Two different parties. Two similar crossroads. Two different directions.


This is the end, my only friend, the end.  Jim Morrison

I hope you’re enjoying the Democratic primaries so far. Personally, I was enjoying it a lot more until CNN came clomping in like your golden retriever after a thunderstorm, spraying mud all over the house, but hell, it will wash off. But the thing to remember about the primaries is that it’s a finite process. Sooner or later, there will be a winner, and the it’s on to the general election.

And if you’re a political junkie like I am, I really hope you enjoy this one. Because this is going to be one for the ages. Ali vs. Foreman I, The Hulk vs. Andre the Giant, Alien vs. Predator. This will be the clash of the titans, the thing you suffered through the other hour and forty five minutes of the movie for, and it had better be satisfying, because after it’s done, there will never be another one quite like it. Or most likely, nothing even close.

Because, one way or the other, on the day after election day, everything changed, for good. For as long as any of us have been alive, and long before that, there have always been two parties, the Republican party, and the Democratic party. And on the day after the election there will still be the Republican party and the Democratic party, but going forward they will become different parties than what we have become used to. Because the parties themselves are changing, from the inside.

Biden wins the nomination. Warren wins the nomination. Sanders wins the nomination. It really doesn’t matter which one if they do, because it’s the last hurrah for all of them. They’ll never run for President again, their time is past. Jim Clyburn, Elijah Cummings, Steny Hoyer, the elder statesmen of the party, are now mentors for the next generation of Democrats. Hell, even The Grand Fame of Democratic politics, Nancy Pelosi, had to accept a two term limit, and putting younger members into positions of power to train them, in order to hoist the gavel one more time.

The Democratic party is becoming younger, and steadily more progressive. The party is once again striving to become the party of the possible as opposed to the party of the practical. The Democratic party that we are watching begin to blossom now is the party of John F Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and The Great Society.The party that brought the country the landmark civil right legislation, Social Security and Medicare. The party of bold ideas, and the will to carry them through. And yes, a party not beholden to special interests as in the past, because these new Democrats didn’t rely on them to get elected in the first place.

Is the party going too far left, becoming too radical, and turning off the center left voters they need to survive and thrive? No, I don’t think so. Because even without the staying hands of Hoyer, Clyburn, and Pelosi, there is still a steadying influence in the party, For every Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rashida Tlaib out there there are 2-3 Lucy McBath’s or Abigail Spanberger’s, who became involved in politics with a more centrist point of view to start with. Are there going to be arguments, debates, and screaming matches? As Caribou Barbie likes to say, You betcha! *wink* But they will be healthy debates about progressive policies and agendas, based more on extent and implementation, rather than inactivity and hesitation. These new members of congress are doers.

The Republican party is also fundamentally changing on the inside, and has been for the last 5 years now. The once proud party of Lincoln and Reagan now belongs to a loud, strutting little pocket Caesar named Donald Trump. And rather than fighting to take the Republican party in a forward new direction, he is fighting tooth and nail, and has already succeeded in taking the party to its darkest base.

Trump’s racism is nothing new to the Republican party, in fact it’s an already well established fact. From Nixon’s southern strategy, to Reagan’s welfare queens, to Bush Lite’s disgusting personal smear of John McCain’s family in South Carolina, the Republican party has used racism and division to hold together a steadily shrinking base of angry, scared white folks. What has changed is the method of delivery.

For more than forty years, the GOP has hidden their racism behind code words, winks, and dog whistles. This allowed the party to put a patina of respectability over the racism, and also gave them plausible deniability. The height of Republican hypocrisy was when then President George H.W. Bush copped a major snit, disavowing ex-Klan leader David Duke, and denying party support for Duke’s run for governor. Whether Bush disagreed that strongly with Duke’s views is immaterial, his real reason for disavowing Duke was that Duke was bringing the latent racism of the GOP too close to the surface for comfort.

But not anymore, not with Trump. Donald Trump has replaced the wink with a searchlight, and the dog whistle with an air raid siren. Trump has unlocked the closet door, and let all of the night terrors hidden within out into the bedroom. And whether the rest of the Republican party agrees with Trump or not, their tacit, bovine acceptance of Trump’s blatant racism, and the racism he stirs up in his supporters, forces them to shoulder the same mantle of responsibility that he bears.

Every longtime sports fan knows that if you follow a team for long enough, you have to go through a rebuilding phase. I went through it with my Bulls after they won six championships in eight years. Still going through it in fact, since they haven’t won one since. And we’re going through it now, as the Blackhawks transition from their dynasty team.

But as every sports fan knows, as their older players retire or are traded away, there are new, younger core players, that form the nucleus of the net iteration of the team. They provide the glue that will bind the new team together, and carry it forward into the future, in search of the next championship. And that is exactly what is going to be lacking in the post Trump Republican party.

Carlos Curbelo, Ryan Costello, Paul Ryan, Jeff Flake, Will Hurd. These were supposed to be the nucleus of the Republican party going forward. The young turks, the ones with some games under their belts, and full knowledge of and proficiency with the playbook, the guys who were supposed to be ready to assume the mantle of leadership, and move the GOP on to it’s net phase. And they’re all gone. Trump will end. Whether it’s on January 21, 2021, or January 21, 2024, or points in between, Trump will end. And all that will be left of the Republican party is a bunch of slavish buffoons with no leadership and experience, and an even smaller base, since once Trump goes, his cult followers will scatter like dandelion fluff in a strong breeze. The show will be over, time to move on.

That’s how I see it. Two storied parties, both coming to a crossroads of transition, But while they’re both at the same crossroads, one party is moving positively in a positive direction, while the other is about to stall out. And while the Republican party will by no means cease to exist, here’s what i think will happen. Once Trump is gone, the “moderate” conservatives that made up the true base of the party will never return to a building that has “racist” spray painted all over the walls. Instead, they will rally together to form a new, sane conservative party. Democracy requires two strong, vibrant parties to act as countermeasures to each other. If the Republican party can’t fill that bill, another party will come along that can. It’s happened in the past, and it will again. Democracy will survive and move on.

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  1. My assessment from front to back, Murf. It’s why I have no fear in my heart, no matter how bad the days get. A lovely song called “Simple And Clean” (better known as the theme for the video game Kingdom Hearts) speaks for me here: “The future doesn’t scare me at all/Nothing’s like before.”


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