All elections have consequences. We the people need to execute the right to vote and seriously consider the ideology and qualifications of candidates that will govern our nation and represent us globally. A political party is formed to elect representatives that will support its ideology. A party platform is a position paper on multiple issues the party sees as relevant and timely. But once elected or appointed, an official swears allegiance to the constitution, not loyalty to a particular political party that does not represent a majority of the people.
Most Americans are independent thinkers and voters. According to 2016 statistics 42% of Americans are Independent, 29% Democratic, and 24% Republican. When an American enters the voting booth for state and national elections, the choice of electable candidates is usually from only two major parties.
Party ideology deals with many issues. Each party has extreme to moderate wings.
values state initiated legislation rather than federal – individual rights –
capitalistic – against government regulations – lower taxes for wealthy and corporations – pro business – trickle down economy, less taxation for business which provides capital to invest in an economy that provides employment– privatization of existing government programs – against national minimum wage – for individual responsibility
for private market based private insurers – against the Affordable Care Act
currently extreme -no amnesty for undocumented immigrants – view immigration as a threat – presently policies supporting deportation of undocumented residents – against sanctuary cities
voucher system for private schools K through 12 – support charter schools
anti-abortion –against stem cell research -against Roe v Wade – against Planned Parenthood
oppose same sex marriage – oppose national laws that protect LGBT rights
traditionally in opposition to Unions – opposed to business regulations
pro state-right to legislate gun control laws – interpret Second Amendment as it applied in the 18th Century
stress economic benefits of fossil fuels and nuclear energy rather than alternative fuels and protection of the environment
INTERPRETATION OF THE CONSTITUTION:
interpret closely to original intent – strict constructionist
in flux – many of today’s policies do not coincide with traditional Republican policies
national law that applies to all states
regulated economy combines socialism and capitalism – higher taxes on wealthy and corporations – lower taxes and deductions for middle income and lower income – regulations of business as necessary – for Federal programs to stoke the economy and help small business – lower taxes for the middle class and the poor and deductions plus social programs for health care, elderly, children, disabled and unemployed – for national minimum wage – programs that funnel capital to middle and lower income consumers of goods and services that grow economy – “bottom up economy” – social responsibility
government provider – single provider like Medicare and Medicaid; support The Affordable Care Act which is a compromise on combined government and private sector providers, modeled after a health plan originally proposed and implemented by Republican Mitt Romney as governor of Massachusetts
support strong border security – respect the constitutional right to seek asylum – provide a pathway to resident law abiding undocumented immigrants – support immigration reform along with many moderate Republicans – for humane border protection
support public schools – propose extending public education to colleges and technical schools
pro-choice – for stem cell research – support Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood – support social programs for women who make pro-life choices
support Supreme Court Ruling on same sex marriages – support national laws that protect LBGT rights
support enacting national gun control legislation – interprets the Second Amendment according to what is “ necessary and proper” in the 21st Century
protection of the environment – belief in climate change – economic value in alternate sources of energy
INTERPRETATION OF CONSTITUTION:
interpret according to what is “necessary and proper” in the 20th Century
globalism – support United Nations, Post-World War II alliances such as NATO and SEATO – responsible world leaders of western world
A centrist government is the result of compromise, which incorporates a capitalistic free market and government intervention, (regulated economy). Both Bush Presidents were moderates on immigration. The second President Bush was not elected by popular vote, but by a win in the electoral college. In contract to Trump, President Bush campaigned on the promise that he would be a, “UNITER, NOT A DIVIDER,” and followed through on that promise. A few days after 9/11, President Bush gave his “Islam is peace speech” in which he stated, “America must take into account that millions of Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads and they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must be treated with respect.… Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.” Many extremists did not agree with this position.
At the end of President Bush’s second term there was a severe global recession. Particular to the United States, there were issues that contributed to the “Great Depression of 2008”
- unregulated practices of financial institutions such as subprime mortgages
- bundling of mortgages which hid defaults
- lack of regulation in the banking system
- unregulated private sector health care (increased cost of health care, denial of coverage by private insurance companies due to preexisting conditions)
By November 2008 over 400,000 people were unemployed: uninsured banks were at risk. From January 26th to September 29th the U.S. stock market experienced a drop of close to 3000 points. The United States was in crisis mode. The reaction of some Conservative Republicans was the formation an extreme Republican wing, The Tea Party. Though the crises had been caused by deregulation, Tea Party enthusiasts wanted more deregulation and reasserted states-rights that opposed national solutions to the extent that the topic of secession was introduced by some.
According to the article Tea Party Movement written by Michael Ray, Britannica.com, “the tea party movement focused its ire at the federal government and extolled the virtues of free market principles. Within weeks, Tea Party chapters began to appear around the United States, using social media sites such as Facebook to coordinate protest events. They were spurred on by Fox News. The generally libertarian character of the movement drew disaffected Republicans to the Tea Party banner, and its anti-government tone resonated with paramilitary militia movements.”
The two main candidates in the 2008 presidential campaign were Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain. A victorious President Obama inherited a country in crisis. In addition to the financial collapse, many extreme conservatives challenged the legitimacy of his election by denying that he was a natural born citizen, the “Birther” movement. The era also saw an increase in Post 9/11 Islamophobia, anti-immigration sentiment, and racism.
President Obama held a Democratic majority in both houses and with the help of moderate Republicans enacted legislation that put the economy on an upswing i.e. Dodd – Frank, the economic stimulus package, etc. However, changes in economic policy did not have an immediate impact on the economy. The impact of Obama economics culminated in the fully employed economy of 2017. Though at almost full employment, employed workers at all levels are still experiencing wage stagnation and underemployment and loss of benefits, economic issues which are not being addressed.
