Since the civil war within the Republican Party over Donald Trump shows no signs of letting up as a result of a little thing like his locking down far more than enough delegates to win the nomination, some new plans are clearly in order. One of the most radical ideas which has already been under discussion is for the #NeverTrump holdouts to work on forming their own party. For that matter, it shouldn’t be a third party, but actually a replacement for the existing GOP. Just burn the house down! Yeehaw!
And if you need advice on how to best help Republicans and conservatives in such a monumental task, where else would you turn but New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman?
If a party could declare moral bankruptcy, today’s Republican Party would be in Chapter 11.
This party needs to just shut itself down and start over — now. Seriously, someone please start a New Republican Party!
America needs a healthy two-party system. America needs a healthy center-right party to ensure that the Democrats remain a healthy center-left party. America needs a center-right party ready to offer market-based solutions to issues like climate change. America needs a center-right party that will support common-sense gun laws. America needs a center-right party that will support common-sense fiscal policy. America needs a center-right party to support both free trade and aid to workers impacted by it. America needs a center-right party that appreciates how much more complicated foreign policy is today, when you have to manage weak and collapsing nations, not just muscle strong ones.
Given his history, you’ll excuse me if I’m at least a tad bit skeptical over the sincerity in Friedman’s earnest desire to “help” conservatives. He was on Morning Joe today pitching this idea and I nearly spit coffee on my laptop when he explained that he really wasn’t all that opposed to the Second Amendment and was actually fairly conservative on economic issues. I’ll allow that he’s not the biggest fan of the Clintons among the Democratic faithful, but somehow his concern for us rings just a tad hollow.
Just take a look at the last paragraph of quoted text and consider what he’s looking for in some idealized new Republican Party. First of all, he freely admits that he only wants such a thing to exist in order to maintain the health of a center-left Democratic Party. And what would this GOP 2.0 look like? They’d use their fiscal conservatism to fight climate change. (Read: a carbon tax, which he’s endorsed before.) They would be a Second Amendment loving party that supports new gun control measures. And as he explained to Scarborough and Brzezinski this morning, what he means by “common-sense fiscal policy” is that Republicans can’t be so opposed to higher taxes.
Sounds like just the ticket for all of you principled, disaffected conservatives looking for a change, eh? All that’s missing is his conservative defense of abortion and a Republican platform plank calling for driving Israel into the sea. That would certainly be a “new” Republican Party alright.
The reality is that our nation’s political landscape in the current era is broken up into two essentially warring camps on the Left and the Right. Yes, it’s absolutely true that there are smaller tribes on each side with their own priorities and focus agenda items, and not all of them get along all the time. But they wind up in the same boat because there’s an equally large boat steaming along on the other side of the lake. If you were to dismantle the GOP tomorrow and reform it under some new name you’d wind up with the same groups lining up in that camp out of necessity. In other words, you’d still have pretty much the exact same party with nothing much changed except the letters on the bumper stickers.
The only way the system would significantly evolve is if the internal splinter groups on both sides split off into a multi-party dynamic such as we see in much of Europe. The Democrats could break down into the Black Lives Matter Party, the Free Abortions for All Party, the Guns Are The Tool Of The Devil Party and, of course, the small but very vocal Justice for Harambe Party. The Republicans could spawn the No Taxes Ever Party, the Peace Through Superior Firepower Alliance, the Adam and Eve Not Adam And Steve Party and a few more that I’m sure I’m forgetting. When it came time for the general election every four years we could make sure that nobody ever came anywhere near 270 electoral votes and just let the House of Representatives pick the rest of the presidents.
Sounds like a great plan, eh? Maybe we should just nominate Thomas Friedman to replace Reince Priebus.