Battles over competing priorities are the meat and drink of politics. Conservatives want to defund Planned Parenthood, liberals want to cut defense spending. But Republican strategists have long understood that there’s a deeper level to politics, one where the goal isn’t merely to fight the opposition’s agenda, but to actively undermine the infrastructure and funding that allow the opposing party to exist at all. In the past, the GOP has focused on three primary defunding strategies: Killing off private sector unions, packing minority voters into gerrymandered districts, and championing tort reform as a way of eating into the earnings of defense attorneys:
You can think of this triumvirate—unions, minority redistricting, and tort reform—as Defunding 1.0. And most of it hasn’t stopped: Republicans are still battling private-sector unions and pressing for tort reform. But private-sector unions have mostly been beaten, and tort reform has turned out to be a tough nut to crack. So the GOP has moved on to Defunding 2.0, with a brand new trio of pet projects.
This is from my short piece on defunding the left from the upcoming issue of the magazine. To find out what Defunding 2.0 is all about, you know what to do. Just click the link.