This election cycle may be the most important of my lifetime. It’s the equivalent of 1860 when the future direction of the nation is at stake. The party of Lincoln emerged then as one of the two great parties of the American political scene. We are on the threshold of losing it forever.
Although the Founders did not see or encourage a two-party electoral system, it has emerged as one of the great bulwarks of American democracy. This election may very well determine if the Republican Party will continue in any form we would recognize. This would be a great loss, and I say this as a registered Democrat.
The demise of the GOP began with the election of Barak Obama in 2008. It became the obstructionist party, the “just say no” party, that blocked anything POTUS put forward. It operated under the strategy of the Senate Majority Leader who famously said he would do all he could to make Obama a one-term president. He may have failed on that score, but he may have succeeded in taking down his own party in the process. How?
The glue that holds our democracy together is compromise. Wise pols know that. They know that they cannot get everything they want, that they do not hold the only good ideas, that working together to solve problems leads to the best solutions. But Republicans have lately elected ideologues to the House and Senate, people who regard compromise as weakness and can’t bend without breaking. They refuse to entertain anything that suggests acceptance of what they consider less than the only true way. This has led to two of the least productive Congresses ever, and the emergence of Donald Trump. And, ironically, he will destroy the Republican Party.
The professional Republicans know this. Sure, call them the establishment, if you will, but they are those who put nation above party. Just Google “Republicans for Hillary” and you will see a stellar list. People like Steve Schmidt, McCain’s presidential campaign manager; David Frum, Bush 43’s speech writer; Colin Powell; Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of state under George W. Bush; Meg Whitman, Former Va. Sen. John Warner; Michael Chertoff, former United States Secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. Add to this the growing number of Republicans who announced they won’t vote for Trump (without saying who they will vote for) including Mitt Romney, George Will, Sens. Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham, the Log Cabin Republicans, and 95% of the state legislators. This list is huge and growing.
The so-called Republican “autopsy report” that detailed the Republican failures of 2012 named ideological rigidity, its preference for the rich over workers, its alienation of minorities, reactionary social policies, and institutionalized repression of dissent and innovation as its major liabilities that needed to be addressed if the party would ever again be a factor in upcoming presidential elections. This comes from Republicans!!! Or should I say, this comes from Republicans who understand their failures and want to do something about them. The emergence of Donald Trump is the most reactionary candidate possible for thwarting any hope that the Republican Party will self-correct. The result is the end of the GOP as an effective partner in the support of American democracy.
So, when I vote for Hillary Clinton this Tuesday, I will be voting for a renewed GOP as well as for someone who is a proven compromiser, a person who is no ideologue, who effectively reaches across the aisle for the better good. Sure, she has her flaws, and as a Bernie supporter, she falls far short of what I would prefer. But I want a strong Republican Party and someone who embraces all Americans. Donald Trump brings neither.
The loss, once again, of the White House, just might be the impetus for Republican reform and a return to political integrity. Come on back, Republicans—We need you!