What BooMan said:
Republicans are getting thrown out of office because they aren't crazy. But that's because they've been teaching their base to be crazy for so long that they've finally started to demand that their representatives be crazy, too.
To the extent that the Republican Party represents first of all the interests of a minority of corporate-military elite-incumbents in a representative republic that still demands the manufacture of either majority support or majority indifference to implement a party's agenda even if does not serve the interests of majorities, Republicans have, since the New Deal, been forced to foster divisions that undermine progressive efforts as well as masquerade as the agent of any reactionary impulse that has enough appeal to contribute to a coalition sufficient to control the minority who do participate.
It cannot be stressed enough that Movement Republicanism is a reaction to the New Deal, the Great Society, and the secular middle-class multiculture that arose as an embryonic secular social democracy out of these limited but still transformative progressive accomplishments. Big Business -- which in the 20C had been an opportunistic but disorganized force -- became explicitly politicized and organized (the story is told concisely by Kim Phillips-Fein in Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan, among many other texts written by scholars from Richard Hofstadter to Rick Perlstein) in the New Deal period and its aftermath, and so too the Religious Right was politicized and organized in the aftermath of Truman's integration of the armed forces and in the civil rights struggles of the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations and crystallized as frowny-faced Nixon's "Silent Majority" and smiley-faced Reagan's "Moral Majority" (some of this story is well captured in Frank Shaeffer's Crazy for God and texts by William C. Martin, Chris Hedges, Sidney Blumenthal, many of which are rather more polemical than the texts I have cited for the Big Business side of this story for whatever reason).
What I want to stress is that it is not just that Movement Republicans created the Beast of an indoctrinated crazytown base of Randroidal-Friedmaniacal market fundamentalists and Christianist Talibanists that they led by the nose to the benefit of cynical elite-incumbents (as well as the usual straightforward scam artists making a quick buck through corrupt Machine politics or evangelical flock-fleecing -- or the new variation in which one gloms onto political forms for the purposes of a celebrity media self-promotion -- amplified via mass-media and military might onto a National and globe-girdling scale) and can no longer control, but it is also that Republicanism had no choice but to create this Beast if they were not to concede the basic terms of secular social democracy as Europe's conservative parties do and Eisenhower -- the second best Republican President of the 20C, after Clinton -- more or less did at the crucial post-war moment.
Part of the reason this is so important is that it highlights the scope of the existential crisis that faces the Republican Party once the demographic reality that has short-circuited the white-racist Southern Strategy and the reality that the Right actually lost the Culture Wars (the loss of the Gay as scapegoat and specter, and the current ultimately abortive absurd effort to replace the Gay with an Islamofascist Fifth Column) finally sets in. The intensity of this crisis exacerbates the threat of the craziness of this moment in Movement Republicanism and makes the necessary effort to re-align the parties incomparably more difficult. My own desire is for the Democratic party to become a more legible vehicle for sustainable secular social democracy, while the Republican party reflects the inevitable interests of organized incumbency but in a way that permanently marginalizes dangerously racist and authoritarian elements. This outcome is by no means guaranteed, and our own moment is as definitive as the Truman/Eisenhower moment was in articulating the terms through which the possible and the important will be contested in what remains of my generation and the next.
By the way, I do not deny that there has been a long history of organized religion and organized business shaping American political institutions and events and that these histories are often illuminating to the imperial postwar period consummated in the George W. Bush Killer Clown Administration, nor do I deny that there are larger anti-democratizing structural features associated with the formation of conscience in the context of market orders, white racism, heteronormative patriarchy, default religiosity, manufactured individuation, celebrity culture and so on that demand address in ways that render the partisan divide of Democrats and Republicans considerably less salient because the politics of both parties express these ideological and institutional assumptions and aspirations. The danger of an exclusive focus at this level of historical narrative or ideological- or discourse-critique, however indispensable it may be to provide contextualization and guiding ideals, is that it can blind us to differences that make a difference in our sense of what is possible, important, threatening, constraining, promising, opportunistically available for education, agitation, and organization in the actually-existing formations at hand.
If one does not embrace violent revolutionary tactics (and I do not, though I must say it is unclear to me why some of my self-nominated more-radical critics do not) it seems to me that there is little point in fixing one's political critique at a level that induces indifference to the actual and hence potential differences between Republicans and Democrats, even if ascension to such critique provides indispensable contexts and ideals to help resist any counter-revolutionary assimilation to the maintenance of the catastrophe of the present.
I suspect that the Republicans are going to be destroyed by the Beast they created, but it remains to the rest of us to ensure that the Republic is not likewise destroyed by it -- that is to say, in the short term which happens to co-incide with planetary environmental, military, and social disasters faciliated in no small part by the key beneficiaries of the creation of the Beast in the first place.