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The meteoric rise of Donald Trump as the Republican Party's candidate for President Of The United States in the 2016 election finally has the Republican Party establishment concerned. Many pundits within the Republican Party expected a more traditional candidate within the party to defeat Trump, failing to anticipate the broad appeal of Donald Trump's loud, thoughtless message. While some of the previously-predicted candidates within the Republican Party failed to grab the nomination, dark horse's like George W. Bush defeating John McCain in the 2000 Presidential Primary contest were backed by a massive network of establishment Republican insiders, like Karl Rove. Donald Trump does not have such establishment ties and that is freaking out many of those who run the Republican Party.
The irony of the 2016 Presidential Primary contest is that the sudden fear within establishment Republicans means that both the Democratic and Republican Parties could end up with a nominee that neither the party members, nor the party establishment, are thrilled by. On the Democratic side, the Democratic Party establishment loves Hillary Clinton, but the liberal core of the Democratic Party is already mounting a significant movement against Clinton's corporate ties and refuses to vote for her should she manage to defeat Bernie Sanders for the nomination. Sanders supporters, who are the new and active members of the Democratic Party (or are willing to vote as Democrats to see him elected) have a "Bernie Or Bust" mentality and hashtag. In other words, the future core of the Democratic Party could end up with a candidate they would not vote for.
While independents (like me!) would happily use this as an opportunity to see the end of establishment political parties, even a moderate viewpoint would have activists re-evaluating the basic purpose of political parties.
As stupid as it might seem to reiterate, the purpose of a political party is to create an organization by which like-minded people can have their issues represented. Political parties were created in order to establish power blocks by which bills could more easily be passed. If a poll were taken of high school students asking "What two political parties were formed by the U.S. Constitution?" I suspect a troublingly high number of high school graduates would accept the premise. There is not, however, any Constitutional basis for political parties.
In recent years, political parties have become lazy to the point of being virtually unrecognizable. While George Bush called for a "big tent" to redefine the Republican Party, over the past thirty years, the Republican Party has been hijacked by the reactionary elements. The Religious Right and the Tea Party simply pushed out the moderate Republicans by defeating them in primary challenges and attacking them rhetorically to eliminate their voices from the party. The Republican Party of today is intolerant, not fiscally-responsible, and stands for almost none of the electable tenants that it did only thirty years ago; it would be unrecognizable to Reagan, Ford, Nixon, or Eisenhower, much less many of its more senior members. The Republican Party establishment became too afraid of losing its members to actually force the Tea Party to establish itself as a third party.
In a similar fashion, the Democratic Party has been so whipped in debate since Michael Dukakis that is has mortgaged its liberal core. From the acceptance of the terms "pro Life," "family values," and "religious protection" for "anti-choice," "gay bashing," and "pro-Evangelical Christian," the Democrats have ceded so much intellectual territory that it is impossible to define what the party stands for. For virtually any issue, one would likely be able to find a Democrat on the opposite side: they do not stand together for raising the minimum wage, they are not universally advocates for equal rights and they cannot even agree that "feminism" does not simply mean voting for whatever woman is running for office. If the Republican Party has been hijacked by the Right, the Democratic Party has simply had its spine decalcified until it collapsed into a lumplike collective whose only clear purpose is to win elections.
Perhaps that is why the candidacy of Bernie Sanders scares so many people within the Democratic Party establishment; Sanders clearly stands for something and he is unwilling to simply abandon his principles to win. At the other side of the aisle, the candidacy of Donald Trump has made the Republican Party establishment realize the opposite principle; winning the Presidency is not worth being associated with someone who does not stand for what the Party wants to stand for.
There are multiple solutions to the current schisms within the Democratic and Republican Parties. The Democratic Party has a real chance to regain its core and stand up for something by advocating for Bernie Sanders and his agenda. The Republican Party has a chance to reject empty rhetoric and the fearmongering tactics that have had it winning elections, but losing its philosophical core to a bunch of hypocritical theists for the past twenty years. The solution for the Republican Party is clear and perhaps it is time for a new hashtag:
After the March 15th Primary elections, former Speaker Of The House John Boehner suggested that if there is no consensus winner for the first round primary vote at the Republican National Convention, that an establishment candidate should be nominated from the floor. While Paul Ryan did the political thing of instantly deflecting the suggestion that he be nominated from the floor, the idea of a Republican floor nomination is the only idea that could put forth an electable Republican candidate.
Hillary Clinton should be the Republican Presidential candidate. If the Democrats want to represent the left-leaning values of the citizens of the United States and Sanders is politically to the left of Hillary Clinton, he is the logical choice for Democrats to have as their Presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has exhibited little political clout for anything outside winning; there are few issues that she has taken and stuck to with a firm stance based on the strength of her own convictions. Hillary Clinton has had a remarkable run with getting a pass for changing political positions, getting money from groups, individuals and corporate interests that are decidedly against what was once the Democratic core, and political scandals. Hillary Clinton's most consistent position is the desire to win.
While the RNC might not want Donald Trump to be the candidate that represents their party, the political flexibility of Hillary Clinton might seem to be their best option for success in the 2016 election cycle. Clinton's political statements and voting record more closely matches that of a moderate Republican than a traditional Democrat. Hillary Clinton represents the Republican Party's best chance to re-establish itself as a moderate, fiscally-responsible party that is not based on hating blacks and gays. Clinton was a Republican once upon a time and if she is having such a fight getting the Democratic nomination and is isolating future Democrats from participating in the 2016 election, switching parties might not be the worst thing for either party or American politics.
Barring a floor nomination for Hillary Clinton by the Republicans, the 2016 election cycle has the potential to finally destroy the two-party political paradigm in the United States. If Sanders gets the Democratic nomination, one suspects the Republicans will stage a floor vote with a candidate hand-picked to defeat him. However, if Hillary Clinton was to win the Democratic Party primary, the Bernie or bust voters would effectively create a voting block that would - at the very least - cut into any clout Clinton would have in the general election. Similarly, if Donald Trump were to win the Republican nomination, the resulting fracture within the Republican Party would likely result in two candidates from the Right ending up on the ballot in November. If a floor nomination for a candidate resulted in anyone but Trump being nominated, it is inconceivable that Donald Trump would simply give up, accept the lack of backing from the Republican establishment and go away. However, with Hillary Clinton's fundraising power and the backing of Republican establishment strategists and infrastructure, Trump continuing a campaign would be unwinnable and, perhaps more important to Trump, unprofitable.
The solution to the woes of the Republican Party is to defeat Trump on the floor of the Republican National Convention and the best chance they have for defeating Sanders in November is Hillary Clinton. #GOPDraftHillary
For other political articles, be sure to check out:
Why Bernie Sanders Will Be The Next President Of The United States
OscarsSoWhite Is A Waste Of A Social Movement
Why Modern Libertarianism Is Disastrous For The United States
For other political articles, please visit my Other Review & Commentary Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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