It was this weekend that I finally gave up. I have watched the steady descent of American conservatism—and its primary public vehicle, the Republican Party—into the terminal depths of the prion disease it acquired when Ronald Reagan and Richard Viguerie and Jerry Falwell first fed it the monkey-brains back in the late 1970s when I was just starting out in this racket. 

I mocked it and inveighed against it. Better people than I—Dave Neiwert, Chip Berlet, the SPLC—went out in the field, took good notes, and have spent four decades warning us what was coming unless the prion disease was kept in check. Too many people in a position to do so bailed on the task: the Republicans, because the prion disease was flourishing on the radio and winning them elections; and the Democrats, because they were too polite, or too naive, or too…something to care. (Some Democrats, worse ones, even tried to break off some of the people in whom the prion disease was raging.)

Read the rest of Charlie Pierce’s piece at Esquire Politics