I generally take articles on Breitbart with a grain of salt because the very few that I have fact-checked couldn’t stand up to minimal scrutiny. But this one with a rather gloomy forecast for the longevity of the GOP peeked my interest.
According to the article, it seems that there are a great quantity of folks dissatisfied with the field of presidential candidates, more who are dissatisfied with the $1.4T omnibus spending bill amounting to more of the same (and worse – they sneaked in a provision to extend domestic data surveillance) that just passed the House and Senate and was signed to keep the government running as is until next September, and completely dissatisfied social conservatives who just aren’t feeling the “love” this cycle.
Here are some examples given:
Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard [and former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney] tweeted: Crowd-sourcing: Name of the new party we’ll have to start if Trump wins the GOP nomination? Suggestions welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal accused anyone supporting Donald Trump or Senator Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) of wanting to lose to Hillary Clinton.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said that former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour would prefer Hillary to be president rather than have Trump be the nominee.
The Hill reported that establishment donors were looking outside the Party for someone.
Politico’s Jeff Greenfield reported that “Trump running as a Republican could well face a third-party run – from the Republicans themselves.”
Meanwhile, grassroots conservatives, enraged with the Republican Party’s willingness to take their money and beg for their vote, only to turn over spending to the congressional minority Democrats, are ready to push the eject button, as well. On Tuesday, evangelical icon Franklin Graham wrote that he had left the Republican Party to re-register as an independent:
“I have no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or tea party to do what is best for America. Unless more godly men and women get in this process and change this wicked system, our country is in for trouble. I want to challenge Christians, even pastors, across the country to pray about running for office where they can have an impact.”
Rush Limbaugh said in the wake of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) massive omnibus cave to the Democrats, “There is no Republican Party. … You know, we don’t even need a Republican Party if they’re going to do this.” He added, “It is as though Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is still running the House and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is still running the Senate. ‘Betrayed’ is not even the word here. What has happened here is worse than betrayal. Betrayal is pretty bad – but it’s worse than that.”
e immigration, spending, big government and social issues; and about the demise of the Whig Party, which is one of my top subjects. And it says this about the historical record:
This isn’t unprecedented in American political history. As I wrote back in early 2015, the disintegration of the Whig Party was pooh-poohed by leaders at the time, but eventually gave birth to Lincoln’s Republican Party. Senator William Seward, a New York Whig, said at the time, “No new party will arise, nor will any old one fall.” Seward thought that if the Whigs just ignored slavery, they could hold the Party together.
But without the slavery issue, there was no serious distinction between the Whigs and the Democrats. When the Whigs tried to elide that issue, Southern Whigs went to the short-lived American Party, and northern Whigs went Republican.
The second paragraph is not at all accurate. The Whigs were big into banking, finance, infrastructure, and economic development, while the Democrats were very suspicious of banking and more into agriculture constituencies. I have at least one well researched tome to point to as a reference for the rise and fall of the American Whig party that I have discussed on this blog on many occasions, here.
The truth of the matter is that the slavery issue went on its divisive course in ebbs and flows until the invention of photography when average people of all stripes who were not accustomed to the rigors of slavery could actually see horrors of what human beings can do to other human beings as never before. A picture is worth a thousand words. It was the abolitionist movement that fractured the Whig and Democrat parties over time, because those who were vehemently against slavery simply could not tolerate those who did out of political expediency and that sentiment crossed the political divide.
The first Republican presidential candidate, John Fremont, was a free soil Democrat Senator from California who, after refusing to run as the Democratic presidential nominee on the grounds that he was opposed to slavery, was convinced to run in the new party established in 1854 by Banks, Wilson, and Bigelow, former Whigs who had already been re-elected to posts as Republicans. By 1856, the Republican Party had already grown a healthy set of legs with elected officials sprinkled throughout the legislatures of the northern states and making headway into the national government. It was a 3rd party in real contention, not much unlike the Reform Party in the 1990’s, except, as you know, with anti-slavery sentiment to unite them across the political divide, the Republican Party displaced the Whig Party with lightning speed in historical terms as leading politicians converted instead of meeting the Reform Party fate.
