Republicans embraced the political knife-fighting tactics of Newt Gingrich in the 1990’s and light-as-air political figures like Sarah Palin in the 2000’s.
Many Republicans – including self-proclaimed “constitutional conservatives” – began to speak of compromise as a synonym for capitulation, which is odd given that the Constitution itself was the result of a whole series of accommodations – and [Ronald] Reagan was a gifted compromiser. (In the debate over the Constitution, there was even a deal struck that came to be known as the Great Compromise, by which every state was to have two members in the U.S. Senate, offsetting proportional representation in the House.)
Republicans became suspicious too of the “spirit of moderation” that James Madison argued is essential in understanding which measures are in the public good. What many modern Republicans are looking for is conflict, confrontation, the politics of the cage match.
At some point along the way, it became fashionable in the Republican Party – in some quarters, anyway – to replace reason with rage, to deny science when it was at odds with ideology and to cheer mindless stunts like shutting down the federal government rather than responsibly managing and relimiting it.
Peter Wehner, from his article, “The Party’s Over”, Time magazine, March 21, 2016, page 44.