

The party is still split in two. You’ve got the establishment types who are mainly intent on winning elections. They like holding office—the presidency, especially. They’re willing to bend a little to get power.

The abolitionists on the right are forged together on principle. They don’t want people who came into the country living here legally, and certainly not as full citizens. They’d just as soon they headed back to where they came from. As for gay marriage, they’d just assume there weren’t any gays, period. They’re not about to let them have wedding rings and all the other attributes of straight life in this country.

So my bet is that the political marriage of these two groups—the Karl Rove crowd who love winning—know what it feels like to lose; and the abolitionist wing—who would rather fight than switch—are in for a prolonged separation.

Progressives, enjoy it while it lasts. 2014 will be tough. But once these two gangs—the Palin and Rove crowds—have to meet up again in 2016, it’s not going to be pretty. It sure as hell isn’t going to be a marriage.

A reunited GOP will spell trouble for progressives

Updated