As much as things change they also remain the same. Political parties come and go. There has to be a reason for their existence, a reason for people to support one. It is not enough to be against things, human beings need an emotional reason, normally positive reasons for people to support them. First there was the Federalist Party which saw its demise, then the Whig Party died just about the time its two leaders, Henry Clay and the famous orator Daniel Webster died. But primarily the Whig Party died due to the split along pro and anti-slavery lines. We may now, very well be witnessing the death of the Republican Party.
While the Democratic Party has evolved from a political party that Andy Jackson pretty much started, the Republican Party has become a party that derives its support from our citizens who feel marginalized. The Democratic Party became the party of the common man and for awhile it became a party with mostly southern leanings but it changed and it is now a political entity with a big tent, a coalition of people who live in the cities. It is a party which has Progressives who are more highly educated, to union members, to Americans who have found a home for their basic needs who happen to be from what might be termed minority groups. It now sees itself as a populist group seeking to address economic needs and fairness as well as individuals from groups who are seeking greater political rights. Jackson initially appealed to what the aristocracy would have called the rabble, those individuals who could not vote but who wanted to have a voice in their lives. There are natural rights and positive rights and those who felt disenfranchised have found a home in the Democratic Party.
Let us look at the Republican Party, a party which according to the polls, is increasingly a political party whose voters are unhappy and angry. What positive right or natural right are they for? What is their vision for the future? It is easy to see what they are against. They feel that we are being invaded by immigrants so they don’t want them. They for a good segment of their voting bloc, want immigrants physically removed. They don’t care if we use the army or put up a fence or a wall to keep them out. They don’t care if the 11 million or so have been here for years or if their child was born here, they want them out. Older white males and women on the right side of the political spectrum want to blame illegal immigrants for all of the wrongs and slings and arrows of outrageous fortune on anyone other than themselves. They now are beginning to clamor for no legal immigrants at all.
To hear them talk, the Republican Party should get rid of Social Security and Medicare. A large portion of Republicans don’t care what happens to seniors or the sick or the disabled. Republicans are against the minimum wage, they are against food stamps, they are against equal rights. The Republican Party has become a group of reactionary individuals whose primary existence of recent years is to be against anything that President Obama is for.
Now we are hearing a distinct disregard for any respect for our own political institutions. On the floor of the United States Senate a very disrespectful speech made by Senator Cruz calling his Senator McConnell a liar, shocked his own fellow Senators. A greater and greater proportion of the elected Republican members of the House and the Senate don’t even want the government to work and be open for business.
The flim flam man, Donald Trump is a perfect foil for the disaffected and the angry. The problem is that nothing gets done when you are angry, it is a negative energy. His candidacy is one in which the angry and the disaffected who buy into conspiracies now have their man. He is sucking the air out of the campaign.
The media has helped the Trump campaign. Instead of hearing about the rest of the candidates until just this past week all we have been hearing about is THE DONALD. He has nothing good to say about anyone. He is the anti-politician, the anti-hero.
A new voice, the voice of Governor Kasich gives the Republican Party one last chance to get it right, to survive. On Meet the Press, Kasich said simply that he wants to fix things, that there is more to an election than just being elected. He is an old style Republican, who wants to make the lives of people better by fixing what is broken. He even refused to take the bait when asked about Donald Trump. He wisely stated that he was not going to talk about him. He just wants to talk about what his vision is for America. Can Kasich save the Republican Party from itself?
No political party has ever survived when all that they have to offer is a negative message. No Auntie Em, there is no war on religion, there is no threat to America from the shadows of our undocumented immigrants. Radical Islam will not conquer America. The sun will come out tomorrow and no, Chicken Little will not fall from the sky. We did land on the Moon and guess what folks our climate is changing. Gay people are human beings and all lives do matter. And guess what America, diversity is our strength.
So my fellow citizens, this is a critical time for the Republican Party to stay relevant, to be viable or else like history, their demise will be like all of the other political parties that have come and gone. Will the Republican Party go the way of the Do Do bird, the way of the passenger pigeon and become extinct. Extremism can kill the Party of Lincoln. What was once a party of tolerance, a party where the human rights of slaves and the preservation of the Union gave Republicans their cause, their reason for their existence. It has become a party unrecognizable from their hallowed history. What are the Republican positive reasons for their existence? Is this election, the election of 2016 the swan song of the Republican Party?