The Coming Crackup of the Democratic Party?
I haven’t been drinking and as far as I can tell, I haven’t lost my
mind (perhaps I’m not a good judge of that). Yes, I know the Democrats
are just coming off a huge election victory. Nevertheless, I believe
the Democratic Party is as unstable as Ozone. You remember high school
chemistry, don’t you? Oxygen (O2) is stable, but Ozone (O3) is unstable
and tends to break down into Oxygen.
The Democratic Party is
constructed differently than the Republican Party. It is a party of
special interest coalitions—unions, blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals,
prairie radicals (the anti-war crowd), feminists, enviro-crazies, and
assorted die-hard Democrats that haven’t noticed that their party is no
longer the party of Harry Truman. Their route to political success is
satisfying the gimmie, gimmie, gimmie demands of these often conflicting
The Republican Party, on the other hand, is
focused on the individual and has a common philosophy of limited
government, a strong national defense, maximum individual freedom, and a
moral America. (No, I’m not saying that all Democrats are immoral—but
they do have a different standard of morals from the Ten Commandments.)
Yes, there are groups in the GOP who are more interested in one aspect
of this vision than the other parts, but when led by a true
conservative, they not only rally behind that individual, but work in a
semblance of harmony together as they did when Ronald Reagan was
Accordingly, Ronald Reagan ran as a conservative and
governed as a conservative and won twice with overwhelming majorities.
This is the Republican Party’s formula for victory and it works because
it appeals to a majority of Americans, regardless of their race,
education, financial status, age, or other unimportant characteristics.
It’s about a common philosophy, not about what one group or another can
get out of government. Conservatives believe in American
exceptionalism and preserving the nation as the beacon of freedom and
the land of opportunity. It is an inherently stable political formula.
truth is that the Democrats have always had trouble holding together
their coalitions. In 1948, George McGovern bolted the Democratic Party
to work for and vote for Norman Thomas who ran for President on the
Socialist Party ticket. By the way, Thomas dissolved the Socialist
Party after he recognized that all the planks of his Socialist platform
had been adopted by the Democratic Party. In fact, he said, "The
American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name
of liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program
until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing
how it happened." In this one case, I have to agree with Norman Thomas,
but I’m getting off the topic.
In 1948, the Roosevelt coalition
not only split to the left with George McGovern, but it also broke off
to the right with Strom Thurmond heading up the Dixicrat Party ticket.
In 1968, the Democratic Party imploded with the anti-war prairie
radicals attacking the Democratic President, Lyndon Johnson.
so that’s old history. What does it have to do with today? Here’s the
problem with being a far-left candidate for President supported by a
patchwork quilt of weirdos and lefties: You have to run to the right
promising tax cuts, a strong national defense and strong support for the
Second Amendment to win the election. However, if you don’t govern far
to the left, your coalition not only breaks up, it turns on you. The
far-left will tolerate running to the right and advocating tax cuts and a
strong national defense in order to get their guy elected, but they
won’t tolerate for a minute his failing to fulfill every wild, left-wing
wish on their list.
If Obama goes far-left, he will run into
opposition from within his own party (the so-called “blue dog”
Democrats) and he will lose millions of Americans who will conclude they
have been duped. However, if he doesn’t govern far-left, his various
special interest groups will turn on him. What a pickle!
Obama doesn’t immediately pull out of Iraq—Whammo! He will get pounded
by the far-left. If he does pull out of Iraq and undercut our victory
there, he will lose the confidence of the majority of the American
If he doesn’t immediately close down Guantanamo—Whammo!
He will get slammed by the left! If he does shut “Gitmo” down and
terrorists are set free, he will get slammed by the American people.
he doesn’t silence talk radio by re-imposing the inappropriately called
“Fairness Doctrine,” he will get slammed again. If he does shut down
talk radio, he will lose more support.
If he doesn’t sign
anti-gun legislation into law, he will be condemned by the left. If he
does sign anti-gun rights legislation, he will lose a critical element
of his die-hard Democrat base.
If the economic plight of
minorities doesn’t quickly improve under President Obama, he’ll be
labeled a turncoat and worse. If the general economy slides into a deep
recession or a depression, he will own it. This is not 1932. The guy
in office will carry the blame.
If he doesn’t sign protectionist
legislation the unions want, they will abandon him. If he does sign
protectionist legislation similar to the disastrous Smoot-Hawley bill
signed by Hoover, he will send the nation into a depression.
another small observation. Big victories like Johnson in 1964 and
Nixon in 1972 typically lead to overreaching and thus to political
disaster. Can a Chicago machine politician really run a scandal free
administration? Not likely.
For these reasons and others, I
think the Obama Administration has big problems ahead. Yes, they will
tax and tax and spend and spend, but that will only drive the economy
downward and alienate more of the folks who voted for him. Yes, the
Dems will probably pass some form of socialized medicine. But there
will be a heavy price to pay in four years, maybe even in two years. In
fact, don’t be surprised if the GOP does well in Virginia’s 2009
The Republicans may have their problems, but
at least they have shining stars on the horizon who have a coherent
conservative philosophy. These stars include Minnesota Governor Tim
Pawlenty, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and Alaska Governor Sarah
Palin, among others.
It will certainly be interesting to
watch. Getting elected President and being adored by the mainstream
media is the easy part. Now comes the hard part—governing.
President-elect Obama and all elected officials certainly need and
deserve our prayers.