Democracy, the GOP and Unity

Ashamed of the GOP

The official origin of the Republican Party dates back to 1856 when about ten thousand Americans joined forces to form a party dedicated to stopping the spread of and tolerance for slavery in the United States. One of its founders, Horace Greeley, described the movement as, “…those who had united to restore the Union to its true mission of champion and promulgator of Liberty rather than propagandist of slavery.” The group named itself after Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party and adopted a platform ostensibly dedicated to restoring the principles embraced by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. You can read about the history in more detail here:

http://www.ushistory.org/gop/origins.htm

Oh how I envy the people who get to be part of the birth of a political party!  That may be the one and only time that it actually stands for something. Fast forward 162 years later and it seems the Party now stands for nothing. “Republican” is what you are if you’re not a Democrat, and vice versa. That’s about all. Listen closely to the incredibly revealing words of presidential candidate John Kasich at a recent campaign event:

The Republican party is my vehicle and not my master,” said Kasich.

The Republican Party is his “vehicle?” I take that to mean Kasich sees the Party as a tool to be used to get HIM where HE wants to be – and nothing more. Maybe I’m naïve but isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Isn’t the candidate supposed to be the vehicle that takes the Party where IT wants to be? And Kasich’s not alone. It’s clear that Donald Trump sees the Republican Party in exactly the same way. For all his complaining he chose to run as a Republican rather than as an Independent only because he wanted to use what the Party has built – the name brand, the infrastructure, the donors and the voter base – as his vehicle to the White House. And by allowing this the Republican Party has taken another giant step towards the state of having no real mission. It’s just a vehicle to be used by anyone whether they intend to uphold the Party platform or not.

And now we have cries for “democracy” coming from none other than the indignant usurper, Donald Trump, who doesn’t like that there is resistance to his commandeering of the vehicle. I might sympathize with him and his supporters if it weren’t for the simple fact that democracy isn’t necessarily consistent with a Party that ostensibly has a purpose and a platform. The founders of the Republican Party in 1856 wouldn’t have stood for a pro-slavery candidate, or a candidate who proposed “broadening the base” to include pro-slavery members, just for the sake of “democracy,” as that would have defeated the reason for the Party to exist in the first place. There is a time and place for democracy and within the GOP that time and place should be after the candidates have committed to upholding the platform, not before.

Celebrity pundits, political bloggers and other Trump supporters are calling on Republicans to get behind Trump for the sake of unity, but as a supporter of the one conservative in this race I am offended by the type of unity they apparently value. To such people I would say this:   You are asking us to unite behind a man. We are asking you to unite behind a set of principles.

 

~CW



Categories: Political

10 replies

  1. Well, if one WANTS to move ahead in politics (whatever the motivation) the only two realistic vehicles to use are the RP & DP. Circumstances (political climate, what state one lives in, in-Party competition, etc.) dictate which vehicle will be used.

    ‘Conservative’ icon Reagan was a New Deal Dem until his 50’s until he realized the RP offered a better chance for advancement. Another modern ‘conservative’ hero, Al Gore’s old Texas coordinator Rick Perry (also a Dem until late in life) is another.

    This blogger isn’t revealing some profound truth.

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  2. You’re on shaky ground, Shane. If you want to come here and have a civil conversation, that’s one thing, but comments like this one don’t cut it. You don’t have to agree, but if you can’t keep it civil, we don’t need you – understand?

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  3. This nominating season has left me physically ill. To even think that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump might be considered as a national office holder is simply scandalous!

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  4. Good stuff, CW! You came back with a vengeance!

    You’re spot on in your assessment of the Republican Party and those operating under its auspices. In effect, those calling for unity now are telling us to sit down, shut up and enjoy the ride to wherever the driver (Trump) is taking us. We’re suspicious about where he’s headed and we don’t want to go there.

    The really disturbing thing to me is that for decades we’ve been clamoring for a real conservative to run against the democrats. Now, at long last, we finally have a solid conservative and many who previously professed to be “conservatives” have dropped any pretense of conservative values and are gleefully pressing us to “unite” behind a loud-mouthed, vulgar, inarticulate driver who seemingly has no internal values or beliefs that even come close to conservative ones. I remember when he tried to define conservatism – it was a dismal failure. Donald Trump’s internal core values are “Trump First” and that’s pretty much it.

    I’m a naturally optimistic person, but it’s damn near impossible to be optimistic about the direction of the country when the driver thinks he knows where he’s headed but is directionally-challenged and (like we men are taught in Man School) refuses to accept directions. Woe is us.

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  5. We are between a rock and hard place on this one. As an right leaning independent I chose not to join a political party or just about anything because I find the message to be unclear and I can think for myself. But without unity my biggest fear in a Clinton win will be the loses in the Supreme Court. That will really change the political landscape. I suppose the Country Dems and Reps will get what they deserve after this political season. It has really turned me off. Talk about the dumbing down of America. Our choice is Trump or a Felon.

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    • Hey there, Patrick! Long time no see.

      I think a lot of us are turned off these days. What angers me when I think about the rock and hard place we’re stuck between is to know that the rock was put there intentionally. I’m not sure I want to reward that, but the price for standing on principle is a BIG one.

      “Talk about the dumbing down of America.”

      Amen.

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  6. If asked today, most Republicans couldn’t tell you much about the origin of the Republican party which has now morphed into a ‘go along to get along’ gang closer akin to Democrats whose principles fell to the wayside long ago.

    Your last statement says it all – ‘You are asking us to unite behind a man. We are asking you to unite behind a set of principles.’

    Had unity been the primary goal, there would have been no need for the Republican party in the first place. Why would we unite behind someone who doesn’t share our principles and values?

    (It’s good to see you back in print. Guess you got your thoughts organized, hehe)

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    • Thanks, Kathy. In all honesty I didn’t know about the origins of the Party until I looked into it for this post. I had a strong feeling, though, that its purpose wasn’t to be the “vehicle” for anyone wanting to be POTUS regardless of that person’s philosophies or absence thereof.

      I understand that the nature of the Democrat Party, where the absence of moral principles ensures a very broad base, makes it hard for the GOP to compete without continually slackening the platform; but this was one year when we could have won without sacrificing the mission.

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