I wouldn’t be so quick to put the Party into the ICU just yet. The one ingredient that is missing in the present environment that was prevalent in the 1850’s is that there aren’t a lot of established politicians saying, “Hey, I can’t hang with this.” However, anything can happen, and might happen if Trump is successful. But even then a trip to life support is unlikely. Because there are limits to what one will do as a “Party Man,” once Trump gets into office, if he does make it that far, he won’t have many friends in Congress and his agenda will get nowhere, legally anyway because he has to get the votes even to sustain a veto.
Presidents with the most veto overrides:
Andrew Johnson: 15
Harry Truman: 12
Gerald Ford: 12
Franklin Roosevelt: 9
Ronald Reagan: 9
Tallies for modern Presidents:
Bill Clinton: 2
G. W. Bush: 3
Barack Obama: none
The power of Congress to override vetoes means that Trump’s hostility to the establishment is much like his agenda proposals: counterproductive in nearly every way. The best that can be hoped for by his supporters in a Trump Administration would be to have Trump end up simply crashing like a wave on rocks. It would be a good time for the Republican Congress, if there should be one, to make good on limited government promises because they would have to reclaim much of the legislative power delegated to the Executive Branch in order to prevent Trump from making a huge disaster out of everything with the regulatory apparatuses.
And there is one more problem I see with this Breitbart article, as it glibly paints the political spectrum on the right in generalities:
But the biggest issue is an attitudinal one: is the job of the Republicans to stop the Democrats with every tool at their disposal, or to hold hands with Democrats to keep big government running, with the faint hope that at some point, Republicans will take total power and then pare the state around the edges?
That divide isn’t an easy one to bridge. And indeed, like the Whig divide, it’s sectional. Red state Republicans are perfectly happy to watch the federal government struggle through the Founders’ checks and balances; they don’t want a powerful central government. Blue state Republicans think that the struggles of checks and balances create unpredictability and thus financial insecurity, and worry that red state Republican social priorities alienate those who would side with them on cash issues.
First, there is a difference between chaotic government and government that is limited to necessary things. It isn’t rational or responsible to shut it all down by cutting off the money and not paying for anything, necessary and required or the pork. It all suffers. So, no, it isn’t the job of Republicans to obstruct it all. It is their job to give and take, an alternative not presented in the article, because Republicans aren’t the only voters. In fact, they are only 35% of all registered voters, and so doing what it appears this article subtlety suggests would amount to a minority getting what it wants with the nuclear option, the rest of the people in the nation be damned.
Second, until I left the Party a few years ago, I had been a both a Red and Blue state Republican since I came of age. And I am not sure what “Founder’s checks and balances” the author is referring to here, but the debt ceiling isn’t one of those. It is a late 20th century innovation that was intended to cap budgetary overruns and has been abused to the point of being meaningless, except in terms of political football. And financial insecurity of shutting government down isn’t the near top of my list of concerns.
No, my concern is the induction of chaos on nearly every level and incivility for no real purpose other than pure politics that bothers me. The article says it wants Republicans to stop the Democrats, but doesn’t delve into specifics of what Republicans are supposed to be stopping them from doing. And if I’m clear in my understanding, it means NO government until a 35% minority at the maximum get what they want – whatever that might be – it really is quite vague.
It seems prudent though to question what part of government they might actually want that would also be shut down; surly it’s a superb time to shut down the military, the FBI, and the CIA while freaking out about Obama’s foreign policy failures, ISIS specifically; and shutting down ICE and holding centers for its detainees is effective for enforcing immigration laws, shutting down faith-based pregnancy counseling is also a really grand idea that gets them where they want to go, and the list goes on… (These people must be clueless about the meaning of the word “counterproductive”).
In summary, at least this author needs better quality history and civics lessons. There is nothing the Donald can do about the Republican establishment in Congress, rather it will take care of him or get voted out trying in which case Trump can play with another Democrat supermajority. And won’t that be a lot of fun for the Republican grass roots. I can tell they had such a blast with the last one.