Expectations of a quick solution led to dissatisfaction with President Obama and a Democratic Congress rather than the Bush Administration and Republicans. In the 2014 mid-term elections, disaffected Democrats and Independents chose to stay home, resulting in Democrats losing both houses of Congress. Democrats lost 50 seats in the House of Representatives. Tea Party Republicans created a very conservative wing that used obstructionism to challenge or undo moderate, bipartisan reforms on health care and immigration.
The 2016 Presidential Campaign started with a large field of Republican candidates, moderates and conservatives. Donald Trump could have been voted most unlikely to succeed. Though the least politically qualified, he based his campaign on controversial claims and negative attacks, which gave him free media exposure. According to an article featured in the Atlantic magazine written by Molly Ball, “The Unsung Architect of Trumpism” was Kellyanne Conway, whose theory was the basis for Trump’s winning campaign. Prior to 2016 campaign, Conway and Steve Bannon plotted to upend the Republican establishment. Conway’s analysis of the 2012 election went counter to the strategy recommended at Republican National Conference, which was called to analyze the loss of the Presidential Election. Establishment Republicans’ recommendation was that the Republican Party had to be more inclusive to increase the popular vote. Conway based her political campaign theory on exclusive tactics that devalued the popular vote and fed on anti-establishment (“drain the swamp”) and anti-immigrant (“build the wall”) ideas to capture swing states and the electoral college. “And Conway’s ideas were the key to a major shift in the way Trump addressed immigration, which became his signature issue.” Trump’s extremist, outrageous, negative, fear of the other, “alternative facts” campaign strategy defeated all the Republican “Never Trump” establishment candidates, moderates and conservatives.
The Democratic Party supported Hillary Clinton’s candidacy as a moderate who supported the party platform. Clinton was challenged by an Independent liberal, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders’ ideology was to the left of the progressive Democratic platform. Party rules are aimed at nominating the most electable candidate that supports party ideology and are not necessarily democratic. Hillary won the nomination, but the Democratic party’s use of “super delegates” became contentious at the Democratic Convention. As a result, angry Sanders liberals voted for a third-party candidate in the general election and the division strengthened the possibility of electing an exclusive extremist, Donald Trump.
Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign plan remained the same as in his primary run. His rhetoric continued to be anti-immigrant and anti-establishment. In addition, many American workers were not as yet feeling the impact Obama’s economic policies and could not accept the fact that 21st Century economics would no longer provide employment for some traditional industries. Trump tapped into the fears and dissatisfaction of voters in key swing-states with reactionary, nationalistic tactics.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but not the Electoral College. She was defeated by a “perfect political storm”, not a single element but a composite of actions and events. In contrast to Donald Trump, she entered the final stage of her campaign with a long political history. Early in her husband’s administration she went against the traditional role of First Lady, when Bill Clinton appointed her to head an ad hoc committee on health care reform. She later ran for political office herself was elected Senator from New York and later appointed Secretary of State for President Obama’s two term presidency. During her political career she became a piñata for the Republican Party, especially the very conservative. Other campaign issues were former President Bill Clinton’s actions past and present, Russia’s hacking our electoral system and Democratic campaign servers, and a disenchanted working class experiencing wage stagnation.
Most establishment Republicans chose to overlook Trump’s debasing attacks and inequities and became Trump supporters. Republican voters looked forward to filling an open Supreme Court appointment that was hijacked from President Obama by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, and the ability to enact establishment ideology. Most Republicans fell in line once Trump won the Presidency.
One and half years after Donald Trump’s election it is apparent that the Republican Party has been hijacked by Trumpism. His strategy of breaking norms and precedents, plus creating head spinning chaos, has confused, exhausted and destabilized democracy nationally and globally. President Trump’s policies are not based on democratic ideology but on keeping the exclusive political base by which he won the election. Both President Bush and Donald Trump were elected by the Electoral College, and not the popular vote, yet he is in campaign mode, creating more division to maintain a political base that is polling under 40%.
Democracy is in danger nationally by failing to maintain the checks and balances of the U.S Constitution and globally by the undoing the Post-World War II World Order . World War II was fought for the survival of international Democracy. Many brave men and women died in a war against fascist Germany and Italy, Imperial Japan, and other dictatorships. Currently, American democracy is imperiled by legislators that are placing Party before country. The Constitution provides a framework for posterity to add the details of governing within the three coequal branches that operate under a system of checks and balances. Many of the governing mechanisms have been established by precedent, and not by law. Some precedents are for partisan control, especially in the legislative branch. The Supreme Court was meant to be an impartial and independent branch of government, above partisanship. Current Senate Leader Mitch McConnell set a partisan precedent at the end of Obama’s second term. He withheld Senate confirmation of Obama’s moderate nominee Merrick Garland, until a new President was elected. Republicans claimed there was not enough time to go through the process, yet presently Republicans are rushing to confirm an extremely conservative Trump nominee before an important mid-term election. We are facing a Constitutional Crisis and should certainly not rush a Supreme Court confirmation.
Republicans control the three branches of government. Constitutional checks and balances are being obliterated. The extreme right has taken control of the RNC. Absence of moderates who can rise above partisanship has weakened our democracy. Many moderate Republicans are not running for reelection in 2018. The Republican National Committee is backing Trump Republicans for the House and Senate in the coming mid-terms. Republican incumbents are torn between gaining party support and We the People. We the People have the power to elect a legislature that will assert independence and use its constitutional power of oversight.
Trumpism is in the process of implementing Conway/Bannon exclusive, anti-establishment, and anti-global policies, that are dividing the country and our alliance systems. If Republicans do not check the power of Trumpism, they can not call themselves the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. The failure to stand in defense of We The People of the nation and the world may bring about the demise of the Republican Party.