There is no doubt about it, these are dark times. We have a Trumpaholic driving a 2015 Chevy Scrapbook around, mailing off pipe bombs, another asylum escapee who thinks that HIAS is bankrolling an invasion force of unarmed, impoverished, footsore army of Honduran women and children, and to top it all off, a loud mouthed orangutan with a wandering wanker in a $5,000 suit sits in the White House. Tell ya what, let’s have some fun!
Cast your mind back to a time long ago, and far away. March of 2013 is far enough back. This was the “wilderness reunion tour” for the Republican party. Barack Obama had just rolled Mitt Romney up in the carpet, and dumped him by the political curb for the normal Thursday pickup. The party was fractured like it had seldom been before. Worse yet, the GOP national vote total was shrinking, the party appeared to be becoming marginalized. Clearly, something had to be done. Fortunately, the RNC was headed by a steely eyed man of action, Reince Priebus (played by Charlton Heston in the upcoming Starz mini series), who sprung into action. Basically, he ordered an autopsy report.
Actually, the RNC “autopsy report,” released in March of 2013 was a striking document. Striking because it didn’t begin with a preset outcome, stuffed with facts and sniglets that fit the outcome, it was a serious look at the current day GOP. And it was not good news. The report found that the party was indeed trivializing itself with its rigid ideology, it’s core base was aging and shrinking, and its stated policies and principles were slowing recruitment to a trickle.
The report also had several hard hitting suggestions for saving the party. These included modernizing the party’s messaging, purging the party of some of the more distasteful racist elements, and far right religious loonies, becoming more tolerant of differing sexual orientations in a more progressive era, and making a sincere outreach to minorities such as Hispanics and African Americans, to literally become a “big tent party.”
Every McMansion in GOP land was toasty warm for the remainder of the winter, what with all of those 97 pages of the report to use as kindling for the fireplace. Cue the obligatory scene of pages flying off of a calendar to November of 2016, and what did they have? The same moribound party, older, but even more marginalized, the losers of six out of the last seven Presidential popular votes, and oh yeah, Donald John Trump. The most bigoted, misogynist, ignorant, and piggish man child ever to survive his childhood diseases. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?
But November of 2016 was a time of upheaval for the Democratic party as well. They had just suffered an embarrassing, unforgivable loss against all odds. The party had fractured in a contentious primary, and never fully recovered afterwards. Like the Republicans before them, party leadership had failed to grasp that the hard core base supporters who showed up to vote in primaries weren’t enough to win a general election, and their canned, inside-the-beltway messages weren’t inspiring anybody.The Democrats did not order an autopsy report, they were made of sterner stuff. Instead, they took the bold step of shit canning the head of the DNC, and installing someone else. In poli-sci 101 this is called same-old-shitbox-different-driver.
Fortunately, the Democratic party was revitalizes, no thanks to the DNC, instead all thanks to Donald Trump. The sleeping base of the progressive movement was awoken by the outrage of the Pampers President, and their solution was simple. Screw it, if the party can’t come up with suitable candidates, we’ll come up with our own. And they did, with a vengeance. The DNC and DCCC tried to quell the rebellion by pouring money into its own list of officially sanctioned candidates, many of whom were promptly stomped into the turf by this new breed of citizen politicians. They blew the doors off of the GOP in the 2017 Virginia election, won special elections in Alabama and PA-18, and the Democrats over performed in every special election in 2017.
This is where lies the real difference between the Democratic and Republican parties lies. When faced with an extreme makeover for survival, the GOP instead chose to cling to a southern strategy Senate, gerrymandered House, and put off cleaning up the yard for one more college football Saturday spent in front of the tube. Whereas Democratic leadership chose to board the A-train. And they did it the right way, once these young candidates made it through the primaries, they didn’t tell them, “OK, here’s what you have to do now,” instead they said What can we do to help.” They were smart enough to see that each candidate had perfected their own secret sauce, so they just made sure that they had plenty of ingredients. How well will this political lab experiment work out? We’ll know in seven more days. But the face of the Democratic party has changed, for good. No more will the DNC tell the base which candidates they get, like it or not, the base is now telling the DNC which candidates have the best shot at winning each district, and just be there to answer the phone when they call.
Make no mistake about it. Donald Trump didn’t save the Republican party, all he did was to push the day of reckoning back a bit longer. Whether it’s 2020, 2024, or whenever all of those bacon cheeseburgers catch up with his arteries, Trump is going to pass from the scene. And when he does, what will be left is an even smaller, older, and more morally and intellectually bankrupt Republican party than the GOP had in March of 2013. And if the Democrats ride that blue wave next week into flipping a bunch of state houses and legislatures, and finish the job in 2020, the GOP won’t even have the gerrymander safety net to cling to anymore. And if that happens, then Donald Trump may have done more than just give every right thinking person on the globe ulcers. He may have presided over turning the Republican party into a permanently marginal force in Presidential elections, and possibly even congress over the long hail. Seven more days to go. Get out to the polls, and let’s get this comeback started on a high note.
*Embarrassing confession* I have become what I most detest. In an effort to widen my visibility, as well as that of Politizoom, I finally succumbed to the threats of bodily injury from ursulafaw, and now have a Twitter account. My handle, or whatever, is @RealMurfster35, and it IS sarcasm on Trump’s handle. Mostly, it is going to be just a way for me to get the word out quicker that there is a new article up, so if you want to follow, you’ll always know when something new comes up here or there. And yes, now that I’ve taken the plunge, there will be occasional sarcasm directed at The Tangerine Tantrum Machine and his minions.