by John Gibson
President Trump might have pushed our political parties toward an extinction event.
French voters confirmed an American trend that showed up in the Trump election: our political parties are a mess, don’t represent the people, and while managing to stagger along like a zombie, are questionable for long term survival.
In France, the traditional political parties were crushed by a guy who made up his own party in order to run, and a woman whose name, LePen, has struck fear in the hearts of Europhiles for two successive generations. The traditional French parties got single digits in the vote, while Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen pulled mid 20’s, together adding up to about half the French electorate.
Here in the United States the Democrats are having trouble maintaining unity on core issues, for instance, abortion. A ridiculous party dustup is now underway over Bernie Sanders–putative leader of the party–traveling to Omaha to support a Democrat candidate for mayor named Heath Mello, who is anti-abortion.
That has raised the question, can you be a Democrat and pro-life? Both Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin yes, but no one believes them. Sure you could be a pro-life Democrat, but not in any position of influence. You’d have your one little vote and otherwise you’d be ignored.
In reality Democrats have morphed into something new. Sure, we know about their social justice issues on race and gender, but in reality what unites Democrats these days is despising Trump. Democrats have become the Hate Party, or more precisely, the Hate Trump party. They hate him, they hate his voters, and they hate those quisling Republicans who adamantly opposed Trump, but in the blinding reality of his victory have nonetheless cozied up to him.
Those furious Democrats might like to be called the Social Justice Party, owing to their obsession with gender issues, and their total subservience to Black Lives Matter, the anti-cop, anti-white, phonied-up racial outrage movement.
However, upon reflection let’s go with the Hate Trump banner: on the left, it is all inclusive, a powerful uniting force.
As for the Republicans, let’s not kid ourselves. The libertarians, the moderates, the pro-business deregulators, the Tea Partiers, the constitutionalists, the gun rightists, the anti-abortionists, all those voters who chose Trump while he was sometimes vague on their pet issues: is all that a party anymore?
After all, Republican leaders scoffed, condemned, mocked Trump. Then they got stuck with him by voters who dumped traditional Republican positions–Free Trade, anyone?–as soon as they got a whiff of Trump’s cologne.
And now here are the Republicans owning the White House, and both Houses of Congress, and they can’t seem to avoid what will be a mindless mistake: a one party government shutdown.
Sure, the Hate Party in Congress–nominal Democrats quaking in fear at the sight of their wild eyed, frothing at the mouth Democrat constituents storming Republican town halls–isn’t cooperating with anything Trump or the (nominal) Republicans want. It is a stark reality for Democrats: help Trump in any way no matter how trivial, and expect bitter, vindictive opposition from their own.
But seriously–after watching Freedom Caucus Republicans join with Democrats to hand Donald Trump and Paul Ryan a humiliating defeat on the first go at a health care bill, can we really blame Democrats?
Defenders of the two faiths–Republican and Democrat–seem confident their brands will continue. Tradition, history, practicality all weigh in on that side.
But elections argue something different. Here in the United States Bernie Sanders upended the Democrat primary, wounding Hillary Clinton by encouragement and attacks from the Left.
Then there’s Donald Trump. He showed that Republican office holders–the ones who scoffed and dismissed him– were wildly out of step with Republican voters.
In France the traditional parties were so uninspiring none could break 10% of the vote, and the guy who looks like the sure-fire next French President made up his own party in order to run.
We may be at a moment when the parties–the elephants and the donkeys–become something other than what we have come to know not through the efforts of the careerists and professionals in politics, but because the voters dictate a new direction for both parties.