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December 21, 2015


An internet professor (Shelia Kennedy) recently published a blog seeking commentary on the growing issue as to whether the GOP can survive its inner brawls. Here was my response to her inquiry which I decided to publish as a blog of my own.


Is it too late for the GOP, asks Sheila? Not yet, but without reform within its ranks, the GOP might well be headed back to the ashes of the Whig Party, from whose ashes the Republican Party arose in 1854 to elect a president only six years later, Abraham Lincoln, a former Whig. If, like its predecessor party, the Whigs, the Republican Party fails, it will not be the first. We have had a major party (the Whigs) fail as well as several third parties that have organized and failed (Dixiecrats, Know Nothings et al.). Party failure and re-formation happens more frequently in parliamentary democracies such as Israel and France, for instance. Here we are for the most part captive to the two-party system.

As I have often blogged, both parties advertise that they have “Big Tents,” i.e., lots of room for differing points of view, but there is no tent big enough to encompass those who have gathered under the Republican big top, which now includes libertarians, nihilists and others who don’t believe in government but want to get inside it in order to destroy or weaken it. This explains the inner brawls of the Republican Party today, and unless someone comes up with a magic wand and restores some semblance of party unity, that party could indeed descend into what I have denominated Whigdom.

The purpose in even having a political party is to bring like-minded people together who share a common theme in governing. The Republican Party of today contains many who are not like-minded and who definitely do not share a common theme in governing, notably that of Senator Cruz, who will shut the government down at the drop of an ideological hat and who called his own majority leader a liar on the Senate floor.

Such conduct, mostly found in libertarian and tea party ideologues and other political juvenile delinquents, suggests a collective ego and elitism that will be difficult for the Republican Party to corral, not to mention the obvious difficulty in appointment of such ideologues into party leadership roles. Perhaps, like corporations who run through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and re-emerge cleansed of debt, labor contracts, pension debt etc., they can take a run through a hypothetical Whigdom and emerge as an energized New Republican Party and, like their predecessor party, elect a president soon afterwards.

Perhaps, perhaps not. The hour is late; they are on track in 2016 to lose the presidency, control of the Senate, and several seats in the gerrymandered House with their internal bickering. Perhaps a managed failure is the way to go for our opponents to survive. It’s their call, not mine. I am not now and have never been a member of the Republican Party, but I still believe in the two-party system Madison favored and don’t want them to go away for that reason. That party has a cancer on its political future but one that can still be excised with vigorous leadership willing to expel some from their tent. Again, their call.   GERALD   E

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