Conservative blogger Ben Domenech recently wrote about the lifespan of political parties:
“Sometimes they just evolve into something that no longer recognizes its past as representing anything historically valuable in guiding its future. The Democratic Party did this within many of our lifetimes. Perhaps it is the GOP’s turn now.”
Perhaps. But, before going there, your humble correspondent asks a favor. Can we please stop the ridiculous hype about Hillary breaking the glass ceiling and being the first woman presidential nominee of a major party? Left-wing media types (pardon the redundancy) have been wetting their pants in their excitement about this entirely predictable “breakthr ough.” Democrats have known since Barack Obama elbowed her aside in 2008 that she was going to be the next nominee. They penciled in her name for 2016 the moment they decided that “Historic First Black President” temporarily trumped (so to speak) “Historic First Woman President.”
So Bill’s Enabler-in-Chief finally has been nominated. And she’s a woman (until she decides to identify as something else, of course). Women pretty much run the Democratic Party anyway (Wasserman-Shultz, Pelosi, Warren, Sotomayor, Cecile Richards), so Hillary’s nomination is a milestone only in the narrowest technical sense. Shut up, already.
But back to the GOP. Rank-and-file Republicans are furious at their party; not because it hasn’t effectively opposed Obama’s lunatic policies (which it hasn’t) but because it hasn’t even tried. After ’08, Democrats had the White House and both houses of Congress. In 2010, frustrated voters gave the House to the GOP which immediately said that wasn’t enough; it couldn’t do anything unless it had the Senate too. So voters gave it the Senate in 2014 and …. nothing. Obama continued to rule by diktat. Republicans continued to huff and puff about the importance of stopping him while just giving us Democrat Lite.
Thus has Donald Trump’s hostile takeover succeeded and might lead to a schism in the party or even a Whig-like collapse. The #NeverDonaldTrump movement is fairly robust, as is a related movement to “unbind” convention delegates based on the SCOTUS decision in Cousins v. Wigoda. Neither will succeed but Trump’s candidacy itself and these attempts at push-back are indicative of the serious fault line within the Republican Party.
The Whigs imploded at the local level and, so far, the GOP hasn’t done that, having made huge recent gains not just in the Senate and House but in governorships and state legislatures. Still, there is the possibility that traditional, pragmatic conservatives will oppose the angry, Trump populists and form a new party if they believe that the Trump phenomenon will survive this election. Democrats are salivating at the prospect because socialists always prefer one-party government. And “Establishment” Republicans have only themselves to blame.
Either way, with the nomination of Donald Trump, the GOP has jumped the shark. Of course, Democrats jumped the shark in the late 60’s when Hubert Humphrey liberalism surrendered to Saul Alinsky radicalism. But Americans take far left Democrats for granted now, which is why no one really cared this year that an avowed socialist, as opposed to the usual closet socialists, became a serious candidate for the Democratic nomination. Beginning with George McGovern in 1972, and with the (possible) exception of Jimmy Carter, they’ve nominated loony leftists every four years ever since. There are no moderate Democrats anymore. Radicalism is solidly entrenched as the Democratic mainstream. JFK would be as ashamed of today’s Democratic Party as Ronald Reagan would be of today’s Republican Party.
The Democrats survived their transformation much as humans absorbed by the goo in the alien seed pods survived theirs. They survived, but became something very different. “Progressives” simply no longer relate to constitutional, checks-and-balances government as Americans traditionally have understood it.
We’ll know soon enough what will happen to the GOP. Certainly the party is standing on the edge of a precipice now and Donald Trump is poised to give it a shove.